Monthly Archives: June 2016

In Memoriam: John Webster

John WebsterIn the abstract to my doctoral dissertation I write, “Following the lead and suggestion of John Webster, the thesis adopts a chronological and exegetical reading of Barth’s work…” Then chapter one starts with a long citation from John Webster’s Barth’s Moral Theology:

Close study of Barth’s ethical writings is still in its infancy.…[The] conventional treatment of Barth often revolved around an anxiety that the sheer abundance of Barth’s depiction of the saving work of God in Christ tends to identify real action with divine action, and leave little room for lengthy exploration of human moral thought and activity.…A great deal of work remains to be done. What is required more than anything else is detailed study of Barth’s writings which, by close reading, tries to display the structure and logic of his concerns without moving prematurely into making judgments or pressing too early the usefulness (or lack of it) of Barth’s work for contemporary moral theology.…For Barth, ethical questions are not tacked on to dogmatics as something supplementary, a way of exploring the ‘consequences’ of doctrinal proposals or demonstrating their ‘relevance.’ Dogmatics, precisely because its theme is the encounter of God and humanity, is from the beginning moral theology. An inadequate grasp of this point often lies behind much misunderstanding, not only of Barth’s ethics but of his dogmatics as a whole (Barth’s Moral Theology, 1, 8).

I never knew John Webster, although I did correspond by email with him once or twice, and to my surprise and delight, received answers from him! I knew Webster through his several books, especially those on the theology and ethics of Karl Barth. He was one of the foremost Barth scholars in the world, and we are the poorer for his untimely passing.

Professor Webster died a few weeks ago, aged just sixty years, and Kevin Vanhoozer has written a very appreciative eulogy.

Like Webster, evangelicals need to learn not to be overly concerned about what others will think of them, and to be more concerned with bearing cheerful and true witness to the gospel.

 Another appreciation can be found over at First Things.


A Prayer on Sunday

Anabaptist Martyrs

This prayer is from Tijs Jeuriaenss,
an Anabaptist martyr, burned at the stake in 1569.

Loving God,
You have baptised us into one body, and made us to drink the one Spirit.
Now grant us pure and faithful hearts that we may serve one another diligently in love, and find no cause to separate or divide. Call each of us to esteem others better than ourselves so we remain together in peace and joy. Grant these mercies to us and all your people.

Reading Karl Barth

Church Dogmatics Study EditionSelection: The Church Dogmatics IV/4:17-23, Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

The mystery of the Christian life is that it is grounded in the history of Jesus Christ, a divine event which occurred in him rather than anything which occurs in us. Yet—and this is Barth’s central concern in the entire section—how is it that an event which occurred in his history can be the ground of the Christian life as it unfolds in our lives?

What has this Other, who there and then was born in Bethlehem and died on Golgotha, what has He to do with me? What has the freedom of His life as very Son of God and Son of Man to do with my necessary liberation to be a child of God, and consequently with the humanity which is true because it corresponds to the will of this Father? And what have I to do with Him? How can it be that, as I grow out of Him as out of a root, He can be one with me and I with him, and in unity with Him my own life can begin as a Christian life, the life of a man who is faithful to God? How can that which He was and did extra nos become an event in nobis? (p. 18)

Barth rejects one-sided, ‘artifical’ responses to this question. That is, he refuses to attribute the decision to the sole agency of God, thereby rendering humanity passive in their own salvation. He likewise refuses to attribute the saving decision to humanity alone, as though each person were their own “reconciler, teacher and master in relation to God” (19-20). Both these approaches dismiss the ethical problem of the genesis of the Christian life as irrelevant, and “conjure away the mystery which confronts us.”

Instead, Barth would “allow the matter to be its own interpreter … to see how the matter interprets itself, how the riddle is solved from within” (20). This is discovered by following the “singular movement of New Testament thinking” which in reality is a double-sided movement, “from above downwards, but also from below upwards” (20-22). In this twofold but single movement we find both, that in Jesus Christ God is faithful to humanity, and also that humanity is faithful is God.

As this individual history it is thus cosmic in origin and goal. As such it is not sterile. It is a fruitful history which newly shapes every human life. Having taken place extra nos, it also works in nobis, introducing a new being of every man. … He was faithful to us by being ready to give Himself, and by giving Himself, to fulfil the covenant between God and man in His own person, i.e., by being faithful to God in our place, in the place of those who previously were unfaithful to Him. In our place—even as He was there and then what only He could be, He was this in our here and now, in the weakness, ungodliness and enmity, the heart, the personal centre of the existence of every man. But if he acts extra nos pro nobis, and to that extent also in nobis, this necessarily implies that in spite of the unfaithfulness of every man He creates in the history of every man the beginning of his new history, the history of a man who has become faithful to God. All this is because it is God himself who has taken man’s cause in hand in His person. It was not a man who posited or made this new beginning. Not of himself did man become another man, faithful to God instead of unfaithful. Nevertheless, on the path from Bethlehem to Golgotha which Jesus Christ traversed for him as very Son of God and therefore as very Son of Man, the new beginning of his life was posited and made as that of a man who is faithful to God. On the ground of this beginning of his in the history of Jesus Christ he here and today can and should live his new Christian life which corresponds to, because it follows, the divine transformation of his heart and person which took place there and then (21).

By taking our place in his work outside of us and for us, Jesus Christ liberates and transforms us for a new faithfulness to God. The history of Jesus Christ is a fruitful history, and efficacious, and so does not remain simply external to humanity but is also in nobis here and now.

The God at work in that history, while He does not find and confirm a direct relation between Himself and us, does create and adopt this relation, which we could not create or adopt for ourselves, but which we cannot evade when He does so. Interceding for us in Jesus Christ, He is now present to us, not at a distance, but in the closest proximity, confronting us in our own being, thought and reflection. … What takes place is thus quite simply that in nobis, in our heart, at the centre of our existence, there is set a contradiction of our unfaithfulness, a contradiction which we cannot escape, which we have to endorse, in face of which we cannot cling to our unfaithfulness, by which it is not merely forbidden but prevented and rendered impossible. … What then? We can will and do only one thing—the thing which is positively prefigured for us in the action of the true Son of God and Son of Man at work within us. The only possibility is to be faithful to God. … The divine change in whose accomplishment a man becomes a Christian is an event of true intercourse between God and man. If it undoubtedly has its origin in God’s initiative, no less indisputably man is not ignored or passed over in it. He is taken seriously as an independent creature of God. He is not run down and overpowered, but set on his own feet. He is not put under tutelage, but addressed and treated as an adult. The history of Jesus Christ, then, does not destroy a man’s own history. In virtue of it this history becomes a new history, but it is still his own new history. The faithfulness to God to which he is summoned is not, then, an emanation of God’s faithfulness. It is truly his own faithfulness, decision and act (22-23).

It is clear in these pages that Barth wrestles to secure the genuine agency of the human person vis-à-vis God, although it is an agency which is strictly ordered to the prior work of divine grace by which the person is liberated for precisely this kind of agency. Thus, Barth’s interest is not so much soteriological or even sacramental though he does address these topics. Rather, as befits the ‘ethics of reconciliation,’ Barth is interested in the divine-human relation in its ethical dimension. Thus he speaks of the “ethical problem of the genesis of the Christian life,” and is concerned with the divine-human relation being one of “the genuine intercourse between God and man as two different partners.” The genesis of the Christian life is grounded in the divine work fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Yet this work includes humanity, and thereby liberates and transforms humanity, so that the human person might freely and faithfully respond to the divine address which encounters them.

At the heart of Barth’s exposition, then, is the ethical concern of faithful human response to the reconciling God. But this response must in its genesis be consonant with the whole character of the Christian life, and the response of the Christian to the divine summons in the whole of life must be consonant with its genesis.

A Prayer on Sunday

Pocket Wisdom of Jeanette Dunn AThis prayer is often attributed to St Francis of Assisi, although its history suggests that it only appeared in 1912 in Paris. In 1920 a French Franciscan printed it on the back of a picture of St Francis, and it seems the attribution stuck. Whatever its origin, it is a beautiful prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Reading Karl Barth

Church Dogmatics Study EditionSelection: The Church Dogmatics IV/4:10-17, Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

In this section Barth pauses to ask whether Christian experience, that is, the experience of renewal that characterises Christian life, is simply one (quite poor) variety of a more general and common human experience. Is it simply another manifestation of the endless parade of philosophies and panaceas, religions and spiritualities that characterise human life? (10-11)

Barth rejects the possibility: All kinds of religious and non-religious experiences and renewals may occur to people, and may in their own way be very significant. Nevertheless they are not this event. Rather, they presuppose a general concept of deity and a direct relation of this presupposed deity with the human agent. This, of course, is precisely what Barth rejects. For Barth, the decisive event which constitutes the ground of Christian life is the very particular history of Jesus Christ.

The freedom of God in which is grounded man’s becoming free to be faithful to God as God is faithful to him, the freedom in which the Christian life thus has its absolutely unique origin, is the freedom of which He, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has made use in supreme majesty and condescension in the history of Jesus Christ. This history is the change, impossible with men but possible with God, and indeed possibly only by God’s actual judgment, in which a man becomes God’s friend instead of His enemy, a man who lives for Him instead of being dead for Him. It is the divine change which has been made for every man and which is valid for every man, but which is thankfully acknowledged, recognised and confessed by Christians. It is so as Jesus Christ is the One elected from eternity to be the Head and Saviour of all men, who in time responded to God’s faithfulness with human faithfulness as the Representative of all men. As and because He was this, as and because, in the name and stead of all, He was born and suffered and died as the Man of God, as and because He was manifested for all in His resurrection as the One who did this for all, the change which took place in His history took place for all. In it the turning of all from unfaithfulness to faithfulness took place. In this history of His the Christian life became an event as the life of all. A Christian, however, is a man from whom it is not hidden that his own history took place along with the history of Jesus Christ. As a word spoken to him and received by him in the living power of the Holy Spirit, this has been disclosed to him. … The Christian is a man whose life Jesus Christ has entered as the subject of that history of His. … He is a man to whom Jesus Christ has given not just a potential but an actual share in that history of His. Thus Jesus Christ, His history, became and is the foundation of Christian existence; this and this alone (13-14).

Thus Barth affirms the utter uniqueness of Christian life, distinguishing it from all other experiences of human renewal, while simultaneously rejecting any and all approaches from natural theology. Jesus Christ as the Elect Human, as the Saviour and Representative of all humanity and of every person, is the ground and origin of human faithfulness to God. It is clear that Barth views this history as constituting an ontological alteration of the human condition. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has changed the situation of every person whereby humanity is now God’s friend rather than God’s enemy; in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians are those who know this. More, Jesus Christ has entered their lives as the subject of this history in their life.

In a stunning statement Barth insists that “it is true exegesis, not eisegesis, to say that the nativity of Christ is the nativity of the Christian man; Christmas day is the birthday of every Christian” (15).

What does Barth mean by this extraordinary statement? Jesus Christ as the Representative of each and every person was born, lived, died and was raised again for them, in their name and in their stead. His solidarity and identification with all humanity is so complete that his baptism includes within itself that of his disciples. So, too, his death includes within itself our death also, so that we die in him and with him:

Jesus does not drink that cup for Himself alone. He is not baptised with that baptism in isolation. This all takes place in their stead and for them. Hence they, too, will die in His death, and therewith their entry into glory will be secured. In his death, therefore, He took the place of all….Inasmuch as He died the death in our place, we have it absolutely behind us. In His death we who deserved to die as He died are already put to death (16).


Riverside Tower ViewBy the time this post appears I will have been in transit for 30+ hours, but now in New York! It will still be Wednesday in New York though it is Thursday in Perth. I imagine I will be crashed out in my hotel on the Upper West Side, hopefully with a view over the Hudson River, but perhaps not, given the special price I paid for the room… The hotel is on Riverside, so that should put me in “A New York State of Mind.”

Update: nope, no view. But it looks like a nice park across the road. Off for a walk before the sun sets.

One of our former students, Allen Brown, has started his own blog exploring the nature of the Kingdom of God in Scripture. It is well worth a read if you enjoy biblical and especially, kingdom theology. The blog is called Seeking the Kingdom.

My lovely wife Monica, put me on to this one: The Slow Professor. It is a blog post about a book of the same name by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber. The blog post, by recently retired academic Barbara King, reflects on the corporatisation of higher education.

Last December, I concluded 27 years of college teaching and, for now, I still feel a part of campus culture. I’m in contact with colleagues (locally, nationally and internationally) who feel burned by this corporate model. They work long hours yet have little time to read or write for work, or just to think — the faculty activities that Berg and Seeber say a university should prize most and that may benefit its students the most.

Riverside TowerPodcasts
Over the last few weeks I have given a talks on Christian ethics and Moral Reasoning at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church, on guidance and the Holy Spirit at Inglewood Community Church, and on the relation of science and faith at Lesmurdie Baptist Church. The podcasts of these messages are now online for anyone who is interested.

  1. Christian Ethics
  2. Guidance and the Holy Spirit
  3. Science and Faith


No Solipsistic Waffle!

Solipsism CartoonThis semester I have trialed the use of reflection papers in two of my units – one of them an introductory unit, the other an advanced unit. In my instructions to students in the advanced cohort I wrote:

Students are to reflect critically on their own learning with respect to the assigned readings and intensive class experience. The reflection is to address one or two key aspects of learning, examining what new knowledge they have obtained (or new understanding of previous knowledge already held), and exploring how this newly acquired knowledge/understanding will shape their life in Christian community and Christian service. Students are to share key aspects of their reflection in an online forum discussion, giving and receiving feedback on the material learned.

Notes: this exercise is not an opportunity for solipsistic waffle. A critical reflection involves questioning and interrogation, and bringing the topic into critical and evaluative dialogue with other sources…

I did not remember writing it, so was a little surprised when students on the first day of class complained about the question. “What’s wrong with it?” I asked.

“We don’t know what you mean. I have never even heard of ‘solipsistic’…” I had forgotten I had written it, but decided not to back down. “Well, that’s what dictionaries are for: have you looked?” No surprises that a number had not yet gone to a dictionary. But then when pressed I admit having to search my own brain and “pull” for an explanation, not having a precise definition on the tip of my tongue.

I remember saying something like, “It means to be caught up with only your own thoughts,
going round and round as though there is nothing outside your own head worth talking about.”

I was rescued, however, by a conscientious student who took to and loudly proclaimed: “Solipsism: the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist. Or, extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.”

“Yes,” I said, all knowledgeable, “That’s exactly what I meant.”

Having now marked the papers of the advanced class, I am very pleased to announce that there was no solipsistic waffle!

A Prayer on Sunday

St DominicThis prayer is from St. Dominic (1170-1221), founder of the Dominicans or Order of Preachers in the medieval church.

May God the Father who made us bless us. 
May God the Son send his healing among us. 
May God the Holy Spirit move within us and give us eyes to see with, ears to hear with, and hands that your work might be done. 
May we walk and preach the word of God to all. 
May the angel of peace watch over us and lead us at last by God’s grace to the kingdom.


A Sermon Revisited – and Young Earth Creationism


On Sunday morning I had opportunity to preach at Lesmurdie Baptist Church, and it was a delight, as ever, to join the folk there in worship. I have wonderful memories and many friends from my time there as pastor.

I was a little nervous with the prospect of preaching my message, being quite aware that I was taking the role of a theological provocateur. The focus of my ministry has always been to build faith and congregations, yet I was aware that my message on Sunday could be disruptive to the faith of some of the people there, and perhaps disruptive in the life of the church generally. Still, I think the topic was important enough to risk this disruption, though I hope, for the sake of the people and the pastoral leadership, that the overall result is positive for the church.

But maybe I was concerned unnecessarily? The response of the people during and after the message was very heartening. Many in the congregation work or have worked in science-related fields and appreciated a forthright attempt to affirm the value of science and seek to build a positive bridge of dialogue between theology and science. At the end of the sermon the pastor facilitated a brief Q&A session, with two very thoughtful questions put to me.

The first question was, “How can there be death prior to sin?” This question puts its finger on perhaps the key theological issue to be faced when discussing human origins and the possibilities of evolution, progressive creation, etc. I reiterated the point made in the message itself, that perhaps we must think of the nexus of sin and death only in relation to the spiritual relationship given to humanity by God as modern humanity emerged in accordance with God’s purpose and activity. But there is a cost here: the acceptance of death as a normal part of earthly or physical existence. The fossil record argues for this reality with the death of creatures prior to the advent of modern humanity.

The second question was a ‘doozy:’ “if God calls humanity to join his creative activity, his ongoing project of creation, might this ‘play’ include practices of genetic modification, particularly with reference to designing babies, selecting gender, striving to eliminate diseases and so on?” I answered this question as best I could given the very limited time and my own limited competence in medical or bioethics. I tried to show that the use of technology  and the practise of science are not neutral, but instead are value-laden activities which might be directed to life-affirming and beneficial ends, or life-destroying and manipulative ends. I suggested that great care and much ethical reflection is required as we think through the manner in which we apply the results of scientific research. This, of course, is one way in which theology might speak to science, by calling science away from philosophical naturalism toward a higher and grander vision of existence and reality.

As I was answering the first question I became starkly aware of a tangential but important point: young earth creationism cannot maintain a positive and open dialogue toward the world of science, but can entrench only a divisive and oppositional stance between faith and science. It will lead only to the ghettoising of Christian faith. It wants to speak to science but cannot allow science to speak to it. In an age in which a fulsome dialogue between faith and science is desperately needed – not simply for defending the credibility of faith, but also for enhancing the human vision and practise of science – this form of Christian withdrawal from the dialogue would be and is a disaster.

This sermon task challenged me in quite a number of ways. It has been the most demanding sermon I have faced in quite some time. Thank you, Lesmurdie, for forcing me to push my own boundaries!

A Sermon on Sunday

IWOK_widescreenToday I am speaking at Lesmurdie Baptist Church—my old stomping ground… The church and congregation hold a special place in my life; I was pastor of the church for five years, and an ordinary member for another two years, and in that time grew to love the people and the pastoral team with whom I worked. It is always a privilege and a joy to return. My topic for today is: “If We Only Knew: From Academia to Application.” My brief is to bring something from the world of academia which might otherwise take years to filter down into congregational awareness and life. I love the fact that senior minister, Karen Siggins, wants her congregation to be informed concerning important developments and trends in contemporary theology: may her tribe increase! She and the pastoral team have devoted the whole month to this series.

I have chosen as my theme a topic completely out of my comfort zone: the relation between science and theology, and exploring the particular issue presently experiencing vigorous debate in Evangelical theology—the historicity or otherwise of Adam. Here is the outline…


My own awareness of these issues has been stimulated by a BBC production The Incredible Human Journey and by the work of the Human Genome project. I recognised almost immediately that both these scientific projects would issue a great challenge to Evangelical Christianity. I was right. In the next few years a debate arose in evangelicalism around the historicity of Adam and Eve: did Adam and Eve really exist? Two books from evangelical biblical scholars spotlight the issue: C. J. Collins’ Did Adam and Eve Really Exist and Peter Enns’ The Evolution of Adam. As you can guess, the two books took opposing positions with respect to this question.

Of course, serious theological questions arise around this issue: not least the issues raised by common interpretation of Romans 5:12-21.

Lost WorldHuman Origins: How did we come to be here?
In the modern era many answer that question with the word evolution. Some Christians accept evolution as fact. Others reject it out of hand, and insist on a literal six-day creation by divine fiat. Still others adopt a position of theistic evolution. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, is not comfortable with the term theistic evolution and prefers simply to speak of evolution by itself. Yet, as a committed Christian, Collins believes that God being almighty and all-knowing pre-loaded the evolutionary process so that it would result in his intended purpose.

Science and Faith: Must the relation be conflictual?
This issue raises the perennial question of the relation between science and faith. On the one hand, in the modern west science has achieved a kind of cultural status as the arbiter and final authority of truth and wisdom. That which is not ‘scientific’ is intellectually and possibly, morally, suspect. Yet Christians—and not only Christians—claim that there are other sources of truth and wisdom, the Bible in particular. How, then, are Christians to respond when it seems that science and faith come into conflict?

The response of liberal theology to that question was simply to re-interpret or even jettison those parts of the Bible which conflicted with scientific discoveries; they gave science the priority. Other Christians adopted a defensive posture, ignoring or attacking the science, or else developing their own supposedly ‘scientific’ programmes to insist that the Bible teaches precise and actual scientific knowledge, with the result that ‘true science’ agrees with the Bible. If it does not agree with the Bible it is not ‘true’ science.

A major part of the issue, however, concerns the question of biblical interpretation. Sometimes Christians fail to recognise that what we think is the teaching of the Bible is in fact our interpretation of the Bible, and the reality that the Bible can be and is interpreted in different ways by believers who are equally committed to a high-view of Scripture. And so the question comes to us: Can we be open to new ways of interpreting familiar
passages? And can we look for ways of interpretation that maximise the possibility of finding common ground between science and faith without compromising what we consider to be essential theological convictions? Note, here, Augustine’s wisdom:

In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it (cited in Collins, “The Language of God,” in Metaxas, Socrates in the City, 317).

Two Interpretive Moves
I want to suggest two interpretative moves that will assist us as we think about this particular issue. First, Millard Erickson’s view of progressive creationism. Erickson argues that God uses both the processive mechanism of micro-evolution—evolution within a particular species, and de novo creative events. There may well have been ‘pre-human’ creatures prior to the creation of Adam and Eve, but Adam and Eve were a fresh creative work of God (Erickson, Christian Theology 3rd ed., 446).

I note also, that Francis Collins, despite his insistence that God pre-loaded the evolutionary mechanism, also speaks of God ‘gifting’ humanity with ‘the knowledge of good and evil (that’s the moral law), with free will, and with an immortal soul. And Homo sapiens became Homo divinus’ (Collins, in Metaxas, 315). This sounds very much like a direct intervention to me.

The second interpretative move involves ‘re-thinking’ of Genesis 1:31: must God’s ‘very Time Cover God vs Sciencegood’ be understood in terms of some kind of metaphysical perfection, or might it be understood in terms of the value God the Creator places upon his work? English theologian Colin Gunton suggested that, “Rather like a work of art, creation is a project, something God wills for its own sake and not because he has need of it” (Colin E. Gunton, “The Doctrine of Creation,” in The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine, 142). Such an interpretation suggests that God’s work of creation was not the end of his purpose, but the beginning of a project playing out across history and moving toward a divine purpose and climax. In this view, the immanent God accompanies his creation, at times doing new things, providentially guiding the creation toward his appointed goals.

These two interpretive moves may help us find a place of common ground between contemporary science and biblical faith. The fact that we share 96%+ of our DNA with chimpanzees, the fossil record of pre-modern humanoids creatures, the idea that the complexity of the human genome requires a beginning population of not two but many thousands—all these and more may be addressed within this interpretive framework. Nor does this require the story of Adam & Eve to be a fictional story. Christians may still argue that God ‘instilled’ this distinctively human nature and spirit into an original couple so they were not simply pre-modern humanoids but ‘new creatures.’

But what about death? Does not this interpretation undermine the biblical teaching that sin entered the world through one man and death through sin? Not necessarily. It may be permissible to interpret death strictly as spiritual death, both in Genesis 2:17 and Romans 5:12. Adam & Eve died when they ate the fruit—but not physically. Prior to this special creation physical death was in the world but not spiritual death for God had not created the earlier creatures as spiritual beings in the same way as modern humans have been created.

Further benefits of ‘re-thinking’ our interpretation of Scripture include a greater awareness of our natural solidarity with other creatures, especially the animal kingdom, and so of our responsibility for their care. If God’s creation is God’s project, and God has created us in the divine image, it speaks to God’s intent that we participate in this project, that we ‘play’ and ‘paint’ with him, as it were, actively taking our place and playing our part in building the kind of world that God always intended, aiming always at the festivity and shalom of the Sabbath rest which is the climax of the first creation narrative.