Jul 29, 2016

Creation, De-Creation, and Re-Creation in Ezekiel

Michael G. McKelvey, in discussing the message and theology of Ezekiel to be intimately tied up with the narrative pattern of creation, de-creation, and re-creation. McKelvey writes,
In light of the preceding outline and discussion, the thematic structure of the book of Ezekiel appears to follow a larger, recurring pattern in Scripture. The pattern can be described as creation, de-creation, and re-creation, and is notably seen in the first three chapters in Genesis where God creates (Genesis 1–2), where man through disobedience de-creates (Gen. 3:1–19), and where God promises to re-create (Gen. 3:15). The pattern continues with the flood narrative (Gen. 6:1–9:17), Moses’ birth narrative (Ex. 1:8–2:10), the Exodus and Red Sea crossing (Ex. 3:1–5:18), and Israel’s crossing of the Jordan (Joshua 3–5). At the macrolevel the entirety of Scripture follows this framework; from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, a clear pattern of creation, de-creation (fall), and re-creation (redemption) reoccurs throughout the whole of God’s Word.

Apparently, the book of Ezekiel also follows this arrangement, Ezekiel 1 displays God’s glory among the people whom he has made for himself. Then God’s glory leaves the temple, the city, and the people, signifying the removal of his presence (cf. the driving of Adam and Eve out of the garden away from the presence of the Lord in Gen. 2:22–24). The prophet concludes the book with the promise of the glory of God returning to the temple (Ezekiel 43) and, in the final verse, of the Lord dwelling in the midst of the city: “And the name of the city from that time on shall be, ‘The LORD Is There’” (48:35). Therefore, the book’s outline is intimately tied to its message: The people whom God has created will be de-created because of their sin, but they will one day be re-created to dwell with God, and he with them, forever.
Michael G. McKelvey, “Ezekiel,” in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, ed. Miles V. Van Pelt (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 312–13.

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