Creation and the people of God : creation tradition and the boundaries of the covenant in Second Temple Jewish writings and in Paul's letter to the Galatians
This dissertationis an examinationo f a two-part question. In writings from the
Wisdom literature and the Apocalyptic literature, was creation tradition and theology utilized
to support Israel's national identity and the ethnic and cultural boundaries which
distinguishedh er from the Gentiles? In contrastt o its applicationi n coterminousJ ewish
literature, did Paul (in Galatians) draw upon the same creation tradition to redefine the
covenantal boundary of Israel to include a people of God made up of both Jew and Gentile?
Both nationalistica nd universalistica spectsa re found in the creationt raditionso f the
Hebrew Bible. Jewish writers in the pre-Pauline period utilized this creation tradition
frequently,a nd in a variety of ways, to emphasizeth e electiono f Israel and underscoret he
division between Jew and Gentile.
Paul'sr esponseto the Galatianc risis utilized theologicala rgumentsf requently
underpinnedb y creationt heologya nd imagery. Throughr eferencet o a realizeda pocalyptic
eschatologyP, aul disassociatetsh e new creationf rom the eschatologicavl indication of Israel
and from the observanceo f "works of the Law. " The presenceo f the Spirit is full proof of
the incorporation of the Galatians into the new creation. Adam Christology becomes the
means of uniting Jew and Gentile both in the fallen condition of Adam and in the single
solution of faith in Christ. The world ordered by physical descent ("Jew and Gentile") has
passed away, there is no "male and female. " Paul used creation imagery and creation
theology to prove that the boundary which divided Jew from Gentile as the people of God
was no longer valid, the very boundary which Jewish writers, through their use of creation
tradition, had attempted to reinforce.