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Theological Significance of Animals for the Theme 'Creation and Eschatology'

하경택 1

1장로회신학대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the texts relating to the theme of creation and eschatolgy (e.g. Gen 1; Ps 104; Job 38-41; Isa 11) and to find out the theological significances of animals for the theme 'creation and eschatology'. The significances of animals in Gen 1 can be summarized in three points. Firstly, through tannīn the sovereignty and absoluteness of God as the Creator is emphasized. Secondly, ruling over the animals is the purpose of the human creation. The achievement of this commandment would function as to judge the human and the world created. Thirdly, that only grasses are allowed to the animals as food offers the principle and the fundamental rule for the creation world, which should work without shedding of blood just as manifested in Is 11: 6-9. In Ps 104 the theological significances of animals are observed in two points. First, liwjātān, which is identified as sea monster in the Ancient Near East, appears as a sea creature that is simply living in the sea with no threatening nature. It is not a dangerous mythical creature at all in Ps 104. Second, the animal world is described equally with the human world. Animals have their own living sphere just as men have their own. The independence of the animal world is noted as the animals are living their own lives sincerely in harmony with reality of the world. In Job 38-41 God's answers are mentioning about the animal world. In the first answer, describing the five pairs of the animal, it is emphasi- zed that the creation world ist varicolored and seems even contradictory to all the interests of the human beings. In the second answer a pair of the animal, liwjātān and behemoth, are referred. Through these exam- ples God shows us that the creation world contains elements of suffering and chaos, and is the mysterious world which is beyond the understanding and judgement of the human beings. In the above examined texts concerning the creation world, it is clear that the theme 'creation' means not merely the creation of the world or the beginning of the universe but the reign of God. The animals or the animal world are not no longer instruments or accessories for the existence of human beings. Rather, by examining them, we could learn whether the goal of human creation is achieved or not. The animals have their own meaning in the creation world of God and are essential to the harmonized and varicolored world.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.