“God created humans in the beginning to be his vice rulers over the world.
That is part, at least, of what it meant that humans were made ‘in God’s image.’ The ‘image’ is like an angled mirror, reflecting God’s wise and caring love into the world, bringing order and fruitfulness to the garden where the humans were placed. That project was, of course, tragically twisted with human arrogance and sin. But it has never been rescinded. . . .
When humans take up their divinely appointed role, looking after God’s world on his behalf, this is not a Promethean attempt to usurp God’s role. It is the humble, obedient carrying out of the role that has been assigned. The real arrogance would be to refuse the vocation, imagining that we knew better than God the purpose for which we have been put here.”
— N. T. Wright, The Case for the Psalms
Bruegel the Elder, Pieter. The (Great) Tower of Babel. 1563. Oil on panel.
“Our prevailing modern Western worldview is no more ‘modern’ than the worldview of the first Christians. All that has happened is that many leading scientists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who were attracted to Epicureanism for quite other reasons (not least social, cultural, and political), have interpreted their perfectly proper scientific observations (for instance, concerning the origin and development of different species of plants and animals) within an Epicurean framework. It has then been assumed that ‘science’ actually supports this view of a detached ‘God’ and a world simply doing its own thing. But this is profoundly mistaken.” — N. T. Wright, The Case for the Psalms
Raphael. “Epicurus.” The School of Athens. 1511. Fresco.
“חָנֵּ֣נִי אֱלֹהִ֣ים כְּחַסְדֶּ֑ךָ כְּרֹ֥ב רַ֝חֲמֶ֗יךָ מְחֵ֣ה פְשָׁעָֽי׃
הַרְבֵּה כַּבְּסֵ֣נִי מֵעֲוֹנִ֑י וּֽמֵחַטָּאתִ֥י טַהֲרֵֽנִי׃
כִּֽי־פְ֭שָׁעַי אֲנִ֣י אֵדָ֑ע וְחַטָּאתִ֖י נֶגְדִּ֣י תָמִֽיד׃
לְךָ֤ לְבַדְּךָ֨ ׀ חָטָאתִי֮ וְהָרַ֥ע בְּעֵינֶ֗יךָ עָ֫שִׂ֥יתִי לְ֭מַעַן תִּצְדַּ֥ק בְּדָבְרֶ֗ךָ תִּזְכֶּ֥ה בְשָׁפְטֶֽךָ׃”
— Psalms 51:1-4 (BHS)
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.”
— Psalms 51:1-4 (NRSV)
“Humans have sinned, but God will still work through them; Israel has sinned, but God will still use its people to bless the nations; monarchs have sinned grievously, but God still promises to bring the world into subjection under his anointed king.” — N. T. Wright, The Case for the Psalms
Michelangelo. David. Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. 1504. Marble statue.