of the land of Canaan (vv. 12-21).Then he turns to praise God for the way God is acting at the particular moment of space-timehistory in which this psalm was written:Even an heritage unto Israel his servant:for his mercy endureth for ever.Who remembered us in our low estate:for his mercy endureth for ever:And hath redeemed us from our enemies:for his mercy endureth for ever.Who giveth food to all flesh:for his mercy endureth for ever. (vv. 22-25)Finally in the last verse, the psalmist writes in such a way that he speaks even for us at our own point in history and incites us to call upon God and praise him:O give thanks unto the God of heaven:for his mercy endureth for ever. (v. 26)So Psalm 136 brings us face to face with the biblical concept of creation as a fact of space-time history, for we find here a complete parallel between creation and other points of history:the space-timeness of history at the time of the Jewish captivity in Egypt, of the particular time inwhich the psalm itself was written and of our own time as we read the psalm today. Thementality of the whole Scripture, not just of this one psalm, is that creation is as historically realas the history of the Jews and our own present moment of time. Both the Old and the NewTestaments deliberately root themselves back into the early chapters of Genesis, insisting thatthey are a record of historical events. What is the hermeneutical principle involved here? Surelythe Bible itself gives it: The early chapters of Genesis are to be viewed completely as history - just as much so, let us say, as records concerning Abraham, David, Solomon or Jesus Christ.
In the Beginning
The opening verse of Genesis, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and theremainder of chapter 1 brings us immediately into a world of space and time. Space and time arelike warp and woof. Their interwoven relationship is history. Thus the opening sentence of Genesis and the structure of what follows emphasize that we are dealing here with history just asmuch as if we talked about ourselves at this moment at a particular point of time in a particular geographic place.In saying this, of course, we are considering the Jewish concept of truth. Many people todaythink that the Jewish concept is rather close to the modern one-that truth is irrational. But this isnot the case. In fact, when we examine the Greek concept of truth in relationship to the Jewishconcept, we find this difference. Many of the Greek philosophers saw truth as the expression of anicely-balanced metaphysical system, rather like a mobile. That is, as long as the system balanced, it could be left alone and considered true. The Jewish concept is the opposite of this.First, it is completely opposite from the modern concept of truth because it is concerned with thatwhich is open to discussion, open to rationality, and is not just an existential leap. Here it is likethe Greek notion. And yet, it differs from and is deeper than the Greek concept because it isrooted in that which is historical. For example, we find Moses insisting, "You saw! You heard!"In Deuteronomy 4 and 5, just before he died, Moses reminded the Jews who stood before himthat when they were young they themselves had seen and heard what had occurred at Sinai, thatis, in space-time history. Their parents had died in the wilderness, but they, the children, had