GOD SAID-THE ORIGIN OF PERFORMATIVESJune 14, 2020 2023-04-05 19:12
GOD SAID-THE ORIGIN OF PERFORMATIVES
GOD SAID-THE ORIGIN OF PERFORMATIVES
In Genesis 1 we read what God said when He was creating. This has constantly been cited when it comes to speech acts, but here we can see how straightforward performatives truly are and the possibilities that come out of it. Let’s start with Day 3 of creation, so as to see the level of specificity put in performatives:
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce plants. Let them produce their own seeds. And let there be trees on the land that grow fruit with seeds in it. Let each kind of plant or tree have its own kind of seeds.” And that’s exactly what happened. 12 So the land produced plants. Each kind of plant had its own kind of seeds. And the land produced trees that grew fruit with seeds in it. Each kind of tree had its own kind of seeds. God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening, and there was morning. It was day three.
14 God said, “Let there be lights in the huge space of the sky. Let them separate the day from the night. Let the lights set the times for the holy celebrations and the days and the years. 15 Let them be lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth.” And that’s exactly what happened. 16 God made two great lights. He made the larger light to rule over the day and the smaller light to rule over the night. He also made the stars. 17 God put the lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth. 18 He put them there to rule over the day and the night. He put them there to separate light from darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening, and there was morning. It was day four.
20 God said, “Let the seas be filled with living things. Let birds fly above the earth across the huge space of the sky.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures. He created every kind of living thing that fills the seas and moves about in them. He created every kind of bird that flies. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them. He said, “Have little ones so that there will be many of you. Fill the water in the seas. Let there be more and more birds on the earth.” 23 There was evening, and there was morning. It was day five.
24 God said, “Let the land produce every kind of living creature. Let there be livestock, and creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals.” And that’s exactly what happened. 25 God made every kind of wild animal. He made every kind of livestock. He made every kind of creature that moves along the ground. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings in his own likeness. He created them to be like himself. He created them as male and female.
28 God blessed them. He said to them, “Have children so that there will be many of you. Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Rule over every living creature that moves along the ground.” (Genesis 1:11-28)
As God spoke, what He spoke was exactly how it came to be.
I have several things I want to point out in this passage. As God spoke, what He spoke was exactly how it came to be. When He said the trees should produce their own seeds, they did. When He said that the birds should fly above the earth, they did. When He said that they should multiply and produce more of their kind, they did. When He said that the land should produce every kind of living creature, it did. We have roaming around the earth organisms as tiny as ants, insects, and worms, and yet we also have animals as gigantic as elephants and giraffes. There are indeed animals classified as livestock and animals classified as wild animals to this day.
And so, when God said that He created us in His likeness to be like Him, to rule over the other living creatures that had been made, it will be. We can see now the control that humans have over nature and over animals. Some know how to manage their control properly, exercising advocacies that fight to protect the earth and what has been entrusted to us, but we also see how this control has been badly managed by many humans. Forest fires, depleting natural resources, abused animals – it’s not a surprise that we have so much power over them. That’s because we have been given authority over them and how we manage that is up to our free will.
And when God said that we were made to be like Him, we do trust that we are currently being made more and more Christ- like. There may have been the fall and we may fall sometimes still, but we can trust that what God has spoken will be, and that is:
The Law was written in letters on stone. Even though it was a way of serving God, it led to death. But even that way of serving God came with glory. The glory lasted for only a short time. Even so, the people of Israel couldn’t look at Moses’ face very long. 8 Since all this is true, won’t the work of the Holy Spirit be even more glorious? 9 The law that condemns people to death had glory. How much more glory does the work of the Spirit have! His work makes people right with God. 10 The glory of the old covenant is nothing compared with the far greater glory of the new. 11 The glory of the old lasts for only a short time. How much greater is the glory of the new! It will last forever.
12 Since we have that kind of hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses. He used to cover his face with a veil. That was to keep the people of Israel from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made stubborn. To this day, the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil has not been removed. Only faith in Christ can take it away. 15 To this day, when the Law of Moses is read, a veil covers the minds of those who hear it. 16 But when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Holy Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is also there. 18 None of our faces are covered with a veil. All of us can see the Lord’s glory and think deeply about it. So we are being changed to become more like him so that we have more and more glory. And this glory comes from the Lord, who is the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)
In the same way, the words of Jesus had that much power because, as stated in the New Testament:
In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made through him. Nothing that has been made was made without him. 4 Life was in him, and that life was the light for all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness. But the darkness has not overcome the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 The Word was in the world. And the world was made through him. But the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to what was his own. But his own people did not accept him. 12 Some people did accept him and did believe in his name. He gave them the right to become children of God. 13 To be a child of God has nothing to do with human parents. Children of God are not born because of human choice or because a husband wants them to be born. They are born because of what God does.
14 The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father. And the Word was full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 9-14)
Jesus has the power to speak things to life, and the Lord has entrusted to us an inheritance and power to share in His glory. We are now called children of God and as His children we are to bring forth what would make our Father happy. As we are being made more and more in His likeness, the words we speak all the more embody the will of God in our lives and in the lives of all the people around us.
Check out: Performatives in the Bible
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