Dr. John Ronning, professor at Faith Theological Theological Seminary, will be reading his paper titled “Creation or Redemption: When Did/Will God Defeat Rehab/Leviathan?” on Wednesday, November 20th, from 10:10-10:50 AM in room P during the 65th Annual Meeting for the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) held in Baltimore, Maryland.
Dr. Ronning writes,
In the OT, both Rahab and Leviathan are called “dragon” (tannin; Ps 74:13; Isa 27:1; 51:9) and given the epithet “nachash bariach,” typically translated “fleeing serpent” (Job 26:12–13; Isa 27:1). The defeat of Rahab/Leviathan may be described in contexts mentioning creation or/and redemption (Job 26:12–13; Ps 74:13–14; 89:10; Isa 51:9). In Isa 27:1 the defeat of Leviathan is future, possibly eschatological. The discovery of the ANE motif of divine conflict with a supernatural dragon which results in creation of the world has led some to see such a myth as a polytheistic remnant in Psalm 74 (thus the relevance to this year’s theme of inerrancy). One evangelical response has been to suggest that in passages such as Psalm 74 the dragon is merely symbolic of the chaos out of which God made the world. If this were the case, the future Leviathan (Isa 27:1) must represent something else.
A more consistent solution sees the meaning of “nachash bariach,” as “evil serpent,” and thus Rahab/Leviathan as OT names for Satan, who was defeated in provisional OT fulfillments of Gen 3:15. The narrative of the crushing of the dragon’s heads in Ps 74:13–14 is based on the language of the curse on the serpent, “he shall strike you on the head,” which is why Paul uses a verb from 74:13 in his allusion to Gen 3:15 in Rom 16:20. Both Ps 74:13–14 and Isa 51:9 are properly understood as referring to the defeat of the Egyptians (“seed of the serpent”) at the Red Sea. The creation language which is used in context of Ps 74:13–14 is accounted for by the fact that the OT depicts redemption as a new creation, which explains why the crossing of the Red Sea is presented as a re-enactment of the first three days of creation.
For those interested in attending the 65th ETS Annual Meeting this year, it is not to late to register. Please visit ETS’s website for how to register.