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Bible Notes: Adam and Fallen Man
Originally appeared on spirituality.com
Hebrew: Isaiah 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
By 587 BCE the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had besieged and ruined Jerusalem. His method of squelching further rebellion was to deport the ruling classes, so Jerusalem’s elite were exiled to Babylonia. Isaiah 45:1-13 turns the page of history to 547 BC when Cyrus, King of Persia, had conquered Babylon and decreed that the exiles could return to Jerusalem, and Isaiah taught that Cyrus had obeyed the LORD, God of Israel without really knowing it! The passage is a speech by the LORD in which He says that, among all the gods of the nations, He alone created the earth and man, stretched out the heavens and commanded all their hosts—including King Cyrus. Isaiah 45:12 is studded with verbs that characterize divine action: made, ('a-sah), create (ba-r'a), stretched out(na-tah), commanded (tza-vah). Made and create are key words used in the cosmic creation account of Gen. 1:1-2:4 , and so are earth (ar-etz), man (a-dam), heavens (sha-ma-yim), and all their hosts (qal tze-va-am). Isaiah 45:12 quotes Genesis 1:1-2:4 in order to show that the LORD, God of Israel, is the sole creator of the entire world and that Cyrus' decree for the exiles to return to Jerusalem demonstrated that truth. That, in a polytheistic era, was a revolutionary assertion with a tiny edge of humor at the expense of Cyrus. It is one of the clearest examples that "The scriptures give the keynote of Christian Science from Genesis to Revelation, and this is the prolonged tone: 'For the Lord, he is God, there is none beside Him'" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 366 ).