Describe the attitude towards creation that a common reading of Apocalyptic literature provides, and contrast this with views of God's people being caretakers and co-creators.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Apocalyptic literature generally views creation as temporary. In other words, G-d created the world, but it can just as easily be destroyed to start over andcorrect any evil that exists. In fact, we see this occur in biblical stories, perhaps on a smaller scale than that prophesied in Apocalyptic literature.

For example, in the story of Noah, Noah is righteous, but most of the other people are not. G-d destroys the world through massive floods that sweep over the entire Earth, wiping out most of humanity and the animals. Before the floods, Noah is instructed to construct an ark that can carry his family and a male and female of every species so that they can repopulate the Earth once the flooding subsides.

We see a similar theme in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. G-d tells Abraham of his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because most of the people in it are evil. Unlike Noah, Abraham does not take this command without questioning it. Abraham argues against the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, ultimately getting a pact that the cities will not be destroyed if Abraham can find ten righteous men. Unfortunately, Abraham is not successful; he cannot find ten men who are not considered wicked, and Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed, with the exception of Abraham’s nephew Lot.

Similarly, the theme of redoing creation to eradicate and correct existing evil is a common one in Apocalyptic literature. This literature looks to the impending end of the world as both a warning and a positive because it portends the end of suffering of an oppressed people.

In some ways, this view of the world also imbues a certain lack of free will; people look to the future Messianic Era during which their suffering will end. By contrast, the book of Leviticus outlines a myriad of rules and laws governing how people should take an active role in caring for their world in order to live a righteous life that includes caring for other people, animals, and the Earth.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team