Some of Cincinnati’s most majestic landmarks are its older church buildings. There is something special and inspiring about walking into an older Cincinnati church with vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. These Cincinnati churches tapped into what churches in the Middle Ages were designed to be – a place where heaven and earth, God and humanity met intimately. Cincinnati churches like Old St. Mary’s are contemporary versions of a temple, a place where people meet with God and offer their worship. Cincinnati Christians have the opportunity to meet with God in their churches throughout the Cincinnati area. In addition, Cincinnati churches should remind Cincinnati Christians of Genesis 1 and the creation of the universe.
John H. Walton, in his book Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old TestamentL Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible, describes the first chapter of Genesis in terms of a Temple dedication ceremony. He explains that Genesis chapter one establishes: the role and function of every created thing, a tiered and organized cosmos in which God creates, the centrality of Yahweh’s control and assignment of destiny, and God’s rest in terms of temple inhabitation. According to Walton, God’s temple is the entire cosmos and the creation account in Genesis 1 explains the temple and the role of every created thing in that temple.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters… By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 1:1-2; 2:1-3). Walton explains, “Genesis 1 is framed in terms of the creation of the cosmos as a temple in which Yahweh takes up his repose…Genesis 1… finds its conclusion in Yahweh’s taking up his rest… Inhabiting his resting place is equivalent to being enthroned – it is connected to taking up his role as sovereign ruler of the cosmos” (Walton, 97). Yahweh is clearly the Lord and creator of the universe and all that is in it. For Cincinnati Christians, walking into the church building on Sunday morning should be a reminder of all that God is in his cosmic temple – the Sovereign creator of the universe who designed everything and gave everyone purpose, destiny and immeasurable value.
Walton, John H. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old TestamentL Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2006.