Was earth created good?: reappraising earth in Gen. 1:1-2:4a from a Samoan gafataulima perspective

Christianity Religion Disasters Ecosystems Samoa
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This thesis offers a reappraisal of Earth as presented in Gen. 1:1-2:4a from a Samoan gafataulima (accomplish/fulfil/capable) hermeneutical perspective. The inspiration for the study arose out of a personal dilemma concerning my religious beliefs and the reality that I am experiencing in the world today, specifically, the tensions between Earth's perfect portrait in Gen. 1:1-2:4a and recurring natural disasters that I suffer from in my Samoan local context. Attentions to my ecological situation gave rise to questions that challenge the repeated divine evaluation of Earth as 'good' in Gen. 1:1-2:4a. These questions identify the need for context specific hermeneutical frameworks that take into account our local ecological situations in the interpretive process. In this light, I propose the Samoan cultural concept gafataulima as an ecological hermeneutic to re-evaluate the quality of Earth as presented in the Gen. 1:1-2:4a creation narrative, utilising the Samoan version of narrative-grammatical criticism that I refer to as a tala-mamanu reading. The Samoan gafataulima hermeneutic is a tripartite hermeneutical approach based on abilities. It measures the quality of a subject in relation to its capacity to achieve a function. Its three-fold approaches take into account a Samoan worldview of Earth and natural disasters, evident in Samoa today. It involves: 1) the identification of Earth's relations and functions; 2) establishing the cost in terms of abilities for Earth to accomplish the identified tasks; 3) highlighting Earth's capabilities and determining if Earth acquires during creation the required capacity to gafataulima her given responsibilities. Establishing Earth's capabilities to gafataulima her given functions will provide a response to the topic question: Was Earth created 'good'?

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