I referred to Christopher Watkin’s book ‘Biblical Critical Theory’ yesterday. I do like what he had to say about Promise in his chapter on Abraham (ch 9).
“Promise is a biblical figure that nestles under the overarching category of grace. There is nothing necessary about a promise; it is a gift, a break from the natural law of cause and consequence. It is a little event. It is also part of bringing order and structure to reality: it rhythms time, actions, and expectations, and as such it is part of the fabric of the creation mandate given to Adam and Eve.”
Watkins refers to the book ‘After Finitude’ by the French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux. I’ve never heard of him but this was intriguing:
“As Meillassoux quite rightly points out, in a world without the sort of god the Bible presents, there is no necessary stability to reality because nothing underwrites or guarantees the way things are. ?it makes no sense to talk of laws without a lawgiver, and so nothing in the world is necessary. The laws of nature could change; the laws of logic could change; ‘miracles’ could happen, not because there is a God but because there are no laws dictating that they cannot happen: ‘Everything could actually collapse: from trees to stars, from stars to laws, from physical laws to logical laws.”
Watkins concludes: “It is hard to overestimate the importance of the biblical figure of promise making and promise keeping for a Christian view of the world.” (Watkin, ‘Biblical Critical Theory’, pp 224-25).