The Creation Stories: Genesis 1: 1-2: 4a;


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The Primeval Stories of Genesis

Ancient, Yet Ever New

  1. The Creation Stories: Genesis 1:1-2:4a; (Priestly Version)

    1. The Goodness of Creation: “And God saw that it was good.” Calls for stewardship of the earth’s resources, environmentalism.

    2. The Dignity of the Human Person and Catholic Social Justice Teaching “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” Gen. 1:27

    3. The Documentary Hypothesis is discovered: Different names for God and portraits of God suggest different authors and editors at different times of history for different purposes. Yahwist=J, Elohist=E, Deuteronomist=D, and Priestly=P

    4. God is able to restore order out of chaos; and God’s Spirit is present even in the midst of the chaos.

    5. Origin of Sabbath as day of rest, a day made holy. For Jews it will become a day to remember the liberation from Egypt and the Passover event; For Christians it will represent Sunday and the Easter event.

    6. Liturgical Meaning: Easter Vigil, the oldest annual liturgical in our Church calendar, reminder of the tradition of the New Year involving the reading of the stories of Creation

    7. The Beginning of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

  1. Genesis 2:4b-25 (Yahwist version)

    1. Humans created from the “dust of the earth.” Humor and humans rooted in the meaning of the earth. A “down to earth person” someone who is human and humorous.

    2. Origin and Doctrine of Free Will

    3. Sacramental Meaning: Marriage: “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” Gen. 2:18 “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” Gen. 3:24-25

    4. Liturgical Meaning: 1st Sunday of Lent 2:7-9; 3:1-7; 10th Sun. of Ordinary Time, Year B; 27th Sun. of Ordinary Time, Year B

  1. The Fall, Original Sin

    1. Free will and the doctrine of Original Sin: “You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what it bad.” (Written within the context of the Davidic monarchy it implied the dangers of the King acting as God, knowing it all and replacing God.)

    2. What poor gods we make when we operate under the illusion that we are “like God, knowing what is good and what is bad.” Often our attempt to be god fails to understand what is right and wrong.

    3. The Protoevangelium or first Gospel: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” Reference to the battle between good and evil won through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
    4. Jesus as the “New Adam.” (1 Cor. 15:45-49) Mary as the “New Eve” Mother of all Creation

    5. Origins or Etiology of Sickness, suffering, child birth, death, work

  1. Cain and Abel

    1. Reflection on Murder and Capital Punishment: “Cain said to the Lord: “My punishment is too great to bear. Since you have now banished me from the soil, and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, anyone may kill me at sight.” “Not so!” the Lord said to him. “If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.” So the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight. Gen. 4:14-15

  1. Noah and the Flood

    1. Major lesson of Noah: Being good and faithful in an evil world; resisting the pressures of the world

    2. Story of God’s covenant promise through the rainbow

    3. Origins of “white supremacy.” Gen. 9:24-27 The curse of Canaan, son of Ham, seen as curse of people of color, African or African-Americans as slaves.

    4. Sons of Noah and wives seen as origin of Nations and need for coexistence as Children of God.

    5. Liturgical Meaning: Baptismal/water story:

  1. Tower of Babel

    1. Similar to the Adam and Eve story, in an attempt of the people in the land of Shinar to build a tower into the heavens and “so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.” Gen. 11:4

    2. If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuses their language, so that one will not understand what another says.” Gen. 11:7 (Origin of languages.)

    3. Liturgical Meaning: Pentecost reverses the Tower of Babel story.

    4. Need for international cooperation for peace and justice.


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