Week #1 Genesis 1:1-31 & Genesis 2:15
Something important to know about Genesis Chapters 1-3:
At the very beginning of the Bible, we have not one but two creation narratives. They are teaching stories; they contain, in story form, tremendous truths about humankind’s relationship with God and humankind’s relationship with the earth and all of God’s other creatures. Chapter 1 gives us the cosmic view of creation in six days starting with a dark watery abyss and ending with the creation of human beings. Chapters 2 and 3 introduce the stories of the Patriarchs with a scene in the Garden of Eden beginning with the creation of the first human, Adam, then Eve, to be followed by their children and so forth. This week’s study will be a kind of “treasure hunt”. Can you find the hidden truths in these two creation narratives?
Verse to memorize
“God saw that it was good.”
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth — and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss while the breath of God hovered over the waters—
Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness He called “night”. Evening came, and morning followed — the first day. Then God said: Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other. God made the dome, and it separated the water below the dome from the water above the dome. And so it happened. God called the dome “sky”. Evening came, and morning followed — the second day.Then God said: Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear. And so it happened: the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, and the dry land appeared. God called the dry land “earth”, and the basin of water He called “sea”. God saw that it was good. Then God said: Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. And so it happened: the earth brought forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw that it was good. Evening came, and morning followed — the third day. Then God said: Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the seasons, the days and the years, and serve as lights in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth. And so it happened: God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night, and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. Evening came, and morning followed — the fourth day. Then God said: Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky. God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of crawling living creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw that it was good, and God blessed them, saying, Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth. Evening came, and morning followed — the fifth day. Then God said: Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: tame animals, crawling things, and every kind of wild animal. And so it happened: God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our own likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.
God created mankind in His image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female He created them.
God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth. God also said: See I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. God looked at everything He had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed — the sixth day. (NABRE:1986)
Genesis 2:4-9, 15
Verse to memorize
The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.
This is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens — there was no field scrub on the earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the ground, but a stream was welling up out of the earth and watering all the surface of the ground — then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God made grow every tree that was delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it. (NABRE)
1. Q: In the first creation story, how does God create the world? A: He just “speaks” creation (light, water above and below, dry land, plants, etc) by saying “Let there be_______.” Q: In the first creation story, what does God make last? A: Human beings. Q: In the second creation story, what does God create first? A: The man.
2.) Q: In the second story, how does God make the man? A: Out of the dust of the earth. Q: In the first story, how does God make humankind? A: In His own image; male and female. Think about it: we are made in the image and likeness of God! Pope Francis says, “This shows us the immense dignity of each person”.
3.) Q: How many days does it take God to create the world in the first story? A: Six, because later, it says, “On the seventh day God rested.” Q: In the first story, at each day of creation, what does God see? A: “That it was good.”
4.) In the first story, God gives mankind “dominion” over all the fish, the birds and all living things. What does it mean to ‘have dominion” over something? A: Dominus is a Latin word for Lord. Dominion means lordship or control over created things. God gave humans control over the earth He created, but as we shall see in future weeks, the earth still belongs to God. Q: In the second story, why did God “settle the man in the garden”? A: To cultivate and care for it. Q: Could the first man do whatever he wanted with God’s “garden”? A: No. Q: So what does that make humans in God’s eyes? A: Caretakers of His “garden”, the earth.
5.) These are two powerful stories. People remember stories. What hidden truths can you find in these two creation stories? A: (There are many good answers) Examples: God has a plan. God made the Earth. God made us. God made us in His image. God made us male and female. Everything thing God made is good. God put order in the world (day and night, light and darkness, weeks and seasons, land and sea, male and female, six days for work). The earth is a gift of God to humankind. God expects humankind not only to use the earth to grow food but also to take care of it. (Some translations use the word “keep” the land.)
Courtesy of The Bible Project