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Prepared by: RICHARD G. PAZCOGUIN UST Institute of Religion.

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Presentation on theme: "Prepared by: RICHARD G. PAZCOGUIN UST Institute of Religion."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prepared by: RICHARD G. PAZCOGUIN UST Institute of Religion

2 All things bright and beautiful All creatures great and small All things wise and wonderful The Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings. The purple headed mountains, The river running by, The sunset and the morning That brightens up the sky. The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun, The ripe fruits in the garden, He made them every one. The tall trees in the greenwood, The meadows where we play, The rushes by the water, To gather every day. He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well By: Cecil Frances Alexander

3 GOD SPEAKS TO US THROUGH HIS CREATION. Creation is the FIRST ACT OF GODS REVELATION. Creation proves the existence of God. Creation, being beautiful and good, tells us that the Person behind it is the source of all beauty and goodness. There are two creation accounts in the Bible: THE PRIESTLY ACCOUNT – Gen. 1:1-2:4a THE YAHWIST ACCOUNT – Gen. 2:4b-24 Take note that these accounts are neither historical nor scientific. These stories are mythical: they are not real events but they tell us of the TRUTH.

4 AUTHORS: Jewish Priests (Priestly Tradition) DATE OF COMPOSITION: Between 587-537 B.C. CONTEXT: Babylonian Captivity CONTENT: Being written in exile, this account of creation presents an affirmation that God is good, and that he wants his people to be free. For the mean time, His chosen people must remain faithful to the commandments, in observing the Sabbath, and they must not do as the prosperous Babylonians who worship the heavenly bodies. This creation account highlights the power of God and the beauty of creation. The story, however, is not free from Babylonian influences. In Babylonian mythologies, gods create through separation of elements. In the priestly account, we find God separating elements before populating the earth.

5 The text was written by PRIESTS and NOT BY SCIENTISTS. This creation account is a LITURGICAL TEXT and not a scientific one. The priests compared creation to a Liturgical Procession (Something like what we see during high masses), wherein the arrangement of the participating ministers in HIERARCHICAL i.e. from the least important to the most important: -Man is created last to indicate the superiority of man over all creatures. -The last day is the Sabbath day- emphasizing the of the eminence of seventh day.

6 THE PRIESTLY ACCOUNT TELLS US THAT GOD IS A GOD OF ORDER AND BEAUTY. In the beginning- Chaos Day 1- Day and Night Day 2 – Sky and Seas Day 3 – Waters and Dry Land Day 4- Sun, Moon, Stars Day 5- Birds and Fish Day 6 – Animals, Humans Day 7 - Rest

7 The priests wrote that God rested on the seventh day to remind the Jews of THE SABBATH REST- a tradition which the Jews may tend to forget during their exile in Babylon. Just as God rested after working, so must the worker rest on the seventh day to enjoy the fruits of his labor and to glorify his Creator. Israelites would say that the seventh day is the day of their freedom from slavery - from their toilsome work in Egypt. To rest in to share in the rest of God- eternity. To rest on the Sabbath is to have a foretaste of what God has in store for us in eternity.

8 LET THERE BE… God creates by the mere act of his will unlike the Babylonian gods who cannot create out of nothing. GOD MADE THE TWO GREAT LIGHTS The account does not speak of the sun and the moon but of two great lights. The two great lights represent the lamps in the temple of Jerusalem signifying the presence of God. The priests were reminding the people that they should not worship the sun and the moon as the Babylonians did for these heavenly bodies are merely signs of Gods presence, and that even if the temple of Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians, the whole universe is Gods temple.

9 God is a Spirit. We cannot resemble him physically. We resemble him in terms of his attributes – God is good-we are good, God is intelligent- we are intelligent, God is beautiful- we are beautiful…etc. It doesnt mean, however that our bodies do not resemble God. Our entire being participates in the image and likeness of God. This means that even our bodies reflect the goodness and beauty of the Creator. In what are we the image and likeness of God? Just as God is Lord of Creation, Man was created creator and made master of creation. Just as God is love, Man is a loving relationship – love cannot exist without the other hence the bible says: male and female he created them. (Note the in this account, male and female were made through the same creative act. This was to emphasize that while Jews treat women as inferior, women are also made in the image and likeness of God.)

10 The priests wanted to remind the people in exile that just as God liberated their ancestors from Egypt, so will this same God liberate them from the Babylonians. Through the creation account, the priests retold the EXODUS STORY. Gen 1:1-2 In the beginning…The earth was a FORMLESS wasteland and DARKNESS covered the waters… In Egypt, the Hebrews were formless as they had no sense of unity, no leaders, no freedom. They were in darkness for they were strangers to the GREAT LIGHT. Gen 1:3- And God said : Let there be light… - this light is not the sun for the sun is yet to be created. This is the light of God Himself- the light which guided the chosen people in their journey from slavery to freedom.

11 Gen 1:9 Let the water under the sky be gathered in a single basin so that the dry land may appear. The waters were parted and dry land appeared… God said… Is repeated ten times: To form his people, God must first set them free and then… give them laws. For the Jews, CREATION and LIBERATION are synonymous. When God liberated the Israelites, He created His People.

12 AUTHOR: Jewish Catechists DATE OF COMPOSITION: Around 950 B.C. CONTEXT: Reign of King Solomon CONTENT: This creation account is focused on man. Again, this is not a scientific or eye- witness account but an attempt to answer questions regarding mans nature, origin, and purpose of existence.

13 In this account, life on earth began when water gushed forth from the ground. Being the earliest written scripture, this recalls what paradise meant for the Israelites who wandered in the desert for forty years…the oasis. Gen 2:7 The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. People at that time concluded that since man returns to dust at death, man must also be made of dust. But the author added a special element to indicate the holiness of man- Gods breath. Man is not like any other creature- he is hallowed by Gods breath, and since God is eternal, man lives for as long as God is in his soul – sanctifying grace.

14 YAHWEH POTTER In this story, God created man out of clay. To create is to make something out of nothing. This was a bit difficult to understand so the authors used the image of the POTTER – a person who turns something worthless (clay) into something beautiful. THE LONELY MAN The man was placed in the Garden of Eden symbolizing all the things humans long for. Yet the bible attests to the fact that the solitary man cannot be happy – he cannot reach his goals, he cannot fulfill Gods plan: IT IS NOT GOOD FOR MAN TO BE ALONE. He needs to relate with others.

15 NO SUITABLE PARTNER The story goes on with the creation of the animals to be mans companions. God gave man the power of naming the animals. In the Biblical context, to name something is to have dominion over it. Man was given authority over other creatures. At the same time, God expects man to be the steward of creation. At first, the man was happy. After a while, he was sad again. Was God stupid not to know that what man needed was a woman? The author was simply pointing out that animals do not make a suitable partner for man and that man can only find fulfillment once he enters into a loving relationship with a woman.

16 BONE OF MY BONES AND FLESH OF MY FLESH The author, realizing that one of the greatest pains of man is the lack of company conveys this message: Without others, man and human life is not good. The man was made to sleep because creation is Gods secret. Only God knows how to create. The woman was taken from mans rib to show that in marriage, man and woman become one. Gordon Higham wrote: Woman was not taken from mans head to be ruled by him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him. But under his arm to be protected by him, from near his heart to be loved by him, and from near his side to walk beside him.

17 ITS GETTING HOT IN HERE… The bible says that the man and his wife were naked but were not ashamed. Looking around we see children who are not ashamed to walk around naked, but as they grow into adulthood, they begin to be conscious about the necessity of covering themselves. The author is telling a concrete reality: all adults are sinners and are responsible for the evils in society. No one is exempted from this guilt. ADAM AND EVE We know now that the story is mythical. Was there really an Adam and Eve? One thing is for sure- there was a first moment for humanity. The first human beings, no matter who they were, how many they were, or in which part of the world they were – the first humans were Adam and Eve. How humanity began existing is for science to answer. One thing is certain- man originated from God.

18 TREE OF LIFE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL Gen 2:17 From that tree you shall not eat, for the moment you eat from eat, you are surely doomed to die. It is not knowledge of good and evil that is fatal to man, but his desire to make himself God (see Gen 3:5). To become what one is not is to die. The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evils presents to us the a dilemma at the same time a power: the power to choose between life and death.

19 God is the source of everything. The whole of creation is good. Creation reflects the beauty of God. Man is the highest creature – he is the only one created in the image and likeness of God. Creation is at the service of man. Man is the steward of creation. Man is not a solitary being. He only finds happiness by relating with others. Man and woman are equal. They become one in the community of marriage.

20 Etienne Charpentier HOW TO READ THE OLD TESTAMENT Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1981 Luc Colla, CICM THE LOVE STORY OF GOD AND HIS PEOPLE Bagui: St. Louis University, 1984 Ariel Alvarez Valdes THE BIBLE: Questions People Ask (Part 1) Quezon City: Claretrian Publications, 2002

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