The Goodness of Creation: The Primeval History
God is revealed as the one, true God who sustains the whole universe. • He created the world out of Love, for God is Love • All creation is good: for God is true Goodness • God is Truth • God is Faithfulness, for God’s love is steadfast and faithful (hesed (Hb)
The Primeval history • The Creation stories from Genesis are part of what is called The Primeval History
Primeval history: the time before the invention of writing and recording of historical data. • The Genesis accounts are symbolic: metaphorical • Told, refined, and edited together over several centuries • From several different ancient Jewish and other sources • Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Sacred Scriptures • Teach religious, not scientific, truths • Written in figurativelanguage. • Figurative language is not pure fantasy. • Religious truth and scientific truth ultimately should not contradict each other. • Faith and reason are complimentary.
Creation Reflects the Glory of God • God created the world to reveal the glory of God.
Scriptures proclaim that creation is a sign of the power of God. • Creation is the work of the Trinity. (See John 1:1-3 and Psalm 33:6) • Tradition teaches that Creation is the work of all three Divine Persons of the Trinity.
Creation: The Seen and Unseen • Creation also contains the unseen such as angels. • They are witnessed to in both Scripture and Tradition as part of the heavenly realm • Spiritual beings who are servants and messengers of God. • Appear to humans at key moments in salvation history.
Human Beings: The Summit of Creation • We are made in the divine image. • We possess a soul. • Soul is immortal. • Union of soul and body is so complete that they cannot be distinguished from or separated one from another until after death.
Relationships • God created humans to be in relationship/communion with each other. • Man and woman meant to be in communion: a reflection of communion between Father, Son and Spirit. • In marriage, man and woman share in God’s creative ability to bring new life into the world.
Humanity’s Role • To be in communion with God and to respond to God’s love by loving God in return • To serve God, specifically as good stewards of creation.
We are the only creatures given free will and self-knowledge. • Out of this comes our “dignity” which surpasses all other creatures.
The Incarnation is the greatest testimony to human dignity. • From the beginning, humanity was destined to “reproduce the image of God’s son made man.”
The Garden of Eden: The Perfect Life • Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, lived in this perfect state: perfect life and perfect place called the Garden of Eden. • Figurative language.
In the beginning, humans existed in this perfect relationship with God and each other.
Relationship between God and humanity • God breathes life into Adam • Original holiness-the original state of human beings in their relationship with God, sharing in the divine life in full communion with him. • God is spoken of in anthropomorphic terms in the book of Genesis.
Original justice-the state of complete harmony of the first humans with themselves, each other, and with all of Creation.
The Disobedience of Humanity • The first humans, Adam and Eve, are told by God to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and bad. • Tempted by the serpent, Satan, they eat of the fruit.
The Results: • they notice their nakedness • That is, they feel guilt and shame.
In other words, Adam and Eve lost their original justice and holiness. • No longer in loving communion with God nor in harmony with each other. • Called the Fall
Original Sin • The fall constitutes a misuse of human freedom and a lack of trust in God. • Original Sin: a. the sin of the first human beings who disobeyed God’s command and became subject to death. b. the fallen state of human nature that affects every person born into the world.
Good vs. Evil • God and Satan
Grace • It is God’s grace from the Holy Spirit that allows us to resist the temptation from the evil one. • Humanity awaits the Parousia.
God’s Promise to Adam and Eve: The Protoevangelium (Genesis 3:15) meaning the “first gospel.” And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers;he will crush[b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Literal sense: biblical interpretation that considers the explicit meaning of the text. • Spiritual sense: biblical interpretation that goes beyond the literal to consider what the realities and events of the Scriptures signify and mean for salvation.
The Protoevangelium, in the spiritual sense, signifies God’s promise to send a Savior to free humanity from the effects of the Fall, as interpreted by the early Church Fathers.
God’s Covenants with Humanity • Even as sin increased within humankind, God remains faithful. • Examples: Adam and Eve’s disobedience • Cain and Abel’s dispute • God still remains faithful and forms covenant w/humanity
Noah and the Flood (Genesis 6:5-9:17) • The covenants all point to the Paschal Mystery and the final covenant in Jesus Christ. • The first explicit covenant: God destroys the earth through a flood because of humankind’s sinfulness. • Noah, the one just man, and his family are chosen to survive. • God promises afterwards to never destroy the earth again by flood: marked by rainbow. • God’s covenant extends to all the nations through Noah’s descendants.
The nations are always in danger of the effects of polytheism. • The covenants are a sign that God is still at work among the nations.
God calls a chosen people in his plan to restore humanity’s holiness and justice.
Three Promises: • To make of him a great nation by promising many descendants • A land of their own • They will be a blessing for all the nations.
God asks Abraham and his descendants: • To walk with God • To be blameless • To practice circumcision as a mark of the Covenant
Abraham and his descendants-Isaac and Jacob-are called the patriarchs of the Israelites and revered as saints in the Church’s liturgical tradition. • Patriarch: the father or leader of a tribe, clan, or tradition.
The Mosaic Covenant • The theophany at the foot of Mt. Sinai • God’s presence revealed in a dramatic fashion. • God summons Moses to the mountaintop • God renews the Covenant with Moses and gives him a set of laws for the Israelites
The law is summarized in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) • The full law is spelled out in the rest of Exodus and Leviticus • Summarized again in Deuteronomy • Called the Mosaic Law or Old Law • Keeping the Law becomes a sign of faithfulness to the Covenant.
The Mosaic Covenant (cont.) • The first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) come to be known as the Torah- the Hebrew word for “law” or “teaching.”
The Davidic Covenant • King David is told by the prophet Nathan, “your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”
The kings of Israel and Judah come from the line of David until the destruction of the kingdom in 598 BC. • Christians see the New Covenant established in Christ who is said to be a direct descendant of David. • The Paschal Mystery is the final and complete fulfillment of the Covenant with God.
The Growing Messianic Hope • Judges and monarchies of Israel have a role in God’s plan of salvation. • The monarchy firmly establishes the Israelites as God’s Chosen People • Jerusalem Temple is the seat of religious ritual practices and worship • The great kings, such as David and Solomon, foreshadow the kingship of Christ
The Prophets • God’s spokespersons • Watchdogs of the Covenant and Law • Warn the people to be faithful to the Covenant • Warn them of the consequences of unfaithfulness
Prophets (continued) • Often subjected to ridicule, torture, and even death • Israelites faithfulness essential to God’s plan of salvation • They begin to sense God’s greater plan to restore right relationship with God and one another and to redeem all humanity.
Prophets Reveal Hope • Give a vision of a New Covenant and a new kingdom • Brought about through a “messiah” or “anointed one.” • Mashiach or http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm
The Word Became Flesh • The Paschal Mystery: The Eternal Son of God assumed human flesh in order to redeem humankind
The New Testament writers showed how many of the Hebrew Scriptures’ (OT) prophecies referred to Jesus.
God Prepares the Way: Mary’s Faith and Trust Vocabulary • Annunciation • Theotokos • Immaculate Conception • clement