This Week's Texts: Genesis 2 & 3, 2.18-20, Luke 15.11-24
Teaching Link: The Story: "Out of Eden" Genesis 2 & 3
Things from the teaching to think about:
In the context of the terrible experience of the exile, a number of questions arose:
- Why are we here? What went wrong? Did Babylon’s gods defeat our God? Is YHWH trying to teach us a lesson?
- Will we ever go back?
- Are we Babylonians now? How do we maintain our identity and teach our children who we really are?
There are two creation accounts in Genesis
A comparison between the two creation stories is full of interest, largely because of the striking differences between them, which though more apparent in the Hebrew, may still be recognized in the English translation.”
Look at Genesis 1-2.4a and 2.4bff and list as many differences as you can find between the two stories. What do you see? What are the similarities?
Genesis 2 has traditionally been referred to as a support for the traditional view of marriage. Jesus quotes it in his teaching on divorce and Paul refers to it in his teaching about family. Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian suggests there may be a different way to look at this text as we discuss the issue of same gender relationships.
In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good – except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner. But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive. (Full Transcript)
What do you think about this reading of the text? Are there things that make you think? Are there things that trouble you?
Genesis 3 gives expression to what we instinctively know-things are not the way they are supposed to be. The world is broken and in need of repair. We are alienated from God. But God is alienated from us as well. What does the story of the Prodigal Son tell us about God's separation from his beloved?
Questions for reflection:
We all have a sense that things are not right, that there is something greater, something more? When do you most feel that?
When have you felt alienated from god? From others? Is it possible that you still feel that way?
As God is awaiting us like a father on a porch or a wife who misses her beloved, how can we respond to that love?
How can we be part of God’s work to overcome the alienation of the world from him?