Answer to Question 1
God is transcendent as depicted in Genesis 1-3. Genesis 1 brings out the transcendence of God through His magnificent power. For example, He commands the existence of the universe and all other creations instantaneously. In this regard, God commands that “Let there be light” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Gen. 1.3), and it happens right away. He also commands the conversion of matter into life by saying, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens” (Gen. 1.20). God also made the creation in such a way that it has both order and structure by, for instance, creating day and night. The existence of the creation also depends on God as the Creator regarding all the powers and capacities possessed by Him. God does everything perfectly as depicted in His work of creation (Gen. 1.31). This perfectness further explains that God is transcendent.
Genesis 1-3 also teaches Christians that humankind is made in God’s image. The image of God stimulates spiritual intelligence and free will. It is stated in Genesis 1 that, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and overall the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” (Gen. 1.26). The use of words, such as likeness and image, portrays advanced meanings about the creation of humankind in a unique way compared the rest of other living things. Likeness means that God created humankind to be spiritually like Him, by giving man and woman the power and ability to rule over the rest of God’s creation, just like God rules over humankind and the rest of His creation. His image further implies that God wanted the humankind to have a significant spiritual capability that comprehends Him and His nature as well as learn to conform to His nature. Further, humankind can put on God’s image and be resurrected into His Family through life experience by building a godly character.
Answer to Question 2
Genesis 1-3 has a clear implication for marriage, sexuality, labor, and the consequences of sin. Marriage is typically founded on a firm companionship between man and woman. In Genesis 1: 26-28, the highpoint and goals of God’s plan for marriage are depicted when God decides to create man and his companion, and more importantly, with spiritual intelligence. It is further provided that, “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’” (Gen. 1.28). This verse shows that God’s design for marriage was to meet the humankind’s need for companionship and to multiply after marriage. The need for companionship comes out best in Genesis 2 where God, after creating man from dust, sees the need to make a companion. The perfect companion in this case is a woman, who is created from the man’s left rib (Gen. 2.21). Maleness and femaleness, from this perspective, constitute a sacred value in marriage. His design seems to be only one man for one woman and only such marriage is eligible to God’s blessings.
Sexuality is hardly prohibited by God since He sanctions the marriage in the two creation accounts of Genesis (Gen. 1.28, 2.18, 23-24). Sexuality is accepted and is meant to fulfill the companionship need between man and woman has been explained as the foundation of marriage. Consequently, an elucidation of the sexual attractiveness between man and woman makes a central aspect of the accounts of God’s plan for marriage, as earlier explained, when a female companied was exclusively created to help man. God essentially planned sexuality in such a way that man should only be sexually attracted to a woman while a woman should be attracted sexually to a man. It is only through this way that God’s plan for marriage, which is to multiply and fill the earth, could be achieved.
Regarding human labor, man and woman are given authority to govern God’s creation. This is first given as an obligation for which God had created them. God gave them the authority to watch over and take care of His creation. This blessing was however converted to curse after man and woman sinned, where man would now have to toil and sweat in order to make ends meet in terms of providing for his family. The task of multiplying to fill the earth was also converted to curse.
The fall of humanity is typically not based on divine displeasure over sex in the context of marriage, especially because sex is part of God’s blessing. Instead, it seems that the fall is attributed to sexual relations that were completely outside the blessed marriage. Eating the tree of knowledge refers to the gaining of knowledge about sexuality and human affairs. This aspect could involve knowing and acting in the way of the devil by going against some of the basic roles like the main idea behind marriage. God said to women, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you” (Gen. 3.16). For men, He said to Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life”(Gen. 3.17).
These punishments are as a result of human sin, which they committed after eating the forbidden fruit of life. This sin was typically the act of adultery involving ungodly sexual relationship specifically between Eve and the devil. She deceived Adam into the sin, which falsely made them realize the need to shift from God plan for their creation, which involves both sexuality between humans and the work assigned to them by God.
Answer to Question 3
The unification of the human race is specifically seen in God’s blessings to the humankind. After creating man and woman, he blesses them. Human love was initially the fundamental spiritual aspect of life. The first pair of humankind was meant to remain unified like brother and sister until they were ready for married after maturity. The marriage was to be done under the blessings of God so that the full love of God would dwell in the union of such marriage as they fulfill the role of marriage (Gen. 1.28). This however never happened because after falsely getting into a sexual union with the devil, the sexual desire of Even awoken and deceived Adam into falling into a premature marriage union, against God’s wish. Thus, unifying the human race is mainly through sexuality and marriage, but it should be under God’s blessings.
Answer to question 4
For clarification or further understanding and insight into the Book of Genesis Chapters 1 to 3, the following question ought to be considered:
How did God’s plan for eternal life and a good life for the human race affect the nature of His creation?
Answer to Question 1
The fundamental needs of the human person, according to St. Thomas Aquinas include the need to:
- Preserve life
- Procreate children
- Know the truth
- Live in the community (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle 4).
St. Aquinas also enumerates the general categories of powers, which enable people to fulfill their fundamental needs. The general categories of powers, in this case, are divided into four categories, which include:
- The physiological (biological) power
- The psychological (emotional) power
- The social (communities) power, and
- The spiritual (creative) power (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle 4)
Answer to Question 2
Jesus is considered to have come on earth to conquer people’s problems especially death and suffering. Jesus conquered suffering and death by giving people a new meaning and new power (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle 8). The humankind is able to overcome evils associated with death and suffering by believing in Jesus Christ as the savior and by joining human suffering and death to the suffering and death of Jesus. This realization is possible if people have hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Humankind is only able to conquer evils associated with suffering such as sickness and death through the power of Jesus Christ. The results of the original and actual sin still exist today, but such results do not dominate the sin and neither do they serve as punishment.
The issue of suffering and death is transformed in the actions, which assisted humankind in fulfilling its destiny (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle 8). Death is generally considered as a completely inevitable experienced by every human being on earth. Nevertheless, this general outlook in terms of death and its nature and inevitability among all people as well as the perception that death is the door to eternal life underlies the distinction made by the church; between the euthanasia and giving consent to die. Such an attitude generally underlies various church teachings statements in the course of providing guidance on how to prolong life (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle).
Answer to Question 3
Sexuality needs to be considered seriously by health professionals. This is because sound and healthy sexuality is critical to both individuals and their community as a whole. Healthy sexuality contributes to the decency of marriage (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle). Sexual activities that are not aesthetically marital have high normative consequences for medical ethics (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle). This aspect calls for the thoughtfulness of sexuality by healthy professionals at any given time. There is no systematic teaching regarding Christian sexuality, but certain themes about the topic can readily be identified (O’Rourke, Kevin and Boyle). Misuse of sexuality can lead to harmful implications on one’s health especially when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases.
Question for Further Insight into Human Fundamental Needs and Bible Teaching
How are the fundamental needs of the human person, highlighted by St. Thomas Aquinas, portrayed in the Biblical creation of humankind?
The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Ed. Michael D. Coogan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
O’Rourke, OP, D. Kevin, and Philip J Boyle. “A View of the Person.” O’Rourke, OP, D. Kevin, and Philip J Boyle. Medical Ethics: Sources of Catholic Teachings.4th ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011. 3-10. Print. ISBN: 978-1589017429.
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