This session was on the Theology of Creation, looking at the Genesis accounts. We began by looking at the basics of the Genesis story.
The first 11 chapters tell of the beginnings of the world, however, when we look at the accounts, there appear to be contradictions. This has led scholars to believe that the account isn’t the work of one author, instead believing that it was produced by a later redactor who collated stories from several sources into one. One piece of evidence that supports this idea is the fact that different names for God are used in Genesis Chapter 1 and 2 – “God” in Chapter 1, and “Lord God” in Chapter 2.
There are conflicting interpretations of the biblical accounts of creation, the main ones being ‘creatio ex nihilo’, meaning that the universe was brought into being from nothing, and ‘creatio ex materia’, meaning that it was created from pre-existing matter. Also, some take the Bible literally, believing that the accounts are exactly how the universe and humans were created, while some believe that the accounts should be read symbolically.
Next in the session, we looked at how the idea of the world God created being “good” could be perceived. Does it mean morally good, or good in the sense that it is fit for purpose? It could be easier to defend God against the existence of evil in the world if one takes the latter option of the meaning of “good”, as if it were to mean morally good, it is clear that that is not the world we are living in at present. This was a real thinking point for me in that session, as I had never really thought about the way one could interpret “good”. This could be an interesting point to cover when I am eventually teaching my own classes.
Another thing that struck me during our third session, was that Genesis is so much more than the creation story we are taught in school; there are many more stories, such as Cain & Abel and Esau, Jacob & Laban, in which we get an insight into the nature of humanity through Cain.
This week was really interesting, as it challenged my ideas of what Genesis told, and brought new stories to light which never seem to be mentioned as being an important part of Genesis. It has made me look further into Genesis, and I am now writing my assignment on the Genesis story of Sodom and Gomorrah.