Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"God's Image: Male and Female" Sunday School Lesson for September 8, 2013

            “God’s Image:Male and Female”
International Sunday School Lesson for September 8, 2013
Scripture Text: Genesis 2:18-25

Purpose: To consider how God meets our need for relationships

Bible Lesson

Background: Genesis 1-2; 5:1-2

Genesis 2:18-25 (CEB)

18 Then the Lord God said, "It’s not good that the human is alone. I will make him a helper that is perfect for him." 19 So the Lord God formed from the fertile land all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky and brought them to the human to see what he would name them. The human gave each living being its name. 20 The human named all the livestock, all the birds in the sky, and all the wild animals. But a helper perfect for him was nowhere to be found.
21 So the Lord God put the human into a deep and heavy sleep, and took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh over it.22  With the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being. 23 The human said,
"This one finally is bone from my bones
and flesh from my flesh.
She will be called a woman
because from a man she was taken."
24 This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh.25 The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they weren’t embarrassed.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

The bible story of creation is a familiar story to many of us, but I would like to offer a few new thoughts that you may have missed from normal Sunday School studies.
If you read the first three chapters of Genesis, it appears that there are two different narrators or writers. Most scholars call writer number one the P (priestly) writer and writer number two the J (Yahwist) writer. The P narrator can be found in (Genesis 1:1-2:4a) The J narrator from Genesis 2:4b-3:24.
The P narrator offers a wide realm of creation, the sky above the earth below, and all that is in them both. P’s favorite term for the creator God is Elohim in Hebrew, which we translate to “God” in english.
The J narrator confines his writings to a narrower realm, primarily the the garden of Eden and uses the Hebrew name for God Yahweh. Which translates to english as “Lord God.”
As for the name assigned to this first book of the bible, Genesis is a Greek word meaning “birth.” The Hebrews always name their books after the first words, so in Hebrew the book is called, “bereshith” or “in the beginning.” Both titles imply something new.
Whenever the “P” narrator has God reviewing His handiwork, it was always “good.”  The “J” narrator however notices something is missing, human is alone, and this is not good. For the “J” narrator, relationships are very important, and it is a tragedy when these relationships are broken. Whether between brothers or humans and their creator.
The word “human” when translated into Hebrew is “adam.” So human (Adam) needs a helper and a companion. Notice that God’s first reaction was to create the wild animals and birds in the sky and give human the responsibility of naming them.
It is probably true that we feel less alone when we have responsibilities, and naming something gives us a sense of ownership, but after while we find ourselves lonely again, when our duties are done. God sensed this with human and decided He needed to create something better than animals and birds for human to relate to. So since God had created both human and the animals and birds from the earth, to make something closer related to human God creates woman from the human, and not from the earth as He did for the rest of His creation. Woman becomes the perfect helper for human (Adam).
Now Adam appreciates this new creation that was taken from a part of him and he names it woman, because she came from him (human). “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”
Notice that in the narrators writing, it is the man that leaves his mother and father, and embraces the wife, and they become as one. While in the garden of Eden their nakedness was not a problem, and there was no embarrassment. They only recognized that they were naked before each other and before the Creator God after eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge.
Clearly God intends for humankind to be responsible for all of His creation. God called it “good” and so should we. What we have named is ours, just like when we pray in the name of Jesus. We do that because He also is ours, if we claim Him.
For me it boils down to this, man was made higher than the animals, but not on an equal with God, so the best possible relationship was one who was created out of man, or woman, the perfect helpmate and companion for man.  And one that could evolve into relationships between men and women everywhere.

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