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1. MAN, WOMAN, PARADISE AND MARRIAGE Gen.1:26-28 and 2:7-25

NOTE. There are so many questions in this particular Bible study that it may take two sessions to go through it.

  • With whom did God discuss when he was planning the creation of man (26)?
  • What does it mean that the man is made a) “after God’s likeness” and b) “into his image” (27)?
  • What is the difference between man and animal?
  • Why did it take the two sexes – man and woman - to reflect “God’s image” (27)?
  • The creation was given for both man and woman (!) to rule. Critics sometimes blame the exploitation of nature on the Biblical account of Adam and Even being given dominion over it. Is there a way people could have ruled the earth without misusing it (26b, 28b)?
  • What does God’s blessing mean according to verse 28?

    ”The soil of the earth” is ”adama” and ”man” is ”adam” in Hebrew “Eden” means “a place of happiness” and refers to a real geological spot on this earth.

  • Compare verses 2:7 and 1:27. Why do you think God wanted to portray/ depict the creation of man twice: first the two sexes together and then separately?
  • What does it mean, and what consequences does it have, that man is made out of soil of the earth?
  • Compare everyday life of the first couple with our everyday lives (8-9)?
  • What was the tree of life good for? Think of various possibilities.
  • Would not the paradise have been a much better place without “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”? What was the function of that tree in the lives of the first people?
  • Why did God want to plant these two special trees in the middle of the paradise, rather than in some of its corners?
  • Why must there be a place of temptation also in our lives?

    The exact place of Paradise cannot be determined by these rivers. This does not change/invalidate the fact that the paradise was really situated on this earth.

  • What do you think was the purpose of God for keeping the location of Paradise secret from all later generations (15)?
  • Why was is necessary to
  • “keep and guard” Paradise even at the time when its inhabitants weren’t sinners (15)?
  • The first Bible of the mankind is written in verses 16-17. Where is the law and where is the gospel in this little Bible?

    Naming someone is a very serious business in the Bible. It shows who is in the authoritative position and who is “the head” of whom.
  • Why did God let Adam live some time without a wife?
  • Why is it possible to call naming of the animals the first scientific task or commission of the mankind (19-20)?
  • Why do you think friendship with God, the company of animals and a meaningful work weren’t enough to make Adam happy (20b)?

    18, 21-25.
    The Hebrew word ”help” (ezer) is most commonly used when referring to God’s help (18). The word “companion” means literally “a counterpart”.

    The name woman, “issa” in Hebrew, is formed from the word “is”, man. Adam was allowed to name the woman as he had named the animals It shows that already in the paradise there was this order: man is the head of his wife as God is the head of Christ (1.Cor.11:3).

  • Imagine and discuss how Adam and his woman felt when they saw each other for the first time.
  • What do you think of God’s idea of creating the woman as a suitable help and companion for the man, and not the other way round?
  • Verses 22-25 depict/ describe the first wedding on the earth. What part did God play in this wedding?
  • In verse 24, the Lord proclaims for all coming generations, in which order a marriage must take place. What does it mean in practice that the man has to leave his father and mother before cleaving to his wife?
  • What are the possible impacts on a relationship if the partners don’t publicly leave their parents before starting a new social unit?
  • What does this text say about paperless marriage and polygamy and the like?
  • What is the meaning of the fact that man and woman where not ashamed of being naked in front of each other (25)?
  • When Jesus was asked about divorce he said: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matth.19:4-6). Why do you think Jesus added the last sentence to the creation story?
  • What do these words of Jesus say about homosexual partnership?

    THE GOSPEL: The marriage is such a wonderful thing in the eyes of God that he even uses it as a prototype of his relation to his people. The Lord is the bridegroom/ husband and Israel/ the church is his bride. The love of the Lord to his bride is so great that he was willing to suffer and die for her (Epf.5:25-27). In fact, the whole Bible ends up with the wedding of the Lamb where those two finally become “one flesh” and their happiness goes on forever and ever.

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