Chapter 4: Creation, Man, and Original Sin INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate a reading of the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis into the Opening Prayer.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) BASIC QUESTIONS How did the Gospel change people’s understanding of God as Father? What is the origin of the universe and human beings? What does the relationship between what faith and science teach us about creation? KEY IDEAS Christ restored the conception of God as a loving Father that was present in Genesis but largely lost due to sin. God is the loving Creator of everything that exists. Human beings are the pinnacle of Creation because they are made in the image of God. There is no real conflict between faith and science. Faith is concerned with truths about God and man that go beyond the reach of science, whereas science studies how the natural world works.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to list the general differences concerning the image of God presented in the Old and New Testaments.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS How is God’s act of creation different from a human being’s act of creation? A human being reforms, refashions, or assembles using matter that previously exists, but God can create out of nothing. How many creation narratives are found in the Book of Genesis? There are two. What does Scripture affirm about God’s creative power and activity in the world? (1) Creation is an act of God’s love; (2) God created all that exists; and (3) all of Creation reflects God’s goodness and wisdom.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) GUIDED EXERCISE Think /Pair/Share using the following question: How can the first creation narrative (cf. Gn1:1—2:4) be seen as a progression?
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS What conflict seems to exist between creation and evolution? Some Christians argue that prevalent scientific hypotheses about evolution are inherently godless, whereas others argue that Christian beliefs about creation are inherently religious and anti-scientific. How does the Catholic Church respond to the notion that faith and science are incompatible? The Catholic Church has always taught that faith and science are compatible; faith works together with human reason as agents to discern truth. From the Catholic perspective, what is the difference between science and religion? Science is the study of the properties and workings of the world that God created, while God reveals to his people certain religious truths that science cannot determine.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS How does the Church read the creation narratives in the Book of Genesis? The Church values them for the truths they transmit rather than a literalistic account of how the universe came to be. What notions, which claim to be derived from scientific evolution, has the Church declared to be incompatible with the Faith? She has rejected (1) any denial that God is the Creator who infused our first parents with an immortal soul; (2) the claim that the evolution of the universe and of all living things took place apart from the plan of God; and (3) the assertion that the entire human race does not derive from one set of parents.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is polygenism? There were many sets of first parents rather than just one. What is the problem with polygenism? It contradicts a fundamental revealed truth.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS In Humani Generis, what opinion did Pope Pius XII teach could not be held by the Catholic faithful? “The opinion which maintains either after Adam there existed on the earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents” (no. 37). Of what fundamental revealed truth does polygenism lead to the denial? It leads to the denial of Original Sin.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is ruah? It is Hebrew for the “breath of life” or “spirit” God breathed into man. Does the Book of Genesis support the idea that man is singular among all of creation? Yes. Both creation narratives show how human beings hold a unique place among all of God’s Creation and were created in a state of intimacy with God that is unlike anything else in visible Creation. God gave human beings alone the “breath of life” or “spirit.” God also gave them dominion over Creation.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS What do the terms image and likeness mean when used to describe the relationship between God and Adam? Adam bears qualities of God similar to the way a child reflects the qualities of his or her parents. What do the terms image and likeness mean when used to describe the relationship between Adam and Seth? All people, who are descended from Adam, bear qualities of God in the same way Adam reflected those qualities of God. Every person thus shares certain characteristics with God and is in a family relationship with him as children of God.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) FOCUS QUESTIONS How are human beings like God? Human nature is similar to the divine nature insofar as human beings have intelligence, free will, and the ability to love. Why is human life sacred? Every human person is created in God’s image, who is All-holy. Why does human labor have special value? Human labor has dignity because it is an imitation of God the Father, who worked to create the universe.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 1-4 (p. 101) Practical Exercise 1 (p. 101) Workbook Questions 1-10 Read “The Fatherhood of God” through “Natural Law” (pp. 86-91)
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) CLOSURE Write a paragraph with the topic sentence, “The human person is the singular crown of God’s creation,” using evidence from this lesson.
1. Creation (pp. 80-86) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Free write for five minutes in response to the following prompt: The world is created for human beings, and human beings are created for God.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate the Fall of Adam and Eve (cf. Genesis 3) into the opening prayer. Free write for two minutes about your greatest difficulty in accepting this account as true.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) BASIC QUESTIONS How is God an ideal Father? What is Original Sin, and what are its consequences? What is natural law? Who are the angels? KEY IDEAS God is a good Father who provides everything that is necessary. Deceived by Satan, Adam and Eve committed Original Sin, which brought disorder, evil, and sin into the world for them and their descendants. Some of the consequences of Original Sin were the loss of paradise, suffering, moral evils of every kind, and death. While evil has no intrinsic existence but is an absence of good, God permits evil out of respect for human freedom. Natural law is the internal and knowable law of good and evil that every person possesses. Angels are pure spiritual beings who serve God, their Creator. Every human being has his or her own guardian angel.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) GUIDED EXERCISE The sidebar “The Message of Genesis” (p. 86) lists a number of truths found in the creation narratives. Choose the one you find the most interesting, identify its scriptural basis in the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis. Then free write for three minutes about why this idea is intriguing to you.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why can people understand something about God by looking at themselves? Faith reveals that human beings are made in the image of God. Hearkening back to St. Thomas Aquinas’s “Five Ways,” since God possesses all perfections, whatever good qualities are in people are perfected in God. How can someone form an adequate idea of what God the Father is like? He or she can use reason to create a model of the ideal father based on experiences with earthly fathers. Since God possesses all perfections, he must possess the perfect attributes of a father.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS How does God act as a good Father? He calls each person into existence at a particular time and with a particular vocation, giving him or her the graces necessary to accomplish it. At the end of life, there is a share in eternal life with the Blessed Trinity―the greatest possible good―for those who cooperate. How is the human family created in the image of God? The human family is a community of life-giving love. In the Blessed Trinity, God the Father eternally begets God the Son, who is eternally begotten by the Father, and God the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father through the Son.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to compose a bullet-point list of the characteristics of an ideal father.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS What was the original condition of the world? It was good; in fact, with the advent of human beings, is was very good (cf. Gn 1:31). Adam and Eve lived in God’s grace in a beautiful world without evil, pain, war, shame, sickness, or death. What lie did the serpent tell Eve? Were she to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit, she would not die as God had warned. He said, “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gn 3:5).
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS What motivations does the Sacred Author assign to Eve for having disobeyed God? She “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise” (Gn 3:6). According to the New Testament, who is the serpent? He is the Devil, or Satan the deceiver, who works against God’s plans for his people. What death did Adam and Eve experience immediately? They lost supernatural life, the life of grace in their souls.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS What was the effect of the Fall on all of Adam and Eve’s descendants? Except the Blessed Virgin Mary, every human person is conceived with the stain of Original Sin and is afflicted with a vulnerability to temptation, evil, and death. Extension: As a divine Person who took on a human nature, Christ was not subject to any stain of Original Sin. Why does the Church baptize infants who have not committed any personal sins? Everyone is born with the stain of Original Sin, which is cleansed in the waters of the Sacrament of Baptism.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a focused reading of the passage from Veritatis Splendor, “With this imagery…”(p. 88) using the following question: What is the relationship between moral obligations and human freedom?
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS Had Adam and Eve not sinned, how would people’s lives be? They would be in complete harmony with God and all Creation. The whole earth would be a paradise. All people would recognize the truth, goodness, and beauty of God through his Creation. What are the consequences of Original Sin? Women experience pain in childbirth; family relationships suffer; physical work is more laborious; and every person will experience death. How does free will make sin possible? People have the freedom to reject the love of God and choose evil. How did Abel experience the consequences of Original Sin? Cain murdered him out of envy.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS According to the Sacred Author, did Cain have to kill Abel? No. God told Cain he could have done well, been accepted, and mastered sin. How did God show mercy to Cain even after his sin? God promised to protect Cain though he and his descendants were doomed to be nomads.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why is the existence of evil a philosophical problem? God is both All-good and All-powerful. Since innocent people suffer, these two attributes of God seem to be in contradiction. What does it mean to say evil does not exist? Evil is not a reality in itself but is experienced wherever there is an absence of good. Evil is something that ought to be but is instead lacking, a kind of vacuum. Extension: Philosophically, evil is a privation of the good. For example, sickness is an evil because it is an absence of health, which is good; a lie is an evil because it is an absence of truth, which is good.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS In what way are people responsible for evil? Everyone who does what he or she ought not to do is responsible for evil. According to the Catechism, no. 310, why did God not create a perfect world in which evil could not have existed? God freely willed to create the world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. This plan required the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, and both constructive and destructive forces of nature.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS What do sins like murder, drug abuse, rape, war, and poverty have in common? They abuse human freedom out of a lack of respect for human life, a lack of love for neighbor, or out of greed, envy, lust, or other vices. Why does God allow sin? He respects human freedom. Why do innocent people suffer along with the guilty? Because God respects human freedom, he permits both the good consequences of good acts and the evil consequences of evil acts―i.e., the abuse of freedom―which often causes innocent people to suffer.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is physical evil? It is suffering that results from natural causes such as tidal waves, earthquakes, illnesses, and injuries. Is physical evil rooted in Original Sin? Yes; disharmony in nature resulted from Original Sin. Why will God not take away all the evil and pain in the world right now? Such an act would take away free will.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) GUIDED EXERCISE Some people argue there is no objective good and evil. Divide into groups of three or four. Formulate a rational (non-religious) argument against committing the sin you are assigned. Murder (the direct and intentional killing of an innocent person) Theft (the taking of what does not belong to a person to which he or she has no right) Lying (the willful deceiving of a person who is owed the truth) Adultery (the betraying of a promise made to a spouse) Blasphemy (the cursing or speaking evil of God or holy things and persons) Showing dishonor to parents (the disobeying of reasonable orders when under authority)
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS How did St. Paul testify that a natural moral law, open to all people, exists? Gentiles who do not have the Ten Commandments may do by nature what the law requires. Their consciences may condemn them or even approve of their actions. This witnesses that the Law is written on their hearts. What is natural law? It is the innate knowledge of good and evil. By reason, every person can come to the conclusion that certain acts—for example, murder, theft, and adultery—are morally wrong. What does natural law require? It requires a person to choose good and avoid evil.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the natural consequence of choosing good or evil? The natural consequence is to be on a course that will help perfect that person. What effect did Original Sin have on the understanding of natural law? Original Sin clouded human intellects, making it more difficult to discern the natural law. One reason God reveals himself and gives grace is to aid human reason. What curse did God give the serpent (cf. Gn 3:15)? God promised to send someone who would one day conquer the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 5-10 (p. 101) Practical Exercise 2 (p. 101) Workbook Questions 11-21 Read “The First Gospel” through “Conclusion” (pp. 91-97)
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) CLOSURE Write a paragraph summarizing the content of this lesson by answering the Basic Questions in two sentences each.
2. The Fall (pp. 86-91) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Work with a partner to complete Practical Exercise 2.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate the sacrifice of Isaac (cf. Gn11:1–18) into the opening prayer. Free write for two minutes about what you found perplexing in this story.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) BASIC QUESTIONS What is the Protoevangelium? With whom did God make the Old Testament covenants? KEY IDEAS In the Protoevangelium, or “First Gospel,” which was announced as soon as God spoke with the fallen Adam and Eve, God promised a Savior who would crush the serpent, foreshadowing the New Adam and New Eve: Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. God established covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David to call all people back to himself by creating a kingdom of priests and a holy people. The fulfillment of this vocation was Jesus Christ and the Church he founded.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS Do human beings become angels when they die? No; angels are entirely different created beings than humans. What are angels, and what do they do? Angels are spirits created by God to worship him, to serve as his messengers, and to help carry out his will. How many choirs of angels are there speculated to be? There are nine choirs.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS What are guardian angels? Each human person has a guardian angel, a powerful friend, placed by God alongside him or her as a companion throughout life. What does it mean to ask a guardian angel “to light and guard, to rule and guide”? This asks a guardian angel to enlighten a person with the truth, to guard him or her from being harmed by anyone or anything, to help him or her do good and prevent from doing evil, and to help him or her make prudent choices.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS In Genesis 3, what does seed mean? It means “offspring” or “descendant.” To whom does the seed refer in Genesis 3? It refers to Jesus Christ. Why is Genesis 3:15 called the Protoevangelium, and what does this word mean? This is the first announcement of the Good News of Jesus Christ. It means “First Gospel.” Typologically, what did early Christian writers see in Adam and Eve with respect to the Protoevangelium? Jesus Christ is the New Adam, and the Blessed Virgin Mary is the New Eve.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS Who was Noah? This singularly righteous man delivered and repopulated the human race after the Flood. What was the moral condition of people after the Flood? Noah and his descendants fell back into sin. Who was Noah’s righteous descendant? His righteous descendant was the obedient and faithful Shem.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS When did the remote preparation for the People of God, which is the Church, begin? It began when God called Abram and promised he would become the Father of a Multitude (“Abraham”). How did God test Abraham’s faithfulness? He told Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac, the son of God’s promise.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS How did the people of Israel partially fulfill the covenant with Abraham? They were a nation called to be a light to the nations. How did Christ fulfill the covenant with Abraham? In Christ and through his Church, the entire world is called into communion with God.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why were the descendants of Abraham called Israelites? They were descendants of Abraham’s grandson Israel (Jacob), through whom God’s promises to Abraham were inherited. What was the condition of the Israelites at the time of Moses’ birth? They were slaves in Egypt and doomed to annihilation. Extension: Pharaoh had ordered the death of every male Hebrew child to disinherit them from the land. Whom did God choose to deliver Israel? He chose Moses, to whom God also revealed his name.
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) GUIDED EXERCISE Think /Pair/Share using the following question: How is the sacrifice of Isaac a type, or foreshadowing, of the Sacrifice of Christ?
3. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David (pp. 91-97) FOCUS QUESTIONS How did God make the struggle against Pharaoh “personal”? God called the nation of Israel his “firstborn son” and ordered Pharaoh to let his son go or he would slay Pharaoh’s firstborn son. What was the result of Pharaoh’s disobedience? God unleashed ten plagues, the final of which killed every firstborn Egyptian male, of man and of beast. Extension: God did to the Egyptians what Pharaoh had ordered be done to the Israelites.