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STUDIES IN GENESIS #9 PDF Print E-mail
Bible Studies - Bible Studies
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 14:28

What is a Person?

Many people believe all human beings have infinite value because they are human and should be treated accordingly. This is a truism, a conviction, deeply rooted in the culture of most people. But it lacks a reason, a basis for believing it. This belief must be more than simply an inalienable or innate truth [We just know it is true!] Otherwise there is no valid reason to object when some people believe only members of their group have this value (such as Aryans in the Third Reich in contrast to Jews) and non-members do not have value except for pragmatic, utilitarian reasons (such as slaves in contrast to their owners). Without an absolute basis for considering all human beings to have infinite value, there can be no absolute basis or reason to object when some people treat other people as objects or violate them or feel free to terminate their lives. What is that absolute basis for this belief? Genesis 1-2 helps

God has attributes that are not communicable (able to be shared) with human beings, eg- omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience. However, from Gen 1 we learn of attributes that God has which can be shared with people. God is a Person. He is very conscious of Himself (eg- the concern for His Name being known and served (His Name is Himself). He speaks and reveals Himself (His mind and will) and His Word is all powerful. God communicates with others (v.26) –most likely angels- cf Job 1:6, 2:1; 38:7 and Gen 3:5; also Isaiah 6:1-8, 1 Kings 22:19-22) and with people (chapter 2, et al). God creates Adam personally and begins a personal relationship with him and Eve from the beginning. He shows concern for how they live and shows care for them even after they disobey Him. Inasmuch as God is a non-corporeal spirit and He seeks to communicate with people, they must have the faculties to receive and respond to God’s spiritual communications. The latter is the most unusual of human faculties. The latter is the most unusual of human faculties: God is a spirit. The Story makes it clear that human beings know He exists and that they have the need and ability to talk and walk with Him. The relationship they have with God is person-al.

From the Creation account we learn God is rational, creative, a worker, and moral, eg- He pronounces what He has made to be “good”. “Good” means that which benefits human life whereas “evil” is that which harms or hurts human life. The story of the “Fall” in chapter 3 is very much about good and evil Scripture reveals very moral God. Morality is grounded in His character and will from the beginning.

All human beings, male and female, are like God in these ways. We are created with the God-like and God-given faculties of rationality, creativity, morality, communality and spirituality. In the exercise of all these faculties humans image God. We reveal in ourselves what He is like. The major reason for people to multiply and fill the earth is that there might be concrete representations of God everywhere. It is as His representatives that we are to exercise dominion over the earth. That is what qualifies and enables us to do so. We are here to act as His stewards, his lieu-tenants on earth. This is the key to understanding who and what Man is. Absent God and these concepts of Image and Stewardship, Humanity does not and cannot fulfill its vocation.

NOTE: While it is a very interesting subject, it does not really matter when or how Man came into being. We are Homo sapiens sapiens. It is not essential to know what our relationship may have been with our alleged prehistoric ancestors or with other primates.  What matters is that God created us- the Man we are now and have been at least from the time when Genesis was written. That is the “person” we must deal with.

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STUDIES IN GENESIS #10 PDF Print E-mail
Bible Studies - Bible Studies
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 14:18

Gen 1:24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds--livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according Gen 1:24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds--livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Species are not to be mixed eg- mouse & cat, kangaroo & monkey, chicken & goat or humans with any other animal species.  They can go through evolution only in the sense of modification for survival, but a species cannot be morphed into a different species. The creation of Man cannot be understood as an evolutionary process over a long time period. 

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STUDIES IN GENESIS #11 PDF Print E-mail
Bible Studies - Bible Studies
Written by Calvin Fox   
Tuesday, 02 June 2015 17:59

These 3 verses in chapter 2 complete chapter 1.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

The opening phrase of v.4 about generations commonly indicates a new Segment (cf 6:9, 10:1, 11:27, 25:12, etc)

The Creation of Adam and Eve

4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

Notice that the word “day” used here is not 24 hours, but refers to the entire process: a period of time. See Isaiah 61:2 in which a “day” refers to an event of indeterminate but long time.

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STUDIES IN GENESIS #12 PDF Print E-mail
Bible Studies - Bible Studies
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 01 June 2015 18:14

The Hebrew word for breath, ie- nephesh, and its Greek equivalent, ruach, often translated as “spirit”, are used in some texts as synonyms for the “Self. The Self is the Image of God that is in our DNA. The Image is what makes us “persons”. The moment of conception, ie- the fertilization of an egg by a sperm, is the moment when the Image, Self or Person begins. Personhood is innate. It is our (human) nature. This is a matter of ontology- of our essential nature, our very being. Personhood, our value as a person, is not about behavior or activity or accomplishment of any kind. If it were, only those who actually do something (judged by what other persons or our Society wants or values) would be persons. This is a crucial distinction. It is determines our perspective on abortion and euthanasia and other ethical issues.

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