Genesis (Part 11)

Questions to think about during this lesson…

  • God told Adam that on the day he eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he will truly die (Genesis 2:16-17)… but Adam and Eve lived for a number of years after. How does St. John Chrysostom explain this?
  • Why is death the natural consequence of sin? (Hint: Keep in mind, in the Orthodox tradition, death is not considered a penalty or a punishment of sin — it’s the consequence of sin. And the intent of God was not for Adam and Eve to die.)
  • Why were Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise (Genesis 3:23)? Why were they placed right outside of Paradise and prevented access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24)? How does St. John Chrysostom see these actions by God as further signs of His great love and care for Adam and Eve?
  • What does it mean to say that it wasn’t due to an “evil nature” that man lost Paradise, but rather that it was due to his “indifference” toward God? How does this idea of man’s indifference relate to God’s long-suffering and the Lord’s warning to the Christians addressed in Revelation 3:15-16?
  • How does St. John Chrysostom see Genesis 3:21 as a sign of the great love, mercy and pity that the Lord had for Adam and Eve? How can something as simple as putting on our clothes each morning help us remember the Fall and avoid becoming indifferent toward God? Can you think of any other ways to look for God or draw yourself closer to God in ordinary things and every day life?
  • According to St. John Chrysostom, why wasn’t Adam given any instruction about the Tree of Life BEFORE the Fall? Why did things change AFTER the Fall?
  • According to St. John Chrysostom, why didn’t Adam “know” his wife Eve until AFTER the Fall (Genesis 4:1)?
  • Mormons make the theological argument that because children are born to Adam and Eve (Genesis 4:1) only AFTER they are expelled from Paradise (Genesis 3:24), this means the Fall was actually beneficial and necessary for procreation. From a Christian perspective, what’s the conflict with this view?
  • The heresy that Mormons teach about the pre-existance of souls and the necessity of the Fall was actually addressed back in the day of St. Gregory of Nyssa. With this in mind, how did he answer the following question? “If procreation came after sin, how would souls come into being if the first of mankind had remained sinless?” In other words, why wasn’t it necessary for Adam and Eve to Fall in order to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)?
We’re always looking for ideas to get the most out of Dr. Jeannie’s lessons. With this in mind, the following questions were provided by Marianna Sayeg from the Bible study group at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA. These questions are related to both Genesis (Part 10) and Genesis (Part 11).

Review Questions:

  1. Why was Eve made subject to her husband after the fall? Was her punishment intended for all of womankind? How are we to understand “subjugation” and its relationship to sin?
  2. How were Christ and Christianity the great liberators of women?
  3. What can we say about gender dynamics knowing that Christ reversed the effects of the fall? What is the purpose and ideal paradigm of an Orthodox marriage?
  4. How can we see God’s compassion even in his punishments? Why is death a natural consequence of sin?
  5. What controversies surround the fact that Adam and Eve did not procreate until after they had been expelled from the garden? What is the Orthodox understanding of this?

Discussion Questions:

  1. If we understand that subjugation is due to sin and not gender, then why are women still not allowed to serve as clergy?
  2. If subjugation is a consequence of sin, why are we called to submit to one another?
  3. Do you agree with Jeannie’s statement that above all, women need to be loved and men need to be respected? Do you think these traits are innate elements of our natures or driven by long-lasting cultural schemas?

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