Genesis (Part 4)

Questions to think about during this lesson…

  • What does Dr. Jeannie believe is the most important verse in the Old Testament (and possibly in the entire Bible)?
  • Why is the concept in Genesis 1:26 — that man is made in the image and likeness of God — central in Orthodox anthropology?
  • Christians, from the beginning of the Church, recognized that the word “Us” in Genesis 1:26 was an indication of the Holy Trinity — that this was a hint of the teaching of the Trinity, even though it was veiled in the Old Testament. Christians, from the beginning, understood that Christ — the Logos — was responsible for the creation of the world (John 1:1-3)… and that the “Us” is the Father speaking to the Son. All of this said, what is the Jewish explanation of the word “Us” in Genesis 1:26?
  • According to St. John Chrysostom, why doesn’t the Jewish explanation of the word “Us” in Genesis 1:26 make sense? (Hint: How do the angels function in the Old Testament? See Isaiah 6:2 for an example.)
  • How does St. John Chrysostom’s interpretation of Genesis 1:26 oppose the Arian and Jehovah Witness belief that the Son is a creature and not equal to God the Father?
  • How does St. John Chrysostom’s interpretation of Genesis 1:26 oppose the Mormon belief that God physically looks like a human being, with arms and legs, etc.?
  • How does St. John Chrysostom recommend that Christians ought to speak to Jews about Genesis 1:26?
  • According to St. John Chrysostom, what is the meaning of “image and likeness” in Genesis 1:26? (Hint: He drew his meaning from the context, meaning he looks at verses before and after.)
  • In the Orthodox Christian tradition, what does it mean that man has “dominion” (Genesis 1:26) over the earth?
  • What is the traditional Orthodox explanation of “to be made in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26)?
  • What does St. Basil the Great say about Genesis 1:26?
  • What does St. Gregory of Nyssa say about Genesis 1:26?
  • How does the traditional Orthodox interpretation of Genesis 1:26 relate to its understanding of the goodness of the human and human nature?
  • How does St. Gregory of Nyssa arrive at the conclusion that we need free will (the power to make our own decisions) to be able to grow into the “likeness” of God?
  • In Genesis 1:27 the Bible says we are created male and female, in the image of God. Yet in Galatians 3:28, the Bible says that in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female. How does St. Gregory of Nyssa explain this?
  • According to Orthodox tradition, why does the priest cense the people? (Hint: See Genesis 1:26)
  • Why is it important to remember that despite the Fall and all the evil in the world, the image of God in us is never lost… never obliterated?

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