Genesis (Part 8)

Questions to think about during this lesson…

  • In regard to the typical Orthodox Christian view of Synergy (the belief that we are saved through cooperation between the human person and the Divine), what does it mean to say that God does the initiating but that it’s our responsibility to respond with our own free will? How does this belief tie into the Orthodox understanding of what it means to be made in the “image and likeness of God” and the Orthodox understanding of salvation? (For a review, see Genesis “Part 4″ and Genesis “Part 5″) How does the Orthodox Christian view of Synergy contrast with Pre-destination and Semi-Pelagianism?
  • If fasting itself is not a virtue, then why do we fast? And how does this relate to Adam and Eve’s temptation in the Garden in Genesis 3:6? What do the Fathers mean when they say that man lost Paradise because he didn’t fast?
  • Is it fair or just to find fault with Adam and Eve for eating of the tree? Did they have the ability to know right from wrong or were they in a “state of innocence” before the Fall? How does St. John Chrysostom answer these questions, and what Scripture verses does he use to support his position?
  • According to St. John Chrysostom, did Adam and Eve gain knowledge of what good and evil is by eating the fruit of the tree? Is that why it’s called that?
  • How does St. John Chrysostom come to the conclusion that Adam and Eve already knew what is good and what is evil before the Fall (and even better than we do today)?
  • How does Chrysostom use Genesis 2:19-20, Genesis 2:21-23 and Genesis 2:24 to show that Adam was a prophet and full of spiritual wisdom?
  • Many people in antiquity, and even today, ask this question: “Why did God place the tree in the Garden to begin with, if He knew — and He had to have known because He is God — that Adam and Eve were going to eat the fruit and the Fall was going to happen?” How does St. John Chrysostom answer this question?
  • Why is it called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in Genesis 2:16-17… and if Adam and Eve’s sense of nakedness, shame and awareness of sin did not come from eating the fruit, as St. John Chrysostom suggests, then where does this sense come from?
  • How does St. John Chrysostom see Genesis 3:9 as yet another example of God’s loving kindness? What lesson does he draw from this verse on how we should deal with those who have violated human rules or laws?

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