(4-7) There really are two creation stories in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. One is not a summary of the other, they explain the relationship of humans to God in two very different contexts.
(16-17) Man is told not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... but is not forbidden from the fruit of the tree of life! The death incurred by eating from the tree of knowledge is a spiritual death due to sin (otherwise the tree of life would be extraneous).
- In Genesis 1, God gives names to the basic components of the world. In Genesis 2, the man names the living creatures. What does this tell us about humans?
God, in making us in His image, endowed us with a sense of creativity and a desire to know things. When we come across something we've never seen before, we often ask "what is it called?" When we create something new, we give it a name. Genesis 2 is like the best of both worlds: Adam didn't create the animals, but he was seeing them for the first time, and gave them names.
- What do Genesis 2:8-9,19-20 suggest about God's purpose for the plants and animals on the earth?
- Verses 23 and 24 are linked by the word "therefore" (NRSV, Catholic Edition). What is the narrator trying to explain? How would you clarify the explanation to someone who asked your help in understanding it?
- How is the creation account in Genesis 2 different from the account in Genesis 1? What different points do the two accounts emphasize? Do the two accounts give a somewhat different picture of God?
The "original" purpose was for plants to be the food for all animals, and for animals to be "helpers" for humans: for tilling the land, making clothing from sheep wool, etc. It doesn't even eliminate the possibility for getting milk from cows.
The union between man and woman is explained as the natural answer to the separation created by the origin of woman ("out of man"). They are natural counterparts to one another.
In the first account, God spends several days building up the earth, reaching the pinnacle of creation: humans. In the second account, God creates Adam first and then creates the plant-life that fills Eden and the animals for Adam to name. In both accounts, humanity is special: in the first, because humans are the pinnacle of creation, the last thing God creates before the earth is very good; and in the second, because Adam is the very first thing God creates, and everything else is made for him. God is the Creator in the first account, whereas in the second account His creative role is more as a father figure and a benefactor.
- When have you been lonely? Is loneliness an inescapable part of life? How can you tell when someone is lonely? Is there someone whose loneliness you could relieve?
- How has work been a blessing for you? In what ways has it been a mixed blessing?
- When has God unexpectedly provided something good for you? What effect has this had on your relationship with him?
- Who have been the most important helpers on your journey through life? To whom is God giving you as a helper at this stage in life? What could you do to better show love in these relationships?
When I first went to college I was lonely. Being put into a new situation, especially one in which you don't know anybody, can often lead to a sense of un-belonging and loneliness. I don't know if the symptoms of loneliness are universal, but people who look like they think they're out of place or are sequestering themselves are probably lonely people.
I love my job: I'm at the computer, writing code, building programs, pretty much all day. I solve interesting problems and my company fills a very specific niche. However, there are times I forget it's my job and I have a boss to report to and other people I have to work with. Sometimes I get impatient or irritated by inadequate specifications or quick one-off programs. So although I enjoy it, there are times when my interest in it is outweighed by the gravity of the reality that it is work and not play.
I'd say getting a copy of The Divine Office has been a help for me. It's bolstered my often-flailing prayer life and given me something to concentrate on for several minutes a day. I feel closer to God because of it.
My fiancée Kristin, my sister Jenn, and my brother Charlie (a priest) have probably been the most "present" helpers over the last several years of my life. Now, as a member of my church's RCIA team, I feel I am being given as a "helper" to the four people seeking full communion with the Church. It's my responsibility to help in their education and shepherding, and to help them develop a healthy relationship with God.