- Genesis 1-2:4
Genesis 1-2:4 is a biblical description of the creation story. This story entails a description of how the spirit of God was hovering over the void that existed on earth. In Genesis 1:3-4, the bible provides a description of how God separated light from darkness to create day and night.
- Enuma Elisha
Enuma Elisha is a myth of creation developed in Mesopotamia. The myth provides an elaborate description of the birth of the gods, creation of the universe, and the creation of human beings. From this myth during creation, there was only water that was undifferentiated and was swirling in chaos. From the swirl, the water was divided into fresh water representing god Apsu, salty water, goddess Tiamat. The union of these two gods led to the birth of other gods.
- Identify common elements and differences in the two stories
In terms of the common features between the two stories, both Genesis 1: 2-4 and Enuma Elish focus on the creation of the universe. They both identify that in the beginning there was only water and it was the process of separating water that began the creation process. In terms of the differences between the two stories, Enuma Elish presents a scenario where gods, the universe, and human beings were created. This is different from the story in Genesis 1:2-4, which recognizes the presence of God in the form of a spirit that was hovering over the waters that filled the void of the earth. In Genesis 1:2-4 the story recognizes that the creation of heaven and earth resulted from the decision by the god who was hovering to separate water. In the story, it is described that during this period the earth was formless and was covered with darkness. In Enuma Elish, the gods who were responsible for the creation of the universe were created through the process of separation of swirling waters. The story also depicts how through numerous conflicts between the gods it became possible to create human beings with the remains of god Tiamat after her defeat. An additional difference between the two stories is that in Genesis 1:2-4 there is order that defines the creation process. However, in Enuma Elish chaos and war characterizes creation of the universe and that of human beings.
- Explain how Israel’s history helps one understand the theological implications of the two stories
Israel’s history is crucial in understanding the theological implications of the two stories. This is because the ancient nature of Enuma Elish may lead an individual into the thought that it is possible that the author of Genesis 1 borrowed content and material from Enuma Elish. It is also provides an explanation of the existing assumption between biblical scholars that the Babylonian culture is the source of all form of religion including Christianity which derives its beliefs from the bible.
- Give your opinion and reasons on whether Genesis 1 is true or false
In terms of the extent to which Genesis 1 is true or false, the existence of Enuma Elish proves the possibility that there is more than one story about creation. It is therefore possible to assert that maybe Genesis 1 should not be perceived as history but just as another story like Enuma Elish. This means that it is a Hebrew version of the Babylonian myth and this makes it false.
- Discuss the problems in the relationship between God and humanity evident in
- Genesis 2-3
In Genesis 2-3, upon completion of creation, God made man in charge of the Garden of Eden. Adam together with Eve was to take care of the garden and its inhabitants. God gave them the freedom to eat any of the fruits available except for the fruit in the middle of the garden. The serpent deceived Eve and she consumed the forbidden fruit and later convinced Adam to eat the fruit. The problem in the relationship between God and humanity arises in this section because man disobeyed his instructions.
In an attempt to mend the relationship, God seeks an explanation from Adam concerning the mistake they had committed. Adam and Eve were hiding from God who took the responsbility of seeking humanity to ensure they have an understanding on the issue.
Adam responds by blaming God for creating Eve who was deceived by the serpent and in turn misleads him to eat the fruit from the middle of the garden. Eve blames the serpent for this mistake and this leads God into punishing humanity and the serpent by pronouncing curses on them.
- Genesis 4
In Genesis 4, the conflict between God and humanity arises when God looked to favor Abel and his offering compared to that of Cain. Out of anger, Cain kills Abel. This was a demonstration of sin crouching into the hearts of human beings and that the decision to kill Abel was evidence that Cain could not rule over sin.
God responds to this hostility by punishing Cain for his sins by cursing the ground not to yield sufficient crops when Cain works on it. He however warns other men on the dangers of vengeance on Cain by promising to revenge seven times on anyone who tries to kill Cain.
Despite complaining on the severity of his punishment, Cain responds by obeying God by going away from his presence to wander the earth. He lived in the land of Nod where he bore his generation led by his son Enoch.
- Genesis 6-9
In Genesis 6-9, humanity grows to become wicked when the sons of God covet and marry the daughters of man. God reacted to this level of wickedness by reducing the years of mortal man on earth to one hundred and twenty years. He regretted that he had made man and decided to wipe all human beings and living creatures from the face of the earth. Despite the increased level of evil and wickedness on earth God found favoring Noah and instructed him to construct an ark and those who would be willing should be in the ark on the day when God will send floods to claim lives on earth.
Man responded by disobeying Noah who was under the instruction of God. When the floods came, it was only Noah and his family that were rescued among human beings.
- Leviticus 16
In Leviticus 16 two sons of Aaron die after they attempt to approach God. God seeks to mend his relationship with Aaron by providing instructions on how he should approach the Lord. This is especially when entering the most holy place on the Day of Atonement.
Moses goes to Aaron and the Israelites and informs them of the instructions from God on how they are to prepare for the Day of Atonement led by Aaron to avoid punishment from God. Through Aaron Israelites obey the instructions provided by God and this ensures that they have a peaceful relationship with God
- Leviticus 16 teaches on the essence of following instructions especially by a Christian in the modern society. Moses was instructed on how Aaron was to operate on the Day of Atonement when approaching God in the most holy place. By following these instructions, Israelites were able to avert punishment for disobeying God. As a modern day Christian, obeying the Lord signifies recognition of his authority and power over humanity and this is crucial for human survival.
- Describe God’s promises to Abraham
In Genesis 12, God promised Abraham that he would make him, through his descendants a great nation. God promised Abraham that he would bless and make his name great. God promised that Abraham and his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan, which would be their dwelling place forever. The promise to make Abraham a great nation through his descendants and that his descendants would inherit cannon meant that Abraham was to have a child. God began fulfilling this promise by giving Abraham a son, Isaac, in Genesis 21.
The three generations that define the patricians and matriarchs of Israel are Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel. In each of these generations, other people could have replaced the individuals identified. Before Isaac was born, Sarah could not conceive and she instructed Abraham to have a child with Hagar, an Egyptian slave. They gave birth to Ishmael. However, the hatred between Sarah and Hagar compelled Abraham to send the latter away together with her son Ishmael. This means that in the generation that could later become Israel, it is possible to replace Sarah with Hagar considering that her descendants were also the descendants of Abraham who God promised to make a great nation. Keturah, a concubine to Abraham, could have also replaced Sarah and Hagar, according to Genesis 25. She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah who could have also replaced Isaac and Ishmael.
In Genesis 21: 15-18, after Abraham had sent Hagar and Ishmael away, God heard the cry of the child and promised Hagar that he would make Ishmael a great nation considering that he was a descendant of Abraham. This means that in the generation that would later make up Israel it is possible to replace Isaac and Rebekah with Ishmael and the wife that his mother got him from Egypt.
Isaac and Rebekah while fulfilling God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation give birth to Isaac and Jacob. Jacob would later steal Esau’s birthright and flee to his Uncle Laban where he marries Leah and Rachel. This means that being a descendant of Abraham and a son to Isaac, it is possible to replace Jacob and his wives with Esau and his wife.
The role of God throughout this process was to fulfill his promise to Abraham that he would make him a great nation and that his descendants will be as sand in the ocean. Through Sarah, Hagar, and Keturah, God was fulfilling his promise. The women in the life of Abraham played an essential role in conceiving different generations that would define the legacy of Abraham.
Genesis 21:1-7 describes the role of Isaac in fulfilling the promise of God to Abraham. God promised that he would give him a son through whom he would become a great nation. Abraham and Sarah had a son at old age. As a modern day Christian, this biblical text teaches that it is important to be patient with God because at his own time he will fulfill his promises. The patience that Sarah practiced despite the criticism and hate she was receiving from Hagar is evidence that as a modern day Christian, temptations and tribulations are bound to occur but with humility it is possible to overcome them.
- Discuss the Yahweh-Israelite relationship using the following texts:
- Exodus 1, 6 and 16
In Exodus 1, Egypt is under a new pharaoh who does not recognize Joseph, Israelites are subjected to slavery since their population was increasing and feeding them was a problem. Yahweh responds in Exodus 6 by commanding Moses to go ask pharaoh to release his people from slavery and bondage. However Israelites in Exodus 6: 10 could not listen to Moses because they were discouraged by slavery. In Exodus 16 Israelites are faced with starvation in the Desert of Sin and they blame Moses for leading them out of Egypt where there was food in abundance. God responded by promising to rain down bread from heaven that Israelites would go and gather enough for each day.
- Exodus 19 and 20
The process of formalizing his relationship with Israel begins in Exodus 19:1-8 when Israelites arrive at the foot of Mount Sinai and Moses goes up the Mountain to meet with the lord. God instructs Moses on his expectations on how Israelites should behave. He wants them to recognize when they are before the Lord by being humble and clean. This is a process that is realized when they took certain steps of sanctification as depicted in Exodus 19: 6 and 15. In Exodus 20, God gives Israelites the core of the covenant in the form of Ten Commandments written in stone tablets. These are the moral principles which God wants Israelites to use as a basis for their actions.
- Exodus 32-34
In Exodus 32, Israelites, with the help of Aaron make a golden calf and worship it. The rebellious nature of the Israelites compels Moses to become a mediator on their behalf with God and he breaks the tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments. The lord hears the cry of Israelites through Moses and in Exodus 33, he promises to be with Israel and drive their enemies out of the land he promised them. In reestablishing the broken relationship, Yahweh in Exodus 34 asks Moses to hew new tablets of stone on which he proclaims his law, his name and attributes to Israelites.
- Numbers 13-14
In Numbers 13 Moses sends 12 spies into Canaan to search the land. Ten of them bring an evil report celebrating the strength of the inhabitants. In Numbers 14, Joshua and Caleb bring a good report amidst murmurs by Israelites concerning returning to Egypt. The false spies did not trust in the strength of the lord to deliver them from the inhabitants of Canaan and they were killed by plagues, Canaanites and Amalekites. Numbers 13-14 is evidence that Israelites were to depend on God for their protection
- Leviticus 19
In Leviticus 19 Yahweh reveals his expectations on the Israelites concerning keeping his commandments and living in accordance with certain moral principles. Yahweh commands Israelites to be holy by living righteous lives. He also gives a commandment that they must love their neighbors in the process of keeping his commandments. Yahweh reveals and reaffirms his laws while forbidding Israelites from enchantments, wizardry, and other evil practices such as prostitution. In Leviticus 19:37 he reaffirms his position as the Lord by insisting that Israelites must obey his laws and judgments as commanded. Failure to obey these laws would lead to undesirable consequences.
- Deuteronomistic theology gets its name because it reflects the theology expressed in Deuteronomy
- Describe that theology with examples from Deuteronomy 28-30
The book of Deuteronomy is considered as renewal of the covenant between Israelites and God as they prepare to enter the land of Canaan. Deuteronomy 29 gives a historical overview of the relationship between god and Israelites from the time they were at Mount Sinai. Deuteronomy 29:1-10 provides a description of the convent to distinguish it from the Horeb Covenant. Deuteronomy 29-30 provides instructions on expectations that Israelites must achieve during the covenant renewal. Deuteronomy 30 warns of the possible admonitions to those who will be unfaithful to the covenant by providing warnings on the possible consequences of disobedience.
- Explain how the stories of Jericho in Joshua 6-8 reflect it
Joshua 6-8 focuses on the planned conquest of Jericho by Israelites despite the fortified wall that had protected the city from intruders. In Deuteronomy Moses rehearses the covenant of God to the new generation of Israelites before conquering Jericho. In Joshua 6 God gives his detailed plan on how to secure victory over Jericho and he promises to deliver. In Deuteronomy 29-30 Moses insists on the essence of obeying God’s command and will as a chosen nation to ensure they acquire all the blessings. In Joshua 7 when Israelites sinned against the lord by taking some of the devoted things, they broke his covenant and they were to be punished as promised in Deuteronomy 29-30 on the consequences of disobedience.
- Explain how Judges 2:11-23 reflects it
In Judges 2:11-23 Israelites sinned against God by choosing to serve an idol god, Baal. God demonstrated his anger by delivering them in the hands of their enemies. Deuteronomy 4:19 warns Israelites of the possible consequences of falling into idolatry. From the Judges 2 it is possible to notice that Israelites had a tendency of relapsing into idol worship alongside worshiping Yahweh. The decision to punish Israelites comes from the warning in Deuteronomy 4:25-30 where Moses cautions that disobedience to god’s law will result in suffering.
- Explain the goal of this theology and the teaching method the Old Testament uses to get Israelites to follow it and the effect that method has on interpretation.
In presenting a historical overview of the relationship between god and the Israelites through the commandments, the goal of the book of Deuteronomy is to portray the essence of work to the fulfillment of the covenant between God and his people. The book stresses on the need for Israelites to trust in god by obeying his commandments and seeking his help in times of need. Any attempt to abandon these pursuits results in such as relapsing into idolatry and engaging in immoral activities.
- In your opinion, does this theology explain the way the world works today? Use an example from your life
The book of Deuteronomy stresses on the relevance of laws and regulations in today’s life. Laws and regulations are ways trough which human beings recognize their limitations and seek a higher authority for guidance. This enables human being to treat each other with respect and exercise authority in ways that ensure the realization of the accurate sense of justice. As an employer the book of Deuteronomy has taught me the essence of observing a rhythm of work and rests that refreshes the employer and the employees. This has enabled an exercise of work that serves others and builds the community.
The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.