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Editor’s Note: This Series on the Bible is from the book Catholicism & Scripture. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. Send your questions via email or postal mail to the addresses listed below.

Special Course On Catholicism And Scripture (Chapter 3)

Since all truth comes from God, there can be no conflict between religious and scientific truth. God is the author of both. So, when we look at the Book of Genesis and the account of Creation, we are looking at the religious origins of the human race, not at a scientific account. The Bible is not a scientific text, but a religious book; it tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go.
The first eleven chapters of Genesis are not fictional, but are rather a popular description of the origin of the human race, using figurative language that people could understand. However, that simple and popular description contains certain religious truths that we are required to believe. Among those truths are the following:
First: God created everything out of nothing, and everything He created was good. He did not create evil but permits evil to exist because He respects our free will and because He can bring good out of evil, as when He allowed Jesus to die on the Cross to bring about our redemption and salvation.
Second: He created the first man and woman in a special way and Adam and Eve enjoyed God’s friendship and a state of holiness and immortality. They could have lived forever.
Third: However, our first parents, at the tempting of Satan, disobeyed God’s command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They lost their holiness and immortality and their harmony with each other and brought death into human history.
Fourth: Because we are descendants of Adam and Eve, their Original Sin is transmitted to us, leaving us weakened and prone to sin. Baptism takes away Original Sin, but we have to wage a constant battle through prayer and the sacraments to avoid sin.
Fifth: God promised a Redeemer (Gen. 3:15), a promise that was fulfilled in Jesus, so that “everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The Bible says that God created the world in six days, but we don’t know how long it took. It says that He rested on the seventh day, which is why we set aside a day of the week to honor God and to rest from work. Genesis is not about the when and how of Creation, but about the who (God and us) and why (to share His love and glory with us). God made Adam and Eve in His image, which means that we resemble God spiritually, that is, in our ability to think, to choose, and to love.
God created Adam and Eve “male and female” and told them to “be fertile and multiply” the human race. He established the covenant of marriage when He said “that is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Gen. 1:24). Thus, said God, marriage can only be between a man and a woman, not between two men or two women. Jesus would later repeat these same words and elevate marriage to one of the seven sacraments. He also forbade divorce, saying that “what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matt. 19:4-6).
Into this idyllic situation came a fallen angel known as Satan or the Devil. He told Eve to go ahead and eat the fruit of the forbidden tree because then she and Adam would be “like gods who know what is good and what is bad” (Gen. 3:4-5). Eve listened to the Tempter (Jesus would call Satan the “father of lies” — John 8:44) and gave some of the fruit to Adam. They realized they had sinned, but when God confronted them, they did not take responsibility for their sinful actions, like many people today. Instead, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed Satan.
Before casting them out of the Garden to a life of hard work, suffering, and eventual death, God promised to send a Redeemer (Jesus) to make up for their sin. He said that this Redeemer would be the offspring of a woman (the Virgin Mary) and that He would save us from our sins.
However, because the effects of original sin make it easy for us to sin, one of Adam’s sons, Cain, killed his brother Abel out of jealousy and soon sin and evil spread throughout the world. God became so angry that He decided to punish the world with a great flood, following forty days of rain. However, He spared one family, that of Noah, who was a good and blameless man. He told Noah to build a huge boat (the Ark) to ride out the Flood and, after all of humanity had been destroyed, God told Noah to “be fertile and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). The waters of the Flood are a type of Baptism, and the ark is a type of the Catholic Church.

List of Answers:

BAPTISM
CREATION
EVIL
FEMALE
FERTILE
GOD
IMAGE
LANGUAGE
MALE
MARRIAGE
NOAH
ORIGINAL
REDEEMER
SACRAMENT
SATAN

Quiz:

  1. There is no conflict between scientific truth and religious truth because _ is the author of both.
  2. Genesis used popular ______________to describe Creation.
  3. God permits _ to exist because He respects our free will.
  4. God told Adam and Eve to be _ and multiply the human race.
  5. We inherit ______________ Sin because we come from Adam and Eve.
    6._______________ takes away Original Sin, but its effects remain with us.
  6. ______________ is not about how and when, but about who and why.
  7. God created us in His _____, which means we can think and choose and love.
  8. God created Adam and Eve _____ and _________________.
  9. God established ___________ as the union of one man and one woman for life.
  10. Jesus elevated marriage to a ____________________.
  11. ___ told Eve that eating the forbidden fruit would make her and Adam like gods.
  12. Adam and Eve lost Heaven, but God promised to send a _________ to save them.
  13. _ and his family were spared in the Flood because they were holy and blameless.
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