Activities for individuals or groups
Print the words GOOD and EVIL.
Cross out one of the O's in GOOD.
Put a D in front of EVIL.
What do you have?
Movies about the lost Garden of Eden
Stage 1: Make up a list
List some films about the loss of an ideal place or state, and the search to regain it (for some suggestions, see list at left). You can choose recent films or classics. If this is a group activity, choose films most people know.
Stage 2: Glance over your list
1. Have you chosen films that are realistic, or do you prefer films that are inspiring/uplifting, or show a world different from our own?
2. What does this say about you and what you need in a story?
Stage 3: Choose your favourite
4. What are the central ideas in this film?
5. Do any of these ideas appeal to you, or remind you of your own life or experiences?
Stage 4: Think about your choices
Group activity: discuss these questions, making sure everyone in the group has a chance to talk about their ideas.
Single activity: sit down for a few minutes and focus your mind; make a quick list of your favorites; think about them as you do other tasks in your day. What ideas in them appeal to you? Why?
Movies about a lost Garden of Eden
Answers HERE (see 'Adam') Can you think of others?
Discovering the characters
The four characters in the Genesis story are God, Man, Woman, and Evil. Working from the text, draw up a list of the characteristics of each of the four. Give at least three words for each. Be careful that the words you think of are related to the story as you read it in the Genesis text, and not to ideas you have inherited from other people.
Compare your list with the list of a learning partner. Are there differences?
Discuss with your learning partner the qualities of each character. (Woody Allen commented that the problem with the Bible is that it suffers from a totally unbelievable main character!)
Think about this
If you could go back and warn Adam against accepting the apple, would you?
Think about it. The question is not as straightforward as you'd think.
Discussion - Caring for the Environment
Topic 1: How might the creative potential we have, being made ‘in God’s image’ (Genesis 1:26), be used to restore the Garden/Earth?
Topic 2: How does the story of Adam illustrate the connection between actions and consequences?
1. What are the most interesting moments in the story of Adam?
2. In the story, who gets what they want? If you were in the story, which person would you want to know? Which person would you want to avoid?
3. What is God's interaction with the three characters? What does this tell you about the narrator's image of God? Do you agree with this image?
4. What happens in the chapters after the initial story? Does this help you understand the message?
5. The narrator/editor has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to know?
6. How are the consequences of the story still present in the world? How is the story relevant to modern life, especially your own?
'God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.' Genesis 1:27
'God saw everything he had made, and it was good.' 1:31
'It is not good that a man should be alone.' 2:18
'I will put enmity between you and the woman...' 3:15
'...in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.' 3:16
'you are dust and to dust you shall return' 3:19
Take one of these quotes and spend some time thinking about it. What does it mean to you? What is the main idea it conveys? Does this have relevance to your own life?
Roman-era mural showing an ideal garden, with bird and water fountain
Some Extra Ideas...
ABOUT THE CREATION OF THE COSMOS
'The style of the prologue (in Genesis 1) is amazing for its deliberate simplicity, its ascetic style. It shows not the slightest trace of rhetoric.... it manages to give the impression of restrained power. .... Is it prose or poetry?'
'Theological thought in Genesis 1 moves not so much between the poles of nothingness and creation as between the poles of chaos and cosmos.'
'In the Beginning', Henri Blocher, p31,66.
ABOUT THE CREATION OF WOMAN
'It is not good that the man should be alone' (Genesis 2:18). The remark amazes us. It is the only negative assessment in the creation narrative, and it is emphatically negative. By this divine reason of the creation of the woman, Scripture could not underline better the degree to which solitude contradicts the calling of humanity. From the very beginning, the human being is a Mitsein, a being-with; human life attains its full realization only in community. No man is an island, and everyone must discover himself to be his neighbor's neighbor.'
'In the Beginning', Henri Blocher, p96.