Considering Disability in the Creation and Fall
Creation is where it all began, and the creation stories that we find in Genesis chapters 1-3 hold a foundational role in the Christian story and Christian views of God and the world. Therefore, it is appropriate for us to explore what these stories have to say about the experience of disability and/or suffering. Since many of you are just beginning to explore the Bible, we will walk you through these stories and their relevance for this course. Then, you will have a chance to discuss the overview provided in the video and the reading. In future assignments, you will be reading and commenting on Biblical stories on your own and then sharing them with the instructor and the class. Take this as a first step toward your own engagement with Scripture on the topics of disability and suffering.
Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:
- Describe issues related to disability in the creation narratives of the Bible.
- Textbook:Holding Hands with Pascal, Chapter 2
- Video and Transcript: “A Very Good Creation and Its Fall”
If you are not familiar with the creation stories in Genesis, here is a short orientation to help you through them. Creation launches at the beginning of Genesis with God speaking into chaos to make the world and everything in it. Genesis chapter 1 gives a grand, universal overview of all of creation, emphasizing its orderliness and appropriateness. God speaks and things come to be. Creation is punctuated by the recurring refrain, “And God saw that it was good.” God’s actions culminate with the creation of the male and female humans, who are blessed by God. At this point, God saw that “everything was very good” and the account closes with a special day designated for ceasing from work.
The next account that begins in Genesis 2:4 takes a different approach. It is much more “on the ground”—literally. We hear a great deal about the earth and find out that the first human was made from the earth and had life breathed into him by God. After not finding an animal to be a suitable partner for the first human, God makes a woman from one of the man’s ribs. The man and the woman live together in the garden of Eden. This leads into the story of the Fall in chapter 3. Here an evil being identified as “the serpent” tempts and tricks woman into disobeying God’s one prohibition. This results in negative consequences for the serpent, the ground, the man, and the woman. The man and the woman are then sent out from the garden to continue living but now in a broken relationship with God.
- Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
- Read Genesis chapters 1-3.
- Read “Chapter 2: How Everything Really Started” in the textbook above.
- View the video “A Very Good Creation and Its Fall.” (Again, taking notes may be helpful.)
- Make an initial post by day 4 that consists of the following (200-300 words):
- Summarize one insight from the reading and one insight from the video about how the creation stories in Genesis shed light on the human experience of disability and/or suffering. Cite at least 2 passages from Genesis chapters 1-3 in your summary (no need to quote them in full, but your should reference their content).
- Ask one question that you have that was raised by the readings or video.
- Overall, your posts should:
- Stay focused on the topics set forth in the discussion prompt.
- Be posted on at least three different days of the workshop.
- Use good grammar and clear writing, citing sources whenever necessary.
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