I’d like to invite you to see a few of the great gems of Genesis that we have been uncovering in our Tuesday afternoon Bible Study.

First Gem: In Genesis 2, God is trying to find a “suitable helper” or “partner” for the newly created Adam.  Adam realizes there is something very unique about his nature and he cannot find a mate among the animals, so God is going to create one. 

Mining the Gem: In Hebrew “Suitable Helper” is EZER KENEGDOWEZER means “helper.”  Now Gentlemen, close your eyes.  Don’t read any further.  This is for female eyes only!  God is going to create an EZER for Adam.  A helper.  But the helper is not in the sense most of us think.  Everywhere else in the Bible, the HELPER / EZER always refers to the LORD God, Yahweh Himself!  Not one time is an EZER a servant or subordinate, rather the one who protects, rescues, and saves.  Over and over the Old Testament is clear that the LORD is to be Israel’s only EZER.  Hmmmm… The role of the woman is to rescue and save the man, not serve him like a maid!  Okay gents, you can open your eyes now.

Second Gem: When we were reading about the LORD God breathing the breath of life into Adam (Genesis 2:7), our friend Patrick (possibly related to the Barrett family) asked: “So, what’s the difference between spirit and soul…?”Mining the Gem: I love this stuff.  I wish I had known this 25 years ago!  Basically, when talking about a human, the spirit and the soul are the same, interchangeable.  The Church says we have a SPIRITUAL SOUL. (CCC 363-364).  “The human body is human precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul.”  A soul is the mysterious “life force” or “animating principle” of anything that has life.  Amoebas, plants, bugs, birds, animals… All living beings have a soul.  Animals and plants have a MATERIAL SOUL: a soul that brings organic material to life for a time.  But humans have a SPIRITUAL SOUL not just a MATERIAL SOUL.  The human has a SOUL that is like angels.  Angels are pure spirits, and pure spirits do not have material bodies, no physical stuff.  Pure spirit is eternal.  A spirit cannot be extinguished once it is made.  Humans have an immortal spiritual soul.  Yet, we are not angels and we are not just living organic material.  Humans are uniquely in two categories: we have a physical, biological, material BODY like the animals but also a SPIRITUAL SOUL like the angels.

So to answer the Question, when we talk about humans, we can use the terms soul or spirit interchangeably

Third Gem: In Genesis 4, after Cain murders his brother Abel, Cain is worried there will be some sort of revenge against him… so the Lord put a mark of protection on Cain.  The Hebrew word for “sign” or “mark” is TAW.  

Mining the Gem: The TAW is also the name of the last letter of the old Hebrew alphabet: it looks like a lowercase t.  TAU is one of the latter letters of the Greek alphabet.  So perhaps when God placed a TAW on Cain, he actually placed the letter TAU.  Cain is marked by the Lord Himself for protection.  I like to think it was the TAW of the TAU (sign of the letter t)—in other words, thousands of years before Jesus, the mark of protection on Cain looked like the sign of the CROSS!

Fourth Gem:  Hebrew names all have terrific meaning. ADAM actually means “human being, mankind.”  EVE means “living.”  JESUS means “the LORD God saves.”  In Genesis 5 there is a genealogy that takes us from Adam and his third son Seth for ten generations until we get to Noah.  The names are pretty cool on their own… Seth= Appointed; Enosh=Mortal; Kenan=Sorrow; Enoch=Discipling or teaching; onward to Noah=Rest, or comfort.

Mining the Gem: In Hebrew if we string together the ten names from Adam to Noah and say what they actually mean in a sentence, we have a prophecy of Jesus Christ.  (Disclaimer: many scholars discount this as nonsense, but for multiple reasons too detailed to write in a bulletin article, I still think this is remarkable!)  These words appear something like 2,500 to 3,000 years before Jesus: “Man is appointed mortal sorrow.  The Blessed God shall come down, discipling.  His death shall bring those who are despairing comfort and rest.”

Fifth Gem:  When Abram first journeyed to the Land God had promised, he pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai (Genesis 12:8 & 13:3). 

Mining the Gem: In Hebrew, whenever we read BETH it means city or town or house.  EL means God.  BETH EL is “House of God or Town of God.”  AI  (the Hebrew Ai is pronounced like: “eye”) means “twisted like a ruin or a heap of ruins.”  Abram pitched his tent; which in Hebrew is TABERNACLED.  A tent is a tabernacle.  So (get this now) Abram pitched his tent between the house of God and the heap of ruin!  This is really the call of all Jews and Christians: to live like nomads, tent-dwellers, as pilgrims between heaven and earth… between the House of God—Bethel—and the House of men—Ai!   Too many Christians want to build permanent mansions in the heap of ruins!  No, we are meant for another kingdom some day… the permanent House of God!

There are at least three good gems every week!  If you want to walk with us through the beautiful Word of Genesis, please join us Tuesdays at 1:00 in the Parish Center.  We also post a video of each class on the St. John Jackson YouTube page each week!