Weekly Catechism #1

Question:  Who made you?

Answer:  God made me.

We are all creatures.  That is, we were created.  God is the creator.  We did not exist until God created us.  We have a definite beginning.  God, on the other hand is eternal.  There was never a time where God did not exist.

Questions for futher discussion:

1.  Where were we before God created us?

2.  Who created God?

3.  Was there ever a time that God did not exist?

Verses (All from the English Standard Version)

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Remember also your Creator in  the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for

“ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

as even some of your own poets have said,

“ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. (Acts 17:24-29)

Theological Concept to consider for the week –

The Origin of the Soul

Through generations upon generations of experience and study, humankind has developed a pretty good and accurate understanding of how humans (and other creatures) physically begin and grow and develop.

But where do our souls come from?  Theologians and philosophers have debated this question over the centuries.  We will look three theories.  We will not develop any of the theories in great detail, but would suggest that you consult a good systematic theology for an in depth study of these concepts.

Creationism – This theory holds that God creates a soul for each person who is conceived and send the soul to the persons body sometime between conception and birth.  The exact timing of the joining of body and soul is not known.  This is the view held by the Roman Catholic Church.  It was also held by Calvin and is held by most evangelicals (especially reformed) today.

Traducianism – This view suggests that both body and soul are created through the sexual union of a man and a women at the time of conception.  Proponents argue that God created man and woman in His own image, and that image include the ability to “create” other humans after their own kind.  Martin Luther (and modern Lutherans) favor this view.  Some notable theologian such as Jonathan Edwards and A.H. Strong also held this view.

Pre-existenialism – This view is not generally held by Protestants or Roman Catholics.  It is the view that the soul pre-exists the creation of the body and that God joins the pre-existant soul to the body at some time after conception.  This is similar to some eastern religious beliefs such as reincarnation, and also held by the Mormons.

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