Teaching Series Introduction:
People are complex. You and I are complex. How do we understand ourselves and each other? How do we move toward one another in God-honouring ways? How do we love wisely in the context of everyday relationships?
One of the most memorable songs in recent years is the song ‘Human’ by Rag ‘N’ Bone man. It’s an honest reflection on the complexity of human relationships, with the line ‘I’m only human after all. Don’t put your blame on me.’ It’s something we’ve all felt at times – I’m just human, don’t expect perfection! The word ‘human’ originally means ‘of the earth’. It’s where we get our word humours from – dust, from the ground, from the earth.
During 2020, we’ve had a glimpse of some of the limits of our humanity, but also some of the best of us humans. And, as we begin to emerge out of this pandemic, it’s worth getting back to basics to remember some foundations of what it means to be human. When we know who we are, we can rebuild for what’s ahead.
Our guide will be the very opening words of the Bible. Yes, the first few chapters of Genesis provide is with rock-solid foundations to be able to navigate uncharted times. We’ll be thinking about our purpose, our relationships, our sexuality, our identity, and how we live in changing times. We’ll be grappling with some pretty big questions that we all face in life.
And as we do so, we’ll discover the freedom in being neither dust nor divine. Yes, join us at Riverside to find the freedom in being able to say “I’m only human after all!”
Title: Human – Session 8: the journey we all take
By: tim chilvers
Date: 21 march 2021
Bible Passage: Genesis (chapter 3, verses 1 to 8)
For decades, we have moved away from the idea of ‘sin’. It’s often either a dirty word or just a naughty word. What if rediscovering the biblical idea of sin is actually the best news possible. What if it is the only thing that makes sense of our broken lives and hearts. What if sin is actually good news?
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- One day a friend says to you, ‘The problem with Christians is all of this emphasis on sin.’ How would you respond?
- Read Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:1-10. Why do you think Adam and Eve ate the fruit? What hints are there in the passage as to why they might have done so?
- As you consider the conversation in v1-5, what are the discrepancies between what either the serpent or the woman say, and what God actually said in Genesis 2:16-17? What do you think might be the motivation behind these discrepancies?
- Simeon Zahl notes that we generally don’t like the idea of ‘sin’ in our contemporary western world (see article below). He insists that it’s because we have misunderstood it and forgotten that the biblical perspective on sin really does make sense of so much of our experience. He writes that a helpful way to think of sin is that, ‘…there is a fundamental bias against flourishing that appears to be written into our hearts’. Do you agree with this? What evidence to you have for your answer?
- Read Romans 5:18-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-24. What is link between the ‘first’ Adam in Genesis 3 and Jesus being the ‘second’ Adam? What is the astounding news here? How might this change how we read Genesis 3:1-10?
- The author Andrew Reid says this, ‘Sin is essentially disregard for God, who always had human interest at heart and who showers humankind with blessing.’ What do you make of this? What hints are there that God will continue to shower his blessings on humankind despite the activities in the garden?
- Take some time to pray, confessing our need of forgiveness and dependence on God’s grace. Thank him for his commitment to us and love for us, in the middle of our brokenness and sin.
FURTHER STUDY RESOURCES
BOOK: ‘Original Sin: A cultural history’ by Alan Jacobs
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