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Creation and Fall Temptation: Two Biblical Studies

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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659228,346 (3.74)6
In this enlightening study, renowned twentieth-century theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer offers a careful textual analysis of the story of creation, approaching the biblical tale of Genesis with the eye of a philosopher and the soul of a true Christian. "Creation and Fall" is Bonhoeffer's lucid, brilliant analysis of the first three chapters of Genesis. Here he discusses the seeming scientific naiveté behind the creation story, God's love and goodness, and humanity's creation, its free will, and its blessedness. Bonhoeffer also tackles difficult questions that are raised from the first book of the Bible, questions about the seemingly redundant second story of creation, about God's own beginning, about the source of the light that was created the first day. The author then expounds upon Adam and Eve's fall from grace: How could they, creatures made in God's image, have thought to oppose God so foully? Where did the first evil come from? How did humanity lose its right to live in paradise? In "Temptation," Bonhoeffer questions how temptation appeared in the midst of Eden's innocence, and he explores the very nature of evil. Bonhoeffer explains that Jesus Christ helps us to understand and conquer physical and spiritual temptation through His grace and goodness.… (more)
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Don't let the mere 144 pages of girth fool you—this book's a workout. The first study, "Creation and Fall," was originally delivered as lectures at the University of Berlin in the Winter semester of 1932-33. In them Bonhoeffer laid out a detailed philosophical and emphatically Christological investigation of Genesis 1-3. The second study is consists of daily studies for clergy of the Confessing Church in Finkelwalde from April 12-17, 1937.

Like most things in life, the mental work required to read these studies (especially the first) is equally rewarded. Bonhoeffer delivers penetrating insight into the nature of creation. He doesn't shy away from modernist questions we like to ignore. (I.e., What came before God's Creation? "No question can penetrate behind God creating, because it is impossible to go behind the beginning" (16).)

Especially valuable is the way that Bonhoeffer recognized Christ and his resurrection in the Creation story. The constant high Christology, for the Christian, is thoroughly inspiring.

The second study on temptation is easier to read but no less profound. Again, Bonhoeffer redirects us toward Christ:

"To be precise, the Bible tells only two temptation stories, the temptation of the first man and the temptation of Christ, ... All other temptations in human history have to do with these two stories of temptation. Either we are tempted in Adam or we are tempted in Christ. Either the Adam in me is tempted—in which case we fall. Or the Christ in us is tempted—in which case Satan is bound to fall" (115).

(As a side note, did you notice the shift from singular to plural? Either the "Adam in me" is tempted or the "Christ in us" is tempted. That's worth meditating on right there!)

If you're looking for something deep, thought-provoking, thoroughly Christological, and rewarding, these two studies are an inspiration. ( )
  StephenBarkley | May 29, 2012 |
Analysis of the first 3 chpters of Genesis. ( )
  LTW | Sep 1, 2006 |
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In this enlightening study, renowned twentieth-century theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer offers a careful textual analysis of the story of creation, approaching the biblical tale of Genesis with the eye of a philosopher and the soul of a true Christian. "Creation and Fall" is Bonhoeffer's lucid, brilliant analysis of the first three chapters of Genesis. Here he discusses the seeming scientific naiveté behind the creation story, God's love and goodness, and humanity's creation, its free will, and its blessedness. Bonhoeffer also tackles difficult questions that are raised from the first book of the Bible, questions about the seemingly redundant second story of creation, about God's own beginning, about the source of the light that was created the first day. The author then expounds upon Adam and Eve's fall from grace: How could they, creatures made in God's image, have thought to oppose God so foully? Where did the first evil come from? How did humanity lose its right to live in paradise? In "Temptation," Bonhoeffer questions how temptation appeared in the midst of Eden's innocence, and he explores the very nature of evil. Bonhoeffer explains that Jesus Christ helps us to understand and conquer physical and spiritual temptation through His grace and goodness.

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