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Guided Reading Course 11: The Creation of Man

Guided Reading Course

So far in the Emmanuel Guided Reading Course we’ve covered some introductory material, the doctrine of revelation and the doctrine of God. We’re moving on in session 11 to the next major topic: the doctrine of creation.

We begin with the creation of man. Here’s the plan:

  • First, we’ll be looking (with the help of Gordon J. Wenham’s commentary on Genesis) at what Genesis 1 means when it says man was created “in the image of God.”
  • Second, we’ll be continuing to work through Calvin’s Institutes, turning to I.xv (1:183-196), the discussion of “Human Nature as Created.”
  • Finally, we’ll be looking at the chapter on “Human Nature” in the second volume of Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics (chapter 12).

Introductory questions

a. What do you think it means to say that man was created “in the image of God”?

b. Does fallen man bear the image of God?

c. What is the human soul?

Study question on Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, pp. 29-32

1. What meanings have been suggested for “image” and “likeness” in Genesis 1:26-27? What do you think of the various options?

Study questions on John Calvin, Institutes, I.xv (1:183-196)

2. What does Calvin mean when he says, “This knowledge of ourselves is twofold” (I.xv.1)? How does Calvin explain what he is setting out to do in this chapter?

For reflection: How would Calvin respond to the statement, “I’m homosexual – and that’s just the way that God made me”?

3. How does Calvin describe “the soul” (I.xv.2)? What two reasons does Calvin give for thinking that there is in man something “separate from the body” (I.xv.2)?

4. What does Calvin think is meant by “image” and “likeness” in Genesis 1:26-27 (I.xv.3)?

5. How is the image of God in man most clearly seen (I.xv.4)?

6. What is “the delusion of the Manichees” concerning the soul (I.xv.5)? What is wrong with the Manichean view?

For reflection: Can you think of any biblical text(s) that might at first glance seem to support the Manichees’s view?

7. According to Calvin, what “faculties” (i.e. capacities) does the soul possess (I.xv.6-7)?

8. What kind of freedom does Calvin believe Adam had before the fall (I.xv.8)?

Study questions on Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics 2, ch 12 (pp. 530-562)

9. What does Scripture say about man’s created nature, and where does it say it (pp. 531-533)?

10. What arguments does Bavinck adduce against the theory of naturalistic evolution (pp. 536-539)?

11. What are the key features of “Roman Catholic Supernaturalism” (pp. 539-542)? What are its shortcomings (pp. 542-548)?

12. Why did the Reformers reject the Roman Catholic view of the divine image? What alternative(s) did they propose (pp. 548-554)?

13. In what five ways does Bavinck flesh out his conviction that “the whole person is the image of God” (p. 555; cf. pp. 556-562)?

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