On being human...in the beginning

Dr. Desi Alexander

19.9.2016 | Church in the Public Square, Union Theological College

Dr. Desi Alexander, Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at PCI’s Union Theological College will delve into ‘What Genesis 1-3 says about human identity?’, kicking off the first in a series of six thought-provoking seminars this autumn. Entitled ‘On being human’, the seminars will address a number of topical subjects, from human identity to end of life issues, as part of our Church in the Public Square series. In his blog, Dr. Alexander gives a flavour of what to expect next Monday.

Our perception of where we came from has a profound influence on how as a society and as individuals, we understand our identity as people. The American social commentator, Neil Postman, once observed that to the question "How did it all begin?" science answers "Probably by an accident." To the question "How will it all end?" science answers, "Probably by an accident." Postman goes on to say that for many people the accidental life is not worth living.
The Judaeo-Christian tradition has long stressed that human beings are not the end product of an accident, the result of chance and time. Rather, Christians believe that life has a purpose, that there is a personal Creator and that this Creator has made known to humanity something of the purpose of creation.
We are introduced to this in the opening chapters of Genesis. This lecture will explore what these chapters have to say in the light of contemporary biblical studies and will consider the relevance of their message for modern life.
Genesis 1-3 is an ‘over-exploited text’, frequently misunderstood. It explains how God organised creation, not how He manufactured it. It explains how God gave to humanity the authority and ability to continue His creation activity by governing this world on His behalf.
However, they betrayed the trust placed in them, alienating themselves from the creator, from each other and from the rest of creation. This concise story of creation is the foundation of the Judaeo-Christian worldview. Its importance cannot be over emphasised. Understanding what it says and what it does not say is challenging, but very relevant.

Dr. Alexander’s seminar ‘What Genesis 1-3 says about human identity?’ took place on Monday, 26th September at Union Theological College, Belfast.


You can read more about the series here.


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