Creation and Fall & Temptation: Two Biblical Studies

 Creation and Fall & Temptation: Two Biblical Studies
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are three reasons that the 21st Century Christian should have the works of Bonhoeffer on the shelf.

First, we should take seriously the teachings of Bonhoeffer because of his Christian witness. He was willing to confront evil and died because of this.

Secondly, we should take seriously the teachings of Bonhoeffer because of his faith that endured his "theological training." He was trained in the ultra-liberal seminaries in Germany by men that did not believe in God. He emerged with a richer and stronger faith, one that accompanied him to the gallows of Flossenburg.

Thirdly, we should take seriously the teachings of Bonhoeffer because they are good. "Cost of Discipleship" is one of the most challenging books a USAmerican Christian could read. And "Life Together" is the finest book I've read on simple Christian community.

Now to the book at hand, "Creation and Fall & Temptation: Two Biblical Studies." This book did not disappoint. In the first section on Genesis 1 Creation, Bonhoeffer doesn't impose a dogma from either end of the spectrum on the text; he is critical of "critical philosophy" because he asserts that no one can speak of the beginning unless they were present at the beginning and he applies the same thought to those that proposed a young earth and 6 literal days. Humility and faith are required when dealing with the unknowable. These two would help immensely in our quest to discover our origins, on both sides.

In the second part, chapter 5 - The Strength of the Other has an excellent part on man and woman AND healthy sexuality. It's summed up in this quote, "Sexuality is nothing but the ultimate realization of our belonging to one another."

In the third part, regarding The Fall of mankind, he uses the tempting phrase of the serpent, "and you will be like God" as the foundation for all the consequences of the fall - past and current.

In the fourth part, on Temptation, he teaches on two temptations - of Adam and of Christ. He also teaches on the sources of temptation - the Devil, the lust of the flesh, God, pride, and desperation. Of particular interest to me, from pg. 123, is the idea of disciples participating in the temptations of Jesus; satisfying the flesh, the promise of power, and misusing God. Speaking about the temptation of desperation, he says, "In ingratitude, in disobedience, and in hopelessness, man hardens himself against the grace of God."

This is a very thought provoking book and would be an excellent resource for anyone preparing to seriously teach the first three chapters of Genesis.


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