After God had created the heavens, the earth and light, he separated the day from the night. He created fish for the sea, birds for the air and animals for the land. He wanted someone to care for the place he had made. He reached into a stream of fresh, cool water that flowed from the earth and began scooping mud out with his hands. He used it to sculpt the shape of a man. Then he breathed on his creation and it came to life.
The world was still so new, most of the land was bare, so God made a garden with fertile soil, fragrant flowers and rich, green grass for his man to live in. He also made many trees. Some were beautiful to look at, others bore delicious fruit. But in the middle of the garden God planted a very special tree, a tree whose fruit was the knowledge of good and bad.
The Lord said to the man, “You are free to eat from any of the trees in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.” And the man began to live in the garden and to care for it.
Then God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” God brought many different animals and birds to the man. The man gave each one of them a name, but none of them were the companion for the man that God wanted to find. So God put the man to sleep and formed a partner for him out of one of the man’s ribs. He called this partner woman.
One day the serpent, the most cunning creature of all that God had made, looked for the woman in the garden. He said to her, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?”
“It is only the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat it, lest you die.'” Then the serpent said, “God knows well that the moment you eat of it you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.”
The woman stared at the tree. It was beautiful. She reached out and tasted one of its fruits. Then she shared it with the man, who also ate it.
Immediately the man and the woman covered their nakedness with fig leaves and they hid from God when they heard him calling them.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
Genesis 2 and 3
1. What did God use to make the man?
2. What did God tell the man and woman not to eat?
Some scholars like to think of God’s act of creation in two parts: preparation and decoration.
First God formed the heavens and the earth and then created light. After he separated the seas from the dry land, he filled the earth with plants and trees, fruit and vegetation. This was the preparation.
When this was completed, God made fish to swim in the waters, birds to fill the air, and every kind of animal and insect for the land. He looked on what he had made and called it “good.”
Then he made humans in his own image and he gave them dominion over everything on the earth. When God finished this, he said it was “very good.” Let us show God we know what it means to care for the earth by reducing waste, picking up our trash, conserving wildlife habitats and natural resources. By caring for our earth and each other, God will be able to see us and say, “Good.”
Jerome Emiliani served as the commander of fortress near the Italian city of Castelnuovo in the early part of the 16th century. Attackers overpowered his small army and he was captured and thrown into prison.
Although Jerome had not actively practiced his Christianity for most of his life, while in the dungeon he prayed every day and he promised to dedicate himself to God. He escaped from his cell and was able to pursue religious studies and become a priest.
Saddened by the poverty and hunger that afflicted many of the people after the plague, Jerome bought food and clothing for many children and taught them Christian doctrine. He is credited with teaching the catechism through a series of questions and answers. He also established orphanages for children and shelters for homeless and underprivileged citizens. Jerome died from a serious illness in 1537. We honor him on Feb. 8.