Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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General Editor’s Foreword to Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works

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pp. vii-xiii

Since the time that the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) first began to be available in English after World War II, they have been eagerly read both by scholars and by a wide general audience. The story of his life is compelling, set in the midst of historic events that shaped a century. ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Editor’s Introduction to the English Edition

John W. de Gruchy

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pp. 1-18

Reading Creation and Fall makes one part of the audience of students to whom Dietrich Bonhoeffer lectured at the University of Berlin in the winter semester of 1932–33. Bonhoeffer, a Privatdozent [2] at the university, announced his course under the title Schöpfung und Sünde. ...

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Preface

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pp. 19-20

This course of lectures was delivered at the University of Berlin in the 19 winter semester 1932–33. It is being published at the request of students who heard them. The translation of the biblical text conforms as closely to Luther’s version as the original seemed to allow; ...

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Introduction

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pp. 21-24

The Church of Christ witnesses to the end of all things. It lives from the end, it thinks from the end, it acts from the end, it proclaims its message from the end. “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing”[1] (Isa. 43:18-19). ...

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The Beginning (Gen. 1:1–2)

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pp. 25-39

The place where the Bible begins is one where our own most impassioned waves of thinking break, are thrown back upon themselves, and lose their strength in spray and foam. The first word of the Bible has hardly for a moment surfaced before us, before the waves frantically rush in upon it again and cover it with wreaths of foam. ...

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The Word (Gen. 1:3)

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pp. 40-44

There are myths in creation in which the deity imparts its own nature, so that the world springs from the natural fecundity of the deity. In these myths, then, creation is understood as the self-unfolding of the deity or the deity’s giving form to itself or giving birth; ...

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God’s Look (Gen. 1:4a)

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pp. 45-47

This is the third moment [Augenblick][1] in God, when God looks at God’s created work. It is a moment we can no more think of as separate from the first two moments than we can think of them as separate from each other. God looks at God’s work and is pleased with it, because it is good. ...

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The Day (Gen. 1:4b–5)

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pp. 48-49

The first finished work of God is the day. God creates the day in the beginning. The day bears along everything else; the world exists in the process of one day’s turning into another [im Wechsel des Tages]. The day has its own being, its own form, its own power. ...

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That Which Is Firmly Fixed (Gen. 1:6–10, 14–19)

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pp. 50-55

Here the ancient image of the world confronts us in all its scientific naïveté. To us today its ideas appear altogether absurd. In view of the rapid changes in our own knowledge of nature, a derisive attitude that is too sure of itself is not exactly advisable here; ...

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That Which Lives (Gen. 1:11–13, 20–25)

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pp. 56-59

Like a waterfall that plunges from the heights down into a valley, creation moves from on high down to its final work. First there is the formless, then form in rhythm, and then a second form in law, in numbers. More and more creation attains its own being, ...

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The Image of God on Earth (Gen. 1:26–27)

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pp. 60-67

God loves God's work, loves it in that it has its own existence; for the creature honors the Creator. God still does not recognize God’s self in the work, however; God beholds that work but not God’s own self. To behold oneself means, so to speak, to recognize one’s own face in a mirror, to see oneself in an image of oneself. ...

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Blessing and Completion (Gen. 1:28–31, 2:1–4a)

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pp. 68-70

The blessings of God upon humankind is God’s promise, God’s sure pledge. Blessing involves the choosing of those who are blessed. The blessing is laid upon humankind and remains on it, until it is changed to a curse. Blessing and curse are burdens that God lays upon humankind. ...

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The Other Side (Gen. 2:4bff.)

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pp. 71-73

It was long ago realized that what we have here is a second creation 67 story that is quite different from, and substantially older than, the first.[2] What are we to make of that?[3] What does it mean for our exposition? ...

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The Human Being of Earth and Spirit (Gen. 2:7)

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pp. 74-79

Here we are directed to the earth in a distinct and exclusive way that is quite different from before. What is of primary interest here is not at all the cosmos but our earth and humankind. Here God also receives a very specific proper name, Yahweh (on the meaning of which there is no agreement). ...

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The Center of the Earth (Gen. 2:8–17)

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pp. 80-93

How can one speak of the first earth, earth in its youth, except in the language of fantasy [Märchen]? God prepares an exceedingly magnificent garden for the human being [der Mensch][2] created with God’s own hands.[3]...

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The Power of the Other (Gen. 2:18–25)

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pp. 94-102

At this point the text all at once, with no apparent relation to what has gone before, tells us how woman [Weib] came to be. No doubt in terms of narrative technique it is a mistake that the woman has not heard God’s prohibition, for no intrinsic significance of any kind is attached to this circumstance. ...

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The Pious Question (Gen. 3:1–3)

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pp. 103-110

The prohibition against eating from the tree of knowledge, the creation of Eve, and the serpent are to be understood as all links in one chain, linked together for a common assault upon the tree of life. All come from God the Creator, and yet now, strangely, they form a common front with humankind against the Creator.[3] ...

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Sicut Deus (Gen. 3:4–5)

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pp. 111-114

The first part of the conversation is over. But Eve’s answer does not forbid the serpent from trying again. So the conversation continues — the first conversation about God, the first religious, theological conversation.[3] It is not common worship, a common calling upon God, but a speaking about God, about God in a way that passes over, ...

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The Fall (Gen. 3:6)

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pp. 115-120

Instead of any reply, instead of any further theological discussion with the serpent, what now follows is — the deed. We ask, what has happened? In the first place what has happened is that the center has been intruded upon, the boundary has been transgressed. ...

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The New Thing (Gen. 3:7)

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pp. 121-126

“The end of God's ways is bodily existence.”[3] The text does not say: Then they came to know and recognized what good and evil are; instead it says: Then their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked. Are we really to understand from this that after all the whole story is about the question of the origin of love between man and woman? ...

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The Flight (Gen. 3:8–13)

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pp. 127-130

Adam who knows tob and ra and has fallen from unity into dividedness, can no longer stand before the Creator. Adam has transgressed the boundary, and now he hates his limit. Indeed Adam denies the limit, as one who is sicut deus — limitless, boundless [grenzenlos]. ...

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Curse and Promise (Gen. 3:14–19)

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pp. 131-136

We draw near to the end. God speaks to Adam, to fallen, unreconciled, fleeing Adam, by way of curse and promise. Adam is upheld alive in a world between curse and promise, and the last promise allows him to return to the earth from which he was taken, allows him to die. ...

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The Mother of All that Lives (Gen. 3:20)

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pp. 137-138

There is wild exultation, defiance, audacity, and triumph when Adam now gives to his woman, the very woman on whom this curse has fallen, the name the mother of all that lives. It is as though, like Prometheus, he boastfully insists on his claim to have pulled off a robbery against his Creator;[4] ...

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God’s New Action (Gen. 3:21)

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pp. 139-140

The Creator is now the preserver; the created world is now the fallen but preserved world. In the world between curse and promise, between tob and ra , good and evil, God deals with humankind in a distinctive way. “He made them cloaks,” says the Bible. That means that God accepts human beings for what they are, as fallen creatures. ...

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The Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22ff.)

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pp. 141-144

The whole story moves toward its end in these verses. The significance of the tree of life — of which, curiously enough, so little has been said until now — becomes really clear at last. Indeed it becomes plain that the whole story has really been about this tree. ...

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Cain (Gen. 4:1)

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pp. 145-146

This verse is an intrinsic part of the preceding story. Adam and Eve, the human beings sicut deus who have fallen into death, demonstrate their new community in a new way. They become the proud creators of new life. ...

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Editors’ Afterword to the German Edition

Martin Rüter, Ilse Tödt

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pp. 147-173

Between the planning and the delivery of this course of lectures, Bonhoeffer’s life took a turn. After this turn the theological findings to which Bonhoeffer came, including those that he was able to relate to work he had done previously, appear in a new light. ...

Chronology

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pp. 174-177

Bibliography

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pp. 178-193

Index of Biblical References

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pp. 194-195

Index of Names

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pp. 196-197

Index of Subjects

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pp. 198-206

Editors and Translator

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pp. 207-208