Q: In the Bible – Genesis, Chapter 3, Verse 8 – it says, “When they heard the sound of the LORD walking about the garden. ...” My question is, back then, could God walk the earth like a human?
A: This is a very good question, for in the Book of Genesis we try to visualize what God looked like. Adam and Eve, created in God’s image and likeness, had a privileged relationship with God, because he created them in his own image and likeness, and they were the first human beings created. While you and I did not have the privilege to see the Garden of Eden before that most tragic act of disobedience by both Adam and Eve, we are limited in our ability to see the Garden, other than through the description in the Book of Genesis. God, being God, could appear to Adam and Eve in any manner he wished, and we know God spoke to Adam and Eve.
While it seems we have angels appearing in human form in the Book of Genesis, you and I can only imagine the form God took before Adam and Eve was not frightening, but certainly beautiful to behold.
Most certainly this was not the direct answer you were looking for, but some questions are so shrouded in mystery, we must use our imagination to assist us in understanding a situation.
Q: Multiple times in the Bible, a race of giants is mentioned. What does the Church teach us about these giants?
A: In 2016, we are quite familiar with how human beings come in “many shapes and sizes.” There can be as much as a 4 -and-a-half to 5-feet difference between two fully grown human beings, and that is because of a number of reasons.
We learn that both faith and science are not mutually exclusive. We are a church which embraces both faith and reason. This being said, we recognize among various ethnicities that we don’t just come in many colors, but ethnicity can help determine one’s height. This was no different in ancient times. Much had to do with the land in which one lived in, as well as a community’s diet. Scientific evidence has shown us that various classes of people throughout history in some civilizations possessed very tall people while others were much shorter. The Bible reflects this reality in various passages that there were those who appeared to be giants, compared to others. When reading these passages, we must be able to disengage ourselves from the “special effects” world of Hollywood and instead immerse ourselves into the “real world” of the human race.
Did God create taller people who, at times, could appear to be giants? Just look at us in 2016, and we can see many people who have without question the “height advantage” over the rest of us.
Q: I will be taking my First Communion this spring. What’s the difference between Communion and Confirmation?
A: We are profoundly blessed with the seven special gifts Our Lord Jesus gives us, which are the seven sacraments. The Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confirmation make up two of the Sacraments of Initiation, of which Baptism, the first sacrament we receive, is the third.
Communion, also known as the Eucharist, is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and is the principal Christian liturgical celebration and Communion in the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is the ritual and sacramental action of thanksgiving to God, and at Communion we receive the Eucharist, which is Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood.
Confirmation is the sacrament which completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. At Confirmation, we are sealed, or “confirmed,” in union with Christ and equipped for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church (see, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1285).
While the two sacraments are most certainly complementary, it is the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist which is at the heart of the Church’s life (Catechism, Paragraph 2177).
Congratulations on your preparation for your First Communion this coming spring. How appropriate we celebrate the reception of this Sacrament of First Communion with our younger brothers and sisters the very first time in the Easter season, the season of eternal hope and the season of our participation in the promise of Jesus Christ.
May you and your family have a blessed autumn.
To “Ask the Bishop,” direct questions to, Diocese of Steubenville Office of Christian Formation and Schools – P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952; (740) 282-3631.
The "Ask the Bishop Question Form" can be found here.