Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pastor Pries’ “Guys Named in Genesis 5”

Guys Named in Genesis 5

Name Age OT Reference NT Reference Total
Adam 930/died 8 9 17
Seth 912/died 8 1 9
Enosh 905/died 7 0 7
Kenan 910/died 6 0 6
Mahalaleel 895/died 7 0 7
Jared 962/died 5 2 7
Enoch 365/taken 11 3 14
Methuselah 969/died 6 1 7
Lamech 777/died 11 1 12
Noah 950/died 45 8 53

I Chronicles 1:1-4

Adam, Seth, Enosh; Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared; Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech; Noah, Shem,

Ham, and Japheth.

Luke 3:23-38

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,

the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, the son of Melki,

the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,

25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,

the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,

the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,

the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,

the son of Josek, the son of Joda,

27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,

the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,

the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,

the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,

the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,

29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,

the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,

the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,

the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,

31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,

the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,

the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,

the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,

the son of Salmon,[a] the son of Nahshon,

33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[b]

the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,

the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,

the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,

the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,

the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,

the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,

the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,

the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,

the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,

the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh,

the son of Seth, the son of Adam,

the son of God.

Genesis 5:29 “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands. ”

Genesis 9:28-29 After the flood Noah lived three hundred fifty years. All the days of Noah were nine hundred fifty years; and he died.

3-27-12 Genesis 5 (17)

This is the chapter of delineation of the old patriarchs. If you didn’t live at least 900 years, you were a piker. According to the records from the Jewish calendar, this is the year 5772 of the Jewish calendar. It is interesting that the current months of the Hebrew calendar were adopted during the time of Ezra, after the return from Babylonian captivity. The current Jewish calendar is thought to have been set down by the Sanhedrin president Hillel II in approximately C.E. 359. My information about these calendars comes from http://www.webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-jewish.html The Bible usually refers to months by number, not name.

 

It is interesting to see when various calendars were started. Romulus, the first ruler of Rome, is alleged to have introduced the Roman calendar in the 700s B.C.E. It was based on the Greek calendar which was a lunisolar and had 12 months with an occasional 13th added in to keep things happening in the correct order. Each city-state had its own calendar. It appears that the earliest calendar was attributed to Eratosthenes 407 years before the first Olympiad in about 1183 B.C.E. The Sumerians had a calendar 5,000 years ago that divided the year into 30-day months, divided the day into 12 periods each having 2 of our hours, and divided these periods into 30 parts (4 of our minutes). Calendars were adjusted by kings whenever their holidays were starting to take place in the wrong times of the year. The Babylonian calendar was quite confused until the 300’s B.C.E. The Egyptians devised a 365 day calendar that purportedly goes back to 4236 B.C.E. They based revisions in the calendar on the annual floods of the Nile and were the first to adopt a mostly solar calendar. Probably the oldest lunar calendar was identified on the walls of the prehistoric caves at Lascaux in France. There are patterns of dots and squares painted among the representations of bulls,antelope, and horses that can be associated with familiar stars an constellations and depict a 29 day cycle of the moon. These painting can be dated back 15,000 years. The Chinese calendar can be traced back to the 14th century B.C.E. and was supposedly invented by Emperor Huangdi in 2637 B.C.E. It is based on exact astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun and phases of the moon.

Enough about calendars!! This whole early part of Genesis seems to be the early writers putting together a story of their early peoples and trying to distinguish them from other peoples of that time. Different people search for meaning in different ways and the people writing down Genesis were one of groups trying to find meaning to life. Different people at that time told the story and over time, favorite stories emerged and were the ones that got recorded for all time. Several of us talked about the different ways to track time, but the paragraph about early calendars above seems to indicate a pretty solid use of the lunar month as a basis for measurement of time. It is probably more difficult to determine the number of years as different groups of people have different ideas of how many months are in a year. Many of the groups in the middle east settled on 29-30 days in a month. However, the Mayans had 18 months of 20 days which really doesn’t fit a lunar month at all.

We discussed what happened to Enoch. It appears that he found favor with God. Some have speculated that things got pretty wild before the flood and through it all Enoch spoke against the prevalent wildness and kept his faith in God. It says All the days of Enoch were 365 years and Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him. References to Enoch and his faith are reflected in the Pauline epistles Jude 1:14-15 and Romans 11:5-6.

We also discussed the flood story and noted that many early civilizations had a myth about early floods. This includes Chinese, early Americans, middle easterners, and others as well. There might have been early tsunamis that caused these problems. It is surely a mythical story that points up what can happen to a people that ignore God and go off doing their own wild and anti-god behaviors. It is probably some sort of appeal to a more God centered morality. It is interesting to muse about where our current morality appears and what are the ideas that under gird it.

 

Pastor Pries’ thesis extract relevant to Genesis

 

Many have asked, “Why did sin enter God’s good creation?” No answer satisfies but what is clear is that sin is here. The problem of sin receives early attention in the Bible. The Genesis 3:1-24 narrative provides the necessary description for the Christian tradition to explain the entry of sin into the created order and establishes the need for God’s continuing intervention and ultimately for God’s saving work in Jesus Christ.

Walter Brueggemann observes that labeling Genesis 3:1-24 as “The Fall” (the disobedience narrative) and then disconnecting it from the garden narrative (Genesis 2) diminishes their important and “dramatic coherence.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–> Brueggemann goes on to explain that though this disobedience narrative has a significant role in shaping the tradition surrounding sin, other texts are more dominant in scripture. He further explains that the abstract concern of the origin of evil is not a concern in the Old Testament but faithful living is. Brueggemann asserts that death is part of the created order and describes the connection between sin and death as“mechanistic.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–> In view of this, one might dismiss further consideration of Genesis 3 but for the reality that it has so significantly informed and shaped the Church’s doctrine of sin. This is in a large part due to Paul’s typologies drawn from Genesis 3 and Augustine’s exposition of original sin<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3]<!–[endif]–>which is rooted in Paul. Therefore, consideration of the passage is necessary.

The setting is the bliss of the obedient (faithful) life in Eden (Genesis 2:8-9). Just as the creator had set boundaries for the waters (1:6, 9), so too God sets a boundary for the man: no eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:17). The consequence of breaking the “no eating” boundary is death. When the creator provides the woman to quell the man’s loneliness, the cast and the scene are set for eternal happiness within the limits of obedience. The scene changes and the antagonist enters as a talking serpent offering the choice of disobedience in Eden. The temptation dialogue (3:1-5) reviews the boundary for obedience set by God and suggests that God’s word is not to be trusted. The man and woman succumb to the temptation to be like God and they eat the fruit (3:6) so pleasing to the eye.

This positing of sin flows quickly to consequences: necessity to cover one’s self (3:7) and to hide from God (3:8-10), God’s confrontation (3:11), the man’s effort to pass blame (3:12), the woman’s denial of responsibility (3:13), God’s indignation (3:14-15) and God’s punishment of the woman and the man (3:16-19b). The ultimate consequence of sin (disobedience) is death as foreshadowed in 3:3c and then announced by God: “you are dust, and to dust you shall return”(3:19c). To effect the punishment of toil for the man (and presumably the woman), God evicts them from Eden (3:23-24) and sets an angel to guard the way back.

Note this delineation of sin’s genesis: boundary, choice, temptation, disobedience, awareness (nakedness), confrontation, denial, punishment (labor, death and eviction). There is no confession (acknowledgement); there is no absolution (rescue).

Within this legend are truths about life: childbirth is painful, growing food is hard work, people die and bodies decay. The Church’s doctrine surrounding the narrative describes these as the effects caused by human disobedience: sin causes life to be difficult.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4]<!–[endif]–> The implication is that this life would not be difficult if the first man and first woman had been obedient. Sin is reported as the cause of the human predicament and there is nothing humans can do to change it.

Sin is named as the desire to be like God (3:4b). Being like God is then described as having the knowledge of good and evil but of course evil did not exist in God’s good creation prior to this first disobedience. Even the entrance of sin is distorted by human determination to be able to discern the difference between good and evil.

There is no hope in the narrative of The Fall. The mind of faith might, and the traditional teaching has, grabbed hold of the curse to the serpent<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[5]<!–[endif]–> as the first hint of one (a savior) who will crush evil. This image was used by St. Paul when he wrote to the Roman congregation, “The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 3:20a), so there is biblical evidence that Genesis 3:15 was recognized in the ancient Church as prophecy of the Messiah. Yet a literal perspective simply recognizes that fear of snakes is common among people, snakes bite feet and a snake’s head is vulnerable to a stepping foot.

Most significant to consideration of The Fall and its place in the development of rites of confession in the Church is Augustine’s exposition that within this narrative is the revelation of original sin.

“Adam brought sin and death to the world while Christ, the second Adam and man of spirit brought life (1 Cor. 15:21-22). Paul’s view that Adam’s fall introduced sin and death (Rom. 5:12) led Augustine (fifth century CE) to develop the doctrine of original sin: that Adam’s fall perverted all humanity and that its effects were passed by hereditary transmission from generation to generation.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6]<!–[endif]–>

 

This doctrinal move prevailed in Christianity and established the view that the human lot includes a longing to be rescued from human suffering and death. Within the narrative is the “summons of this calling God for us to be (God’s) creatures, to live in (God’s) world on (God’s) terms.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[7]<!–[endif]–>

The previous discussion would suffice to establish sin as an aspect of creation but closer attention to the narrative lays important groundwork. Nahum Sarna has observed that “The word of the serpent prevails over the word of God. The allure of the forbidden becomes irresistible.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[8]<!–[endif]–> The senses recognize the value of the fruit and with this recognition enters the authority of the self for choosing what is perceived desirable rather than submitting obediently to the Creator. Once the fruit is eaten, the man and woman see with new sight but only to recognize their nakedness. Self-awareness and shame<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[9]<!–[endif]–> enter creation. Suddenly a wardrobe is necessary to cover one’s self and the slippery slope toward civilization and the grip of culture begins.

Self-awareness is presented as being all consuming in the narrative. The man and woman are aware of needing to hide from God (3:8) and in doing so are admitting their guilt. God’s calling is not necessary, for God knows all, but the call does show God’s interest and seeking these two who are the pinnacle of God’s work. Still the man and woman attempt to evade God’s scrutiny by trying to justify their act of hiding their nakedness. Their self-awareness is evidence of the change that has occurred in creation: sin has entered and the man and woman do not know what to do. There is nearly confession when the man is confronted by God, for he has already acknowledged his awareness of his nakedness, but he quickly shifts the blame to the woman; then the woman shifts the blame to the serpent.

The consequence of the sin is made evident as the punishments are announced. The snake will forever slither on its belly. Once the snake was a symbol of fertility in Canaan and of protection in Egypt but following the snake’s complicity in The Fall, it is assigned to being perceived as hostile and to be avoided.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[10]<!–[endif]–>

The woman is condemned to suffer when giving birth. Sarna observes that this is a unique phenomenon among the species and then points to human evolution of the enlarged neocortex of the brain that required an enlarged skull which results in childbirth being painful for the woman.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[11]<!–[endif]–> The text reports that the woman will also be punished by still wanting intimacy with her husband and that he will rule over you (3:16b). The latter is in contrast to the equality that was established between the man and woman evidenced in Genesis 2:18 and 2:23. This punishment of the woman being placed in subordination to the man continues to haunt and gives some credence to the wisdom that is provided in the revealed legend of The Fall.

The man’s sin is named as listening (giving authority) to one other than God. The man is condemned to a life of hard labor on a land that will not provide like his original garden home. The man once had plenty to eat in the garden but now he will only eat what he is able to get the disagreeable ground to produce.

There is a hint of rescue (3:21) in God’s clothing of the man and woman but even this is diminished with the eviction from the garden (3:23). The description is aggressive in that God“drove the man out of the garden” (3:24) and places an intimidating cherub wielding a flaming sword “to guard the way to the tree of life” (3:24b).

Traditional interpretation recognizes here God has established cause/effect in regard to sin. Disobeying God (sin) results in God punishing. Prior to their disobedience the man and woman could eat anything except the fruit of one tree; after the disobedience God provided no food and made acquisition of food difficult. Prior to the disobedience the man and woman could wander freely in the garden; after the disobedience they could not even enter the garden.

The Fall is given authority in the traditions surrounding Individual Confession and Forgiveness because it occurs so early in the biblical narrative: sin is the problem since the beginning. As will be seen, the Church would draw from this narrative its identification as Eden (where obedience reigns), mete out consequences for sin (assigning acts of penance) and develop a practice of eviction (the order of penitents). Naming Genesis 3:15 as the first prophecy of the Messiah is the means for the tradition to find hope in this otherwise hopeless legend but the grip of cause/effect will distract from the revelation and proclamation of God’s unconditional love and grace.

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<!–[endif]–>

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>Walter Brueggemann,Genesis in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982) 40.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–> Ibid., 42.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3]<!–[endif]–> Gregory Shaw, “The Fall,” in The OxfordCompanion to the Bible, ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) 223.

 

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4]<!–[endif]–>The references to the woman’s desire of the man and his authority over her are problematic and are not considered in this work.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[5]<!–[endif]–> “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6]<!–[endif]–>Gregory Shaw, “The Fall,” OCB 223.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[7]<!–[endif]–>Brueggemann, Genesis, 44.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[8]<!–[endif]–>Nahum M. Sarna. The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), 25.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[9]<!–[endif]–> Shame is here understood as embarrassment and not as a stain pressed upon a victim as described by Robert H. Albers, Shame: a Faith Perspective (New York: Haworth Pastoral Press, 1995).

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[10]<!–[endif]–> Sarna,The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis, 24.

<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[11]<!–[endif]–> Ibid., 29

3-20-12 Genesis 4 (14)

This is the written version of a history of a people that had been told many times over the years and now was being written in a condensed version. It is not a scientific version or an actual recounting of everything that had gone on. It is interesting how there is the beginning of God favoring a second child, in the story of Cain or Abel. This continues in several versions of the story of this people. The first born is not the favored one by God. This story represents the shaping of a culture or a religion. It is writing down a condensed version of the heritage of the people. Don’t minimize the authority of the Word and what it brings to our lives. It was probably written about the time of King David or Solomon. We had a conversation about the mark of Cain and the fundamental Baptists and the Mormons thought it was black people. The story of Cain and Abel was an illustration of good and evil and what is important to God. A source from www.hope-of-Israel.org/Cain.htm “suggests that Cain was an overlord and that he probably compelled men to virtually worship before him like the pagan kings have done and could have professed himself to be a god himself. This was a cover-up, a pretense and that he even might have considered himself a promised messiah. that is one of the reasons that he was so outraged when God rejected his offering but accepted that of his “weakling” brother who did not have the sheer drive, force, and cunning that Cain did. Cain was ambitious and he could not tolerate “loss of face” before his brother and family. He was proud, arrogant, and stubborn. He could not allow Jehovah to treat him the way he did, so he rose up and slew Abel, his “competitor” in the sight of the world.” It is also suggested that when God rejected his gift, Cain became angry rather than trying to find out why his gift had been rejected. Curt suggested that there seemed to be some arbitrariness on God’s part in rejecting this offering. But maybe this is the way that the story was written so that we could talk about evil and what it means. That it can mean both physical death but it can also mean alienation from God and the problems that anger can cause in our lives. It suggests problems that may have been noted in the culture over the years. It is thought that Genesis was written by Moses in about 1400 BCE. There are others that say that it was written in th 5th or 6th century BCE. The Wikipedia reference describes its content as This quote suggests that Genesis was written to establish the basis for the culture. “The basic narrative expresses the central theme of the book: God creates the world and appoints man as his regent, but man proves disobedient and God destroys his world through the Flood. The new post-Flood world is equally corrupt, but God does not destroy it, instead calling one man, Abraham, to be the seed of its salvation. At God’s command Abraham descends from his home into the land of Canaan, given to him by God, where he dwells as a sojourner, as does his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, and through the agency of his son Joseph, the children of Israel descend into Egypt, 70 people in all with their households, and God promises them a future of greatness. Genesis ends with Israel in Egypt, ready for the coming of Moses and the Exodus. The narrative is punctuated by a series of covenants with God, successively narrowing in scope from all mankind (the covenant with Noah) to a special relationship with one people alone (Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob).[2]

For Jews and Christians alike, the theological importance of Genesis centers on the covenants linking the Lord (God) to his Chosen People and the people to the Promised Land. Christianity has interpreted Genesis as the prefiguration of certain cardinal Christian beliefs, primarily the need for salvation (the hope or assurance of all Christians) and the redemptive act of Christ on the Cross as the fulfillment of covenant promises as the Son of God.For much of the 20th century most scholars agreed that the five books of the Pentateuch—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—came from four sources, the Yahwist, the Elohist, theDeuteronomist and the Priestly source, each telling the same basic story, and joined together by various editors.[11]

Since the 1970s there has been a revolution in scholarship: the Elohist source is now widely regarded as no more than a variation on the Yahwist, while the Priestly source is increasingly seen not as a document but as a body of revisions and expansions to the Yahwist (or “non-Priestly”) material. (The Deuteronomistic source does not appear in Genesis).[12]

 

In composing the Patriarchal history the Yahwist drew on four separate blocks of traditional stories about Abraham, Jacob, Judah and Joseph, combining them with genealogies, itineraries and the “promise” theme to create a unified whole.[13] Similarly, when composing the “primeval history” he drew on Greek and Mesopotamian sources, editing and adding to them to create a unified work that fit his theological agenda.[14] The Yahwistic work was then revised and expanded into the final edition by the authors of the Priestly source.[15]

This leaves the question of when these works were created. Scholars in the first half of the 20th century came to the conclusion that the Yahwist was produced in the monarchic period, specifically at the court of Solomon, and the Priestly work in the middle of the 5th century BC (the author was even identified as Ezra), but more recent thinking is that the Yahwist was written either just before or during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century, and the Priestly final edition was made late in the Exilic period or soon after.[4]

As for why the book was created, a theory which has gained considerable interest, although still controversial is “Persian imperial authorization”. This proposes that the Persians, after their conquest of Babylon in 538 BC, agreed to grant Jerusalem a large measure of local autonomy within the empire, but required the local authorities to produce a single law code accepted by the entire community. The two powerful groups making up the community—the priestly families who controlled the Temple and who traced their foundation-myth to Moses and the wilderness wanderings, and the major landowning families who made up the “elders” and who traced their own origins to Abraham, who had “given” them the land—were in conflict over many issues, and each had its own “history of origins”, but the Persian promise of greatly increased local autonomy for all provided a powerful incentive to cooperate in producing a single text.[16]

3-13-12 Genesis 3 (17)

We began our discussion of Genesis 3 by talking about the way this writing came about. It was supposedly written in about 1400 BC which was before the Egyptian slavery. It can be seen as part of the way God set his people apart from the others on the world. It is interesting that after the sin that separated man from god, man knew about it because he saw that they were naked. But wearing clothes is something that all on the northern temperate or arctic climates recognize a s necessary to protect from the cold. re the people in the tropics less sinful because even today you will find tribes that don’t wear clothes. Why did God say that child bearing would become more painful because of Eve’s sin? Was it to show that there are consequences of misbehavior? The major sin appears to be either a separation from God or the thought that man could be like God. In verse 22-24, God expels Adam from the garden because God doesn’t want him to eat of the t red of life and become like us. Is this the royal we? Or is this the beginning of the idea of the trinity.

3-6-12 Genesis 2 (16)

Today we read Genesis 2. Mark described the difference between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 as the difference between preparing a grocery shopping list. Genesis 1 is like sitting down at the kitchen table with your planned menus in hand and developing the shopping list on the basis of what you will need to make the items in your menus. Genesis 2 is like going to the grocery store without a menu in hand and just getting the things you think you will need with a lot of reliance on the frozen food aisle.

There are a couple of issues that arise in Genesis 2. One is the concept of God. Where did God come from is maybe based on the fact that we know there is an end to us, therefore as Al said there has to be a beginning hence the concept of God. Bill wondered if there isn’t some innate need in humans for God. I offered that in a lot o cases, it appears that the more mystery people see in events that happen, the greater is the need for God.

There was also some interest in why create evil as was indicated in the tree of good and evil. But is that a part of the dualism that all the ancient people saw. The Greeks talked about it in terms of duality as there is a spiritual side and a physical side to humans. Peace and equanimity results from a balance of these two sides of humanity.

Then of course there was the male enjoyment of the fact that women were made from man. However, there are differences in the role of man and women as stated in different renditions of the Bible. “Thererfore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (V. 24-25, Lutheran Bible). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (v. 24-25 King James) “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.” (v. 24-25, The Message) One question is where does shame arise? Does it come about from tree of knowledge of good and evil, and therefore when you partake of that tree you know about being naked and are ashamed of it. What about the native peoples that we hear about from time to time who have not been touched by civilization and they are all naked? Have they not had the opportunity to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and therefore feel ashamed to be naked? Why is nakedness “Evil”?

It is also interesting that one of the first things God created was man, then all the plants, animals, fish and God asked Adam to name them all, but Adam did not find a companion in any of them. So God at the end created a woman to be a companion for Adam. (In today’s world, some women in particular would find a dog or cat would be a totally adequate companion.)

Mark recommended Bill Cosby’s bit on Genesis which is available on YouTube. Do a search on Bill Cosby Genesi in YouTube and you will find it. There are two parts to his talk, the second part is about the creation of a woman.