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‘God’s first question’ sparks major challenge

Bible series

Hunger for scripture: Archbishop Mark Coleridge with young people at the second Living Biblically in a Secular World presentation.

BRISBANE Archbishop Mark Coleridge challenged the audience attending his latest talk on Sacred Scripture with “God’s thunderous first question we find in the Bible: ‘Where are you?’”

The challenge came in his April 15 lecture in St Stephen’s Cathedral in the series Living Biblically in a Secular World presented by Evangelisation Brisbane.

Once again more than 400 attended the archbishop’s second talk showing, the archbishop said later, “a hunger for Scripture”.

More than 300 people had listened to a podcast of this talk within 24 hours of a link being made available.

St Stephen’s Cathedral’s Young Adults Ministry sponsored the latest talk.

YAM communications director Joe Grogan said it was “wonderful to see over a hundred young people from various parishes, movements and ministries uniting to experience the Holy Spirit, shining wisdom, humour and inspiration through our Archbishop”.

“The Q&A segment with the Archbishop particularly drew radiant feedback and lively reflection,” he said.

“In a contrasting era of Pope Francis, ISIS, Obama and even the Kardashians, young adults face a legitimate challenge in trying to live biblically in a secular age.

“Thus, the theme of this series speaks deeply to young adults.”

Mr Grogan said he had been “profoundly struck” by Archbishop Coleridge’s reflection on God’s question to Adam and Eve – “Where are you?”

“For me, it was: Where am I as a young adult in the scheme of things?

“In faith, work, study, family, friendships and future, where am I as a Catholic young adult? Where am I going?

“In what ways am I hiding in the Garden of Eden from becoming the person God made me to be?”

Archbishop Coleridge opened his talk by recapping the Bible’s “revolutionary understanding of the human being” that comes in the first two chapters of Genesis – the human being as a creature possessed of a unique and magnificent dignity, called by God to be a co-creator.

He then reflected upon the story of the Fall in Genesis 3, beginning by considering “the catechesis of evil placed on the lips of the serpent”.

“It has two elements: first that God is a liar and second that God is an oppressor,” the archbishop said.

“This is in direct contradiction of what we have been told ozf God in Genesis 1-2.

“There we saw that God is no liar, speaking a word that is deceptive and destructive.

“We heard God speak a word that was absolutely trustworthy and creative: ‘Let there be light.  And there was light’.”

Speaking on God’s question: “Where are you?” the archbishop said: “the thrust of the question is not merely physical; it’s metaphysical.

“Where are you in the scheme of things, human being?

“Place yourself.  Are you God?  Or are you nothing?

“Or are you a creature possessed of a unique and magnificent dignity, called by God to be a co-creator?”

Archbishop Coleridge said his next talk in the series on May 20 at St Stephen’s Cathedral would open with a reflection on “journey as the root-metaphor of the Bible”.

“By this I mean the fundamental way in which the Scripture understands who God is, who the human being is and how the two relate,” he said.

“I will also talk about the figure of Abraham, ‘our father in faith’.”

Archbishop Coleridge’s latest talk is available as a podcast at Brisbane archdiocese’s website at

– Paul Dobbyn

Catholic Church Insurance

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