Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year: Gen 1-3 for Jan 1

May the Lord show us great things in His Word this year.

In Genesis 1-3, which is almost a necessity for some to read, to start the new year right (!), the chief question that might occur to us is why is it that Eve doesn't die, either immediately herself, or together with Adam after he eats?

There are quite a few details to consider in the text in looking at this question.

Later, neither Adam himself, nor Eve, but only the serpent, is directly cursed by God, going by the use of the word itself. Yet Adam's future death is announced using other words, in 3:17-19.

One answer that must be considered is that God had already announced by His creative fiat what must therefore come about, regarding humankind, in Genesis 1:28. If humankind does not increase and multiply, God's pronouncement would come to be naught. The reader knows this.

There is tension, all the more so after reading 2:17, God's warning to Adam that he would die on the day he ate of it. How is it that mankind will increase and multiply, following the eating of the fruit?

The serpent talks about the events on the day of eating the fruit as well. He directly contradicts 2:17, saying "Ye shall not surely die" in 3:4 (RV). Notice the plural. The serpent is referring to both Eve and Adam there.

The tension is very unexpectedly developed. Wouldn't you have expected a Zeus-like scene of thunder and fury?

Instead, God Himself ... walking in the cool of the day ... and questions! The text invites us to make an early comment on the effects of sin on Adam and Eve, by stating that they hid themselves from the Creator of the universe, among the trees of the garden. There is a definite ridicule of this resort of Adam and Eve, this hiding in the trees, that is hard to miss, in that text (3:8).

Not only that, but the sowing of the leaves, as it is presented to the reader so matter-of-factly, is also a surprise consequence. Here's why so: God had warned Adam, and Eve subsequently knew about, a consequence of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The devil contradicted that, and instead indicated other consequences of eating it. If all the consequences -- the same-day death, and their becoming like God, knowing good and evil -- truly came about, would we have expected the events to be sewing leaves and hiding in the trees? No! The narrative is a pure surprise to the reader at this point. Neither immediate death, nor immediate behavior antagonistic to God, but shame and hiding, and God walking in the cool of the day, in the garden, eliciting a confession of the truth from them.

God doesn't ask the serpent for the truth of anything. His immediate and far future is simply announced: to be cursed now, and to be bruised in the head by the seed of the woman.

Again, way before we hear of how the Lord makes good His word that they were to die on that day, God has already announced not only the fate of the serpent, but the participation by the seed of the woman in that fate! The Lord's sovereignty is certainly evident to the reader at this point again, and the tension still left to be resolved, just how it is that Eve's seed will bruise the serpent's head, if she and Adam are to die that day.

The resolution is that their death is decreed that day. Just as so many things, the creation of the very world, was by fiat, by decree, so their death was decreed then, but the resolution of the problem was also partially already revealed, in the comment about the seed of the woman. God is master of all events that occur, and is not dethroned by any of them.

1 comment:

Larry said...

I don't understand why the Gateway beginning-to-end Bible reading program zings through the gospels as it does.


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