Does chicken count as a “bird of the air” or a “beast of the field?” How about “bird of the field?” Well either way, it will be joining some spaghetti as my dinner tonight.
That was one of the MANY questions (albeit not a very serious one) raised by my plunge into Genesis 2 this afternoon. Here are a few:
- Could chapter 2 be a Chiasm? The outer edges of it would be the creation of man and woman, then a warning of death and a mention of deep sleep, then the repeated phrase “helper”, then animal parades and naming animals in the middle? I think it is possible but looking ahead to chapter 3 makes me think this might be a little bigger than I thought.
- Why the description of the rivers and the gold?
- What exactly does God mean when he tells the man “for in the day that you eat of it you shall die?” The man does not die when he eats it. It takes him hundreds more years. So what does “in the day” mean and what does “you shall die” mean?
- Is there significance to the woman being made from a rib? I have heard some people say there is and some say there isn’t. Not really sure on this one.
On to some things I saw.
A Different Story?
The first thing I noticed as I read was how different this chapter is than the first one. Man is the first thing made. He shows up even before the plants and animals. We are talking day three in chapter one language. And perhaps most intriguing, the word for God is different. In chapter 1 he was Elohim. Now he is YHWH.
How do you reconcile this?
You could hold this up as proof that the Bible contradicts itself. And that would be a shame since we didn’t even get two chapters in. But you have to think that the people putting it together would have seen that. Shouldn’t that have set off alarms in their heads?
Since the two stories are there in plain sight, I get the feeling they weren’t trying to hide anything. And since they didn’t have a problem with it, neither do I. I wonder if they were trying to communicate something other than a 100% internally coherent story. If that is the case, I ought to look for what they were trying to do. Which I think may be . . .
God is Really Busy
By my count, God does 14 different things in Genesis 2. That is a lot. Some of my favorites include playing with dirt, CPR, gardening, leading an animal parade, performing surgery and last but most certainly not least, making woman.
This is a God who gets his hands dirty! I like that. I like that a lot. This is a God who is not afraid to reach into someone’s body and pull out a rib. Dang. God is hardcore! That seems important. Maybe it will come into play later on . . .
Form and Function
The trees in the garden are “pleasing to the sight and good for food.” I am not sure if both of these apply to all the trees but it could be suggesting that God made stuff pretty just for the sake of looking pretty. Bonus if it tastes good. God likes his creation to have a little ambience (but you have to say it with a snooty accent. awhm-beyonce).
When the man (interesting that he has no official name yet spends a lot of time naming things) sees the woman he says: “This at last is bone of my bones . . . ” He says it like he was waiting forever to find someone just like the woman. Finally! I think the man is pretty excited about the woman. What a great first impression!
God seems really cool in this story. I like him. He just keeps giving good things to the man and woman. Why? I think the only clue is that he wants things to be good. He doesn’t think it is good that the man is alone so he does something about it. God is totally about making things good for us. Nice
I have realized that as I study this stuff, I am totally going to miss a lot. I try to study it as well as I can but I can’t see everything. I imagine I could spend years in Genesis. As fun as that would be, I am going to keep moving. If you want to join in and help me see other things, feel free to comment and let’s have a conversation! Peace!
Tomorrow it all hits the fan . . .