Reflections on Genesis 2
June 8, 2011 2 Comments
If Genesis 1 doesn’t make you feel special by being God’s final, very good creation Genesis 2 should do it for you. Of all six days of creation the story focuses on the sixth day when God created man. God takes the lifeless dust of the ground and forms a man out of it. God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life and Adam comes to life. Now, man was not the only one to receive the breath of life. Animals got that too (7:22) but nowhere in the text does it give such a personal account of the animal kingdom getting such hands on treatment. Then Genesis leaves you hanging for about eight verses wondering what this new, belly buttonless, guy is up to. Rivers are named and treasures are mentioned.
Life and death:
God takes Adam and places him in the garden. What it means for God to take him and put him is beyond me. Was he lifted up and dropped in there walked by the hand? Who knows but God did it. God gave him one command, the first command ever given, don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eat it and you will certainly die. You might think he would have been banned from eating of the tree of life (2:9 & 2:24) but that isn’t mentioned here. As Sarna points out…this story is more interested in how we live than it is preoccupied with keeping people from dying as the Egyptians and many other people around them were obsessed with.
In 2:18 God recognizes Adam’s need for community. Just as God lives in community so should his people. Just as we are made in God’s image God produces from Adam’s very body a companion. Walton explains that what is called a “rib” in 2:21-22 is more like the flesh and bones of his side. That makes since because following that Adam calls her “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” They were together. They were naked. They were one. They were not ashamed.
What they had can be described as perfect intimacy. There were no other people to compete for their attention, just them and God. They didn’t have any walls to put up. They didn’t have to worry about fidelity. They were perfectly vulnerable, naked, unashamed and safe. That is how God meant for all this to be but too often we get in the way or we do things that bring shame into it all and goof it all up.It would be so nice if the story could just go on like this but right when it seems like it couldn’t get any more perfect we hit the very next verse in 3:1, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God has made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'” and it all comes crashing down. Some commentators link up 2:25 and 3:1 noting a play on words between “naked” and “crafty” because they are very similar in Hebrew. Maybe there is a connection we can draw from that. When things are going well, Satan does his best to trip us up. That brings up the question of whether or not the serpent is Satan. I will get to that in the next post. But either way one of Satan’s purposes in life is to destroy appropriate intimacy between people and between God and to foster inappropriate intimacy, lighting fires of passion where they should not be.