Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Adam and Eve: Genesis Chapter 2:4-5:32
Sin, Serpents, and Sibling Rivalry, Oh My!
I did not intend for this blog to be so lengthy. So for your convenience (and for my own obsessive compulsive impulses to be satisfied), I have created this blog in a list form. You will find the list after the general summary of what I read. Feel free to skim over it and pick and choose what you want to read about. I am well aware that you probably don’t have an hour to spare to read my biblical ramblings.
Chapter 2:4-25 God made Adam out of the ground and placed him in the Garden of Eden. In the center of the Garden of Eden were two trees: The tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam not to eat any fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because he would die. Then God made animals and told Adam to name them. God saw that these animals were not suitable companions for Adam so he made him fall asleep while he performed the earths first surgical procedure: A rib transplant…also known as the creation of woman.
Chapter 3:1-24 Satan, disguised as a serpent tempts the woman (she is not yet called Eve until 3:20) with fruit from the tree of knowledge. She decides not only to directly disobey God, but to take Adam (and the rest of mankind) down with her. Satan got what he wanted: Sin, and Adam and Eve got what they wanted: knowledge. What they didn’t bargain on was the knowledge of their own nakedness which caused shame and embarrassment. This lead them to cover themselves with fig leaves and attempt to hide from God. Have you ever heard the saying, “Ignorance is bliss?” I wonder if Adam and Eve coined the phrase? Anyway, God confronts them and the finger-pointing begins! God punishes the serpent, making him crawl on his belly forever, and making him and the woman mortal enemies. God then fore-warns the serpent of Jesus Christ returning to earth to, “Crush his head(3:15).” Then God dishes out the individual punishments for the humans. For the woman, pain during child birth (thanks a lot Eve), and her forever longing to control her husband but him always being her master. As for Adam, he was to be agriculturally-challenged for his remaining years. God also gives Adam and Eve joined punishments such being banished from God’s presence in the Garden of Eden, and being fated to “return to the dust from which you were created (death).” After the sentencing, Adam names his wife Eve, meaning “to give life” (which is a pretty generous name considering that she was responsible for the whole fruit-eating-division-from-God-debacle). Chapter 3 wraps up with God clothing Adam and Eve and sending them out of the Garden of Eden. He promptly makes sure that they can never return, by placing mighty angelic beings with flaming swords and all at the entrance to Eden.
Chapter 4:1-17 Adam and Eve begin populating the earth with Cain and Able. Cain gets angry at Able after a farm-produce/animal-sacrifice fiasco, and commit’s the worlds first murder. Cain lies to God when confronted with Abel’s murder and God punishes Cain by banishing him and making him agriculturally-challenged just like his father. Cain complains about his punishment and fear of being killed so God protects him from being murdered by putting a mark on him (the worlds first tattoo?). Cain settled in the land of Nod and he and his wife had a son named Enoch which he named a city after.
Chapter 4:18-26 Next, is a brief genealogy list linking Enoch to a man named Lamech. Lamech married two women and those women gave birth to lots of children that possessed many talents such as: the first musician, the first metal worker, and the first instrument maker. One day Lamech says to his wives that he killed someone out of self defense, and then compares himself to Cain (his great-great-great-grandfather), saying that if anyone takes revenge on him for the murder he committed, they will be punished 77 times just as God had promised that anyone who killed Cain would be punished 7 times over. The final part of chapter 4 goes back to Adam and Eve having another son named Seth, and Seth having a son named Enosh (not to be confused with his brother Cain’s son Enoch) .
Chapter 5:1-32 On first glance, this chapter is a seemingly long boring genealogy list telling us who fathered whom from Adam all the way to Noah. Cain is not mentioned in this list. Instead, it starts at Adam and then goes directly to Seth who has a son named Enosh (again, not to be confused with Cain’s son Enoch). The verses go on and on with ages and unpronounceable names until you get to verse 23 and then something quite shocking happens. It involves Enoch…no, not Cain’s son Enoch from 4:17, a new Enoch, the son of a man named Jared (finally, a name I can pronounce!). Jared’s Enoch is one of the only people in this lengthy list that we are given any information on besides his age and who he fathered. It says in 5:23, “Enoch lived 365 years in all. He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life. Then suddenly, he disappeared because God took him.” I love a good twist at then end of a story! Then the author of Genesis (Moses) goes back to listing names as if no explanation of the Enoch disappearance is necessary. Chapter 5 concludes with the introduction of Noah, starting with Noah’s father named, Lamech (not to be confused with Lamech the descendant of Cain in chapter 4, verse 18) proclaiming that Noah would “bring relief from the painful labor of farming the ground that the Lord has cursed. 5:29.”
Things I loved:
*2:21 Women were created from the flesh of a man. This is something I try to remember when I feel like me and my husband are Mars and Venus.
*2:24 God gives us permission to leave our parents….no explanation necessary.
*3:8 God wanted to hang out with humans. In the Garden of Eden, God is described as walking and talking with Adam and Eve. I love this because he is the creator of the universe, yet he doesn’t want to sit on a throne and watch us from afar, he wants to be near us, and to be included in our lives.
*3:15 God starts to revel his plan for the coming of Jesus Christ. While the impending birth of Jesus is a threat to the serpent (Satan), it is a means of reassurance for everyone else. This comforting reminder is repeated again and again in the Old Testament but it is spoken about for the first time here in Genesis, immediately after the fall. He wastes no time reassuring Adam and Eve, (and us, the readers) that he already has a plan to bring us back into his presence.
*3:16 Women were put in a submissive role. You might think that this would be put under the, “Things I did not love” section, but I am actually relieved by this. What a load off that I am required to follow the lead of my husband. Thank God I am not the leader of my family because all I would be doing is eating forbidden fruit (A.K.A. COACH bags), and convincing my husband to open his wallet. God gave women a chance to be in control, and Eve blew it. I know that I am more easily manipulated than my husband because of my genetic makeup. I am more emotional, whereas my husband is logical, strong, and assertive, as are most men. These are all qualities of a great leader. That being said, I think God intends for women to follow this rule as long as the husband is submissive to God. If he is truly submissive to God then he will not abuse the power that God has given him over his wife.
*3:20 Adam forgave Eve. The Bible does not directly say this, but it is the conclusion I have come to based on what Adam decided to name his wife. Keep in mind that he named her after they got disciplined by God for eating the fruit, so you think he’d be a little angry at her for convincing him to sin, but when the time comes for him to pick her name, he chose, “Eve” meaning “to give life.” He knew she not only would give life to their immediate children, but that her descendants would eventually produce Jesus Christ, who would also, “give life.” Eve was a term of endearment so he must have forgiven her pretty soon after the fall to decide on that name.
*3:21 God clothed Adam and Eve. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, God still didn’t want his children to feel embarrassment, so he clothed them. He must have looked at those shabby fig leaves and thought, “Those will not do, my kids deserve fur!” And so he clothed them with animal fur to protect them from the elements and from their feelings of shame. What an expression of love!
*4:15 God protects Cain even after he murders. Yet another example of Gods love. Cain was a murderer and yet God comforted him and protected him from being murdered.
*5:23 Enoch disappearing. I love how casually this was thrown into the end of this chapter. Because of the way this verse adds shock value to a boring list of names, I am convinced more than ever that God is the ultimate author of the Bible…and that God has a sense of humor. He certainly likes to keep us on our toes. Which reminds me of one of the melodic themes of the bible: STAY AWAKE!!! Keep alert! Jesus is coming when we least expect it…he can snatch you up just as he did to Enoch.
Things I did not love:
*3:10 We can’t be naked anymore. This is such a bummer because if nudity were socially acceptable, I would have so much more time on my hands. Have you ever stopped to think about how much time is spent on clothing? We spend countless hours buying it, working for the money to buy it, washing it, drying it, folding and hanging it, and deciding how and when to wear it. Not to mention those pesky tan lines in the summer!
*3:16 Adam's punishment. Is it just me or does it seem like Adam got off a little easy for the whole “bringing sin into the world” thing? Eve passed on the curse of painful childbirth, a fear of snakes, and being put in a submissive role to her husband. Adam had poor crops and had to work extra hard at farming…did I miss something? Why is it that Eve's individual consequences got passed down to every other woman after her, but Adam's individual consequence was only passed down until Noah came on the scene. Was Eve that much more at fault for the fall!?…Wait, don’t answer that.
Questions to ask God when I get to Heaven:
5:23 Why was Enoch chosen to be taken?
Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?….After all, they didn’t require an umbilical cord.
4:5 Why did God accept Abel’s offering but not Cain’s offering?
4:19 Was it okay for Lamech (descendant of Cain) to be married to two women?
Did Cain repent for the murder of Abel?
4:12, 4:16 Why did Cain “settle” in the land of Nod if he was to be a fugitive, homeless, wanderer?
4:17 Where did Cain’s wife come from? A sister?
4:26 Why was it only after Enosh was born that people began to worship God, why not sooner?
Questions that got answered while doing this Bible study:
*Where did Adam and Eve go when they died? According to my research everyone that died before Jesus’ resurrection went to a place of conscious existence that the Old Testament refers to as Sheol. The New Testament calls it Hades. Sheol, or Hades was divided into two realms: A place of comfort (for the believers) and a place of torment (for the non-believers). During the days that Jesus died and rose from the dead, he went to Hades and at his resurrection the occupants of the “place of comfort” realm of Hades were moved to heaven. According to Revelation 20:13-15 on judgment day the rest of Hades in the “place of torment” realm will be emptied, judged, and thrown into the lake of fire…ouch! Yet another reason to serve God. Has anyone else researched this topic, and if so, did you find the same things that I did?
*How were people saved before Jesus? They believed Gods promise, that Jesus would be sent eventually just like we believe that he was sent already. The didn’t see him performing miracles and hanging on the cross, but they new he would, just like people today never saw him perform miracles or hang on the cross but we believe that he did. It was faith that God would fulfill his promise just as our faith tells us that he did fulfill his promise.
*Does the first part of chapter 2 contradict with chapter 1? Chapter one ends on the seventh day when God rested after creating light, the sky and water, land, the heavens and the seasons, animals, and people. Then, chapter two starts off with the statement that there were no plants, or humans. After reading it several times I realized that I was expecting to read the bible like a novel but the Bible is anything but a novel. It is not in sequence like I am accustomed to reading. Some books of the bible follow each other in perfect sequence, but other books are parallel to each other giving different perspectives on the same facts. Chapter one gives a general description of the creation and then chapter 2 back tracks and gives a more detailed look at days 3-6.
*Why did God create Adam and Eve if he knew that the fall would take place? The only way I can comprehend this is to compare myself to God (very humble of me, yes I know), and to compare my own kids to Adam and Eve. I knew before I had kids that they would defy me, and they have. I knew before I had kids that one day they would eventually leave me, and they will. But I still wanted to bring them into the world so that I could love them (and be entertained by them). And that is how I explain God's reasoning for creating humans knowing very well that they would defy and leave him. Love. The only possible answer is love.
Wow! I was not expecting to spend so much time on these short chapters, at the rate I’m going, I will be lucky to finish the Bible before I get to heaven! It is amazing that I have read these chapters at least a dozen times in my life, but I am just now really understanding them. If anyone else has any insights, please share.
All of my research as been through the Life Application Study Bible: The New Living Translation, Wikipedia.com, and gotquestions.org. Next I will be studying Genesis chapter 6:1-11:32, The Flood.