Bible Discussion: Genesis 1-4

March 7, 2007, 10:30 am; posted by
Filed under Bible, Djere, Job, Josh J, Steve, Tom  | 30 Comments

Every Wednesday, Bweinh.com will discuss a passage from the Bible. And this week, we start at the very beginning, looking at Genesis chapters 1 through 4.

 
INTRODUCTION:
Steve:
It seems there’s a widening dichotomy these days between those who read the opening to Genesis as a scientific textbook, and those who see it as an ancient creation myth, on par with the claim that Earth rides on the back of a giant turtle.

I stake a claim between those two positions, believing wholeheartedly in the divine creation of the universe as told in Genesis, while remaining largely unconcerned about specific details undefined by the text. This story was not meant to answer all the scientific and philosophical questions surrounding the origin of the world; if it had been, it would have befuddled all its readers, ancient and modern. What it tells us is enough, and what it tells us is not only perfectly compatible with the discoveries of science, but God’s simple and singular command for light to ‘be’ seems more and more apt as the Big Bang is explained theoretically.

Job:
I’ve always wondered if this springboard to the Bible, these first four chapters, is where most people in their darkest hour flip – having turned to God in anger, frustration, pain or confusion. Subsequently, I’ve always wished that the Gideons would put their “recommended reading” page right between the first and second chapters. An ambush of sorts.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Djere:
2:23 is in poetic form. It’s more than just a quote, Adam notices Eve and just casually says what he does, but he says it in the poetic form.

Tom:
1:11 notes that plants came before animals, an evolutionarily sound idea.

Job:
In the first verse of chapter 3, the serpent is described as being more crafty than any of the wild animals God had made. Am I to think then that God made domesticated animals alongside them for provisional purposes, implying the known need for future sacrifice?

Josh J:
One theory of The Fall is that eating the forbidden fruit represents Adam and Eve discovering their sexuality. The Scriptures rule out this possibility: 1:28 contains a command to “be fruitful and increase in number.” Since there’s only one way, by God’s own design, to accomplish this, human sexuality is actually God-ordained.

Steve:
Some complain the first two chapters of Genesis are incompatible, that the Biblical creation account can’t be true because it’s self-contradictory. But re-reading these chapters, I see it more like the classic structure of a sermon, essay or speech — start off with an overview, then zoom in on the particular point you want to make. The retelling of the creation of man gives more details, not contradictory ones, and it explains a lot.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Tom, Djere: Bdellium
Steve: Tunics of Skin
Job: Vengeance Seven Times Over
Josh J: Surface of the Deep

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
Josh J:
When I was growing up, my brother and I were best friends with two other brothers. Pierre was my age, and Roody was my brother’s. Whenever I would look for Pierre and ask Roody about his whereabouts, his reply was, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” He always found himself quite hilarious.

You may be relieved to know Pierre is still alive.

Djere:
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Because if any man could ever get back into the Garden of Eden, it’s Indy.

Job:
The story of Ivory Soap…a seemingly horrible mistake makes something redemptively valuable. Something that floats.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Djere:
Even in the beginning of time, God’s plan for redemption is evident and set into motion.

Job:
While God cannot be fooled, He can be compelled. From Cain’s pleading to His anger over Adam and Eve’s mistake, God shows He isn’t just nonchalantly watching this whole Earth thing like a rerun of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” This passage, in my opinion, neuters Calvinism very swiftly.

Josh J:
When I was young, a favorite recurring question for my mother was, “Why does everyone have to suffer because Adam and Eve messed up?” Her only explanation was the old standby, “Ask God when you get to heaven.”

For a long time I actually carried bitterness against these two. It didn’t seem fair. The world was all messed up with the consequences of sin and it was all their fault. Who were they to represent humanity, to represent me?

It wasn’t until I was older that I came to a startling realization:
Even if Adam and Eve had not disobeyed…
Even if their children had remained righteous…
Even if everyone in the history of mankind from their day till mine had avoided the Fall of man…

Sin would have entered the world through me.

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
Job:
The very last verse of chapter 4 says, “At this time men began to call on the name of the Lord.” This really does begin a new facet of man’s relationship with God, requiring humanity to be less like infants and take on the responsibility that will determine their damnation or salvation – either when facing Earth’s cruelty in the current life or sin’s cruelty in the next. I see Jesus in this passage when man sees the need for Jesus.

Tom, Djere:
3:15 – He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

Josh J:
Although this passage makes no direct mention, we know from John 1:1-3 that He’s not only present but integral to the proceedings. He seems to be alluded to in Genesis 3:15 (incidentally my favorite moment in the film, ‘The Passion of the Christ’). Also, depending on how exactly we’re defining “Jesus,” Genesis 3:8 may be applicable as well. We’re short on details on this one, but the Old Testament contains several accounts of encounters with a physical manifestation of God in human form.

Steve:
Creating, and in Creation. We see that later in the Bible, but even here in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, the term used for God is the so-called “plural of majesty.”

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
Josh J:
1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Steve, Job:
1:27 – “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Djere:
3:15, the first Messianic Prophecy – “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

Tom:
3:12 – “Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.'”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Tom:
Why would sevenfold vengeance be taken on the killer of Cain?

Djere:
A tie between 1:2 and 4:17. It’s possible to translate 1:2 as “the earth became formless and void,” rather than the popular “the earth was formless and void.” Is there a disconnect between the initial creation of Genesis 1:1?

And where the heck did Cain get his wife?

Job:
With whom did Cain procreate, and how it was that Cain built a city for 3 people? Perhaps God made more humans from scratch than just Adam and Eve?

Steve:
How did the population expand so quickly, and what’s the story about the passage of time during these chapters?

Josh J:
A friend of mine and I used to wonder what Eve looked like. After all, she was the prototype woman, the definition of femininity, the suitable helper. So I’d really like to know if Eve was a looker.

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Djere:
If you’re hungry, don’t trust a woman who gets her recipes from a demonic snake.

Job:
I think this piece of Scripture, more than any other, shows how truly finite we humans really are. He formed us out of literal dirt, and to that dirt we will return. Fearing Him should be second nature after this breathless account.

Steve:
It’s interesting the fall resulted from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I think it shows how the pursuit of certain knowledge for the wrong motives can be very damaging. It’s powerful: with knowledge comes responsibility. With knowledge comes worry, contempt, and disillusionment.

It may be seductive at first, but its burden far outweighs its worth. Try to recapture the childlike joy of Christmas morning when holiday bills become your responsibility. I find myself wishing I knew less about certain things, while appreciating all the more those who have dealt with the disappointment and hurt for years, yet still wake up each day faithful and true to their calling to help others. Maybe my life was easier when I knew less, but it was also less challenging and less fulfilling.

But like Eve should have, be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you come to know.

Tom:
Man is sinful. Period.

 
CONCLUSION:
Josh J:
The purpose of this passage, particularly the first two chapters, is to answer one question above all: who? The answer, of course, is the only one that matters: the Lord. Many people will want to debate the how or the when, but for the purposes of this book, these are irrelevant. These early accounts are not concerned with scientific or historical debate. Like all Scripture, they are meant to help us understand the nature of God: in particular, His role as creator and the foundation of His relationship with His creation.

Job:
Our God has such an artist’s heart; tender, passionate, deliberate and violent.

Djere:
So many begots, so little time.


Comments

30 Comments to “Bible Discussion: Genesis 1-4”

  1. Missy Rose on March 7th, 2007 3:19 pm

    quality post indeed.

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