One of my goals this year is to pay EXTRA attention to the stories of the Old Testament. I have to admit, even though I’ve read through the complete bible more than 10+ times now, I feel I’m weakest in knowledge of Old testament stories and characters. While this is probably true of many Christians, relative to the New Testament I’m hoping to reverse my own poor thinking which leads to lack of attention to detail. Because the stories often contain so many seemingly unnecessary details it’s often hard to maintain concentration from start to finish. As a result, stories, characters, and names tend to slip my mind while reading. From what I’ve been able to gather from scholars, theologians, and pastors it often requires diligent mining and attention to detail when reading the O.T. to fully dissect the meaning of stories and their theological implications.
As I commenced on the start of yet another year of faithful reading through the whole bible, I pondered the following things which I plan to research more in the coming days…. BTW, want to follow an annual reading plan? Start here: https://psalmfiftyone.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/annual-bible-reading-schedule/
1) The creation account, primarily laid out in Genesis 1 is more of an overview followed by a more in depth description of the “sixth day” starting in Genesis 2:4. For me, it clears up a bit of the confusion as to why Genesis 1 and 2 seem to contain separate accounts of creation that could be seen as conflicting. For instance, how could all of the plants and animals have already been created and ‘brought forth’, yet Genesis 2 states that nothing had grown on the earth ( i.e. Genesis 1:11 – “Herb that yields seed) until around the time Adam was formed from the ground. Although everything was “created” it didn’t grow until God sent a mist(rain) to water the earth (Genesis 2:5-6)? Some say this time period only relates to crops that were farmed and edible for men. Who really knows though?
In addition, it also shows a potential gap in time/history (Genesis 1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4 – 3) which could or could not explain the tension between those who believe the world was literally created in six days and those who see it more or less as a figurative retelling of the creation story. Don’t get angry if you see things one way or the other. It’s really not worth it 😉 If you’re interested in reading more about numerous theories on creation, you can get an overview by checking out my creation series here:
If I can get my resources together fast enough, my next blog post will be about Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and how it could figuratively/literally explain the gap between men’s understanding of time and God’s. Two perspectives that appear different, but are both “right” by observation. Don’t worry, just pray that I won’t get too New Agish with it. Hee Hee, Stay Tuned!
2) God gave Adam(exclusively) the command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Eve had not been created [by God] yet). At least chronologically it reads that way. I assume that Adam told Eve. That controversy alone conjures up some pretty comedic images of Adam and Eve (husband and wife) arguing over the man not talking enough or sharing adequate details with his wife. A comedy skit about that would be pretty funny.
3) If you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty, God did not kick Adam and Eve out of the garden solely because they were disobedient. They were obviously guilty as charged and the penalties were real and just, painful child birth, toilsome farming labor, and so on. Again, I’m trying to explore DETAILS this year. I’m primarily speaking of our collective assumption that they were given the boot only due to their original sin. While that very well may have been the overwhelming reason they had to leave the Garden there is only one explicitly stated reason that I find in the creation story:
New Living Translation (NLT)
“22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings[e] have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”
He kicked them out because of the knowledge obtained through their disobedience. As a result of their fallen state, they knew just enough to be a danger to themselves. Enough to go and eat from the tree of life and grant themselves access to eternal life. The heart is deceitful above all (Jeremiah 17:9). Ain’t it?! Yet, God had another plan to redeem men from themselves and sin. In the process they/we’d find eternal life in doing so. It was so important that He blocked access by placing an Angel in the garden to guard it, and you best believe that nobody was getting passed him! And perhaps it’s a good thing that He did. Who wants the blessing/curse of eternal life on a planet that has limited resources????? Talk about population overcrowding, war, lack of food and water, the multiplication of evil, endless sickness, pain and suffering?!?!?! That puts a new spin on Paul’s words about longing and “earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” – 2 Corinthians 5. Eternal life trapped on a doomed planet with finite resources would have been an absolute disaster!
Ha Ha! I love the bible and am looking forward to going through it yet again.
Grace to you……