Monday, January 11, 2010

Genesis 2

I found last week's chapter of outright creationist myth to be pretty interesting, so I think it's awesome that the bible is offering yet another version of creation! Apparently we didn't get the idea well enough last time. Probably because it didn't go out of its way to demonize women. Okay, so here we go!

The first couple verses of this chapter just finish up the first account of creation, which makes the placement of the chapter break feel really off. So we get God resting on the 7th day and blessing it. Nothing too crazy.

Then it goes into more detail about the 4th day, saying that there was nothing alive because God hadn't made it rain nor had anyone tilled the fields. This seems really odd. It would feel more in keeping with the rest of the story to say that God hadn't created plants yet, instead of implying that the seeds are just lying dormant waiting for the first rain. More of a hands off approach. And surely even the ancient Israelites knew that things could grow without being tilled? I feel like I'm missing something with that verse. Or maybe it just doesn't make sense.

The garden Eden is created in the east and God puts man there with the two central trees. I think it's interesting that there are 3 verses that then describe the river that flows from Eden and splits into 4 rivers. The fertile crescent was possible because of these rivers, and so it's easy to see why a mythology of perfect source for the rivers works.

"For in the day that you eat of it you shall die." This is what God says to Adam about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and although I'm jumping the gun a little bit, I know that's not how the story ends. When the fateful eating goes down, God dooms Adam to death, but Adam doesn't die "in the day" that he eats it. Perhaps that's just nitpicking or semantics, but it's certainly not clear cut. We're only on the second chapter and this is already wide open to interpretation!

I always liked the bit about God bringing all the animals to Adam and letting him name them. I used to picture Adam coming up with crazy names that are long since lost to us. One thought that this raises, however, is what these names really mean. Are these the animals "true" names? It states "whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name." That sounds to me like Adam is gifting these animals with an intrinsic name. But of course we have all different sorts of names for animals, even within just one language. So have we lost some essence of the animals by losing their "true" names?

This whole paragraph here makes it sound like God is searching for a helper for man. The whole idea of an omnipotent and omniscient God goes against the idea that God would create a man, think that it was "not good that man should be alone," and then create all the animals, bring them to the man, and then realize that there was no helper to be found there. And so then he makes woman from the rib. Seems more like an omnipotent but human character.

That's it for Genesis 2. It's just the account of the creation of man. It doesn't explicitly contradict Genesis 1, but it has a very different flavor to it. I get a very different feeling for the God doing this creating. Although, in Genesis 1, God does create something, observe it, and then declare it good. Which, again, doesn't show too much omniscience. So far I do not find God to be as perfect as I hoped. Disappointed! Next time we get to some real juicy stories! (Juicy...haha...see what I did there?)

Until next time!

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