Skip to main content

Through the whole Bible: Genesis 3

Continuing Through the Whole Bible: Genesis 3. If you’d like the page link, here it is: NIV/NASB Parallel at BibleGateway.com.

Here’s where the trouble begins: Genesis 3. If the Bible were just Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22, everything would be great.

Except we don’t get to shortcut the narrative. Genesis 3 happens. A few quick suggestions:

1. Freedom to choose good requires the availability of freedom to choose evil. That’s why there’s two trees there. If Adam and Eve only choose to obey because disobedience is not an option, what does it mean? Next to nothing.

For example, I got through high school without trying cocaine. That’s not a brag: I was never offered the opportunity. I have no idea if I would have heeded “Just Say No!” or not. Given some of the areas where I lacked self-control, I can’t be certain—so, while I will teach my children to say no to such things as well, it’s not really a point of pride that I never did. It’s a point of gratitude, for certain…

2. It’s the only talking snake in the Bible. There’s a talking donkey later, but there’s only two talking animals that I can think of at all, and this is one of them. The talking donkey tells the truth, the snake is a deceiver. I don’t know that there’s a deep meaning to be extracted here, but it’s there.

I will make this observation here, because I think it matters in the big picture: keep in mind that 1st-2nd Millennium BC Hebrew animal taxonomy is not the same as modern Western methods. “Snake,” “fish,” even “cattle” may not exactly translate what is discussed here---this is definitely some form of reptile, and there’s no reason it’s probably not a snake. That’s just something to keep in mind: some folks criticize the Bible for calling bats “birds” when we class them as “mammals that fly.” Let’s see here: bats fly, have wings, and eat bugs---there’s a lot of similarity with birds, folks, and just because our science divides based on the fur and live births, does that really go backwards?

Is it the snake that talks or Satan that possesses the snake and he talks? It’s not abundantly clear. It’s clear that the punishment on the snake parallels the long-term punishment of Satan.

And yes, this is the explanation why people are afraid of snakes and like to kill them.

3. The blame starts here, but the buck should stop here, too.

We like to pass the blame, and we even do it retroactively back onto this story. The jokes that put the whole fault on Eve are woefully overtold and tired. All in all, the fault lies on the two who ate the fruit. They sinned. Each for their own reasons, but both used their freedom for sin.

Sin as a habit passed on to the rest of us. Yet we cannot blame Adam and Eve for our sins, either. When faced with choices, we are responsible for what we choose.

Now, some folks want to blame Eve over Adam or Adam over Eve. The blame in the chapter hits them both, equally. Why?

Prior to this whole fruit-thing (not explicitly an apple), there were no gaps in the relationship between these two. We tend to highlight the clear purity of the relationship of people with God before this, but it is also true that they have a clear, pure relationship with each other. They are co-bearers of the image of God.

And they both fail to uphold that image. They break it. Together, because that’s what they were. There was no reason for Eve to doubt that Adam supported her tasting or for Adam to doubt Eve’s offer of the fruit. They had a perfect relationship.

Which they then destroyed. They hid, not only from God (which failed), but also from each other. Shame comes in, distrust, blame, bitterness all show up to plague us for generations to come.

So, what do we do?

Strive to trust. As President Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” (Or, as I have seen, “In God we Trust. All others pay cash.”) Start with it at home: see the better possibility. Choose to assume the best about others. Will you be let down? Uh, yes.

Yet what other option do you have? Fortify in your castle and let no one in? That doesn’t work. You have to try. We have to try.

Let’s do what we can. Be trustworthy and treat others the same way. It will hurt sometimes, but we have to start somewhere.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…