Now Adam and eve. This really isn’t a creation story.
Prayer: so tired today. Remember my sinful state, claim forgiveness and move on.
The story has so many strange elements. An evil talking snake. The sense of inevitability, given that they have free will to reject gods word. And I recall as a kid wondering why knowing good and evil was a bad thing.
There is a great banal accuracy in the nature of the temptation however. Did god really say that? Does God really want the best for you or is he just trying to stop you from being cool and experiencing everything? You know better than god! It’s so boringly familiar.
It’s not an outright lie about the fruit. It does change their perception, or at least the rebellion against God does. They realise they are naked and clothe themselves. They have shame. I suppose if you make yourself God you make yourself prone to massive insecurity, because you aren’t.
There is an element of “what just happened?” for me. So much is packed in such a simple story. It’s something the bible will do a lot.
Read it again today. Brain hurts God, just don’t get it. I mean I get the things you would be told to get in a sermon: our rebellion, separation of humans from God. But it’s such an odd way to tell it.
The two fruit trees, the garden around which god walks like an earthly being (though Adam becomes the symbol of a failed messiah). The agency of the snake to put tempting thoughts into their brain.
Though as an aside I do really like the chain of command blame game… It wasn’t me it was the woman, it wasn’t me it was the snake. That’s so human, anyone trying to build a case for gender flaws on this has descended to the same primary school play ground level of argument. God dismisses it as any tired parent would… You can all be cursed!
Then there is the tree of life. It’s like god has the antidote, but he won’t give it to them. And the question of why the trees are there in the first place. I suppose if you create a sentient creature, capable of free will, you only demonstrate that capacity by showing it can make bad choices, and can indeed be aware of and consider bad choices. So the tree and the serpent are concrete external representations of the capacities that make us human, free will. Perhaps it could have been more literally told as an Ingmar Bergman type psycho drama. But no one would have watched.
It is palpably sad. Third chapter in and we have tragedy, loss of innocence, and curses. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Reading again the litany of nastiness Australia has done to assylum seekers today, the truth of the fall, of evil is to easy to see. Christianity is still the best explanation I have come across for the world I know. And the most hopeful. But how much doubt must this chapter have been responsible for over the years?
So to summarise and move on:
– we have an ideal of perfect relationship of God and man, a garden of plenty where we and god walk about as equals, we are not ashamed in his presence.
– a very real and recognisable temptation and disobedience, our nature demonstrated in a narrative
– the overwhelming sadness of separation and difficulty entering the world.
I still feel that temptation, shame, sadness every day. I suspect even people who refuse to believe in God feel it. It’s human nature.
In both of these creation stories, I feel the immediacy. The “days” creation was like birth, like everyone’s creation, and the Adam and eve creation was like first love, the promise of perfection that can’t be sustained because of human nature. The honeymoon is over. It’s like the stories take everyone’s birth and everyone’s first love and document those genres in poignant narratives that show us truths about God as creator and us as fallen creation.