Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Adam's Story (Genesis 2:4)

[4] These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

Here we leave the overture of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and enter the first of five major sections divided by genealogical interludes. This first section could be called “Adam’s Story” and it has three major movements: the creation of mankind (chapter 2), the fall of mankind (chapter 3), and the spread of sin with mankind (chapter 4). The first two of these sections occur in the Garden and have a shared chiastic structure, so they are strongly tied together. The creation of humanity and the fall occurred in quick succession would be my guess.

Not that it happened in one day. Unlike in chapter 1, no one seems to want to argue that these events happened in one 24 hour time-span, even though verse 4 uses the word day. Here the equally natural meaning of the word (both in Hebrew as well as English) implying an unspecified amount of time is allowed to carry. Mostly because it is clear that too much happens for everything to occur in a matter of hours. That, and the fact that chapter one says it all happened in more than one day.

And once again we have an account that is much more interested in delivering important, theological truths about the meaning of life and the condition of sin rather than dry scientific facts. However, there are interesting details about things like rain, terrain, and geography that bear some thought as we get to them.

The first section of Adam’s Story is another creation account. It details events that occur on what chapter one designated as day six, but also things that happened after the end of the creation events. The two creation narratives differ in some ways, but not any that can’t be harmonized if one doesn’t get too hung up on details that aren’t to be taken simplistically. It helps to realize that we have two very different perspectives here. Genesis 1 is a cosmic, universal, God’s-eye view of things. Genesis 2 also shows us things that only God saw, but is generally more of an earth-bound account, focusing on mankind and the events from humanity’s perspective…

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