Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Today's reflection is on Genesis 3: The Fall of Ma. To read this passage click here.
Apparently, the serpent can talk. He conversed with the woman. The woman was aware of 'wisdom' and had a range of vocabulary, as did the serpent. The man's and woman's eyes were open. Were the man's eyes functional for seeing before, in order to name the woman and the other animals? Did he have a different kind of sensoral method to discern one living creature from another? Same with the woman? God said he would greatly increase the pains. Were there already pains for childbearing, or no pains at all? Perhaps Eve had a child before that is unknown to our humankind, and it is in comparison to that birthing? Clearly a lot of things are left unattended.
What we do understand clearly is that the serpent could converse. The woman was aware of levels of understanding, something called wisdom. The serpent tempted the woman and the woman subjected herself to the temptation. Her husband who was with her did nothing to stop her and he subjected himself to the temptation as well. God walked in the garden, they heard Him, they felt shame. They somehow sewed (with what material?) fig leaves together to make coverings for themselves. God confronted them, since their appearance was no longer stark naked---it was clear that a change occurred.
Adam somehow already had a name. How he was named is not written. It is written thoguh how Eve got her name--Adam named her as such for becoming mother of all mankind. God banished and drove them out, and put a guardian in front of the Tree of Life to keep them out. Cherubim with a flaming sword. Cherubs being plural and cherubim singular, it is just one cherub with a flaming sword. It is not said whether the cherubim guards the entire garden or from the other organisms, but just the Tree of Life. Even the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is not blocked.
In Chapter 2, we read that there was no man to till the ground---therefore the earth was watered by a rising mist. It was only with man's existence that rain began. So man has some experience with the Earth and tilling it. If not physical experience, then in knowledge, that it is his duty to the earth because of the stewardship God made him with. God curses the ground for doing against his command/statement/advice/counseling, and says that it will not always cooperate with his efforts.
God also says that woman's desire will be for her husband, and he will rule over her. There is established now, a hierarchy in relationships--of one above the other. There is no talk about gender and what constitutes gender. It is simply the relationship of husband and wife. There is a foreshadowing: man will strike the serpent's head as the serpent strikes his heel. Both lose in some way, but man can live, man has hope. The serpent will be crushed because its intelligent source---the area of its nostrils and ability to breathe, the area where it captures its prey and thereby nourishes itself--is destroyed. The man is temporarily decapitated in one foot, but he still has another and as we have seen with many war vets, losing one limb makes some even bolder in their way of living because they have less to lose.
There is no record of time and how many days the man and woman were in the garden. How long the conversation took. The sense of time and placed are not elucidated. While the whole earth was made, how much of that space was the garden? What becomes of the garden? What becomes of that Tree of Life? After man and woman fall, it is a mystery to us because we are not meant to know--a cherubim was set in place to guard it from being approached by any man or woman.
So from reading this, there are again, more things left to the imagination. More things heaped on for dispute because of differences in imagination; but there are the statements that are indisputable in themselves, because they are consistent as they build on each other--and we are only three chapters in to the beginning!
In my first entry for this adventure, I laid my position of not being a theologian etcetera and I'd just like to echo this statement. I open up my post to comments from other Bible-Readers
What do you think some of the answers are to the italicized questions? What are your reactions to this passage?