Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Compare and Contrast

In academic circles the phrase compare and contrast is a mantra. It's what academics do, especially with multiple sources. Now the last entry looked at Genesis 1 through Genesis 2:3. We now enter upon new ground with Genesis 2:4. It is the garden of Eden story, a second and apparently independent account of creations.


Well yes independent. The last story ended with the creation of man on the sixth day. Now we find that in the initial verses, Genesis 2:4-7 that man is created, but "no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up"— if you go back and look you'll find that God created the plants in the first account on the third day, so if man was created before them either it was early on the third day or on the second day. Isn't there a problem here? I mean if you are a bible literalist, how is it you can reconcile the two accounts? You can't. Day three is much less than day six. What is implied is that the days don't matter. They are only there for the purpose of making the sabbath holy not for keeping a detailed account of the time of various things being created.

The Garden

After creating man God places him in a garden which He has planted ahead of time (before the other plants were planted presumably) — the chronology is decidedly muddled. The function of the garden seems to be to provide an idyllic place for man. God is depicted as full of fruit bearing trees and God gives Adam this command (Genesis 2:16-17): "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." The scene is set. We will return.

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