Friday, August 22, 2008

A Garden and a Tree

Adam in the Hebrew sounds like the word earth, adamah. And Adam is set in this special Garden which God has made. It is full of food bearing trees and In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then God gives the single command which is that they may eat of every tree of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they eat of that tree they will die. So that's the scenario. There are also rivers flowing out of the garden that divide into a whole bunch of rivers with names that are current even today. Stopping at verse 17 (Gen 2:17) we might reasonably ask: What's going on here?

This is highly figurative language. God is presented as the proprietor of a perfect place. From the earth he creates Man whose name is like earth and puts him in charge of taking care of the garden with only one restriction. This is fairy-tale-like. The obvious question is why is the story framed this way and why such a pointed story? — A single command with ultimate obedience required and an ultimate punishment to be imposed if the command is not obeyed.

This is clearly a story intended to teach a single primary point for it turns on a single primary command. Any reader can see already at this point that there would be no story if the command were not to be disobeyed. Obedience and disobedience are the core of the story.

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