In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
Bit of a secondary mission statement for these posts: I’m going to do some parts in a little detail and will skim over others. As anyone who has read the Bible knows, lots of it is just filler; lists of people, lists of begettings and shopping lists for building things. I have no desire to read them in detail and I’m sure you have no desire to read me reading them! There is also going to be little rhyme or reason as to why I stop at different parts.
Genesis 1:1 starts with God doing his thing and putting together, well, everything. So, he starts off by creating night and day. Oddly though, since there is no world and the sun shines regardless, how would anyone know when sunset and sunrise occur? Anyway, He then creates Heaven and everything underneath it. Heaven and everything else appear to be separated by water. By the end of the third day, we have a planet and lots of greenery. And then the very next day he creates stars and the sun and the moon – the sun is already a star, but He creates it separately. The moon seems to get a star-like status too. By Genesis 1:31 and the end of the sixth day it’s all done – sun, moon, stars, heaven, earth, greenery, animals and a man.
Genesis 2:1 explains that God took a break. And after all that who can blame him?
Now, Genesis 1:26 explains how He made a man and a woman. Since he was in a beast creating mood, that seems fair enough really. The process is skipped over and we have two nameless people existing. But then in 2:7, after watering the world and causing the plants to grow, God creates a single man out of dust. And then he creates the Garden of Eden. So, what happened to the people in 1:26? If the man in 1:26 was Adam (sorry, maybe that should have been spoilered as we haven’t got there yet), who is the man in 2:7?
Skipping over that bit, a river was created in Eden and that river is the root of 4 other rivers which then separated 4 lands: River Pison made the land of Havilah, River Gihon made the land of Ethiopia, River Hiddekel made the land of Assyria and the River Euphrates (the laziest of all rivers as it doesn’t get a land attached to it). And then God laid down the rules. Rule 1: thou shalt not discuss Fight Club. Oops, wrong book. Rule 1: Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is no rule 2. And if this rule is broken, the penalty for a first offence is death – which prevents a second offence.
Adam then spends the rest of the chapter naming every creature in the whole world and then having his rib removed and turned into a woman. And full frontal nudity is seen.
Chapter 3:1 opens with the serpent tempting Eve. The shortness of this bit is shocking. The woman has barely been created and she’s being tempted. Now here’s the thing: eating from the Tree of Knowledge should have given Eve enough skepticism or cynicism to have seen right through the snake’s lies, something God should have foreseen really. It’s basically a “eat the fruit”, “but I’ll die”, “no you won’t”, “oh, ok then” scenario.
Having said that death will be the result of eating the fruit, he then punishes Adam and Eve by casting them out of the garden and by removing their immortality. When He said death was the result, He didn’t mean immediately, obviously. And the snake has his legs removed – the legs that we had previously not heard about. Man will have to work and Woman will have painful childbirth and will have to be ruled over by the Man. The Man that she convinced to eat the fruit of the wrong tree. I’m pretty sure we know who’s in charge in that relationship!
And then He blockades the Garden with cherubim and flaming swords.
This is a pretty good way to show how much of this must have been oral history to begin with: it jumps about, there’s no real pacing and some important bits get skipped over or are just too short. It’s possible that the story teller would have acted out parts and it would have taken longer to act than to tell or read. After a time, the words got locked down and the written version is this.
We’ll leave it there. Three short chapters in and we have the universe, human beings and the fall of Man. Next time, we start with Genesis 4:1 and how things go downhill from here.
- All the beasts and fruits and everything else