Because I have spent a lot of time in the Christian world, and I’ve studied a lot of the Bible fairly intently, I am finding the OT an interesting place to start this journey because rather than approaching it fresh I’m really looking at some of the questions that sent me away from the church a half dozen years ago.
I do love seeing the whole plan for salvation laid out so simply in Genesis 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
And between your offspring and her offspring;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise his heel.
I know, from reading this with Skye, that the plan isn’t laid clear to every reader, I seem to have some interpretations that she hadn’t heard before, which will make further reading interesting. But to me, the plan is clear there. The serpent (“you” in that passage) is Satan and the enmity is that it is through the offspring of woman (Jesus) that Satan will be conquered. Jesus must die (his heel bruised), but in his resurrection, Satan is eventually defeated (his head bruised).
That’s a passage that I always enjoyed when I was a believer, seeing that God had a plan from the moment of the fall, a sacrifice was made (later in that chapter God makes for Adam and Eve cloths of skin, requiring the death of an animal aka the first sacrifice), and a plan laid for the ultimate salvation of man.
Now…I still appreciate seeing the plan, but this particular section brings up so many other questions for me, that I struggle with seeing the flow of it all.
God tells Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17) and then creates Eve (Gen 2:21-22) and yet it is Eve who is blamed for the fall by Adam (Gen 3:12), God (Gen 3:16-17), and then the church. I struggle with why she is held responsible for information that we don’t see her receive. It’s so important to the rest of the story, that, as a writer, I would never leave it out.
My other huge question here is about the creation of mankind. We see the creation of one man (Gen 2:7) and one woman (Gen 2:21-22), but we also see man referred to in the plural in the creation story (Gen 1:26-27)
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of sea…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
(emphasis mine) which when combined with questions over where the wives of Cain and Seth come from, is a confusing conundrum for me. I’ll definitely be spending some time in the next few weeks thinking more about the creation story and where mankind comes from, according to Genesis.
And, in tune with questions about the creation story, Genesis 1 and 2 seem to have a slightly different order of creation and I have spent a lot of time over the years trying to unravel why there are two creation stories presented. In Gen 1 God creates light, water, land, plants, sun/moon/stars, birds and fish, livestock, and then man. In Gen 2:5-7 God creates man before vegetation
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet spring up-for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was doing up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground-then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Those two patterns seem contradictory to me and I can’t understand the duality of it.
I will try to approach this with an open mind and to ponder the questions that arise without judgement, but I am very aware of what I’m seeing as contradictions and trying to fathom how they work together which is not exactly closing me off to the experience, but it’s definitely making me look at it on a different level than I expected when I began.