29 January 2017

A Sunday School Lesson: Creation 2.0

In Genesis chapter 2 verse four begins the first of eleven sections called "The generations of . . . ."

This first section is "The Generations of the Heavens and of the Earth"--although the subsequent passages describe something very different.

The section opens with an explanation of how God had not created rain. Instead, a mysterious mist came up from the ground to water all vegetation.

Then begins what appears to be a second account of the creation of land animals--including man. Readers recall that in Gen. 1:24-28 God created the land animals and  mankind on day 6.

"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.  And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Genesis 1:24-28

In Gen. 2:4-17, however,  God creates man again--this time out of the dust of the ground. He puts Adam in a garden located in Eden, watered by four rivers. God directs him to eat of every tree except one called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only later does God create animals, which he brings one by one to Adam to name. All this came about as a search for a companion, When God and Adam find no compatible companion among the animals for Adam,

 "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.Genesis 2:18-25

Christians usually try to solve the problem by asserting that the second passage is merely an elaboration of the first. If it is, then it denudes the first passage of a meaningful narrative.

A sacrifice they are more than willing to make . . .

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