September 15, 2009

More Thoughts on Genesis Continued ...

Matthew Coffin

Previously, we talked about how Adam, after naming all the animals did not find a partner suitable for him. Let us review the relevant passages of scripture immediately following the creation of man:

The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The LORD God gave man this order: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."

The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him. So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name.

The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.

The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man…

First, God commissions man to “cultivate and care for,” everything in the Garden. Second, he tells man to eat of any tree of the Garden except the tree of knowledge for, “the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." What exactly did this mean? It means that from the beginning, humanity had free will. Adam was free to love or reject God. Rejecting God, the source of love itself, would have irreparable consequences, however.

Man realizes after naming all the animals that he is alone. He longs for an other with whom he can share love and life with. Barely had man realized this when “the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,” and while he was asleep, took a rib from his side to form woman.

Upon waking, Adam is no longer genderless. He is a male person. Adam’s exclamation of joy when presented with woman by God is a profession of love - "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called 'woman,' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken."

Man is no longer alone. His original solitude is over. Together, Adam and Eve experience the bliss that is original unity.

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