September 14, 2009

More Thoughts on Genesis

Matthew Coffin

Last time, we discussed the first creation account in Genesis as creation from God’s point of view. Today we will examine the second creation account found in Genesis 2 and 3. The second creation account is older than the first. God creates man out of the dust of the ground and breathes His spirit or life into Adam. Adam at this point, while he has a body and is therefore an “embodied” person, is neither male nor female. God presents Adam with all the animals of the garden for Adam to name.

This is significant on several levels. First of all, for the ancient Hebrews, to name something or someone was to be responsible for it. God gave important figures in the Old Testament new names to signify the transformative relationship when we encounter the Divine. Parents name their children – signaling in part a responsibility to nurture their offspring. In the New Testament, Simon becomes Peter after his encounter with Christ.

So Adam naming the animals signifies he has stewardship over then. Furthermore, in naming the animals Adam realizes there is no one else like him in all creation. Among all the animals there was not another person. Adam is alone. John Paul II calls this “Original Solitude.” In experiencing original solitude man (not in the sense of “male” but as “mankind”), longs for an “other” whom he can love.

More on this next time…

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