Category Archives: Genesis 3

Gen 3:21 God clothing Adam & Eve

“The stark reality is that beings who possess free will don’t always hew to the hopes and expectations of their creators. If this is so with us in respect to God, it is no less so with our children in respect to us…when our children disappoint us, when they make choices we don’t approve of; when they exchange the world we have carefully crafted for them for a dubious world of their own making – perhaps we too, after all the consequences have been meted out, after all the words have been said, after all the anguish has been absorbed – perhaps we, too, can provide them with clothes for the journey”

Fohrman, David (2021) “The Beast that crouches at the door” Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel and Beyond” (page 76) Jerusalem Israel, Maggid Books 

Gen 3:17-19 thorns and thistles?

bloom blooming blossom blur

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cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return Gen 3:18-19 KJV

Is this a new creative act by God? Is the earth at large seeing new weeds because of Adam’s sin? Many a literalist will say so – despite insisting Gen 1 and Gen 2 are the same record and therefore God had ceased creative work per Gen 2:2. Further complications arise when the fossil record clearly shows thorns and thistles going back millions of years. Yet literalists will insist the thorns were a new condition (for example Robert Roberts in The Visible Hand of God [1] and the condition of the earth was changed to be cursed (eg John Morris 1989[2]. Continue reading

The Genesis of Good and Evil: The Fall(out) and Original Sin in the Bible

there is a real gravity to the divine commands and also to the divine responses to the human couple not following them. Yet paradoxically, the language of human sin, disobedience, and punishment, often imputed to the actions of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 does not appear in the chapter.”  Nor too does any explicit data about the origin of lust, sex, inclination to sin or change in human nature. “It is striking how little the Fall appears in the New Testament, given how large it has loomed in Christian imagination

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The language of Genesis 3

Contrary to the assumption of Christian doctrine, Genesis 3 never characterizes the eating of the fruit as evil or as sin, disobedience, or transgression. This sort of language is missing from the story. The language of morality is entirely absent from this account’s assessment of the first human parents. The terms that Genesis 3 explicitly names are critically important starting points for understanding the story. Rather than a story of sin, Genesis 2–3 explicitly relates a transferal of the knowledge of good and evil from the deity to the humans. Genesis 3 arguably offers a theory about what will be named only later in the story, sin in Genesis 4 and evil in Genesis 6. Instead, Genesis 3 itself tells a story before sin or evil were actualized: humans had access to the source for knowing good and evil, they exercised desire toward acquiring that source, and it issued in human fear. [1]
Mark Smith (the author of the above) does acknowledge yes it was sin, there was a commandment judgement etc etc.  But we inject a lot of meaning into the text when perhaps it has a different emphasis.  Something to consider.
[1]Smith, M. S. (2019). The Genesis of Good and Evil: The Fall(out) and Original Sin in the Bible (First edition, p. 59). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

How was death punishment if Adam was already mortal?

Adam mortal death punishment

The queue for the judgement seat of Christ will feature a lot of mortals.  Some will be changed in the twinkling of an eye to immortal.  The wicked/sinners won’t be changed but will be exiled from the presence of the Lord and to certain death.  Will any old, frail mortals in the waiting line die before they appear before the Lord?  No.  Despite being a living soul, made of the dust, sustained by the breath of life and having corruptible, weak, natural, earthy body death won’t happen – not before judgement.  The point should be obvious.  Adam was told he would surely die, banished from God’s presence and denied the tree of life.  Death was a punishment, just as it will be ultimately for mortals who know but reject the gospel.

Grasping wisdom, grasping equality

Knowing good and evil is a normal part of human development, as per the biblical use of the term.  Such knowledge was surely necessary for Adam and Eve to image God in the world, to be His co-workers in caring for Eden – maybe even in extending it (?).  The question was not whether the knowledge was needed, but rather the mechanism and timing for acquiring the knowledge. Continue reading

Did Adam need to breathe?

The Spirit of God hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty hath given me life….Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay

Could be Adam speaking but is actually Elihu in Job 33:4-6.  Adam needed to breathe.  Just like Elihu.  The point should be obvious.

“If your doctrine of the atonement pivots on a physically inherited quality then the chronological primacy of Adam is absolutely critical. If it depends on a universally shared characteristic then Adam can be seen as an exemplar (in the strict sense) not as everyone’s ultimate ancestor.”

Some limited further reading:

Why mortality? To learn.

While not speaking to creation, this extract from a 1960 article by Jean Galbraith caught our eye so we thought we would share it.  It suggests (with good reason) why Adam & Eve were necessarily subject to temptation.  Her broader subject was converting knowledge into action via the experience of good and evil. Continue reading