procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

the story of Genesis 2-3

there's a pretty clear chiasm, which Blocher (In the Beginning, 1984) and Walsh (JBL, 1977) both explain:
A 2.4-17 God made man and put him in the garden
    B 2.18-25 God made the animals and the woman
        C 3.1-5 Dialogue 1: between the snake and the woman
            D 3.6-8 The Sin
        C’ 3.9-13 Dialogue 2: between God and his disobedient creatures
    B’ 3.14-21 God declares his verdict on the animal and the humans
A’ 3.22-24 God kicks the man out of the garden
(with my adapted titles).

the thinking i was doing a couple of years ago on this topic led me to think this story is best read as a story, explaining the way things are. that is, in order to explain the existence of a tree lying on the ground, you can talk about a wind having blown it over. now there's a big disanalogy here, in that you can accurately hypothesise with a fallen tree in a way you can't with the universal sinfulness of humanity.

the difficulty comes when within the story itself there are various aetiologies - childbirth hurts because of sin; snakes don't have legs because of sin; work is hard because of sin - but how do i then talk about the relevance of the story to the state of affairs now? that is, can i say more than that it teaches us that the way things are isn't right, and that they will one day be made right (particularly now we know Jesus was raised bodily)?

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