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Home > Bible Studies > BibleJourney > Genesis > Issue 10

BibleJourney: Genesis

Issue 10

ISSN 1535-5187

Forbidden Fruit: Part Two—Genesis 3.8-24
by Winn Griffin, D.Min.

Genesis

Observing the Stuff

The Key to the Story
We continue in Chapter 3. Remember, the popular version of this story in (Genesis 3.1-24) is to answer questions about how the fall occurred, or to try to identify the serpent as Satan, or to teach about the first blood sacrifices (i.e., the provision of skin to replace the fig leaf is believed to have come from God by sacrificing an animal). There is one thing that seems perfectly clear for this story and we need to assert it at the beginning of the lesson: The main thrust of the story is not to identify who's who in the garden, but to demonstrate the care and concern of the Creator God for his creation, even when they disobey him.

Time Travel: A Review
Moses most probably tells this story, as the others before it, in Genesis to the Israelites against the backdrop of Polytheism. He instructed them as they sat at Mt. Sinai, having left a polytheistic society in Egypt [ Map ], and journeying toward a polytheistic society in Canaan, that there is but one God and he is the one who had delivered them from Egypt and was moving them toward the land he had promised their forefathers. This is where the tale of the serpent comes into the picture (see below for fuller discussion). In the ancient world of this time, the serpent was believed to be divine and was often worshipped because of his ability to bring health, fertility, immortality, and wisdom. It is likely that the storyteller was giving Israel yet another reason to worship the one and only God, and not any other god.

I know this is tough territory for Evangelicals who have somewhat been given a steady diet of Creationism and Satanism from these early chapters of Genesis. I trust that you stick in here and listen to the text and the background into which is was originally given and hear what the text is saying, even if it runs counter to what you have "always been taught."

Overview of Genesis: A Review Genesis 3.1-24
The stories before in Genesis demonstrate a loving God and an obedient creation. The story is about to change. This story (Genesis 3.1-24) is about how humankind decided to disobey God and the consequence of such a decision.

The following is a quick overview of the chapter that we are studying in this and the following two lessons. The narrative section of Genesis 3.6-8 is book ended by two exchanges of dialogue that involve the four actors in this account (God, Adam, Eve, and the serpent).

The first book end is the serpent and the woman interchange (Genesis 3.1-5)

The second book end is the questioning of the man and woman by God (Genesis 3.9-13)

The next sections of the story are about man's reaction, the naming of Eve, and the skin garments (Genesis 3.20-21)

The present story ends with a divine monologue (God is talking to himself) that determines the couples' expulsion and the execution of the decision (Genesis 3.22-24).

The former story (Genesis 2.4b-25) is the near background for understanding the snake's challenge of the first human couple. In the previous story we are told about the life of this first couple in the garden, which demonstrates to the hearer of the story what will be lost by the human couple for a poor decision. Without the previous story we would simply have no way of knowing what was lost by the bite taken from the fruit.

The next story (Genesis 4.1-26) demonstrates the aftermath of the regrettable deed that is recorded in our present story. Therein Cain murdered his brother Abel and the disobedience that spreads from Adam and Eve to Cain spreads through his descendants.

Interpreting the Stuff

Genesis 3:1-7: An Overview
As these verses open, Adam and Eve heard the thunder (the word translated sound is often connected with thunder in the Old Testament) of the Lord moving about in the garden in the wind of the storm (cool of the day).

God begins the conversation with a question. Where are you? We may note that God is not ignorant of where Adam and Eve are; he is simply drawing them out of their hiding.

Adam's response demonstrates the two things he did wrong: first, he hid and, second, he blamed his spouse and God (12) for his present predicament. Eve fairs no better and blames the serpent (13b). What the first couple had in common was their refusal to accept responsibility for their actions. (Sounds familiar, huh?)

God interrogated Adam, Eve, and the serpent. His questions were designed to bring them to confession, not to gain him information. He knew what they had done.

The serpent is condemned to crawl and be in constant warfare with humankind. As Israel first heard this it was a word of comfort. They were being told that as they moved forward to conquer the land, they would have both victories and defeats. This story prepared them for such events that would happen in their future. The serpent would eat dust. Dust as food was a typical description of the world of the dead in the ancient world. Dust filled the mouth of a corpse. This was a metaphor for death. While the serpent would ultimately win some battles over humankind, humankind would ultimately crush his head. Keeping the serpent down on his belly is in contrast to the serpent raising its head to strike. The serpent on its belly was non-threatening. To tread on the serpent's head simply means to defeat it.

The judgment given to Eve was that she would have pain in childbirth and that her husband would rule over her. Childbirth pain world be a constant reminder of sin. Some believe that Genesis 3.15 is the first mention of Jesus in the Old Testament. It is often called the protoevangelion. At best this text suggests to the first listeners that evil will not always dominate human beings.

Adam had to toil in his work as a constant reminder of sin. The entire purpose for the gods to create people was to relieve the gods of their toil, unlike the biblical account, in which people were to rule and became burdened with toil only as a result of their disobedience to the Creator God. In the ancient world, marriages were sometimes arranged. These arranged marriages downplayed the role of romantic love which was so prevalent in the modern age. In a labor poor society like the ancient world, men and women had to work together as a team. Pregnancy and childcare periodically restricted a woman's work in the field or in the shop. But for the couple's survival they had to share labor and produce many children to help. Husband and wife had their roles, but they worked together as a team for survival. In the garden they were created co-equal. In the fall, they lost their equality.

Genesis 3.8
The description of God "walking" in the garden is anthropomorphic and suggests that he enjoyed fellowship between himself and our first parents. "In the cool of the day," or "the breezy time of the afternoon," or "at the time of the evening breeze" forms a picture of comfort and relaxation. It was toward sundown that the first couple heard God walking in the garden.

"Walked with God" is an expression that was a favorite of the storyteller in Genesis. It pictured the righteous conduct of the heroes of Israel including Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. When the first couple heard God, they hid in fear. They did not anticipate a cordial time of fellowship with their God. The couple who had previously hid their nakedness from each other by making aprons of fig leaves were now attempting to hide themselves from God in the trees of the garden. The storyteller does not comment on exactly how one can camouflage him or herself with trees and escape detection by God.

The presence of God is also noted by his "walking" in the camp and Tabernacle (Lev. 26.12; Deut 23.15). Here we see another comparison between the garden in which the first couple lived and the Tabernacle in the wilderness where Israel was first hearing this story. The Hebrews recognized that God demanded holiness and obedience if God were to continue to "walk" among his people.

Genesis 3.9-13
The next scene is an inquest by God. The actors are addressed in the opposite order to their appearance in the preceding scene (now: man, woman, snake-before: snake, woman, man). In this section the sins of the various characters are summoned from them. There is a certain kind of gentleness about the questions. The Creator God is now pictured as the Missionary God who was seeking the disobedient and fallen. The storyteller reverts back to the term "Lord God" as a hint that God was still man's covenant partner as well as his creator and judge.

Genesis 3.9
The phrase "the Lord God called" would have been understood by the Hebrews at Sinai as an enraged suzerain who was calling his covenant partner for an explanation of his or her acts. The storyteller exposes the couple as somewhat naïve and childish in their game of hide and seek. If God had asked, "why are you hiding?" instead of "where are you?" his question would have drawn attention to the futility, silliness, and stupidity of the couples' attempt to hide from their maker. God's question is directed only to the man even though both were hiding. Just like a parent, who might see where his children are hiding, might call out for them, "where are you?" trying to get them to show themselves. We can assume that this is what happened here, because the couple emerged from their hiding place. They replied, because they understood God's question as an invitation to come out and explain their behavior.

Genesis 3.10
The man is not willing to tell a lie to his Creator. He comments only on his behavior, "I hid myself," not on the behavior of the woman. The answer Adam provided to God does not answer the question God asked but answers another question: "Why are you hiding?" This seems characteristic of fallen humankind; we seem to answer questions that are not being asked in order to avert attention away from our situation.

Genesis 3.11
The next two questions in the conversation are not those of an ignorant questioner. The formation of the questions suggests that God, as the detective, is prodding his creation to confess their guilt. The response of Adam produces a further inquiry from God. The first question, "who told you that you were naked?" may sound somewhat strange to the reader/hearer. Being naked is not something about which one is ignorant. But rather than pausing to give Adam an opportunity to answer, God asked a second question. This question is a prosecutor's question. We may note that God did not charge the man with transgression but rather allowed him to acknowledge his disobedience. The question urges a confession rather than a condemnation.

Genesis 3.12
A new program had been booted in Adam. He looked for someone to blame for his sorry condition. The closest one to him was the woman given to be his helper. She received the full force of his blame along with God, who is faulted for giving the woman to Adam in the first place. The effects of sin could not be more observable: Adam turned against his companion and is alienated from his all-caring Creator. She was a mistake and God was mistaken for putting her in Adam's life. By shifting the blame Adam may have hoped to evade being accountable for his autonomous actions. Through rationalization the criminal becomes the victim. People are often given to justify their own poor conduct by pointing to the fate that God has given them in life.

Genesis 3.13
God now turns his attention to the woman and asked her to explain by questioning her actions. Adam's partner who was blessed to tend to the garden with him was now a partner in his crime. She responded no differently than Adam. She shifted the blame to the serpent. While she shifted the blame to the serpent, she does not blame God as Adam did by saying something like, "the serpent whom you made and the man to whom you gave me." She openly admitted that she was tricked or deceived. The serpent fed her a line, presented an attractive proposition, and she bought the goods.

Genesis 3.14-19: An Overview
The judgment oracle of God assigned judgment to the serpent first (14-15), then to the woman (16) and finally to the man (17-19). In each citation the punishment will correspond to the nature of the crime. Each oracle consists of a penalty that is followed by a description of the consequence. The serpent is not given an opportunity to reply.

  • For the serpent the penalty is humiliation (14a) and the consequence is his defeat by the woman's seed.
  • For the woman the penalty is painful labor in childbirth (16a) and the consequence is conflict with her husband (16b)
  • For the man the penalty is painful labor in agriculture (17-18) and the consequence is conflict with the ground.

There are only words of condemnation for the serpent. The man and woman receive God's continued concern and provision even in the midst of their punishment. It is important to note that curses were uttered against the serpent and the ground, but not against the couple. The order of the narration of the sin and the sinner is the reverse of the order in which each comes under God's judgment. The sin of the man (9-11), the sin of the woman (12), and the sin of the serpent (13) are a chiastic arrangement with the judgment of the serpent (14-15), the judgment of the woman (16) and the judgment of the man (17-19). It looks like the following:

Sin of Man
     Sin of Woman
          Sin of serpent
          Judgment of serpent
     Judgment of Woman
Judgment of Man

A chiastic arrangement refers to an inverted parallelism or sequence of words or ideas in a phrase or clause, sentence, paragraph, chapter, or an entire literary work. This was an often-used literary form in Hebrew poetry. It was used in both writing and speaking.

Genesis 3.6-7
The first occurrence of a divine curse appears in the curse of the serpent. The root of the word curse, which is used here appears fifty-five times in the Old Testament, mostly in the Pentateuch with eight of the occurrences happening in Genesis. It is also in Deuteronomy 27-28 in the list of blessings and curses of the covenant. The idea of curse would be of particular interest to the Hebrews at Sinai as they had just received the Lord-Servant treaty with its blessings and curses.

The punishment of the serpent has three aspects:

  1. It is consigned to crawl on its belly
  2. It is given a diet of dust
  3. Its ultimate destruction will be from the seed of the woman

The food laws of the Mosaic covenant declare that animals whose locomotion is on the ground are to be treated as unclean and should be avoided (Lev. 11.42).

The eating of dust is a common reference to personal humiliation found elsewhere in Scripture (Micah 7.17; Ps. 72.9; Isa. 49.23). This is not to say that snakes live on dust, rather it is figurative for humiliation. Thus, the snake will live a life of humiliation in the natural world. It is obvious that snakes do not eat dust and no ancient writers believed that they did. It is fruitless to see in this particular verse an etiology for why snakes no longer walk on legs or why they lost their legs. If a change in locomotion is what occurred and the story is told to help the hearer to understand that purpose, then to be consistent one must also allow the decree to eat dust to be a change in the snake's diet. The writer clearly intends crawling on the belly and eating dust to carry symbolic recognition. The end result: the snake will never improve its stature. It will bear the curse all the days of its life.

Genesis 3.15
This verse is one of the most famous in Scripture. Interpreters fall into two categories:

  1. Those who see in the decree a messianic understanding
  2. Those who see nothing of the kind

There are at least three difficult issues that await those who try to interpret this part of the story:

  1. The meaning of the verb that describes what the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent will do to each other.
  2. The understanding of "offspring."
  3. The identification of the "it" who is to crush the serpent's head.

Other than that, no problem!

So let's dig in. The final destruction of the serpent will come at the hands of the woman's descendant. The hostility between the snake and the woman's seed is clearly instigated by God. The serpent was instrumental in undoing the woman and in turn the woman will ultimately undo the serpent. The serpent has a life expectancy that will come to a violent end.

There are three observations to make. First, let's look at the verb crush/strike (sup). It will sup your head and you will sup its heel." In such close quarters it seems likely that the word should be translated by the same English word in both places. There is no evidence in the Hebrew text to support a divergent reading. The NIV translates the first sup as curse and the second sup as strike at. This translation creates the impression that the blow struck by the serpent is fatal; its head is crushed, while the blow unleashed by the serpent against the woman's seed is painful but not deadly. The seed just comes away with a bruised heel. Such a shift in the translation is not only artificial, but it places on the text a focus that is not naturally there.

The precedent for translating sup in these two different ways comes from the Vulgate. The Vulgate used a Latin word which meant "to crush, grind, bruise for the first occurrence, but used another Latin word which means "to lie in wait, to lie in ambush, to watch" for the second occurrence. The Septuagint (LXX), on the other hand, chose to translate both occurrences of sup by tereo (to watch, guard).

Second, let's observe the word "offspring or seed." The hostility ordained by God is to take place between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. In the vast majority of cases where seed (zera) appears, it refers to an individual child, an immediate offspring rather than a distant descendant.

However, in a number of passages seed is a collective noun referring to a distant offspring or a large group of descendants (Gen 9.9; 12.7; 13.16; 15.5, 13, 18; 16.10; 17.7-10, 12, 21.12; 22.17-18). In these passages a term like "posterity or offspring" would capture the collective sense of seed.

Finally, we can look at the "it." The question is whether one translates the "it" as "he, she, or it." The ancient versions give various alternatives. The Vulgate suggests "she." (go figure!). The LXX has autos (he) even though the antecedent is spermatos, which is neuter in Greek. The LXX would appear to have had a messianic understanding of the verse. The independent personal pronoun (hu) in Hebrew appears more than 100 times in the Old Testament, but only here does the LXX translate it with autos (he). The Targums, Jewish Pseudepigrapha, and later rabbinic commentators, however, generally viewed the "seed" as collective for humankind. Christian interpreters are mixed:

  • Paul identified Christ as the "seed" ultimately intended in the promised blessing to Abraham (Gal 3.16)
  • Justin and Irenaeus interpreted the woman of Genesis 3.15 as the virgin Mary by drawing a parallel with Eve
  • Greek Fathers, such as Chrysostom, viewed Genesis 3.15 as a depiction of the struggle between Satan and humanity
  • Others interpreted "seed" as the church
  • The Latin Fathers such as Augustine with others allegorized or moralized the verse, indicating a collective use
  • Other Latin Fathers saw in the verse a specific reference to the virgin birth
  • Ambrose first quoted Genesis 3.15 as not "her seed" but "the woman's seed"
  • Luther took "her seed" as reference to both humanity in general and Christ in particular Calvin demurred such a view and applied it as a collective, not to all humanity, but rather to the church under the headship of Christ, which would prove victorious (quoting Rom 16.20)

Israel at Sinai might understand this phrase as "from time to time you will lose battles, but the ultimate victory will be yours." For the Hebrews who had just left the captivity in Egypt, hostility began with a purge of Hebrew children from which Moses was delivered. It climaxes with God's tenth plague against the house of Pharaoh and the Egyptian's firstborn.

The Christian tradition has referred to Genesis 3.15 as the first protevangelium. Historically interpreters have come to different conclusions about whether "her seed" refers to an individual or a collective community (see above). While a messianic interpretation may be justified in the light of subsequent revelation (NT), it would perhaps be wrong to suggest that this was the narrator's own understanding for the first hearer.

Genesis 3.16
There is no "curse" that relates to the woman's suffering unlike the penalties announced against the serpent and the man (ground v. 17). There is much controversy in regards to the interpretation of this verse. It is almost as famous as the verse above. There are four basic interpretations of Genesis 3.16:

  1. Hierarchy is a creation ordinance, but it was distorted by sin
  2. Hierarchy is a creation ordinance and judgment includes a blessing restoring it
  3. There is no subordination before the fall, but Genesis 3.16 is a description, not a permanent prescription for the man-woman relationship
  4. There is no subordination before the fall and Genesis 3.16 prescribes a new pattern

Traditionally the woman's submission to her husband has been accepted as a part of the created order, man first, woman second. Others see the submission as a new state of affairs for the woman resulting from sin. Luther, in the Reformation Period, read the woman's submission as a consequence of the fall, not a part of the created order.

The penalty given to the woman impacted her in two ways:

  1. Childbearing
  2. Her relationship with her husband.

First, the "painful labor" literally "your pain and your childbearing." The couplet is to be understood as a hendiadys (where two words no longer describe two discrete parts of a pair but a single unit). Her punishment nurtures hope since it assumes that she will live to bear children. While it signals hope, it also is a perpetual reminder of sin and the woman's part in it.

Second, her sin tainted her relationship with her husband. The word "desire" (NIV) appears two more times in the Old Testament (Gen. 4.7; Song of Songs 7.10). The meaning of "desire" in this verse is highly disputed. It has been explained in the following ways:

  • As sexual desire based on the passage in the Song of Songs (7.10) and the reference to childbirth in Genesis 3.16
  • A contention that Eve's submission is a penalty only when her husband takes advantage of his position and mistreats her
  • Genesis 3.16 is not part of the judgment on the woman. It is a description of the inherent consequences of sin

Genesis 4.17 is a close companion to our verse here at 3.16 and may have something to say about its meaning here. In Genesis 4 "sin" is like an animal that, when stirred up, will assault Cain. Sin's "desire" is to overcome Cain and Cain's responsibility is to exercise "rule" or "mastery" over sin.

"Desire" and "rule" are closely related in Genesis 3.16 just like they are in Genesis 4.17. The woman's "desire" is to overcome him while he "rules" over her. This is a condition of the fall. We cannot understand the divine word "he will rule over you" as a command to impose dominance any more than verse Genesis 3.16b is an exhortation for the woman to suffer as much as possible during childbirth. It is a distortion of the passage to find in it justification for male tyranny.

There is a close relationship in the first chapter of Genesis where we are told that the "larger light" will "rule" over the day and the "smaller" light will "rule over the night. The word "rule" there (Gen. 1.16-17) is in the same family as the word "rule" here. This may provide us another picture of what it means to "rule" over. The basic concept is not power but light giver. The word in more inclined to bear the mark of "giving to" rather than "power over."

Genesis 3.17-19
The final judgment is directed against the man (Genesis 3.17-19). It is the longest and fullest of all the judgments. His penalty fits his crime also. The ground is cursed on his account and will produce a harvest of thorns and thistles. In the garden the ground was under the man's care and was a source of joy. It is still under his care, but it will now turn to a source of pain and man wearily ekes out his existence.

Many commentators believe that in this verse we have the first instance of Adam being used as the man's name.

"Because you obeyed your wife," was man's fundamental mistake. Literally it reads, "listened to the voice of," which is an idiom that means, "obey."

Five times in three verses eating is mentioned. Man's offense consisted of eating the forbidden fruit and he is punished in what he will now eat. The toil that lies behind the preparation of every man's labor to produce food for his family is a constant reminder of his judgment and is made more painful when it is set against what was lost in the garden.

Work is not a punishment for sin. Man was placed in the garden to cultivate it. He had a vocation before the fall. It is rather the hardship and frustration that will attend his work that constitutes the curse.

Relief from this toil only comes when man dies. (There is not anything about retirement in Scripture). Death was exactly what God had forewarned and what the serpent had denied. Death is the reversal of man's God-given state of being a living being. This reversal is the deterioration of the body that will return to the dust from which it was taken.

Genesis 3.20-24: An Overview
Subsequent to their sin, the humans experienced the penalty for their disobedience. Their ease with one another is shattered, for they cover their nakedness. Their communion with God is broken, and they hide from the one who created them in his image. Their grasp of truth is weakened as they blame others for what they each have done. Fractures in friendship, fellowship, and integrity are all causalities of sin.

Sin begins with mistrust of God and includes a craving for what harms one's self. Sin neglects revelation of truth and ultimately concludes in destruction.

At the conclusion of the pronouncements by God, Adam names his wife "Eve." The word "Eve" is connected with the word for "life or living." It is a name of dignity. Here is hope in the midst of despair.

The last act of God before the couple is expelled from the garden is one of care and concern. He provides for them clothes. There is no mention of sacrifice in the text. The text is simply silent. To say more than the text is to say more than God was ready to reveal. There are some items that God simply leaves unsaid because they need not be said.

Finally, God banished Adam and Eve from Eden and restricts their reentry.

Genesis 3.20-21
Two events signal the continuing hope for the couple following the pronouncement of judgment:

  1. Adam names his wife Eve. Her name means living and is traditionally rendered Eve Her name occurs sparsely in Scripture (Gen 4.1; 2 Cor 11.3; 1 Tim 2.13). Adam explains why she is named Eve. She is the mother of all living for all human life will have its source in her body.
  2. God's provision of animal skins for garments. Although the text does not specify that animals were slain to provide these coverings, it is a fair implication and one that likely would be made in the Mosaic community, where animal sacrifice was pervasive. Since the garden narrative shares in tabernacle imagery, it is not surprising that allusion to animal sacrifice is found in the garden also. Though an oblique reference to animal sacrifice, the garden narrative paints a theological portrait familiar to the recipients of the Sinai revelation who honored the tabernacle as the meeting place with God. Sacrifice renewed and guaranteed that special union of God with his people. A tunic was the basic garment worn next to the skin. It was a long shirt that reached to the knees and sometimes to the ankles. The human couple could only produce an inadequate loincloth made of fig leaves. God provided them with proper attire. It is probably reading too much into this verse to see in the coats of skin a hint of the use of animals and blood in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament.

These two events indicate that the couple will survive through the gracious intervention of their God.

No one really knows what prompted Adam to name his wife at this juncture of the story. As of this point she has not mothered any children. But she was going to have a son in the near future. The text says that Eve was the mother of all living. But she has yet to give birth to a second generation. Sometimes the Hebrew language uses a perfect to express future action. Such usage is called a prophetic perfect, for the use of the perfect reinforces the certainty of the distant fact.

Genesis 3.22-24
This is the seventh and final scene and it matches the first. In scene 1 the garden was planted for man. He was allowed to eat of the tree of life. His job was to till and guard the garden. The storyteller goes into great detail to describe the lushness of the garden so the reader/hearer understands the garden as man's perfect home where he enjoyed peace with his Creator.

In this the seventh scene, man is expelled from the garden. He no longer will have access to the tree of life. Instead of Adam and Eve guarding the garden, an armed cherubim is stationed there to keep them out. Adam who was appointed to till the garden will till the cursed land instead.

The exile of Adam and Eve from the garden is decisive, definitive, and swift. This passage continues to share the imagery of the Tabernacle by allusion. The cherubim at the "east side" of the garden parallel the direction the Tabernacle and Temple were entered. Entrance to Eden's garden was guarded by the cherubim who are known from the Old Testament as winged, composite beings associated with the presence of God (Ps 18.10). Their golden images formed the covering of the ark (Exodus 25.18-22) and decorated the curtains of the holy of holies (Ex 26.1, 31; 36.8, 35).

Since man became like God (one of us) knowing good and evil, God must move to keep him from staying in the garden. God had hardly finished speaking before man is exiled from the garden.

The cherubim were to "guard the way to the tree of life." The golden candlestick in the Tabernacle represented both the tree of life and the presence of God.

These features in the story combine to suggest that the Garden of Eden was a type of sanctuary where God was uniquely present in all his life-giving power. The Tabernacle was now the garden for the Hebrews. It was the presence of God that man forfeited when he ate the fruit.

Doin' the Stuff!
  • What in our disobedience makes us think that we can hide from God?
  • How does answering a question that is not asked avert attention away from your present situation?
  • What have we been taught about God's character that when we disobey we believe that God is going to be angry and judgmental? Try to discover God as one who receives confession rather than first handing out condemnation.
  • How often do you think of yourself as victim when in fact you are the causation of a problem?
  • What about the story of the disobedience of Adam and Eve makes us want to take the props of the story and make them literal?
  • How does this approach damage the text and the meaning of the text for the first hearer?
  • Could it be that the "rule" of a husband over a wife is a characteristic of the fall, but in the redemption of Jesus that this has been removed? (One must note that the story is about a husband and wife, not men and women in general, thus it is a fallacy to think that this story teaches male domination over females.)
  • Where is your garden?
BibleHandbook: Resourse Stuff!

Read the following Dictionary Articles from Easton's Bible Dictionary, or the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Easton's is about a century old, therefore, some of the information is not current with newer Bible Dictionaries. ISBE is about seventy-five years old. You might read the articles off-line in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try The Revell Bible Dictionary now out of print but still can be ordered from amazon.com. One of these should suit your personal needs.

Genesis

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Copyright © 2002, Winn Griffin. All rights reserved. BibleJourney: An Almost Weekly Bible Study is a service of SBL Ministries. Unless otherwise stated, scripture quotations are from the International Standard Version (ISV) of the Bible®. Copyright © 2001 by The ISV Foundation, 2200 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705-7016. Used by permission of Davidson Press, Inc. All rights reserved internationally.

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