Midnight Writer News continues its attempt to look at religion and theology critically, as it does history, news, culture, and media. We do not attempt to bash or destroy religion. We, as critically thinking students of history, news, and media, simply ask questions. Today, we will look at a few passages in the book of Genesis by first doing the reading (NIV unless otherwise noted) and then adding our thoughts and questions.
“And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing in the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)
* Good (Tov) and Evil (Raa)
* The plural ‘trees’ grow out of the ground, yet there seems to be only one tree each of the two specified.
* Does this mean that all trees at this time were pleasing to the eye and good for food or does that apply only to those specifically named?
“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you may not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16-17)
* It appears that the tree of life poses no immediate problem, but how can Adam differentiate between them?
* What knowledge was within Adam upon creation? What human instincts exist in Adam? What does he know and what must he learn?
* Adam has not been told or taught – in Genesis – to obey God above all or at all. How was he to know that this was to be so?
* After the warning, God creates Eve. Is this literary foreshadowing or is Adam being set up to fail? Did Adam have to fall for the story line to progress?
* The chasing of things that appear good but are not – is this the greatest downfall of man, even today?
“The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:2-6)
* Eve (the esha / issa: woman) received information that contradicted Adam’s (God’s).
* Eve tells the serpent that she can’t eat from the tree in the ‘middle of the garden,’ but aren’t both trees located in the middle of the garden? (Genesis 2:9)
* It’s interesting that knowledge is one of the first things desired by humans. It is a commodity and has value.
* If Adam and Eve do not yet know evil, then how could they have been able to judge the serpent?
* Adam was ‘with her.’ Did he hear the serpent contradict him? Adam never explains why he ate it.
* Eve was not at all surprised when a serpent began talking to her? Not surprised by an animal speaking? Was this so common that it brought no surprise and that Eve could understand it?
[We will continue the analysis in Part II]