“This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” (I thought the last chapter, “The Beginning”, was the story of how the heavens and the earth were created. No better way to start off your second chapter of your book, than by totally rendering your first invalid.) In this new tale of humanities origins, God creates the heavens and the earth. The earth was barren. From the dust God then creates man and then God creates vegetation for the man to be the care taker of. In the previous story, “The Beginning”, God creates vegetation on the third day, and creates both male and female on the sixth day. If this is the literal word of God I find it hard to see how such a huge discrepancy was created in the story by the infallible creator.
Returning to the tale of “Adam and Eve”, God plants a garden in the east– east of what? Jerusalem?–which he names Eden. In this garden God plants many trees that were pleasant to eat from. In the middle of the garden God also plants two trees, one the tree of life, the other the infamous tree of knowledge of good and evil. I question God’s intention when planting the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As the story progresses, God will tell Adam that he can eat from all the trees except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because “when you eat of it you will surely die”. There is no good reason for God to create this tree if God didn’t want Adam to eat from it. If God created everything God could have chosen not to create the tree. This, to me, is a clear sign of God’s malicious tendencies.
Drawing our attention back to the text, the Bible clearly states where the garden of Eden is, if it really existed. In Eden “a river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters”: the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and the Euphrates. Clearly this means that Eden would have been located somewhere outside of what would later become Mesopotamia. Now there is no archaeological evidence of Eden’s existence, but it is safe to assume that people did inhabit the region around what would become Mesopotamia. God then decides that man needed a companion, so God creates animals from the dust of the earth. God then allows man to name each animal. Man is displeased with all the companions God attempted to create for man, so, as Adam slept, God took his rib and created Eve.
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,‘
for she was taken out of man.”
The metaphor that we get from the taking of the rib emphasizing the unity of man and woman is probably the first beautiful idea in the Bible. The quote that precedes this paragraph is a beautiful metaphor of the unity of man and women. It is very poetic and would be regarded as solely a great literary line if it were from any other book. Instead, there are people who literally believe that women were made from a man’s rib. The monogamous relationship that the metaphor tries to address can be explained by evolution. Our offspring’s maturity rate is much longer than most other mammals, and requires a longer period of nurturing. The need then arose to have both males and females to help provide for the child. To encourage mates to stay together, through the process of evolution, sex became more pleasurable and created an emotional attachment amongst mates. This explanation I must concede is not as poetic, but is more truthful.
That concludes the second story of the Bible, and its second version of our origin. This second version is by far more entertaining than the first, and gives plenty of material to build off of for the stories that will follow. Join me next time as I look at “The Fall of Man”.