Archives for posts with tag: disobedience

In Genesis 6, we are confronted with a difficult reality.  We tend to think of God in abstract terms.  We also are inclined to think of God as some sort of cosmic ‘nice guy’–you know, like the teacher we have all had who was the easiest grader in the world, who liked to be ‘friends’ with the students, but from whom we learned absolutely nothing about the subject matter of the course. 

Genesis 6 presents us with a different picture of God.  Not because God is ‘mean’ or ‘angry’ per se, but because God is actually a good teacher–he may not be best friends with his students, but he challenges and admonishes them to get the best out of them.  He looks at the bigger picture, like great teachers, who know we will not truly appreciate them for another 10 or 20 years.

As one of my great teachers, Fr Paul Tarazi, used to joke, you will not see Genesis 6:6 on a bumper sticker: “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”  For some reason, that verse does not give us the warm, fuzzy feeling we like to have towards God.  But it does present us with a tough reality: we often disappoint our Creator because of our sin and disobedience. 

Although we tend to think of God in abstract terms, the Bible regulary assigns human-like attributes and feelings to God.  Genesis 6 reminds us we often grieve God.  It is a sobering thought, if we take it seriously; and one God hopes will lead us to repentance, NOT to despair.  As St Paul said: “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world” (i.e. despair) “produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

We can grieve and mope and fall into despair because of Genesis 6:6, thinking God does not love us and having no hope for our salvation.  Or, we can wake up to the reality we often grieve God, and can be motivated to change the way we live our lives.  The fact God gave humanity a second chance after the flood shows that God hopes we will choose the second option–that we will decide to repent and change our lives to live according to His commandments.

Advertisements

Before reading today’s entry, I recommend reading or, if you have already read it, calling to remembrance the 2nd half of yesterday’s entry.  In that entry I alluded to man being created in God’s image as an anti-kingly proposition.  Keep in mind the Hebrew root word for king relates to the word “possession” or “ownership,” which is very bad in the Bible–only God authentically possesses or owns things.  In Genesis 2 this criticism of the attitude of ownership and possession continues.

Eve Being “Built”

In most English translations of the Bible, Genesis 2:22 says something like: “Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman…” (NKJV).  Unfortunately, this is a poor translation.  The reason for the poor translation is understandable because a more literal translation sounds strange to the ear.  Let’s look at the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) as an example: “And Jehovah God buildeth up the rib which He hath taken out of the man into a woman…” 

This YLT is more precise/accurate.  The Orthodox Study Bible follows this more accurate translation by also using the phrase “built” rather than “made” in reference to Eve’s creation.  While this difference may seem like a minor issue to many, the distinction is important.  Keep in mind Genesis is the first book of the Bible; thus, it builds the foundation for the rest of the Bible, introducing key terms and concepts.  Throughout the rest of the Bible–clear up through the New Testament–we find God does not like humans building things.  A few chapters later in Genesis, we will hear quite clearly God’s displeasure with buildings in the story of the Tower of Babel.  Human building in the Bible generally represents human arrogance and human attachment to earthly things.

Far from being a general criticism of women, Eve being “built” is simply a sign of what is to come through Eve and through human building: disobedience towards God.

Adam’s Attitude Towards Eve

Notice in Genesis 2:18 God desires for man to have a companion “comparable to him.”  In verse 19, God made the animals of Adam’s domain and “brought them to Adam to see what he would call them.”  Adam then names each of the animals.

But the story is slightly different when Eve is built.  After building Eve, God “brought her to the man.”  Notice what is different from this approach when compared to the animals.  With Eve, God did not “see what he would call them.”  Yet, Adam, in his presumption, decides to name Eve himself.

Why is this important?  Think about the things we name: our children, our pets, perhaps our vehicles.  In all cases, when we name something it is because we have a sense of ownership (ideally, we would also have a sense of stewardship).  If we have the right to name something, it is because that person or thing is subservient to us.  Our children have no right to tell us what to do–we teach and instruct them.  We are their senior and superior. 

The attitude of ownership towards Eve is evident in Adam’s statement in verse 23.  Rather than seeing Eve as God’s gift to him and someone who God created to be comparable with him, he says: “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,” and goes on to name her, as though this new creature is his personal property. Throughout most of human history, the attitude, or even legal principle, of men owning/possessing women has prevailed.

In Genesis 2 we begin to see how humanity’s sense of ownership/pride/arrogance drives a wedge between our relationship with God, but also between our relationships with each other.