We started our path on evaluating the Bible with Unbiased Bible Study – ‘Genesis, Chapter 1’ . We learned about the first six days of creation, and we already have mountains of questions regarding the dissonance between what we know about our world and what the Bible says it took for it to come to be. Now we can proceed to the second chapter of Genesis, where we’re introduced to God’s greatest creation – mankind.
The Seventh Day Makes No Sense
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.Genesis 2:1, 2:2
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Some christians like to claim the issue behind God’s actions on the seventh day is a matter of poor translation. The hebraic word for “rest” can also mean “to cease” or “stop” – leading them to point out that God never said he ‘needed’ to rest, only that he did; and by extension, that God simply saw fit to finish his creation then and there.
But if the world was so perfect, why doesn’t the story end here? Why do we need God to stick around anyways? Hell, if God had decided then and there that the world was finished, Earth may have actually been a beautiful place. Animals, plants, seas and land, a planet without the “scourge” of humanity. And that’s not my belief, by the way, it’s the Bible that depicts humans as flawed and broken throughout – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.Genesis 2:3, 2:4, 2:5
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
Sources on this subject are completely contradictory. Explanations for why God blessed the seventh day include that ‘God had always intended for the seventh day to be a day of rest’ and yet as we just assumed for the christians’ sake, God’s definition of rest on the seventh day is meant to have nothing to do with reinvigoration. This goes to show how some chrisitians will bend the word of the Bible to fit whatever narrative they need to make one argument, and be willing to flip-flop over to the other side to contradict it themselves by making another argument.
Clay Soldiers in the Garden of Eden
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.Genesis 2:6, 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The idea of life being made from earth is as old as mythology itself. The Bible shares this origin story with Islam, but also with the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Sumerians, Chinese, Koreans and a handful more. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is created by the goddess Aruru out of clay to be a partner for Gilgamesh, “mighty in strength”. According to Hindu mythology, the mother of Ganesh — Parvati — made Ganesh from clay. The point is, the idea that humans were formed from the mud and the clay of our planet is neither original nor true.
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.Genesis 2:8, 2:9
God creates the Garden of Eden to be mankind’s first home – and as God is apparently perfect, so should be the home he created for his people. It’s described as a “pure” place and yet right there in the middle stands the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
A common misconception amongst creationists and evolutionists is that the tree in question is the “tree of knowledge”, whereas it’s important to note that it is in fact the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” – implying that the fruit of the tree would allow mankind to know evil as it had not known before, rather than provide them with divine knowledge of some kind.
Either way, what in God’s name is this tree doing here? Did God intend for mankind to eat from the tree of good and evil? If not, what is it’s purpose?
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.Genesis 2:10, 2:11, 2:12, 2:13, 2:14
The Bible attempts to help us understand more about the location of the garden of Eden by telling us about the four rivers, Pison, Euphrates, Gihon and Hiddekel (a.k.a Tigris) although their ability to tell us more about the garden of Eden is limited. Tigris and Euphrates are two rivers that exist today, strongly connected to the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia. This makes sense, as most of if not all of Genesis is said to be inspired by Mesopotamian myths and legends.
The issue is though, we have no way of knowing if the Tigris and Euphrates we see today would even be comparable to the ones mentioned in the Bible. According to the very book we’re reading, a global flood has yet to come through and change the face of the earth forever.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.Genesis 2:15
I don’t often see many people having a problem with passages like this, but to me, this is a perfect example for why God necessarily had to find a better way than scripture to teach humanity about the beginning of everything. It’s impossible to decypher what he means.
“took the man, and put him in the garden”
Did he pick him up? Wave his arm and float him over like he’s using Wingardium Leviosa? Teleport him at the snap of his fingers? Nobody seems to care – and I suppose if you’re willing to accept that he can create anything, you’re willing to accept that he can do anything; but I like to remind myself in moments like this that God’s power, at least in the Bible, seems absolutely unlimited, even after his “rest”.
How to Sabotage your own Creation
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.Genesis 2:16, 2:17
I can’t say that if I ever had divine powers I would be as careless and cruel as God in this situation. He creates Adam, taunts him with the tree of good and evil, and tells him that if he eats it, he will die. This is of course wrong, because even according to scripture, the fruit of the tree does not leave mankind dead if they eat from it.
Why create the tree, put it within their reach, and demand they subdue their curiosity? To assert dominance? Hardly, because God knew Adam would betray him. To give mankind free will? Doubtful, as God’s version of free will is akin to holding a gun to someone’s head and saying “the choice is yours”.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.Genesis 2:18, 2:19
In biblical times, naming something was a great honor, and insinuated dominance over or ownership of the named. As God has Adam name the birds and the animals, he is solidifying Adam’s dominion over them and searching for a ‘companion’ for hm.
It’s interesting, because at first, one might think God is looking for something or someone to be Adam’s equal. The truth is, God seeks a pet, he seeks property for Adam. Someone who will provide him with children the way the chickens provide him with eggs and the cattle provides him with milk.
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;Genesis 2:20, 2:21, 2:22
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
When God creates Eve, he creates her from man. The natural balance of masculine and feminine traits that hold up biology and social science are chucked out the window because, according to scripture, man came first. Women were an afterthought, and here we see a tiny glimmer of the sexism that will be riddled throughout the Bible.
There would of course be nothing wrong with observing such an event. It’s when you make it up, when you fabricate a story that fits your narrative, and you say it correlates directly with the real world – that’s when we start to run into some issues. When you do that, each example of women being misstreated is as much the word of God as the 10 commandments.
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.Genesis 2:23, 2:24, 2:25
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
The Book of Genesis tries here to present the world as pure and innocent as it can, because the actions of God and that which he holds dominion over is about to set off a chain reaction that will plunge the world into darkness and sin, simply because his creation with free will acted on that free will.
The fact that they were naked and not ashamed is presented as the optimal option, the best, most innocent stage of their existence, and yet the celebration and desexualisation of our bodies, a.k.a the seperation of shame from nudity is one that is often denounced by the religious more than anyone.
It’s a strange moment, really – the world at this moment in the story does seem – despite incoherancy with the observations we’ve made about the real world – like paradise. A world full of life, and without sin. An entire world of innocence. But on the doorstep of this chapter is chapter 3, where we’re introduced to original sin and Satan himself. In short, it’ll get worse before it ever gets better.