Reflecting on Gen. 2:18-24
What a charming―and kind of scary― story the Genesis author composed in order to teach how man and woman came into the world. It’s charming because we learn that it was not good for Adam to be alone. He needed a suitable companion. It’s scary because God, apparently, presented him with all kinds of options――birds, cattle, wild animals―in hopes that Adam would say, “That’s the ticket. I’ll take that one!”
That’s one of the many humorous clues Genesis gives us that these primordial histories are actually sacred stories shot through with deep cultural symbols. The ancients understood that the writer was simply displaying God’s immense creativity in showing the great diversity of God’s creations. I know I couldn’t sleep at night if I actually believed that the Master of the Universe tried to get Adam interested in a caterpillar as a suitable life partner.
There are other funny sections in Genesis too, that show the sacred author’s keen insight into the human heart. When God confronts Adam and Eve about their disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit, their response is classic. The woman made me do it, says Adam. The snake made me do it, says Eve. The snake, curiously, so chatty earlier, decides to stay quiet, probably because there is no one else to whom blame could possibly be assigned.
When we are, with God’s grace, enjoying an eternity of perfect peace, it will be fascinating to talk with these brilliant authors of the Genesis stories. I’ll bet we will be astonished at how much more sophisticated and insightful they were than even the best writers of our own times. The snake, I assume, will not be present for that conversation.
What is your favorite story from the book of Genesis?