In an attempt to to give some sort of honest consideration to doubts about my faith, I’m reading through parts of the Bible and taking note of:
- What claims does the Bible make about God?
- What parts don’t make sense to me?
Genesis 1 talks about the creation of everything. Genesis 2 goes into detail about the creation of (wo)man. Here’s the passage:
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Claims made about God
God seems to value work. This first passage repeats the phrase “work he had done” three times:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
And there’s what he does with Adam:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Things that don’t make sense to me
This passage seems to contradict the order of operations from Genesis 1.
Genesis 1 says:
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants[e] yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so… the third day.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… the sixth day.
And Genesis 2:
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up… then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature
First I thought that maybe “in the land” meant this particular region, but Bible Gateway’s telling me that:
So, that seems a bit of a problematic, the first two chapters of the Bible contradicting one another. At minimum, it would seem to indicate that we can’t read these two chapters as a literal, scientific account of creation.
The Chapter break doesn’t make sense to me. Genesis 2:1 (“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished…”) is the conclusion to what we read earlier in Chapter one. Genesis 2:4 (“These are the generations…”) is the start of a new train of thought. But, that’s a clerical issue, not a theological one.
It’s weird that God creates the tree of knowledge of good and evil and tells Adam not to eat from it. Why create the tree if you don’t want it eaten from?
Immediately after he tells him not to eat from the tree, God says, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” And in Chapter 3 Eve is going to talk Adam into eating from that tree. God knew that, right?
And, yeah… ripping a rib out of a man to create a woman. That’s kind of weird. Is there some kind of poetic meaning behind that? Would that imagery would have meant something to the original audience?