Today’s reading, the very first reading of this adventure, is Genesis chapters 1 through 4.
Genesis is a Whirlwind!
This reading was very familiar to me. I learned about the story of creation in church, Sunday school, church camp, and through plenty of depictions in the media.
What I didn’t know, however, is that the story of creation is, like, two pages long. For some reason, I had the notion that the story of creation took up many chapters in the Bible. I was wrong. We whip through all seven days of creation (including rest day) in chapter 1, Adam and Eve are covered in chapter 2, chapter 3 takes us through the apple fiasco, and chapter 4 brings us home with Cain and Abel. Each chapter is only about two pages long.
Genesis 1: The Story of Creation
As I said, this is a very familiar story to me. The references to “let there be light” and “God saw that it was good” were frequent in my church education. Again, I’m just shocked it only lasts two pages.
This story brings up a hotly debated topic: how was the world created? I’m not here to argue about things that happened either 6,000 or several billion years ago. But I will say that this version of the Bible (NIV) made me happy in its approach to this subject. In a footnote, it states:
“The biblical view of creation is not in conflict with science; rather it is in conflict with any worldview that starts without a creator.”
Genesis 2: Adam and Eve
God creates man. Man needs a companion. God creates woman from man’s rib. God gives man and woman (Adam and Eve) run of the whole Garden of Eden, except the tree of knowledge.
Chapter 2 brings us to another hefty topic: gender disparity! My instinctual reaction when I read this chapter is along the lines of, “Of course man was made first and woman was made from him. Just starting off the world with men on top. ‘Man’ is created in the image of god, but not ‘Woman.’ Typical.” But that’s me bringing my own biases, experiences, and worldviews into the reading, which I’m actively trying to avoid.
A fun anecdote. I remember being very young, having just learned about where babies come from, and also being familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. I began questioning how a world that started with two people could become a world with a lot of people. Now that I knew how babies were made, I knew two parents plus two sons (minus one son…spoiler alert) didn’t equal great things for future generations.
Genesis 3: Sin
Fun fact: the word “sin” isn’t even in this chapter, even though it’s the story of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of knowledge.
This chapter is harsh and, as is the pattern, brings up another big topic: I don’t like the thought of a vengeful god. Apparently we’re not to the part about forgiveness yet because God is punishing Adam and Eve all over the place for this one.
I also dislike the blatant overtones that the sin of mankind is the woman’s fault. Sure, Eve got tricked by the snake. Sure, Eve offered the fruit to Adam. But Adam had the same instructions as Eve. And then Adam hides, claiming he’s doing so because he was naked. When just 10 lines before he was happy as a clam being in the buff.
This all feels like an overreaction by God and a blame-game by Adam.
The winner for least favorite quote of the chapter goes to: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Genesis 4: Cain and Abel
Murder! I love a good true crime story. Again, I thought the story of Cain and Abel would be more of a short story…not one page.
The murder part didn’t end up being the most intriguing part of chapter 4. We start to get into marriage and births in the family.
“Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant…”
OK, wait. Who is Cain’s wife? At this point in the story, I thought we only had three living characters (because of the whole Abel was murdered thing): Adam, Eve, and Cain. I’m very confused.
The chapter continues to discuss Cain’s sons, his sons’ wives, and his sons’ sons. Where did all these women come from? They just popped up out of nowhere.
In reading this chapter, I have a theory, though. Only sons are discussed (well, one “sister” is mentioned far down the ancestral line); never daughters. Women are only talked about in terms of being wives and mothers (and that one sister). Maybe Adam and Eve had a daughter and she wasn’t talked about because she’s female? But then does that mean that Cain’s wife is his sister?
I’m actually really curious about this now. I’m going to research this, and I’ll discuss my findings in a behind-the-scenes video.
The Adventure Continues
So at this point we have creation, sin, murder, and mayhem—and I’m only on page 8.
Now I’m truly questioning why I thought these stories took up so much more real estate than they actually do. Is it because they loom so large and are told over and over? Something to ponder.
Frankly, I’m not sure what’s left in Genesis, but I’ll be here for another 14 days and 46 chapters.
See you tomorrow!
Thoughts on these four chapters? Tell me in the comments!
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