Reading this post, which in part reads,
In Genesis 2:15, God “took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” God acts upon humanity here, taking him and placing him in the garden with a specific task.
…got me to thinking.
The Bible is centered around Covenants. As a matter of fact, the first few pages of the text gives us covenants galore. Marriage. The Edenic Covenant. The Post-Edenic Covenant. We know that each Covenant led to another, with the biggest being what we call the ‘Old’ leading to what we have long called the ‘New.’ Further, I would postulate that humans are made persons, given personhood or divine status under, and only under Covenant with God. I realize that this is difficult to handle, mainly because we do not understand Personhood or human flourishing, which in my opinion can only be complete in God, and the more so, covenant with God. Brueggemann says something similar,
“the Old Testament has no interest in articulating an autonomous or universal notion of humanness.” its articulation of what it means to be human is characteristically situated in its own Yawhistic covenantal, interactionist mode of reality, so that humanness is always Yahwistic humanness, or we may say, Jewish humanness.” (page 57 – Walter Brueggemann, An Unsettling God (ht – Rodney))
So, in an undeveloped notion, and one which I would like your insight on, I would propose that in reading Genesis 2-3, we separate it from Genesis 1. Whereas Genesis 1 is universal, Genesis 2 pertains to Israel. (If you continue to read Genesis 1 and 2 as a mesh, you are doing violence to the Text.) In that, we find that God, as he does throughout Genesis until we get to the tribes of Israel, carves out of humanity a Person, Adam. He (see above) takes this man from out of the human species and places him in the Garden to form a covenant with him. In doing so, God inaugurates what it actually means to be human, a person, the Creation of God. Thus, Adam becomes the first person.
If we take Scripture as a grand narrative, then we understand first the nearness which God seeks with His Creation, and it is always through a Covenant in which God acts to bring to Him some segment of the populace. Second, we understand the role in which singular individuals play in that Covenant. There is Adam, Noah, Abraham and finally, Jesus Christ. All of these represent a large group. It may be that Adam is the progenitor of the Imago Dei which is only fully realized at the Incarnation. This placing of Adam, out of humanity, into the Garden of Eden created a special relationship between the Created and the Creator which was the promise and goal of God for humanity, but the Covenant was broken. Now, this view, as niave as I am in hoping that the multi-sides of the argument can come to some sort of respectful compromise, would allow the Text to remain violence free, especially in trying to get Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 to fit seamlessly together. Further, this allows for the Grand Narrative to remain pegged to an identifiable figure while allowing science to help us understand the origin of our species all the while relying upon the divine for what makes us, well, us. Finally, this places a focus on the unique relationship between God and His image.
I would like to develop this maybe. Thoughts anyone?
- Book Review: Walter Brueggemann’s An Unsettling God (thechurchofjesuschrist.us)
- Jason, C. John Collins, and the need to have Adam (thechurchofjesuschrist.us)
- Infallibility and the Mythological Adam (thechurchofjesuschrist.us)
- Even the Bible doesn’t talk about Adam (thechurchofjesuschrist.us)
- Overemphasizing Adam (thechurchofjesuschrist.us)
- Ken Ham and Fundamental Atheists Converge on at Least Two Things (thechurchofjesuschrist.us)
- A Mythical Adam? Yup (thechurchofjesuschrist.us)