We begin this wading immediately into things that start to turn over in my mind.
To start, let me say here: I don’t think the Bible is literal. I believe it is divinely inspired and it is truthful, but metaphors and allegory can hold truth without being literal accounts. I don’t think science and religion are at all incompatible — science is simply another way of exploring the world. Religion offers something different.
Stating that up front, I find the first creation account in Genesis interesting. I usually find creation myths fascinating; there are so many different ways of thinking about how the world came into being. It’s especially interesting to me that this particular story — coming up out of nothing, separation — I can see how you could fit with the idea of the Big Bang theory.
I also struggle with the creation of humankind in God’s image. I tend to think of the divine as a force so beyond our understanding, beyond the forms and ways we define ourselves. Though I may use masculine (or feminine) pronouns for ease of writing, I tend to think of God as beyond gender. But yet if we are in God’s image, what does that say?
The second account of creation gives me more trouble. Rather than man and woman both created in God’s image, woman is created as an afterthought, a helpmate. It also feels more scattered than the first account somehow, and I’m not sure how to reconcile them.
The most interesting part, though, to me is the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Let’s start with the most interesting puzzle that leaps into my mind: God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. So, if that holds true, then God already knew that the snake would tempt Eve, that the fruit would be eaten. Yet God created the snake anyway. Why? Why even have the tree of knowledge?
But then, how satisfying is it to have the obedience and worship of those who know nothing else? What does honor and allegiance mean if it isn’t freely chosen? Spiritual knowledge unlocks doors, but it turns your world upside down. You can’t unknow it. What you do with it, that’s what matters.
Even the curse of the fall — the danger and pain of childbirth, the hard work of farming and survival. It’s a curse. But at the same time, what do we hold the most dear to us? Our children and the things we produce. Would we value these so much if they came easy? Would a life of leisure in paradise offer the same satisfaction?
This has been a bit stream of consciousness, and I promise to try for more structure in future posts, so if you’ve stuck it out through the end, you get a gold star! Discussion is welcome in the comments, if any of this struck a chord.