The Second Creation Story

Some thoughts stemming from reading Genesis 2.

  • In the second creation account, we see a different creation story unfold. In Genesis 2:18-19, God decides that it is not good for man to be alone and wants to find him a partner. For many years, I simply imagined God simply snatching that rib out of Adam almost immediately and creating Eve. However, that’s not exactly how the bible reads. After God decides that Adam needs a partner, he creates all the animals and birds and brought them to Adam to name which seems quite a bloody daunting task if you ask me. It’s not like Adam had a dictionary or Google for that matter to find new words to name the animals. And finally, when Adam completes his task of naming all the animals, there is still not a suitor for him. Talk about an unproductive day. Or week. Or maybe even longer. I guess it’s then that God takes matters into his own hands, puts Adam to sleep, and stealthily steals a rib. And from this, the first woman is created. Donald Miller has suggested that maybe God did this so that everyday of his life, Adam would fully appreciate and cherish Eve, because he would remember the long, grueling process it took to obtain this suitable partner. Because maybe it is only in the absence of another that we can begin to understand how blessed we are to have them in our lives. But anyway, after the creation of Eve, we hear the first words of man recorded in the bible and it just happens to be poetry: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken” (2:23). So, from the very beginning of the human race, we see an interconnectedness between male and female. Essentially, they share flesh and bones with one another. That’s why I see the end of the second chapter of Genesis a fitting ending to the second creation narrative. Verses 24-25 read, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.” This idea of being one with another is what the first human relationship was about.
  • The other thing I wanted to mention is Genesis 2:15: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” I’ve been reading Andy Crouch’s new book Culture Making, which I actually posted on way back in September believe it or not. So getting to Crouch’s ideas, we should return to the idea that humans were created in the image of God. Crouch poses the question of just what this connotes when we say humans are created in the image of God. For him, at this point in the biblical narrative, all we see is a God of “limitless, extraordinary creativity.” So, being created in the image of God means that we as humans are also called to be creators, or maybe not called to be creators – maybe it’s in our blood that we are creators. But we also see a God that is more than solely a creator. Crouch writes, “Genesis presents God as both Creator and Ruler of the universe. Creators are those who make something new; rulers are those who maintain order and separation.” We are presented with this artistic God who orders his/her masterpiece in such a way that humans can continue in this creation. Thus the call to Adam to till and keep the earth begins to be seen in a new light on account of what Crouch proposes. We may not be called to create something out of nothing the way God did, but humans were first and foremost caretakers of the garden. Adam was called to not only care for life but to help give rise to new life in the garden.
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