Barry Newman's Blog

May 15, 2011

Science and Genesis 3: 1 – 24 (part X)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 11:24 pm

Yahweh Elohim questions the man and the woman (cont.)

Without responding to the man at this stage, almost as though the man has had his say and that his excuses have been acknowledged if not accepted, God addresses the woman with great solemnity, “What is this that you have done?”  Her responsibility is enormous. She has been a participant in that event which has lead to the man’s disobedience.  In fact she led the way. We may want to argue that according to the account the commandment was given to the man, not to the woman.  However when questioned by the serpent, the woman understands that she is also under that command.  She bears her own responsibility for her eating of the fruit but the author/editor seems to be focussing on her involvement in her giving it to the man.  Of course we might contend that the man could have argued against her eating the fruit and that whatever she did he could have refused to partake of the fruit himself.  But both the man and the woman had a command from God.  To God they were both answerable.  She like the man however wants to avoid the brunt of the question.  “I have disobeyed you. I ate the fruit and I involved the man in my disobedience and he then disobeyed you.” could have been a response.  By contrast it was, simply, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”  She confesses that she has been deceived but by making the serpent the subject in the first part of her reply she endeavours to shift her culpability onto the serpent.  And we might add that this is a serpent that God had made, though the text at this point is silent on this issue.

Walsh argues that in both the man’s and the woman’s response it isn’t simply the word, “And I ate” appearing at the end of their response that suggests its importance.  He also appeals to the existence of a complex word order in the case of the response made by the man and alliteration in that made by the woman.  The author/editor wants the position to be perfectly clear to the hearer/reader.  God said not to eat – but they ate.

And as with the man, Yahweh Elohim, turning from the woman, as though her involvement has now been dealt with, then moves on to deal with the serpent.

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