Barry Newman's Blog

May 17, 2011

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

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 10:46 pm

Genesis 3: 14 – 19 – Yahweh Elohim: his judgment on the serpent, the woman and the man

So the LORD God (Yahweh Elohim) said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crushyour head, and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (NIV)

Yahweh Elohim and his judgment on the serpent

The narrative moves immediately from what the woman says to what must be said to the serpent, with a simple “And (waw) Yahweh Elohim said …” There is no doubt as to who is in charge – who has the right, the authority and the power to decide upon the future of all three – the man, the woman and the serpent. It is Yahweh Elohim alone, and from his determinations there is no escape.  He addresses them in the reverse order to that in which they have been referred to but it is the same order that earlier unfolded when the serpent spoke to the woman and then when the woman gave to the man.

God asks no question of the serpent but proceeds immediately to its judgment.  It cannot be treated like the man and the woman. It is only one of the beasts of the field.  Indeed what God says later makes even its standing among the beasts of the field of little account.  If anyone is tempted to award some high status to the serpent, the fact that God does not consider it worthy enough of engaging in dialogue should alert the hearer or reader to its low status.

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