Barry Newman's Blog

May 29, 2011

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

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 10:35 pm

Yahweh Elohim’s judgment on the man

Unlike the situation with the woman but in a similar fashion to the serpent, the man is given a reason for his judgement. He listened, that is, he not only attended to, but took notice of, his wife.  He then ate from the fruit of the tree of which God had commanded he must not eat.  The woman was aware of the commandment, but presumably because the commandment had been given directly to the man, his offence is explicitly linked to the commandment – he disobeyed it.  Perhaps we are also meant to see, by way of implication stemming from what God had said, that when faced with the woman’s desire to eat the fruit, the man should have spoken up in opposition to her proposed action.  She should have then listened to him, not as it actually occurred, he listened to her.  Perhaps the man is meant to see that he has to face that issue as well.

As with the serpent and the woman his judgment also appears to be twofold.  The first part of his judgment concerns his basic existence – his need to be a food gatherer. Again the irony is difficult to miss. He ate of the food that he was forbidden to eat while in the luxurious garden which provided abundant fruit which he was free to eat.  Now he shall find it painful and difficult to acquire any food to eat.

Just as the serpent was cursed, so the ground is cursed also.  Mention has already been made of Walton’s view that the curse on the serpent could be understood as God “wishing” upon it a certain status. (p. 225) He also implies that in these curses God does not impose something like a hex upon the object cursed. (p. 229) Rather he argues that to curse is to remove something or someone from God’s protection and favour.  To support his position he appeals to the idea that “to curse” is the opposite of “to bless” and argues that in Deuteronomy 28: 15-28 (citing an article by J. Scharbert) the curses of vv. 16-19 are to be distinguished from those “negative actions of the Lord” in vv. 20 – 28 (p. 229, note 8).  Walton cites 1 Samuel 26: 19 as a good example of where being “cursed” means being “deprived of God’s favour, blessing and protection”.  The passage refers to David cursing those men who have, if they have, enticed Saul to be opposed to him.

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