Barry Newman's Blog

June 14, 2011

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

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 4:20 am

The two verses – a textual aside?

In his sparse comments on these two verses, Walsh refers to them as “isolated narrative lines” that “have no structural connection with the rest of scene six” (3: 14-19 constitute scene six in his analysis).  In a footnote he comments that “3: 20 is …a proleptic reference to 4: 1 (and) that the function of both verses within the Eden account must be sought on the level of the account as a whole.”  Certainly 4: 1 refers to the birth of Cain and the reader is prepared there for more children to come.  However it is not clear to this writer why “the account as a whole” has to be considered in order to discover their function.

The judgments on the man and the woman, in light of what might have been, can only be described as horrific. The basic account has almost come to its conclusion – the conclusion reached in vv. 22 – 24.  Functioning somewhat as an interlude, rather than an aside, vv. 20, 21 provide the hearer/reader with some relief.  All is not completely lost.  Death has already begun and will inevitably follow, yet life is to be provided.  The man and the woman are ashamed and the attempt made by them to deal with their shame is pathetic and short-lived as a solution. Yet God comes to their rescue and their shame is curtailed.  The hearer/reader is about to be informed of something which he/she is probably anticipating but he/she will remember the words of these verses, when confronted with what is to come. The loss is not total.  Hope has been born.  Rather than a textual aside, these verses provide the hearers/readers, with a brief breathing space before they must face what is to follow and provides a view of things that has some optimistic elements.

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