Barry Newman's Blog

June 26, 2011

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

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 3:40 am

How did the account come into existence and what of its apparent reality?

“Did the author/editor make up and construct the account?”  As an alternative to what was suggested above, about it all really happening that way, the answer to this question could be, “Yes”.  There could have been some intentional borrowing of certain ideas, even if quite limited in extent, from surrounding cultures with the intention of giving a correct understanding of mankind and his relationship with God and the world that God had created.  The author/editor would have knowingly created the account and one might assume that those to whom the account was originally given would have appreciated its origins. One might assume that the original hearers/readers did not believe that serpents could talk, that a tree that would “open one’s eyes” and a tree that could provide for ongoing life, ever existed.

But why give somewhat detailed descriptions of the rivers, and the reference to Eden, in which the garden is sited, being in the east?  Mention has already been made of the possibility that the author/editor wanting his hearers/readers to appreciate the theological significance of this garden – a garden especially blessed by God.  However additionally, it could be that the author wants to create the idea that the whole account is real in some important sense.  Maybe he wishes to guard against the idea that it is a mythical account that anyone could make up or refer to.  He does not mean it to be treated as a “Just so …” story or a story of magical proportions that has nothing to do with our world.  Surely he intends it to be an account of the most significant of all realities and perhaps this is partly the reason why it is given a realistic setting.

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