Once again today, I am trying this new concept of studying Scripture based on the Cross References listed next to the verses in a Chapter. Yesterday we looked at Genesis Chapter 1, today I want to attempt to take us through Chapter 2. I have wrestled last night and today with whether to write this post in this fashion or not. I do not want to cause confusion, and this can be confusing. I ask you to bear with me as I take this journey. This is a new experience for me as well, but I believe there is a lot to be learned from taking a little different approach and trying to view with a little different perspective. I pray that God blesses each reader. Lord, I ask you to take these words and open our eyes to your ways and to show us all the message you would have us receive. Amen.
Again, as with yesterday’s post, I have removed the “identifiers” for the verses provided, but will list each one at the bottom of the post so each reader can look them up.
Let the Journey Begin
And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, [even] all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, [even] as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: an now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil,…I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
And Laban said to him, Surely thou are my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. …And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
Where Has This Journey Taken Us?
Looking at Genesis Chapter 2 in this light covers a LOT of ground. I will attempt to explain what I can. I do know not all or claim to. This exposition comes from discussing these verses with others, searching Scripture, Chabad, and many hours of prayer. I am not infallible. I encourage you to see the meanings and explanations during your time of study and quiet time with God. And please, share your insights as well! Now, to try to decipher this message.
We are not to look to the sun, moon, stars, or angels for answers, inspiration, etc., lest we are tempted to worship them. We are not to worship these celestial beings, other idols, or leaders. Why would I include leaders here? We can admire someone, pastors, evangelists, etc. to the point of placing them high on a pedestal, as unto worshiping an idol. We are to worship no one but God and we should remember He is a jealous God.
The next bend on this journey is a call to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. We are told how to remember and keep holy…by resting, doing no work, not us, our children, our servants….even our animals are not to be worked on the Sabbath day. Sabbath rest is a commandment. It is one that shows us our body needs rest and communication with God.
OK, rather than breaking this down little by little…let’s try to look at it in a bigger picture. Let’s see if we can answer some questions about “the fall of man”.
- When did the fall occur? At what time?
- What is “the knowledge of good and evil?
- How does this apply to us today?
- Is the focus on “good and evil,” “knowledge,” or “obedience?”
- What “voice” are we listening to? Our own? God’s?
In The Tree of Knowledge, Tamar Frankiel writes:
In this reading, Eve already had a knowledge of what was good, for she had been eating of the delightful fruits of the Garden of Eden. she had no knowledge of its opposite. She didn’t know what could happen in a world of time, where fruit could be unripe or could decay into ugliness. No wonder God said, “On the day you eat of it, you will surely die.” As Nachmanides and many others observe, this did not mean that they would actually die on that day, but eventually. We could also read it to mean, “you will enter upon the process of death,” because time as we know it would begin.
The Tree, then, represents a world. The world of the Garden was a non-dual world, beyond our concept of time. The world of the Tree of Knowledge which was so tempting to ingest was a world of duality and temporality.
Time in the Garden was not the same as time as we know it. No death had been introduced to it. I have also heard it taught that this “death” Adam and Eve experienced was a spiritual death, but I do not believe that either. They still had a relationship with God, but it was one that had been changed because of disobedience. She knew that God had given a command, but did she understand the purpose of observing such an external command? Do we? Scripture is filled with commands, such as “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Thus the Midrash tells us that if only Adam and Eve had waited until the Sabbath, they would have been permitted to eat of the Trees of Knowledge and Life, and the purpose of creation would have been complete. This is an astounding concept: If humans could follow God’s commands on an external basis, for no apparent reason, they would develop a special capacity that would enable them to fulfill their potential for higher knowledge. That capacity was the ability to achieve penimiut (inwardness). With this, all experience would be integrated; without it, knowledge would remain external and fragmentary. With it, they could indeed become like God. Without it, they would remain knowledge-seeking humans. –The Tree of Knowledge
The sages teach that at this time Adam and Eve had access to animal-knowledge but were not yet ready for free choice. This explains their nakedness. Animals don’t mind not having on clothes because they operate on instinct. Once Adam and Eve at of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their “eyes were opened.” The “inner man” was activated. It was out of time. This is an example to us. When we grow impatient and try to “help” God out we end up with results like these, which change everything! This act by Adam and Eve changed TIME and SPACE, both of which are holy.
Let’s look a little more at what Tamar Frankiel offers:
Rashi points out that the story of the snake seems to be inserted here out of place. What should have followed, he says, is the story of how God made garments for Adam and Eve. We can understand this on a spiritual level: If God had first given them their “garments“–the complete clothing of thought, speech, and action that would enable their souls to achieve full expression–the snake could not have persuaded them. But the snake–often portrayed in ancient literature as a powerful and positive spiritual ally to woman– spoke almost as Eve’s inner voice. “Trust your instincts,” the snake was saying, “trust your desire for knowledge.”
But the suggestion came too soon, when humans had not yet experienced the repose of Shabbat with all its soulfulness, and were following only their drive to master experience. Likewise with many advisers who speak the same words today, the words come when a person is spiritually incomplete and cannot yet use the advice for good purposes.
The inner voice speaks from a place of non-duality. The animal knows no duality because it is completely programmed. God, the Creator of a world of multiplicity, knows duality but completely transcends it in total GOODNESS. Humans live in a world of duality and have to work on themselves to transcend it, until we can see things from a Godly perspective, knowing that everything ultimately is GOOD. Only then can we trust the voice of inner knowledge.
Let us learn from the examples provided in Scripture, that we cannot always trust ourselves…meaning, our inner voice isn’t fully God. Moses sought time alone with God before making some decisions. When we face these tough decisions in life we should seek diligent study, consultation with others, and prayer. Our access to knowledge must be continually renewed and corrected. The power of diligently studying Scripture, keeping the commandments “for no apparent reason other than God said so,” and seeking God enable us to acquire the garments of thought, speech, and action that complete us, so that we are less vulnerable to a merely animal “cunning” and can truly see with clarity.
How do we do this, acquire this “voice?” We use some critical thinking. Not to be critical of others. Critical thinking is intended to be turned upon oneself; to examine where we stand and whether we have become arrogant in our opinions and beliefs. What is true growth? Maturity? It is being able to shed our belief systems and opinions in the light of still higher truth. This “voice” is found in prayer. Pray for truth. God will answer. He will open our eyes to it. But know, when He reveals it, you have to ask yourself if you will walk in that truth or if you will hold on to all of those old belief systems.
What about the first Adam and the last Adam? We saw in the Scriptures above where it is written:
And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and Omega,” the first and the last. He was here before the foundation of the world and He remains with us now. Let us follow His paths, His teachings, and His example.
Deut 4:19, Ex 20:8-11, Job 38:4-11, Gen 1:11, Gen 3:19; 1 Cor 15:45, Gen 13:10, Gen 3:22, Ps 46:4, Gen 25:18, Dan 10:4, Gen 15:18, Gen 3: 2-3, Deut 30:15, 19, 20, 1 Cor 11:9, Gen 1:24, Gen 2:18, Gen 15:12, 1 Cor 11:8-9, Gen 29:14, Matt 19:5, Gen 3:7, 10-11