Genesis 1-3, Part Deux…
Continuing the discussion of Genesis 1-3, there remains in this chapter two major conflicts in the narrative. I will discuss the first one here, and leave the second for another post. In here, I would like to look at the four major cosmological and racial injustices found in the beginning of Genesis, specifically in chapter 3 and finishing in chapter 9 to see how these two chapters of the Bible set the stage for the world we now live in.
While most already understand the first, and thereby, most important of these four, it cannot be understated the incredible iniquity of the separation of God from man. It is unthinkable to us that after walking with God for any amount of time, that man would turn around and reject the presence of God in favor of some nice fruit… yet that is exactly what mankind did. God gave leadership of the earth to mankind, and we turned, gave God the finger and said that we weren’t interested. Yet the shattering part of this is not even so much that we disobeyed God. Rather, it is that God did not extinguish the sun and start all over the moment it happened. Electing not to murder us, God evicts mankind from the Garden with a promise that we will be redeemed.
The second of these four is the estrangement of man from the rest of his race. In verses 12-16, there are two great shifts in the human dynamic. The first is when Adam blames his wife for his downfall, and the second is when God tells Eve that she will desire her husband, but her husband will rule over her. While there is more to be said about that (and certainly will be said later), the point is that Eve will be wanting her husband– the man that she was created as the helper (עןר— help, aid) to, and instead he would govern (משל— rule, have dominion) her. In this manner, mankind is no longer functioning in the manner that was prescribed by God in the book of Genesis. It is this separation that has ruled the affairs of mankind since. In fact, I would go so far as to say that every major conflict in the human race is symptomatic of this estrangement from the introduction of sin.
The third major injustice is man’s loss of identity after the fall. Mankind was given dominion over the earth and the commission to rule it as the image bearer of God. After the fall, mankind was driven from the garden and the earth became an unruly place that would not yield to it’s former master anymore. Lost was the ability to bring forth the fruit of the earth with ease. Lost was the ability to simply bend the forces of nature to our will. Instead, we were caused to labor heavily to bring forth the earth’s bounty, and where we expected to find good food we would find thorns and thistles instead. Agriculture became a full-time occupation in that single instance. Imagine the world without sin… and how different everything would be from farming to physical fitness.
The fourth of the major cosmological injustices is not found in Genesis 1-3, but rather is the final symptom to be put in place from the narrative found there. In chapter 9, Noah and his family are leaving the ark and God speaks to them about their new life. In verse 2, God declares that the fear and dread of mankind will be on all of the animals. In this final nail in the coffin, mankind is at long last estranged from the entirety of the created order following the greatest judgment on sin what will be seen for another 4000 years (until the apocalypse, to be precise).
Continuing our discussion of eschatology from the previous post, it would seem that all of eschatology is centered around the resolution of these four injustices. In Genesis 1-3, we see the stage set for the greatest drama ever told as redemptive history unfolds over the next four millennia. Standing at the center of this drama is the Cross. With Christ abolishing the wall of division in his flesh (Eph 2:14-15) mankind has an open door to be reunited with God, thus putting the wheels in motion to resolve all other injustices. As with so many issues, the first step is the return to God, and in his mercy he has created a new and living way that we may do so.
Part 3 still to come…