Am I Making Up The Bible?!

WOW that's a click-bait-y title. Sorry!

I promised I would update you on our small group. Our small group is focusing on reading the bible in a deeper way. That means the following goals while we are reading:

  1. Read slowly, reading the text for what it is and not what we have assumed or heard.

  2. Take notes of questions, comments, or observations we have while reading.

  3. Look up words in our dictionary or concordance that are interesting, we don’t understand, or we want to understand deeply.

  4. Pray for revelation as we seek to understand God through his word.

We have been using the story of Joseph as our practice for reading the bible. I encouraged participants to pick 1 of 3 levels of reading, depending on their availability:

  1. Story of Joseph (Gen 37-45)

  2. The 10/10 (This stands for the 10 chapters ahead of the story, and the 10 chapters after. Since Joseph is so close to the end of Genesis, you’d just read the 5 chapters to the end.)

  3. The Whole Book. That’s right. The whole enchilada. This is the most preferable, but you’ve got to have that kind of time.

After I wrote out these guidelines, the next day I started reading Genesis from Chapter 1. And wouldn’t you know it, it was only a couple chapters until I found something I had read about seven hundred times, but had never noticed. Let’s look at the text (Genesis 2:15-18):

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (16) And the Lord God commanded the man, “’You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; (17) but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’ (18) The Lord God said, “’It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”

A quick note before we begin diving in to this particular passage: if you have never noticed before, the creation story is actually told twice in Genesis. (More on that in this excellent article.) I’m just going to nit-pick the second creation story. We can hash out any differences in the comments.

Let’s make a quick timeline of what happened in these short passages we read:

God puts Adam in the Garden.

God tells Adam not to eat of the tree.

God creates Eve.

Erm. What. I guess I just always assumed, or was taught, or something, that Eve was right next to Adam when God gave him the command about the tree. But look at the verses. She wasn’t there. She wasn’t created until AFTER the command had already been issued.

This blows my mind a little bit. I’ve heard several preachers give sermons on the fact that, when she’s reciting the command back to the serpent in 3:2, she adds the phrase “you must not touch [the tree].” It’s usually some kind of sermon about religiousity, that we shouldn’t be adding our own rules to what God has said, because that can get messy, real quick. (Which, BTW, I 100% agree with.)

But, if she wasn’t created until after God gave the command, is she really deserving of all the shade we’ve been throwing at her when we blame her for adding in “you must not touch it”? Since she wasn’t there to hear the original command, I can imagine 3 possibilities:

  1. God came back at some later point and repeated the command to her. It’s just not covered in the text. Then, she does in fact add the phrase when repeating it to the serpent.

  2. Adam told her of God’s command exactly as God had said it, and she adds the phrase when repeating it to the serpent.

  3. Adam told her God’s command, but ADAM added the extra phrase and Eve just repeated exactly as she had heard it from Adam.

This tells me, somewhere from God to Adam to Eve, there has been a communication breakdown. As a communicator, this reminds me to be extra careful that we are not adding to what God has said, or presenting our content in such a way that one who is unfamiliar with the scriptures could be easily confused.

Additionally, I have a sermon about the difference between having referential vs experiential knowledge, which ties into this. (It will be a blog post eventually. Promise. And when it is, I will come back and link it here.)

There’s further to go down this rabbit trail. If rabbit trails are your thing, consider the above, then read Genesis 3:16 & Genesis 3:17. Do you see the difference? Rabbit trail ramblings in the comments are completely acceptable!

Comment below your thoughts. Am I totally off base? Or am I right on track? Somewhere in between?