Any five year old who went to any type of Christian school or was carted off to Vacation Bible School to get out of their parents’ hair for a few hours (I did both) will know the story. Eve gets tempted by the snake, eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, gives it to Adam, yadda yadda yadda, they’re booted out of the garden and Azeraphael has to stand guard with a flaming sword.
The snake is just a snake. Snakes have always been considered wily and sneaky in the animal kingdom. This story is nothing more than an allegory to explain why humans are flawed and why the world is the way it is. This story is a ham-handed attempt to explain the world. Remember in the last chapter, God started off his relationship with man by lying to him when he told him that if he ate from the Tree of Knowledge he would surely die. The snake told Eve that the fruit would make them like the gods. That was the truth as confirmed by God in verse 22.
Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen 3:22, p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Another question that I have is, who is God talking to and who is “us”? Likely this story was written while polytheism was still a thing.
I find it hard to separate the first two chapters. The first chapter is simply the creation narrative through day six. My only issue with chapter one is everything in it. God created light on the first day, then on the third day created plants and vegetation, but didn’t create the sun and moon until day four. Obviously, day five was spent planting new vegetation because the stuff that was there froze to death. He created the birds, fish, animals, and creeping things on the fifth day and humankind on the sixth.
The NRSV uses the word humankind, and man instead of adam or Adam. That’s because the word “adam” from Hebrew means humankind. The first chapter seems to be more egalitarian than the rest of this book as it states, “God created humankind, male and female,” which says to me that this author is not sexist.
The second chapter starts off with God resting, but then goes into another creation narrative. This one is abbreviated, in a different order (man is created before the animals), and it also includes the creation of the garden of Eden, with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (henceforth, The Tree of Knowledge) and the Tree of Eternal Life. He told the man that if he should eat the fruit from the Tree Knowledge he would die. More on that in the next chapter.
God decides to make the man a helper as a partner, so he creates a multitude of animals for the man to name and hopefully find a helper and partner. When that fails, God gives the man a general anesthetic and proceeds to remove a rib and form it into a woman. This basically states that women are subservient to men in this chapter, and it seems that this is how it goes for the rest of the book. The author of chapter one must have been fired.