The story of Adam and Eve is about us, as the people of God viewing this world through the eyes of God and responding. . . seeing the brokenness, seeing the pain, seeing the isolation, creating connection so that all will know that they are Beloved Children of God.
June 13, 2021
Adam and Eve
Pastor Heather McColl
Genesis 2 (Common English Version)
The heavens and the earth and all who live in them were completed. On the sixth day God completed all the work that he had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation.This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. On the day the Lord God made earth and sky—before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew, because the Lord God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, though a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land— the Lord God formed the human[d] from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east and put there the human he had formed. In the fertile land, the Lord God grew every beautiful tree with edible fruit, and also he grew the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river flows from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides into four headwaters. The name of the first river is the Pishon. It flows around the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. That land’s gold is pure, and the land also has sweet-smelling resins and gemstones. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It flows around the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris, flowing east of Assyria; and the name of the fourth river is the Euphrates. The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. The Lord God commanded the human, “Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die!” Then the Lord God said, “It’s not good that the human is alone. I will make him a helper that is perfect for him.” So the Lord God formed from the fertile land all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky and brought them to the human to see what he would name them. The human gave each living being its name. The human named all the livestock, all the birds in the sky, and all the wild animals. But a helper perfect for him was nowhere to be found. So the Lord God put the human into a deep and heavy sleep, and took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh over it. With the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being. The human said, “This one finally is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She will be called a woman because from a man she was taken.” This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh. The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they weren’t embarrassed.
This is the Word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God!
This Sunday, we are starting a new worship series titled, “Faces of Our Faith: Bold and Untold Stories.” In this series, we will be taking a look at stories found in our Bible which we often overlook or ignore. “There are many heroes of the faith, people we admire and wish to be. However, there are even more ordinary people of faith—those doing what they can with what they have to make a difference. This summer, we’ll dig deep into the bold and untold stories of those often overlooked in our biblical narratives, hoping these characters remind us that we all play a role in shaping God’s story of redemption and grace.”
Our first story is the story of Adam and Eve Genesis 2, or the other Creation Story. This story is not as lyrical or poetic as the first one. And it is certainly not as dramatic. It is more down to earth, literally. We are told that God plants a garden in Eden in which God puts the man. Now here is where we get Adam. God doesn’t give this man the name Adam. The name Adam comes from the word A-dam in Hebrew which means human. It is a play on words-A-dam (human) is taken out of the earth (Adamah) which is Hebrew for earth. This play on words reminds us that we humans are made from dust, literally dirt, molded by the hands of God, given life by God’s own breath. This is a wonderful reminder that God is our Creator. This forms our identity as people of God. This accepting of God as our Creator is the foundation which shapes how we live out our faith as the people of God in all our relationships. This foundation as God as our Creator shapes our interaction with others. This foundation as God as our Creator shapes how we see the world and our connection to all that is in it. This foundation as God as our Creator is the starting place of everything we do, everything we say as the people of God. So it makes sense that it is the starting place of our journey as we experience the faces of our faith through their bold and untold stories.
This morning, as we take a look at Adam and Eve’s story, it is probably easier for me to say what their story is not about rather than jump right in and say what it is about. I want us to take a look at what this story is not about because Adam and Eve’s story has been used and abused way too many times over the years. And, thanks to Christian tradition, we read stuff into their story which is not even there. For us to be able to tell this bold and untold story, to experience it as God’s story of redemption and grace, for us to be able to really listen to what Adam and Eve are sharing with us through their story, we need to realize what this story is not about, letting go of our assumptions about it and truly inviting it to be an avenue for us to see where God is moving in our midst.
First things first, Adam and Eve’s story is not a story about God’s failed experiment. Unlike what tradition has taught us, God did not purposely plant the tree of Good and Evil in the Garden, then tell the humans not to eat of it, all the while secretly hoping that humans would eat of it. God did not do any of that. God did not set humanity up to fail. God did not create an experiential biosphere with massive flaws jus so that God could keep saving humanity over and over and over again. Rather instead, what Adam and Eve’s story teaches us is that since the beginning of time, God has wanted to be in relationship with God’s creation, us included. God created the world, created humanity because God loves us. God created us to be in community, to be in relationship. The story of Adam and Eve tells us that God breathed life into us, not because God has well, a god-complex. God did not need us to fail so God can look good redeeming God’s creation. That’s not how God works. God created us because God loved us.
Second, Adam and Eve’s story about how evil entered into the world. Nowhere does it say Satan disguised as the snake tricked the woman into taking that first bite. We are told that the serpent was “crafty” which is a good translation of the Hebrew. However, the word “crafty” has negative connotations in English. These negative connotations have led us to think that the serpent was up to no good, or had some devious plan to once again get humankind to fail miserably.
We need to realize that the word “crafty” in Hebrew is found in other places in the Old Testament such as in Proverbs. This word can also mean “sensible” or “prudent”. The serpent could have very well just been making conversation with the woman. We really don’t know what the serpent’s motives were in this case. More than likely, he is just there as a literary device to help move the story along.
However, one thing we do know is, the devil or Satan doesn’t appear in this story to try and trick the woman because she is the weaker sex.
Which leads me to another misunderstanding about this story. This story of Adam and Eve not about sex. And it is certainly not about males being better than females. Eve does not use her feminine wiles to seduce Adam into eating the fruit from the tree. In fact, if we go back to verse 6, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.” Eve wasn’t alone. She isn’t discussing theology with the snake while Adam was miles away, ignorant of what was going on. He was right there, standing quietly. Adam was right there, as an equal partner in failure to listen, a failure in communication, which is probably a better description for original sin, but that is a different sermon for a different time.
What is important for our conversation this morning is the question, if Adam and Eve’s story is not about all that, then what is it really about? Well for us to answer that question, let’s take a look at verse 23: “This one finally is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She will be called a woman because from a man she was taken.”
When we look at Adam and Eve’s story again, we realize that the focus of this Creation story is the human situation. This Creation story describes human existences as it is intended to be. It is not some lost paradise as Tradition and we have assumed for so many years. This Creation story shows us what right being looks like, what right relationship looks like, what right connection with God and with one another looks like, What Adam and Eve’s story is really telling us is that there is equality between humans. That we as the people of God are called to live together in covenant with each other and in harmony with the natural world.”
We know this because the author points out that Adam and Eve are made from the same “stuff, made from the earth, filled with the breath of God. Through the story of Adam and Eve, the author tells us that true paradise experience here on Earth happens when humanity is in full community with one another.
As the people of God, as humanity, we were created to be in relationship with God and with all of God’s creation. The story of Adam and Eve reminds us that the goal of our life of faith is to discover God’s voice of life for us. That even in the midst of all the other voices, including our own which tell us we can do it all on our own, we are called to listen for God’s voice of life. We are to listen to that small still voice which reminds us who we are, which reminds us whose we are. The story of Adam and Eve teaches us that we are called to listen to That small still voice that reminds us we are called to be in relationship with all of God’s creation.
In our text for today, God sees the human’s isolation and responds. God transforms deep human loneliness into deep human connection. The story of Adam and Eve Genesis 2 is about community. It is about us, all of us being partners in the stewardship of God’s creation. It is about us, as the people of God viewing this world through the eyes of God and responding…seeing the brokenness, seeing the pain, seeing the isolation and creating connection so that all will know that they are Beloved Children of God.
Imagine how different this world would be if we saw strangers and friends like Adam sees Eve, the refugee, the convict, our neighbor, what if we say beyond the labels of black or white, old or young, gay or straight, what if we truly saw everyone as bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, knowing that we belong together, just imagine how different our world would be. May it be so.
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