Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Friday, November 23, 2012

C.B.R.P. Day #1

That's going to be the abbreviation for 'Chronological Bible Reading Plan' so that I don't have to type it out all the time.

Well, I am starting today. I'm quite excited about it actually. I'm also excited because E said she'd like to do it too. Genesis 1-3 are the chapters for today- so far I've read the first two. Lot's of stuff jumped out at me, even in these well-known bits about Creation..
  •  Light is good, and meant to be separate from darkness
  • One of the God-given purposes of the lights in the sky (sun, moon, stars) is for them to 'serve as signs to mark sacred times'. I've never thought much about that before...what's it mean? I guess one example is the star of Bethlehem.
  • God blesses animals
  • God created some animals to be wild, and some to be livestock
  • God refers to Himself as 'us', alluding to the trinity
  • God blesses the man and woman and tells them to fill, subdue, and rule.
  • God is the first gardener. He made trees to be 'pleasing to the eye' as well as useful.
  • Eden doesn't seem like a figurative place- Moses makes the point of placing it geographically in relation to several rivers.
  • Man's role in Eden to work it and take care of it. Work is GOOD.
  • Man and woman are one flesh, naked and unashamed. And also immortal at this point. Things are perfect!
If you want to read along, here's the reading plan to print out.


pedro said...

So where exactly was Eden?

Ben McLaughlin said...

It says it was in 'the East', and then says-

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin[d] and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.[e] 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Ben Boardman said...

Hey Ben, I've decided to join you on this plan.

Belle said...

So man and woman are given the same roles by God here? And hierarchy doesn't come into it until Satan shows up in chapter 3?

Interesting... ;)

Ben McLaughlin said...

Ben- Fantastic!

Belle- Hmm, yes and no. Those roles of ruling, filling and subduing are given to both, but there are also noticable differences that arise right from the start.

The man is created first. The man names the animals. The man names the woman. The man has a 'helper' made for him. The man leaves his family to join his wife.

I'm not commenting on the logistics of any of that, but just saying the man and woman aren't just bundled up together in the description.

Belle said...

The animals are created first.

The man doesn't name the woman, he calls her what she is - woman. He doesn't give her the name Eve until after the fall (3:20).

The word 'helper' is a combo of two words. The first part of the word "appears twenty-one times in the Old Testament—twice in reference to the first woman, three times in reference to nations to whom Israel appealed for military support, and sixteen times in reference to God as the helper of Israel" (from here - a good post for understanding these chapters afresh!)

And you're right, it says the man leaves his family! In a patriarchal culture, this is a REALLY strange way of putting it! Shouldn't it be the wife leaving to join to her husband?

I'm not going to harrass you about every passage you post about in the CBRP, but I just think these chapters ooze mutuality and equality! I can't see how they'd be read in any other way!

Well done for getting started - my husband and I are beginning on Monday, when exams are over.

Belle said...

Michael Jensen's thoughts:

Ben McLaughlin said...

Definitely mutuality and equality. But also difference. I don't know why it has to be one or the other.

Re the naming stuff, Michel Jensen says Neither does the giving of Eve her name parallel Adam’s naming of the animals as an expression of a like dominion over her. But he doesn't explain why there is no parallel... I don't see why there isn't a correlation, not meaning so he has some sort of dominion over her, but just as an example of how they aren't bundled up together exactly the same, and God gives him certain things to do her that He didn't eve. and vice versa.

All the best for the exams, and then getting started Monday!

Belle said...

God gives those certain things to Adam because Eve hasn't been created yet - it's not that Adam's better for certain tasks (e.g. naming things), it's that there's currently no one else to do them! In the earlier account, both man and woman were given the same tasks, which seems to show that when the two of them actually exist, they work in partnership with each other on the same kinds of stuff.

I agree that men and women are different - Genesis 1-2 is the perfect place to see that though we're both created in God's image, there's something unique about each sex. The problem comes when people use these chapters to argue for differences in ROLE from these chapters - this just isn't there when the text read on its own.

Ben McLaughlin said...

You mentioned the two account thing. I find that interesting- I only really recently realised there were two accounts. It's interesting how you get the general creation of humanity, and then in the next chapter it goes back to say how this took place. Moses was getting all Tarantino on us!

That's an interesting point you make- How God assigned those things to Adam because Eve wasn't there yet, and once she is on the scene, the same roles (rule, fill, subdue) are given to both. Thanks for pointing that out I'll keep pondering.

Belle said...

Aw man, now I'm going to have to find another way of procrastinating...

Ben McLaughlin said...

Our discussion prompted me to listen to a few talks. This one of Piper's I found good.

Only if you want to continue procrastinating though.. aren't you meant to be studying?

Ben McLaughlin said...

I think his interpretation of 'her desire will be for her husband' is pretty interesting stuff.

Belle said...

YES I'm supposed to be studing, but my brain is TOO FULL!

I won't listen to the talks today, though, I'd feel too guilty (apparently it's okay to check my emails every 20 minutes or so, but anything other than that is BAD).

I'm pretty sure I've heard the complementarian argument for 'her desire' before (that it's the same as Cain's desire for sin?). If that's what Piper says, you may find this post interesting:

If not, you still may find it interesting, it just won't be as related!!

Also, Piper is as complementarian as they get! He's someone who sees role differences all over Genesis 1-3, and argues for the subordination of women because of those chapters. I love Piper, but I think he's got the stuff on women wrong, and it tends to colour how he interprets many passages.

J said...

Hey Ben, Just in terms of thinking through why what Adam says in about Eve in 2:23 doesn't correlate with the naming of the animals in 2:20:
The verb in both cases is the same, but the grammatical stem is different. In Hebrew, the stem acts kind of like English voice (active, middle and passive). The action in 2:20 is qal stem (mostly like active), while 2:23 it's niphal (mostly like passive). Because Hebrew has a much smaller vocabulary than English lots of their verbs are forced to do double work, meaning that they often have different nuances in each stem. The verb in question (qrA (I don't know any proper transliteration schemes and I can't work out how to get the Hebrew into a blogger comment)) literally means 'to call' or 'to proclaim' or even 'to read' (given that they read out loud in their culture). In the qal stem it can also take on the connotation of giving a name to something which doesn't happen in the niphal stem. That means that 2:23 isn't an act of naming by Adam, but a recognition of how she will be seen. In 3:20 the same verb is used again, but it switches back to the qal to show that this is an act of naming.
Long and rambly, I know. But just saying that there is justification for what Michael Jensen is saying.

All of this doesn't prove anything either way, except to say that basing an argument on Adam naming Eve in 2:23 isn't really justified.

Belle said...

Piper's talk was interesting, and I agree with a lot of what he said in the opening paragraphs (I read rather than listened). I'm glad that he was explicit in saying that he was unfolding a "a vision of biblical complementarity and harmony" that he was convinced the Bible teaches - many others are convinced otherwise, so it was nice to see him acknowledge that in a way before outlining his interpretation in the weeks to come.

He's clear that he'll see in the text of Genesis things that others don't - I take this as a good reminder to have confidence in the Holy Spirit's work in each of us to understand God's word for ourselves (with guidance from those who are wiser, of course, but remembering that they are not Jesus).

I'm going to look more into the link between women/sin wanting to rule over men/Cain, I've heard it a few times now and am interested to see how it's used throughout the OT.

Sorry for the long discussion, I know you weren't intending to spark a debate when you posted this! My first comment wasn't supposed to be a provocation (but I do love a good convo on this topic, as you well know)!

I hope your CBRP's going well, and I'm going to post this and then pray for each of us doing it that God would give us "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [we] may know him better" (Eph 1:17). :)

Ben McLaughlin said...

Hi J,

Thanks for that information. Gotta say I had to read and re-read your comment a few times! Niphal??

But I think I get what you are saying, and that makes sense. I'm fine with the idea of 2:23 not being an act of naming.

It does make me curious as to how people then take the act of naming in ch 3. Adam does end up giving Eve her name, and it seems like a pretty nice name, given that the meaning is 'living' (rather than, say 'she made me do it'). Now I know this is post-Fall, but does that neccessarily mean that him naming her is a bad thing, and wouldn't have happened if they hadn't sinned? Given that her name is a nice one, what would be behind the argument that this is a negative heirarchy thing, him naming her?

Sorry, I've probably not been very clear here!

Ben McLaughlin said...

Belle, thanks that is a nice thing to pray. Thanks also for that link, I printed it out and read it on the train Friday afternoon, and thought she had a lot of good stuff to say. I'll read more of her blog.

I think it is worth exploring the link there about Eve's desire and that Cain's sin thing, just because the same two words are mentioned together (desire/rule over), only a chapter apart. You'd think there was some sort of correlation going on at least.

I hope exams all went well, and that you are pumped to get into CBRP'ing it up!

Belle said...

I'm not sure that naming IS a great argument for hierarchy, but it comes up a bit in talking about the differences between the man and woman (in one of your earlier comments, for example!), which is usually the first step towards arguing for a hierarchical view.

The fact that Adam names Eve something nice seems to make it clear that her sin was never against him - the problem was not that Eve usurped Adam's authority, but that both of them usurped GOD'S authority and both are together punished for it.

Belle said...

I just re-read your comment and may have misunderstood it - are you asking whether Adam naming Eve is a sign that hierarchy isn't a negative thing?

If THAT's the actual question, then we can't know without hearing Eve's side of the story - she may have hated the name, but what could she do? :) Hierarchy is no problem for those in power, it's those who are subordinated who suffer.