14 PAX posted early Saturday as we kicked off our GasHouse bible study with “the beginning.” The creation story instructs us to become wise by doing what Adam does: “tilling, naming, and cleaving,” that is, by working, speaking honestly, and building relationships.
Genesis 2:5 says there were no plants or herbs in the field, which sounds strange because God had already created everything. But Genesis 2:5 continues by explaining that there were no plants or herbs in the field because God had not sent rain and there was no man to till the ground. So perhaps verse 5 is telling us that there was nothing yet in existence that God and man created together.
What does Adam do in Genesis 2? Till the soil, name the animals, cleave to Eve in marriage.
Tilling: God provides rain, man provides labor, and there is food. “Tilling” might also represent all the other work people do: manufacturing, service, and so on … with all that God provides.
Naming: God creates the animals, man recognizes their “goodness” (Genesis 1), they are “named” as good for plowing, for food, and so on. “Naming” might also represent all the other things we discover: raw materials to make things, scientific research to learn how to heal the body, the moral law to live wisely, and the ability to speak truly and honestly.
Cleaving: God creates masculinity and femininity, men and women marry, a new family exists. “Cleaving” might also represent other kinds of relationships: business, social, and so on.
We become wise when we work, speak honestly, and build relationships according to God’s wisdom. Watch how it falls apart when Adam and Eve do not! “Naming” is the first to go: Serpent speaks dishonestly and Eve thinks unclearly (Gain wisdom from eating? really?). Adam incriminates himself (“I was naked”) and blames Eve. Eve claims she heard it from a talking snake (God: Sorry, didn’t make one of those.) Then “cleaving” becomes complicated. Adam’s “tilling” becomes unproductive, and Eve’s “labor” painful and dangerous.
God has mercy in the end: leather clothes to replace the leaves. They continue to live, work, discover the goodness of God’s world, build relationships, and seek God’s wisdom.
PAX continued the discussion: Interesting to read Genesis 1-3 as a story about seeking wisdom. Oh how we rationalize!
Thanks for your attention men! Looking forward to our sharing more of God’s wisdom.