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The Serpent’s Lie

When the serpent first speaks in Genesis, the woman is eager to correct him. His opening speech is probably best construed, according to many modern scholars, as an incomplete subordinate clause: in Robert Alter’s translation “Though God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Evil and the Absence of Truth

The book of Genesis does not give an ultimate explanation of the origin of evil, for evil is at its heart not explicable or intelligible, just as darkness is by its nature not visible. It stems not from a positive presence but from an absence, not a reason but a form of unreason: a failure, a lack, . . . . Continue Reading »

Adam and Ahab

Genesis tells us when the serpent spoke to the woman, her husband was with her (Gen. 3:6). Yet evidently Adam is silent . Why? I’m thinking we might learn how to answer this question from Ahab and Jezebel, whose story is similar in several respects. The crucial similarity is that the man knows . . . . Continue Reading »

Adam’s Silence

Why does the serpent in the Garden of Eden speak to the woman, not the man? Genesis gives us a very strong hint about this, which I explored in an earlier post :  The great difference between the man and the woman at this point is that the man has heard the commandment of God first hand, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Fruit of Wisdom

I want to think about how “male and female,” a duality essential to the goodness of creation , play an essential role also in the first disobedience in the Garden of Eden. But to do that I need to address a prior question: Why does God command the man not to eat the fruit from the tree of . . . . Continue Reading »

“And It was Very Good”

I started this series of reflections on Genesis by thinking about when Creation was not yet good : when the man is without the woman in Genesis 2, and when heaven is without the earth in Genesis 1 (when we do not hear the expected refrain, “And God was that it was good” on the second day). Now, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Animal with Logos

In Genesis the goodness of creation requires what I have called a logic of otherness , in which dualities that could become divisions or antagonisms are united for the good. The basic structure of this logic is: (1) first one, then the other, (2) the one for the good of the other, and (3) the one . . . . Continue Reading »

The Biblical Logic of Otherness

In previous posts I have been thinking about striking moments early in Genesis that have to do with male and female—familiar moments with little-noticed features that are striking once you see them. Here is another one: the commandment not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is . . . . Continue Reading »

Male and Female

It’s striking—or it should be—that Genesis does not mention “male and female” until it comes to the human creation (1:27). Before that there’s seed bearing fruit and the blessing of procreation, “be fruitful and multiply,” which establishes the sexual reproduction of the beasts of . . . . Continue Reading »

When Creation is Not Good

There is a striking omission from the Hebrew text of Genesis 1, on the second day of creation. It is the day when God creates Heaven, and the omission is that he does not see it as good. Every other day of creation has God seeing that his work is good, but not this one. The omission is so striking . . . . Continue Reading »

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