Each night, I pray ten minutes before I go to bed, and I decided a few days ago to incorporate Bible reading into that. Essentially, I will read a passage, and then I will talk about it in my prayer. I figure that it’s better for me to do that than it is for me to struggle to find things to say, or to talk primarily about my day and my plans (which is not to say that I can’t talk to God about those things). I may blog about some of my thoughts from those daily quiet times, but I won’t obligate myself to do so. For one, I don’t want to impose on myself another blogging obligation. Plus, there are some thoughts that I like to keep personal—-rather than displaying them on the Internet for the public.
What has amazed me about my reading so far is that I have had
questions rather than answers. I was expecting to go through the
same-old stories and to say the same-old things about them—-things that I
have learned from biblical scholarship and other sources. Instead,
I’ve had questions.
Let me give you an example. Genesis 1:28-29 states (in the KJV):
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every
living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have
given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the
earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding
seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
The word translated as “replenish” is rendered as “fill” in many other translations because the root m-l-aleph often relates to filling. I have two questions (or categories of questions):
1. So the first man and woman are to fill the earth. That appears
to contradict what I was taught about Genesis, which is that, had Adam
and Eve not sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, they would have stayed
in the Garden of Eden for all of their lives, as would their
descendants. Is there a contradiction between Genesis 1, in which God
at creation tells the man and the woman to fill the earth, and Genesis
2, in which Adam and Eve leave the Garden and inaugurate the process of
filling the earth only after their transgression of God’s command?
I realize that many scholars say that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 have
different creation accounts—-that Genesis 1 is by P and that Genesis 2
is by J (or whoever). But they disagree about whether or not P knew of
J’s creation account and was trying to supplement it, thereby creating a
sort of “Fall” story in which human beings fall from a state of being
good. Does P in Genesis 1 manifest any awareness of Genesis 2, in which
God appears to intend for humans to obey him and thus be cooped up in a
Garden for the rest of their lives? Or would P think that the
transgression was the means by which humans could begin to obey God’s
command to fill the earth?
2. Many maintain that Adam and Eve were to be vegetarians, and that
human beings were allowed to eat meat only after the Flood, as a
concession to human brutality. This view makes a degree of sense, for,
in Genesis 1, God tells human beings that they can eat plants, without
mentioning eating animals. But God specifically tells humans that they
can eat animals in Genesis 9:3.
But here’s my question: What does God mean when he tells the man and
the woman to have dominion over fish and fowl? Why would we want
dominion over fish and fowl, except to eat them? Does God granting the
first man and woman dominion over fish and fowl imply that he was
allowing them to eat those creatures?