I Have Questions

Genesis, Chapter 1, God creates light. God separates the light from the darkness and calls the light “day” and the darkness “night.” That is on the first day. Then God creates the sun, the moon, and the stars to give light to the earth. This is on the fourth day. God creates the animals, including people, on the fifth and sixth days. God also creates plants for the animals to eat. Then on the seventh day, God rests because he is tired. 

In the next chapter, the reader is told that there are no plants on the earth because there is no one to work the ground. God fashions people from the ground and breathes life into them. God plants a garden and makes plants grow there. Two of the plants are the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The first tree would be unnecessary but for the second tree, which brings mortality; however, as the reader later discovers, access to the tree of life is barred eternally. 

God tells man not to eat the fruit of the second tree or man will die, but God does not bar the way to the tree.

God makes woman from man’s side. At this time, man and woman are naked and unashamed.

God creates plants for the animals to eat. However, there are no plants because there is no one to work the ground. But God makes a garden for man so man does not have to work the ground. 

In Chapter 3, the reader learns that, among the animals, there is the serpent. The serpent is cleverer than all the other animals – even man and woman!

The serpent talks the woman into eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. His argument is that the fruit will not kill her, as God has said, but that it will open her eyes and allow her to know good and evil. At this point, only divine beings possess this knowledge.

The man, who was with the woman, eats the fruit with her. 

The first consequence of the man and woman knowing good and evil is discovering their nakedness. To cover their shame, they make clothes out of fig leaves.

(Is this all a grand metaphor for sex?)

The man and woman hear God walking in the garden and hide. God asks why they are hiding. The man says because he is naked. God asked how the man knows this. The man says because the woman gave him fruit from the forbidden tree.

God then turns to the woman and questions her. The woman says the serpent tricked her into eating the fruit. God curses the serpent for this deed. God then curses the woman for listening to the serpent. God then curses man for listening to the woman.

After cursing them, God makes clothing of animal skin for them to wear and banishes them from the garden. 

God laments that man has become “like us.”

The man is fated to work the ground from which he was taken. (Now there can be plants.)

In front of the garden, God places a human-headed winged bull and a flashing sword to keep the man and woman from entering the garden and eating fruit from the tree of life. 

Chapter 3 informs the reader that the woman God made, who is named Eve, is the mother of all people. She and the man, who is named Adam, have two children: Cain and Abel. At this time, there are four people in the world.

Cain kills Abel because God tells him not to. To punish Cain, God drives him out of the land Adam, Eve, and Cain inhabit. Cain complains to God that he will be killed if he is forced to wander the earth. God reassures him that this will not happen. 

I have some questions.

If God makes light on the first day, then why does God need to make lights on the fourth day? God makes light before making any light-emitting things; but God has to make light-emitting things to give light. This sounds like a contradiction.

Why does God get tired? Why does he rest? Is he not all powerful? 

If God is the only god, why does God keep referring to “us”? Why is “gods” plural?

Why does God put the knowledge of good and evil inside fruit? Why does God put this fruit in the garden? Does it not seem that God wants the man and woman to eat the fruit? Why does God want the man and woman to become like gods? 

Why does God have to look for the man and woman in the garden? Does God not already know where they are? Why does the man tell God that he is naked when in fact he is clothed in a garment made of fig leaves? Did God not know they were naked before they ate the fruit? 

Why does God allow the serpent to talk the woman into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Why does God punish the serpent, the woman, and the man for actions they take in a situation God created? (Is this not entrapment?)

More generally, why does God punish people for actions that God can prevent? And if God cannot prevent these actions, then how is God powerful enough to create light and light-emitting things in reverse order?

If there are only three people in the world, then why is Cain worried? Why does God not remind Cain of this fact? Why does it seem that even God is not aware of this fact? 

Cain makes love to his wife and has a child. Where does Cain find a wife? Surely it is not Eve.

Cain builds a city and names it after his son. But how can there be a city when there is only Adam, Eve, Cain, Cain’s wife, and Cain’s son? Isn’t that a tent?

Cain’s son has a son. Where does Cain’s son’s wife come from?

Adam and Eve have a third son. They name him Seth. Seth has a son.

Who is Seth’s wife?

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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