St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
A General Overview of the Old Testament
A Discussion led by The Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Old Testament
The discussion today was on Chapter 3 of Genesis with a continuation of the “J” story, which occurred somewhere between 900 and 1,000 BC. Adam and Eve were symbolic names, with Adam meaning “Earthling” an Eve meaning “the mother of all living.” No one knows why the symbol for evil took the form of a snake, but it may be because many people have an aversion to them. The snake was a tempter, but not the Devil, who was the one opposite to God. It worked its ways through psychological manipulation.
Another note of interest in that there was the ancient Sumerian story of Gilgamesh regarding a tree of life where the snake snatches away the forbidden fruit. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, their eyes were opened and they saw themselves naked for the first time. God provided fig leaves for them as a caring God. God is right down there with Adam and Eve as he is walking through the garden when they meet him. Adam noted that Eve tricked him and Eve noted that the serpent tricked her! God punished the serpent by making him slither around. God’s punishment to man and woman explain why life can be so difficult. The multiple temptations are like a chiasm. God still cared about his creation.
Note that the thinking of the day was that of polytheism or many gods. However, our God is the greatest! It wasn’t until around the sixth century BC that the idea of a single God came into existence. According to Walter Brueggeman, this was not a key story in the Bible but just one to explain why things were the way they were. This story has become central to some modern day religions to explain Christ’s death and resurrection.
Eve produced Cain and Abel. Abel was seen as the chosen one, which kept in the tradition of choosing the younger sun like David and the story of Jacob and Esau. Cain slew Able and the LORD asked him where he was. Cain thought the “others” would kill him. (Who were the “others?”) Cain settled in the Land of Nod, married, and had Enoch as a son. (Where did Enoch’s wife come from?)
The next verses highlight the genealogy of the descendents of Adam. Enoch and his wife had Methuselah as an offspring who lived over 900 years! Noah’s father was 182-years-old when he was born! Noah at 500-years-old became the father of three boys!