Oct 13, 2003

Close call
I freaked myself out with a close car accident on Saturday. I was speeding up as a slow car in front of me was pulling over to the right lane when he swerved back in and braked in front of me. I intended to slam on the brakes but somehow got my boot caught on the side of the brake pedal and ended up slamming on the gas. I managed to swerve around to the left lane while rocketing forward, missing the car in front. I oversteered and lost control and ended up swinging back and forth down the left land until i slowed down enough to regain control.
It was all pretty freaky, I'm damn lucky I didn't cause an accident. Major eye-opener to be attentive while driving.

Went hiking up to Monument Peak from Ed Levin park (PDF trail map) on Saturday too. I'm in horrible shape, my legs are still sore today. Unfortunately, my friend's brother has disabled his web server, which explains why all the photos are gone. I'm gonna have to find (or build) another server at some point to put up photos.

Here's the second homework assignment. Didn't really do a good job on it.

Genesis 2:4-25

Following the preface of the story of creation, Genesis 2 introduces the story of the fall. Near the literal center of the passage is God's first commandment to man: "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." This commandment is twofold; the provision for the abundance of food contrasts the dire warning against breaching the one prohibited tree. Likewise, this chapter describes God's initial unmarred creation which later contrasts the darkness of the initial sin in the following chapter. This chapter focuses on God's role in this utopia, not only creating the earth and man, but also providing for more than the basic needs.

There is a parallel in God's treatment of the earth in the first half of the chapter to God's treatment of man in the second half. Like the account of creation in Genesis 1, the creation process described here occurs in various steps. In this case, the earth was created in an initial state that was functional as described in verses 5 and 6. However, it is made apparent in the language that this stage is incomplete. The description of the timing indicates very clearly how there was an initial state when the "mist *used* to rise from the earth" that was awaiting a later state, since at this point "no shrub of the field was *yet* in the earth". This compares to the man's initial state of being alone. Although he was made alive with God's breath in verse 7, God later determines that "It is not good for the man to be alone".

Perhaps in our modern picture of a timeless God there is introduced an element of unchangingness, not only in the sense that he does not change in his character, but also in the sense that we expect things from God to appear perfect, immediately. This notion is contradicted in Genesis 2, where God is portrayed to act in a linear fashion. He begins with something that is whole, but at the same time incomplete He can improve upon it and perfect it at a later stage. Often in our impatience we may find ourselves expecting some sense of perfection that God had not yet brought about. The impatient spirit may cause us to doubt instead of waiting patiently for the day we may be complete.

The second thing that God does here is to fill up. The land, initially empty, was filled by the garden and the introduction of man. Likewise God created masses of animals to fill the man's life. Presumably he is to rule the animals as described in chapter 1 but not chapter 2, hence his naming of all the animals does imply a certain authority. The language used to describe "every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food" and "every beast of the field and every bird of the sky" suggest the abundance that filled the earth and the life of the man.

As basic as the thought of God's provision is, it is difficult to take it seriously and trust God to provide in abundance. Oftentimes our perceived needs overshadow our real needs. We would then gain for ourselve or lose faith in His provison. But the comparison of the full earth and the empty earth should bring us into worshipful appreciation of our blessings rather than the dissatifaction of being sufficiently blessed, but not quite blessed enough to satisfy our desires.

Finally, God not only provides for the immediate needs, He also nurtures. We're not charged up and dumped into the world to fend for ourselves. Rather God provides for the needs for support and love. Just like the rivers flowed to water and nurture the garden, so God provides for the nurturing and growth of His children. In this particular case, we see God recognizing that “it is not good for the man to be alone”, and moreover that the animals that were created were not sufficient, hence He provided the man a helper in woman. He takes what is there initially, and turns it into a great blessing. The source river from Eden broke into four to water the Middle East. Adam's rib grew into another human being in the form of a woman.

It is very common for us to have one or few focuses for our lives, especially when they are areas of abundance. For many, these would be areas of success. Since our lives are filled we find confidence in these areas. For some it might be their career, for others it might be the ministries in which they serve. God however, recognizes that there are different types of needs. In this particular passage, He shows a sense of forethought into the type of nurturing the man would need, even though there is no current sign that it is a problem. Just as the garden might be lush, but would dry up without water, at some points our lives can be full of blessing, but may dry up if we aren’t nurtured. Perhaps ones career or hobbies might be outpacing the relationships where we can find nurturing. Another example is how ones ministries, if overly burdening, can distance us from our nurturing relationship with God.

Often we forget to see the goodness in God's provisions. As God speaks his commandment, it is very clear the initial set of trees were good and were intended as a blessing in providing food. The last three verses, ending in "the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed" also gives a sense of goodness in the relationship between man and woman. In the same way that it was possible to take the garden, intended for man's benefit, and corrupt it by eating the fruit, it also is possible to take our potentially nurturing relationships and corrupt them. In failing to recognize his goodness, we may search for our own idea of what is good, as is shown in the account of the fall.

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