Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Young children don’t get easily bored. Whether it is pulling a coin from behind their ear, or making their nose beep, or telling them the same story for the 100th time, their response is often, “Do it again.” Beginning in Genesis 2:4, after having told us the creation account, Moses backs up and rehearses the story one more time… but as any experienced father does, He isn’t telling it exactly the same way.
What parent ever tells the story the same way every time? More details, less details, additional themes can all be woven in. This time Moses tells it from a different starting point and ends it at a different point. He is going to slow down a bit and expand some details.
This re-telling, and the different details have caused some unnecessary confusion, which has led to some wild speculation about what is meant in these accounts. The source of the confusion is more often than not what we bring to the text, and our theological commitments which we insist the text must be affirming. However, as with any text of Scripture, we must allow the text to pursue its own agenda, and not make it pursue our own.
Why are we being told the story again? What do we gain this time that we didn’t get the first time through? Much. Much that speaks again of the very purpose and meaning of our existence in this world. Much that tells us why God wants us to be interested in people’s stomachs, and children, and lives as well as their souls; what the purpose of our work is, or why we study in school; why we sacrifice to train our children; why we make worship together a priority… and much more.