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Gen 3:20-21

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  • Gen 3:20-21

    I'm currently taking a class on Biblical Theology. Coming to Gen 3, my professor makes a small note on these verses which just blew my mind. Hopefully I can present his view (as far as I understand it) and what I consequently take and add onto it. In case anyone is wondering my prof is Bruce Waltke at Regent College.

    The text: (20) The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. (21) Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.

    The context: Right after the judgement in the garden.

    The biggest problem is that it breaks the flow of the narrative I believe. The story either flows better by omitting v. 20 (and so the judgement continues into expulsion) or by moving v. 20 later so that it immediately precedes 4:1 (and after the expulsion). By moving it later, it would act as a summary statement for what it to follow (Cain and Abel cycle followed by Seth and then the generations of Adam). Assuming intentionality on the part of the author/redactor (which we always do!), the explanation for why this verse is here arises.

    Dr. Waltke explains these two verses as such: they are evidence of Adam and Eve's salvation after the Fall. The promise for the defeat of the Serpent is given in 3:15. Adam acknowledges this promise and "shows his restoration to God by believing the promise that the woman would bear offspring that would defeat the Serpent."

    I would add one thing at this point that I believe Dr. Waltke has missed. The ability to name is given by God to mankind so to control it. One will remember that God showed dominion over creation by naming it. Adam employed his dominion over animals and fauna by naming it. After the Fall mankind's dominion over creation is taken away, evidenced in that he must struggle for survival. One of the curses that the woman is given is that her desire would be for her husband, but also that her husband would rule over her. This dominion is evidenced by Adam naming his wife. Eve here submits to God's punishment, but in an ironic twist also displays her own faith in God's restorative plan by accepting her name and the meaning of it. Both Adam and now Eve are restored back to God by submitting to His justice and having faith in His redemptive plan of salvation for humanity.

    Waltke continues by pointing out that v. 21 shows God's provision for His restored people. Waltke's purpose is to show that Adam's faith moves to God's provision, as evidence of a restored people to God. Although he does not use the terminology here, Waltke gives us a picture of the first covenant. As with other covenants, a prime feature of the covenant involves sacrifice. "Through the Lord's sacrifice, the alienated couple is restored to fellowship with Him and one another."

    I would bring up a few issues. This covenant, if the term is correctly being applied of course, is not offered from God initially. God's provision is a reaction to something that the individual(s) have done. This would be different from both the Noahic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New covenants where God gives the promise to do something only if the covenant is kept. Abram will have many offspring if he will trust God to lead him out to the wilderness. Israel will be God's people if they will keep His Law. The Church will be considered the true Israel and God's people if they follow Christ. Rhetorically v. 20-21 does follow this pattern if and only if v. 15 is seen as a blessing for Adam and Eve. In other words, what is left unstated is that although the promise of the destruction of the Serpent and his offspring is given as a curse, it is a potential blessing for Adam and Eve since it would restore the human race by means of their offspring. In even simpler terms, trusting God is the basis for redemption; by putting forth a plan of redemption provided the means for Adam and Eve to put their trust in God. God is then the initiator of the covenant, although this point is extremely subtle. Should we expect anything less within this particular style of story-telling though?

    What this intrusion of grace means is that the story must be broken up. It ends the section of curses, but not the larger narrative of the Fall. 3:22-24 then conclude the story by describing what happens as the aftermath: mankind is expelled from the Garden. But they are embodied with hope, once read properly. Although cursed by God, they have God's provision nonetheless. The story must be broken here so that the readers can follow the rest of the story with the hope that God's provision follows us out into the wilderness. The original audience of the Hebrews needed this hope. The implied audience of the Church today would also do well to keep this message of hope in the forefront of their hearts as well.
    ~Clay

  • #2
    It all sounds good to me. Did you have a question about it, or were you just sharing this?
    ----------------------------------------------
    When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

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    • #3
      i don't think it was a matter of control... a name was a means of control.... but everything God did for man was all in an attempt to give us every opportunity to get to know him...
      The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you,And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

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      • #4
        Good post!

        The concept of "naming", as believed by most of ancient Mesopotamia, was an assigning of purpose. When Adam named Eve, the implication was that she was to become the "mother of all living", not that she was. When Adam named the animals the bible shows man's authority over them.

        This concept carries throughout the bible. Abram was renamed "Abraham" by God to signify his new role. Jesus named Peter and Paul in the same way.

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        • #5
          It is just some theological musing. However, any criticism that may be brought up–good or bad–is always helpful of course.
          ~Clay

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          • #6
            Originally posted by crawfish View Post
            Good post!

            The concept of "naming", as believed by most of ancient Mesopotamia, was an assigning of purpose. When Adam named Eve, the implication was that she was to become the "mother of all living", not that she was. When Adam named the animals the bible shows man's authority over them.

            This concept carries throughout the bible. Abram was renamed "Abraham" by God to signify his new role. Jesus named Peter and Paul in the same way.

            I think this goes well beyond ancient Mesopotamian thought. I think it has much more Syrian/Egyptian significance of assigning control over the thing being named. God names creation because He controls creation. Not in the sense that He controls even the surd evil, but that even the surd (or natural) evil halts at the word of God (cf. Gen 1:3, and Jesus' calming of the storm narratives).

            In the same sense, in naming His people, God is claiming authority over those people. They are now His people. I think this makes a lot of sense in the individual contexts of those individuals.
            ~Clay

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            • #7
              The idea that the coats of animals skins are meant as expiation of sin is far fetched and a real stretch in my opinion. The animal skins have an obvious utilitarian value and without consecration, have no religious value. Sometimes clothing is just clothing.

              As for the naming of the animals, I was taught that God had Adam name the animals so that Adam would need to study them, and in studying them he would come to realize his need for a mate. The creation of Eve came after that.

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              • #8
                I thought that perhaps you would find post #325 in the following thread of interest:

                http://bibleforums.org/showthread.ph...52#post1681052

                ananias
                "But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers.

                And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven.

                Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ."
                (Mat.23: 8-10)

                AND

                "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another.

                By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another."
                (Joh.13: 34-35)

                Comment


                • #9
                  A good exposition, I think.

                  Here is some commentary by David Guzik:

                  4. (20) The naming of Eve.

                  And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

                  a. Adam called his wife’s name Eve: Up to Genesis 3:20, the woman has never been called Eve. We are so used to saying “Adam and Eve” that we assume she already had her name. But to this point, she was called a female (Genesis 1:27), a helper comparable (Genesis 2:18), a woman (Genesis 2:22, 23), and a wife (Genesis 2:24, 25; 3:8). This does not mean God did not have a name for Eve, but we are told what the name is in Genesis 5:2: He called them Mankind.

                  i. The idea that the woman takes her name from the husband, and the idea that both genders are encompassed in terms like mankind, humanity, and chairman. Our use of these terms is not merely cultural, it is Biblical.

                  ii. A woman gains more of her identity from her husband than the man does from the wife. For this reason, women should take special care in which man they marry.

                  b. Because she was the mother of all living: Adam named her Eve, even though she was not a mother at all at the time. She was not even pregnant yet. Adam named her in faith, trusting God would bring forth a deliverer from the woman, because God said He would defeat Satan through the Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15).
                  Phl 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BroRog View Post
                    The idea that the coats of animals skins are meant as expiation of sin is far fetched and a real stretch in my opinion. The animal skins have an obvious utilitarian value and without consecration, have no religious value. Sometimes clothing is just clothing.

                    As for the naming of the animals, I was taught that God had Adam name the animals so that Adam would need to study them, and in studying them he would come to realize his need for a mate. The creation of Eve came after that.
                    The animal skins included the shedding of blood (for the first time in Scripture). I see this as VERY significant...
                    Phl 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SIG View Post
                      The animal skins included the shedding of blood (for the first time in Scripture). I see this as VERY significant...
                      How so? Does God or Adam or Eve or the Serpent find it significant? Does the author of Genesis make any kind of editorial comment on it? Does anyone in the rest of the Bible make a comment regarding the fact that God made clothing from animal skins?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Good study. But he omits what Adam naming Eve [life giver] entails in showing his response of faith to God's promise. Although the land would be cursed, they would be given life rather than death. Adam and Eve hid from God because they feared He was going to kill them for what they had done. But grace is given thru the substitionary atonement of the sacrifice and the birth of children ensures man will continue to live in the earth and populate it. And here too is the promise of a Redeemer to overturn the penalty for their sin and overcome the devil who caused it all.
                        Robin

                        Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established that, unless one loves the truth, he cannot know it. - Blaise Pascal
                        And Jesus saith unto him [Thomas], I am the way the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. - John 14:6
                        Discernment is not needed in things that differ, but in things that appear to be the same. - Miles Sanford
                        Those who compromise with Christ’s enemies may be reckoned with them. - C.H. Spurgeon

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BroRog View Post
                          How so? Does God or Adam or Eve or the Serpent find it significant? Does the author of Genesis make any kind of editorial comment on it? Does anyone in the rest of the Bible make a comment regarding the fact that God made clothing from animal skins?
                          What about Heb. 9:22? "...without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin..." The skins God clothed them with came only after the shedding of blood of the animals. We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ by HIS shed blood.
                          g
                          "Gripped in the Hand of God"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Clay Blucher View Post
                            ...The text: (20) The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. (21) Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.

                            The context: Right after the judgement in the garden.

                            The biggest problem is that it breaks the flow of the narrative I believe. The story either flows better by omitting v. 20 (and so the judgement continues into expulsion) or by moving v. 20 later so that it immediately precedes 4:1 (and after the expulsion). By moving it later, it would act as a summary statement for what it to follow (Cain and Abel cycle followed by Seth and then the generations of Adam). Assuming intentionality on the part of the author/redactor (which we always do!), the explanation for why this verse is here arises.

                            Dr. Waltke explains these two verses as such: they are evidence of Adam and Eve's salvation after the Fall...
                            A bit of a stretch for me. Not that I believe they were not Saved by God's Covering, but that the word "living" is applied in that sense (Salvation). Here's the problem with it as I see it:

                            1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
                            Here Paul, who is talking about resurrection, tells us that eventually everyone who has ever lived will be made alive again by Jesus Christ. In no way does my hermeneutics allow me to take this statement to say that since everyone is eventually resurrected, they will all be Saved for eternity. Some will experience a "second death". The passage in Genesis is talking about Eve being the mother of all who were physically born and lived on this earth. That's all. If you extend the sense of living past that physical life, then you are saying Eve would have the power to make them alive again...forever, which clearly she doesn't. And your hermeneutics would force you to if you apply the word to Salvation.

                            As far as why that verse names her, the first is to identify her as the first mother and therefore mother of all who would eventually be born. True, for without her there would be no Mary, and without Mary there would be no Jesus. The second reason is that if Eve's name is not mentioned there, then we would not know that she is the wife that Adam has sex with in Genesis 4:1. After that verse (4:1), Eve's name is never mentioned again in the entire OT!!! In the NT, Paul was the only one who referred to her (twice - 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:13). Since that verse (3:20) explains Eve's relationship to Adam as wife, a name would have been required there first.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BroRog View Post
                              The idea that the coats of animals skins are meant as expiation of sin is far fetched and a real stretch in my opinion. The animal skins have an obvious utilitarian value and without consecration, have no religious value. Sometimes clothing is just clothing.
                              They do have religious value. God could have covered them with anything, yet chose to kill an innocent animal to 'cover their sin'....a picture of Christ - the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (Jn 1:29).

                              Jesus uses the parable of the wedding garment as a picture of salvation as well.

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