Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
I have long tried to get people to stop looking at Adam and Eve as superman and superwoman. The reason I do this is that there is no indication from the text itself that this is so and we might want to try as best we can to view Adam and Eve s much like ourselves without sin. That last part is the problem for us because it is hard for us to view what the mental and emotional processes were like without sin in the world.
Adam and Eve certainly had great faculties of human proportions. Adam demonstrates their intelligence and ability to reason and make choices on his own when he names the animals. He has a capacity for creative thinking coming up with a lovely poem the moment he sees Eve. The thing is that there is one thing they lacked that will be come truly problematic for them later – experience. They also were not all-knowing, all-powerful or everywhere present like their creator. By definition the only perfect one is God so they were automatically not perfect simply because they were creations of God and not God himself. They had their limitations. They were thankful for the creative power that made them but they woke up hungry and dependent on that same creator.
For us the problem though remains the same. Our humanity can cause us problems even without sin when we do not make allowance for our limitations as human beings. In the first sermon of this series the point was that questioning God’s judgement is our first problem but then we don’t question his judgment, we don’t recognize our limitations and when God commands us to do A, we find as many justifications to not do A and some of those justifications can be made with the best intentions but still lead to disaster because we do not see how things will truly work out because of our limitations as human beings. We also get our selves into a mess when we disobey God out of thinking we have a better handle on things as limited humans and not trusting God might have out better interests at heart.