By Elaine Knudtson
(The following is part of a collaboration between Mindi Oaten and Elaine Knudtson in God’s Garden of Grace. It is a creative response to the scriptures.)
Genesis is the first book of the Pentateuch, traditionally ascribed to Moses. The first three chapters of Genesis and the last three chapters of Revelation form a parenthesis around the story of God’s relationship with humanity. Created in perfection, sin and death entered the world through disobedience. From the beginning, God seeks to return us to the garden, even though it leads through the valley of the shadow of death to the cross. We are imprinted with the image of God and a longing for the divine that haunts humanity from Adam and Eve through Noah and the patriarchs all the way to the final apocalypse.
“The Choice” By Elaine Knudtson
The choice has been made.
Like gods, we know good and evil.
Banished from paradise, darkness hides his face.
We labor in brokenness, calling to Death, “Who’s to blame?”
The Seed confronts evil with love.
Choose to dance in the symphony of creation.
Paint a rainbow after the monsoons of destruction.
Weave a tapestry of promise with Sarah, Rachel and Rebecca.
Sacrifice ambition on the altar built by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Retell the story of exile in Egypt.
Ferment hope into the fine wine of joy.
Dare to rise from the dead.
Transform our fallenness in the chrysalis of redemption,
as we await the bloom of the new creation.
Where humanity failed, Christ triumphs.
(New Revised Standard Version)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (1:1)
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”. . . When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (3:2-7)
[The Lord said to the serpent] “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (3:15)
The Lord God banished [Adam and Eve] from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (3:23-24)
The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. . . But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (6:5-6, 8)
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord. . . The Lord said: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (8:22)
[The LORD said to Jacob]: “I am the LORD, the God your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. . . All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (28:13-15)
Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. . . God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land [Egypt] to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (50:20, 24)