To give you an insight into my background: There’s a creationist group that promotes a literal understanding of Genesis called “Answers in Genesis.” They’re the ones that have drawn so much attention for the “Creation Museum.” I generally tend to agree with them and appreciate a more literal reading of Genesis, but I’ve always found their name to be a bit funny. I believe scripture to be inspired and inerrant, from God for man. It would follow then, that Scripture is written to be understood. Of all books other than Revelation, however, I find there to be more questions than answers in Genesis.
Here’s a few “What ifs” and “hypotheticals” I’ve gathered.
- Was all creation vegetarian? It appears meat was not given until after the flood. I’ve heard of post-fall changes, but never really post-flood changes.
- Was there reproduction in the garden? Eve’s pain in childbearing was greatly multiplied (indicating it didn’t start at zero…) (Gen 3:16) The command to ‘be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it’ (Gen 1:26-30) was pre-fall. Was there sex in the garden?
- Had you ever noticed that the animals were considered as possible companions for Adam? They were rejected, of course. Think they could talk? After all, no one seemed surprised by the talking serpent with legs…
- I never noticed that animals had the breath of life (Gen 1:26-30). Though not made in the image of God, they had that part of his essence.
I probably get distracted by trivia a bit too easily…but it’s interesting to ask the “What ifs.” What if the south had won the civil war? (Sorry to burst someone’s bubble…) What if my cat could talk…? What if I could fly?
The real tragedy of the first few chapters of Genesis is knowing that there was zero room for the question: “What if man never fell…” It’s a mere ten generations from fall to flood, and thanks to long lifespans, it seems that everyone would have been intimately familiar with the story of sin in the garden, yet each generation grew worse. “Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5).
God hardly seemed to have a rosy outlook about his creation. That realism only makes his grace more impressive to me…and there’s no question about that!