Reading 1/341, Genesis 1-4

God creates Heaven and Earth, and all animals, and all things, and he creates humans, first Adam, then Eve. He told Adam not to eat from the tree, but the serpent tempts Eve who tempts Adam. They have children, the first of whom (Cain) kills the second (Abel).

[A]In the reading today, God creates the world and then creates it again. There are two popular explanations of this. 1) These are two human attempts to describe the indescribable process by which the omnipotent God created the universe. 2) The first time, God was inventing the ideas of things. The second time he is actually making the things.
[B] We see the progression from perfect creation to sin ruining everything. This is the story of the entire Bible: God continually working to restore creation and humans continually ruining anything good. While there will be bright spots in the Old Testament, not until Christ is creation restored, a restoration that we can participate in if we choose.

Genesis...

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called “night”. There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

God said, “Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse “sky”. There was evening and there was morning, the second day.

God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering together of the waters he called “seas”. God saw that it was good. God said, “Let the earth yield grass, herbs yielding seeds, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with their seeds in it, on the earth”; and it was so. The earth yielded grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with their seeds in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, the third day.

God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs to mark seasons, days, and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of sky to give light on the earth”; and it was so. God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of sky to give light to the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

God said, “Let the waters abound with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky.” God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures after their kind: livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;” and it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The heavens, the earth, and all their vast array were finished. On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

This is the history of the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. No plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth. There was not a man to till the ground, but a mist went up from the earth, and watered the whole surface of the ground. The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. The Lord God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became four heads. The name of the first is Pishon: this is the one which flows through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good. There is aromatic resin and the onyx stone. The name of the second river is Gihon: the same river that flows through the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel: this is the one which flows in front of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

The Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.”

The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field, but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him. The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. He made the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” The woman said to the serpent, “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly shall you go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you have listened to your wife's voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you, and you will eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. The Lord God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them. The Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...” Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

The man knew Eve his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have gotten a man with the Lord’s help.” Again she gave birth, to Cain's brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the ground. Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat of it. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but he did not respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen? If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you do not do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.”

Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let us go into the field.” It happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him. The Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?” The Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries to me from the ground. Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. From now on, when you till the ground, it will not yield its strength to you. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me out this day from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. It will happen that whoever finds me will kill me.” The Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever slays Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” The Lord appointed a sign for Cain, lest anyone finding him should strike him.

Cain went out from the Lord's presence, and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad. Irad became the father of Mehujael. Mehujael became the father of Methushael. Methushael became the father of Lamech.

Lamech took two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother's name was Jubal, who was the father of all who handle the harp and pipe. Zillah also gave birth to Tubal Cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron. Tubal Cain's sister was Naamah. Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice. You wives of Lamech, listen to my speech, for I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for bruising me. If Cain will be avenged seven times, truly Lamech will be seventy-seven times.”

Adam knew his wife again. She gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, “for God has appointed me another child instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” There was also born a son to Seth, and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the Lord's name.

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