Lectionary Ravings: Hiding in the Genesis 3 Tree


I noticed a slight interpretive variance in a line of scripture from Genesis that speaks volumes to me about the nature of man. First, I’ll take the tried and true King James Version:

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

The Orthodox Study Bible, which bases its interpretation upon the Septuagint, renders the text a bit differently:

Then they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden that afternoon, and Adam and his wife hid themselves within the tree in the middle of the garden from the presence of the Lord God [emphasis mine].

According to the text earlier in Genesis 3, the only two trees in the middle of the garden were the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Septuagint version tells us in which trees they would have hidden themselves. I would suppose that they hid themselves in the latter tree. This would make a telling metaphor for the human race in that man hides himself from the presence of God in the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Remember that the serpent had promised Eve that if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would have gained the knowledge of good and evil and become godlike. Indeed, man seeks his own discernment of the spiritual world without God. But we fail to note that God created this tree in the first place for our own good!

Oh, and one more thing: This is not anti-science. Science and religion are not mutually exclusive. Orthodoxy sees the two not at odds with each other, but as answers to different questions. Science answers questions about the creation; religion answers questions about the Creator. But which one tells us more about man?

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About Pete Mladineo


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