Bible Hierarchy of our Two Key Characters: God and humans
We still have to finish the last scene regarding God’s relationship with humanity. There are other basic points to glean to gather more in-depth comprehension; this is the opening scene between God and humans. We’re hanging on each word, so we don’t miss the slightest implication, the smallest clue in Genesis 2:15–17that can help us unlock where the narrative is going and its ultimate climax.
(Origin of the Universe, chapter 4.4)
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And 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 shalt not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shalt surely die. (Gen. 2:15–17)
More disclosures from this Garden of Eden scene (Gen. 2:15–17):
- God is in command
- God makes the rules
- God gives the instruction
- Humans are the recipient of this instruction
- Humans receive the rules
- Humans have a free choice to follow or not follow God’s instructions. In other words, to follow or not follow God’s rules
- There’s no coercion from God, just clear instruction. God is not a bully.
Let’s come down to earth and put government and leadership, any governing body of any organization in the driver’s seat, and apply these same seven principles.
This organization, which oversees, whatever form it might take — top-down, collegiate, bottom-up — is necessary to establish the orderly conditions that bring peace. Peace is not the cause of organization and order; peace does not precede union and stability; it’s the other way round. Organization and order are mainstay reasons for peace. Orderliness leads to harmony. There is no anarchy, disorder, or turmoil in the Garden of Eden, for example.
To reach the proper organization, there are several clear-cut stages, which we’ll see below. Where these elements are absent, the result is the opposite of peace: chaos. (Of course, some confusion creates drama, as we’ll see later on!)
1. Organization of the Leadership Chain of Command — Hierarchy (of the garden of Eden scene)
- God is in command
- God decides what to do
- Humans are / can be followers, not the leaders
God establishes the hierarchy, humankind can do and say whatever they like, but in the script of the Bible play, God is in charge.
I know, in our liberal democratic society, there’s room for discussion, debate, and compromise, and the concept and even the word hierarchy sound very overbearing and incongruous. Talking about someone in charge, with the idea of wielding a big stick is unacceptable to our minds — especially in light of some of the outrageous acts perpetrated by powerful professional people in 2019.
We shall return to this concept of hierarchy and leadership positions with much more explanation because such abuse of power is intolerable. This Bible text is not referring to this brutish authority and control. For now, just read it as part of the Bible story. After all, there are plenty of fiction books and real-life non-fiction examples of legends and tales built around influential, overbearing, authoritarian leaders.
More points to retain from Gen. 2:15–17:
2. Existence of Rules
- There are rules
- The Supreme Being who wrote the play makes the rules
- These rules are for the benefit of man and woman just like keeping our hand out of the fire is a rule, or kids standing back, away from a stove when Mom or Dad is cooking — they are beneficial to us
- If humanity follows these rules, there can be short and long-term benefits; if humankind breaks them, there can be short and long-term consequences.
Making the rules includes the notion that they are inevitable and unavoidable whether man and woman know them or not. We might not like the term rules but even in table games like Monopoly or Risk or in all sports, be it football or table-tennis, rules are present. We might use other terms to describe them like decrees, guidelines, laws, orders, precedents, or regulations.
The result is that they establish behavior that is considered the norm to which people are to conform. And the consequences of following or not following those rules occur relentlessly whether man and woman, you and I, are aware of them or not.
Galacti pretends to be hungry, picks a mushroom in the garden, and eats it, then shortly after that mimics sickness and pain. Even he isn’t sure if the mushroom species is poisonous, but by eating it, he accepts the consequences. He refrains from a ‘stage death’ to make his point: He may have eased his hunger in the short term, but he could have died. There are even rules governing what we can and can’t eat.
We’re drawing fuller meaning, a more in-depth understanding from the author’s description of the relationship between God and Humans; this is what the Bible story tells us:
1. Responsibilities and Consequences for God
- Establishing rules
- Helpful and practical rules that can be applied by humankind.
> Making those rules known and teaching them to humanity
- Determining the consequences of following or disobeying those rules: In this scene (Gen. 2:15–17), they are summed up or generalized by short and long-term Life and Death.
2. Responsibilities and Consequences for Humans
- A freely made decision to be open to and listen or not to God’s instruction
- A voluntarily made decision to apply or not apply that instruction
- A realization that humankind accepts the consequences of its choices: short and long term life or death
Hierarchy, Rules, Responsibilities, Consequences, Life, Death. We haven’t looked at any details or defined parameters of what they specifically are. Right now, I’m keeping you a little in suspense. I would like you to focus on the overview. There is much more to say, and we are getting there. But, first, as usual, let’s get the big picture.
The first few chapters of Genesis do just that; they give us the backdrop and staging for the interaction between the characters of our play. We’ve seen the beginning of that interplay between God and humanity represented by Adam and Eve.
The next important thing to remember is that these four concepts — Organization, Rules, Responsibilities, and Consequences of God and humans — are part of the central point of the Bible. Each of these four points has the why, how, when, where, who that we will scrutinize. And, it isn’t what you’ve heard before. I shall expand them and go into details.
For now, we’re still setting the stage. Here comes the villain.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 4.4 of the book Origin of the Universe.
You can read all of the book Origin of the Universe online. Sam blogs weekly at TheExplanation.com The Explanation masters Biblical Hebrew to help you unlock more in-depth Bible meaning. Free tools to read and study the Bible online.