It has been pointed out before that the Bible begins with two creation stories. There is the creation story of chapter 1 of Genesis where God creates all the heavens and the earth over six days. Creating day and night, the moon and sun and stars, all the fishes of the sea, birds of the air, and animals of the land, and finally humankind. After creating each thing God steps back and declares it good.
The second chapter of Genesis opens with God taking a break. On the seventh day he rests and then it is pointed out that man couldn’t till the soil because no plants grew and so God creates a garden along four great rivers and in it he puts a man. A man that is somehow now the first man and alone. What happened to those other humans God created? Who knows? But they aren’t alone in being lost because God decides man needs a companion and has him name all the animals.
After giving each animal its name man is not satisfied because he still doesn’t have a partner, an equal, if you will. This is where God takes man, puts him into a deep sleep, and fashions from his rib a companion, woman.
Then it goes into the relationship of a man and wife and all that. There is a beautiful poetry to it and symbolism of woman being created from and and then man joining woman in a union where they can be naked an unashamed together. In some ways that is the description of the ideal relationship. Of the highest form of love. Those we can be unashamed around.
These first two chapters of the Bible are, oddly, two of the most controversial. You have people that are adamant that everything in the Bible must be taken literally and this is really how creation happened and all that, and that God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, which I have bad news for them that if God is omnipotent and omnipresent then God created everything and everyone.
For me the first creation story of the Bible is better as a creation story. God creates everything and it is good. The second creation story is a little unusual as it opens with the ending of the first one and suddenly it is like that first one never happened. There are no plants, no stars, then no man, and finally no animals. Then woman is fashioned out of the man’s rib.
The poetry at the end and the symbolism of our relationships is beautiful. Think of your life? Think of your goals in this world? Who doesn’t want to live in a garden of plenty, wanting for nothing, with a companion that is your perfect equal, the person around whom you never feel shame? That truly is paradise, and again it is about love.