Bible Review 18:2, April 2002

Back to the Garden

By reversing the negatives in God’s curse of Adam and Eve, we come to the lost positives of the Garden—and the world as God meant it to be.

By Mary Joan Winn Leith

Bible Review

When I first began teaching Old Testament and Hebrew Bible, I happened upon a little book by Conrad L’Heureux called In and Out of Paradise (Paulist Press, 1983). The volume is full of helpful insights about the biblical Primordial History—the stories from the Creation to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 1–11). To this day, I find myself reminding my students, as L’Heureux does, that the punishments God metes out to Adam, Eve and the natural world (Genesis 3:14–19) are “descriptive, not prescriptive.” In other words, the punishments are the Yahwist’s description of how things are (what philosophers call the “human condition”), not how they are supposed to be.

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