Headline news: An American woman touring with her husband in a car in a national park in South Africa is fatally bitten by a lion lunging through the window. The woman had her window down, which is against park policy, in order to get a better photo.
Recently, a teenager visiting Yellowstone National Park — an exchange student — was seriously gored by a bison while trying to get a closer photo. The very FIRST thing that tourists are warned about when entering Yellowstone is — STAY AWAY from the bison.
Stories like this drive home the truth about Adam and Eve. The truth of the story about the First Family in Genesis 2 is NOT — were they indeed the first human beings?
The story is — a story. It’s a myth. Adam & Eve are proto-typical human beings. They represent all of us. That’s why in the beginning of Genesis 2, the man is not named ADAM. He is named “the man.” Only many verses later, is he referred to by a name — “Adam.” In the New International Bible, “the man” is created in verse 2 — but he isn’t called “Adam” until verse 20. Up to then, he is simply called “the man.” That is, he represents all of us. He is the proto-typical human being.
Even being called “Adam” is a dual meaning of the generic word “man” in Hebrew.
Okay, then, the story about Adam & Eve is not about the birth of a specific person named Adam. It’s about the character of all of us — it’s about the model for our human nature. And what are we told about our human nature? Adam and Eve ignore boundaries. They ignore the boundaries set by God — they go for the apple.
Our aversion towards boundaries becomes evident every time we come across stories about people getting killed or injured in national parks. National parks are the closest thing to Eden. They are places of supreme beauty and unspoiled nature. But they are also places of boundaries — don’t go near the animals, stay on the path, etc. How often the boundaries are ignored — to the cost of a person’s life?
And it’s only horror stories like these that finally convince the rest of us to respect the boundaries.
One time, on vacation, I was driving to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. The speed limit was 35 mph. It began raining. Ever since driver’s ed in high school, I remembered the warning: slow down when it rains. The road becomes covered with a film of water and oil. Braking can cause sliding.
I KNEW it — I recalled the warning — but I ignored it. Suddenly I arrived at a steep curve where the speed limit dropped from 35 mph to 15. I braked. My van began sliding — as if on ice. I turned the steering wheel — nothing happened. I was heading straight at another car in the other lane. I kept braking, turning — my vehicle was gliding on a hydroplane of oil and water. It wasn’t until I could see the other driver’s terrified expression right in front of my hood — that the brakes and steering finally took hold. The van jerked to the right. I coasted down the road, came to a halt, stopped and ran back to where the other driver had pulled over.
“Are you okay?” I said breathlessly.
“Boy, I’m awake NOW!” he replied in good humor.,
“Did I get you?” I asked.
“Not even a ding?”
“No,” he said. “This a bad curve. There are always accidents at this curve.”
I said to myself, the problem wasn’t the curve. The problem was the boundaries I had ignored way before reaching the curve.