These are the generations of the heavens and the earth at their creation. When the Personal Name, the Almighty Judge made the earth and the heavens there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted. The Personal Name, the Almighty Judge had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the ground. A stream seeped out of the earth, watering all the surface of the ground. The Personal Name, the Almighty Judge formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The man became a living being.
It may seem strange, discussing The Land: The Promise of the People of the Social Contract. Is not the Promised Land, the Promised Land, Israel, from Lebanon to the Red Sea? On the other hand, when we try to find the Garden of Eden, we find something interesting. As we look at the mural at our Cathedral, we notice how the Lamb stands atop four rivers. These are the four rivers of life from Genesis 2:4. Two of these rivers are easy to find, the Tigris and the Euphrates.
The third is a dry creek bed in western Saudi Arabia. The fourth defines the land of Cush, a land that stretches from Ethiopia and Somalia all the way to modern Libya. The Tigris and Euphrates are north and east of Israel. The Pishon and Gihon are to the south, east, and west. The land in the middle where we expect to find the Garden of Eden, is exactly where Israel sits today. The Garden of Eden is Israel.
Does not Genesis 3:23 tell us how God banished Adam and Eve from the garden? “God expelled Ha Adam, stationing the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword east of the Garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life.” The apple in the story is the way of the nations. The Cherubim have a striking resemblance to the Babylonians who guard the way to Israel with a fiery sword, which devoured Jerusalem. Psalm 137 depicts the anger the Jewish nation had against Babylon for the destruction it reaped on Jerusalem.
The Garden of Eden is Israel in idealized form. It does not rain there. I mist comes up from the ground and waters the place. It is a garden, with plants and animals, there is no death there. Some think the writer of Genesis 2-4 was from Jerusalem and they identify him by his using the Personal name of God. All is ideal. Dr. Michael D. Coogan from Harvard Divinity School mentions the importance of soil, the land, and the people. Psalms 120-135 talk about the trip to the new Israel, the new Promised Land from Babylon.
Some in the pro-life movement notice that man becomes a living being when God breathes into them. They argue that life must therefore begin with breath. They forget that God does not breathe into Eve or her offspring either. Genesis 4:10, Deuteronomy 12:23, Leviticus 17:11, 17:14, and other places equate life/soul and blood. Blood is the only organ that touches each other cell in the body and it is present when the body has two cells.
Moses and the people of Israel spend forty years walking through the desert on the way to the new Garden of Eden, the Promised Land. When they arrive, Joshua, whose name in Greek is Jesus, the son of Nun, the fish, takes the people into the Promised Land. Another Joshua, the son of a carpenter and who hangs out with fishermen, one of whom is Simon, who he calls Peter/the rock, he will call the Son of Nun, the fish.