Thursday, December 4, 2014

Importance of Time Markers & Who Came Up With Sex

Always watch for clues that reveal how much time passes in the verses of the Bible that you are reading. Not only will this help you better understand the context of what you are reading, it will make you aware of what happened in that period of time. This will often help fill in blanks about what took place in that period of time; it may also raise some very interesting questions.

And the man knew his woman Chavah,
and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. (Genesis 4:1a)

Remember the Hebrew word YADA, which was translated “knowledge” in the name of the forbidden tree – Tree of Knowledge of TOV and RA? It is translated “knew” in this verse, but here it functions as a well-known euphemism for “sexual intercourse.” This is the first act of sex in the Bible. It is also a good example how much time can pass in just one verse. Let’s look at the things that took place in the lives of the man and woman, beginning with the moment they were driven from Yahweh’s Garden Temple:

(1) The man and woman were driven from the Garden.

(2) They traveled from the Garden to the place where Yahweh created the man.

(3) The man and woman had sex.

(4) The woman became pregnant.

(5) The woman gave birth.

Now let’s consider what took place in the time period the above things happened and the blanks they reveal. The first blank is the time it took the man and woman to travel from the Garden to their new home – the ground where Yahweh made the man.  Was it close to the Garden or hundreds of miles away? Keep in mind that they had to walk to wherever it. It is also important to understand that the moment they left the Garden was the beginning of the transition into a completely new way of life. They had to find shelter, food, and water to survive. They had to deal with pain for the first time as they walked and worked. And then, they had to deal with the memories of what each one of them did in the Garden – and memories of what the other one had done -- that led to their pain! How often did that subject come up? How many times did their conversations begin with -- “If you hadn’t done . . .!”?

Another blank is the question of how they came up with the idea to have sex. Stop and think about the physical mechanics of sex. What led them to do that the first time? They had no parents or friends to explain “the birds and bees” to them. How long was it before they came up with THAT idea?  Were they sitting around a campfire one night and one of them said to other – “Hey, I just had an idea; you want to try something?” Another blank is did they have sex during their trip or after they had settled in their new homeland?

All of the above blanks about time are unknown, but, the moment she became pregnant, we finally have a time marker we understand – at least nine months will pass until she gives birth. But, a lot of new blanks pop up when we consider what happened in that time period. First, put yourself in the woman’s shoes as each month passes and she experiences the changes in her body – not knowing what is going on. Next, put yourself in the man’s shoes as he watches those change. And then, keeping in mind that they had no idea what was happening, she gave birth! Think about what would have gone through each of their minds at that moment! And, after all of that, how much longer did it take them to connect the dots that sex caused babies?

As you can see, when we become aware of how much time passes in the passages we read in our Bible – even in just one verse -- it will not only expand our understanding of the events that are recorded, but raise other important questions. Now let’s take another look at the verse above and the nine months of events recorded in it:

And the man knew his woman Chavah,
and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.

I bet you think about the verse differently than you did when you read it at the opening of this Bible study. Be sure to add this to your Bible Study Tool Kit and always consider how much time passes in the verses you read from your Bible.

Jim Myers

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