A Conversation: Genesis 2-4

In January 2005, I began an eleven-year study that fueled the writing of nine drafts that became my debut novel, The Confessions of Adam. During this time, I returned again and again to the scholars whose work guided me on my journey through this ancient text of man’s origins––the biblical narrative of Genesis 2:7-4:8.

I am a layman, so this is a layman’s effort. But I am not without conviction. I was a creationist when I started writing Confessions;I am now a creationist lacquered in several layers of awe. This study thoroughly charged my wonder and worship of the Lord God; He who would knowingly give so much of Himself away. This text is the foundation of my worldview.

Bruce Waltke wrote in his 2001 landmark commentary, “Genesis is literature because it communicates doctrine in an artful way; it is ideological art.” Nearly fifteen years earlier, Gordon Wenham had written, “In this, the first story in the Bible, Hebrew narrative art is seen at its highest. The exquisite charm with which the tale unfolds serves only to deepen the tragedy that is related, while the apparent naïveté of the style disguises a richness of theological reflection that philosophers and theologians have not exhausted.”

I did not have to study long or hard before realizing just how well-crafted, intricate, and elegantly layered Genesis is.

In the spring and fall of 2016 I had the delight of leading my small group from Grace Fellowship Church in Avon, Indiana, through several hours of study in this narrative. More recently, in the late winter and spring of 2020 these notes saw further exploration over another set of sessions with a small group from Chapel Hill Christian Church, in Kokomo, Indiana. 

In preparation for those talks I pulled my notes from the research I had done while writing the novel, refreshed, and expanded them. I’ve left much behind in the text and sources I’ve plumbed. But with what I’ve notated in the pages that follow I hope to convey to you both a glimpse of what I observed while writing the novel, and a sense of the wonder we enjoyed as we peeled away the layers of familiarity and rediscovered this text together.

Welcome to the conversation.