In Chapter 2 and 3 we get further details on the biblical origin of man. Before we begin this next chapter let`s begin to clarify my position on the Bible, and the lens (thank you Colleen) I am using.
First to my position on the Bible. It is a set of related stories, in which one of the characters is called God. I only have a cursory knowledge of the stories of the Bible and would like to know them better. Those same stories have been used to help establish common (within Judeo-Christian cultures) systems of belief and common codes of behaviour. Those systems and codes have been expressed and have been made manifest in many different ways.
Now to the lens. I am using this travel through the Bible to become a more informed lover of art in all its many media. I am also using this same travel as a point of departure for whatever strikes my fancy of the moment. In other words, in this exploration, the bible is the central string to which I can connect any number of threads and tangents.
OK that sounds possibly a little pompous, so let’s try that again. I don’t know the bible very well and I think it would be a good thing to know it better. By reading the Bible, I hope to understand art better (and possibly society), and to also have a little bit of fun as I go off on what the Aussies would call walk-abouts.
The Raven and the First Men (Bill Reid – 1980)
As stories go, the creation of man in Genesis 2 is a fine story. For many years, I have had a soft spot for Bill Reid’s wonderful sculpture, The Raven and the First Men (Bill Reid – 1980). This sculpture “depicts the story of human creation. According to Haida legend, the Raven found himself alone one day on Rose Spit beach in Haida Gwaii. He saw an extraordinary clamshell and protruding from it were a number of small human beings. The Raven coaxed them to leave the shell to join him in his wonderful world. Some of the humans were hesitant at first, but they were overcome by curiosity and eventually emerged from the partly open giant clamshell to become the first Haida.” (1)
Eden is to the East
A river went out of Eden and that river became the headwaters for four rivers:
- The river Pishon runs through the entire land of Havilah and in that land there is bdellium, onyx, and gold
- The river Gihon; runs through the entire land of Cush
- The river Tigris runs along the east side of Assyria
- The river Euphrates.
The Story So Far
- Global Population 2: Adam and some as yet unnamed woman (I am serious – at this point of the story the woman is as yet unnamed)
- There are two special trees: a tree of life, and a tree of knowledge of good and evil
- Man and woman are naked in the garden and not ashamed (why at such early stage in our tale are shame and nudity linked)
Once the animals were formed they were paraded in front of Adam, and Adam named them. Now, I know a little about language acquisition, and frankly being able to name every beast of the field and fowl of the air is a remarkable linguistic feat. ( God “brought every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof”). Furthermore, how did the ever so shy snow leopard make the journey from the Himalayas?