Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Sacred Scripture
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Sep 5, '09, 9:50 pm
Lead Me Home's Avatar
Lead Me Home Lead Me Home is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2008
Posts: 369
Religion: Catholic (RCIA)
Default What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
I don't believe God is promoting domestic violence, but it is hard to understand this passage. Does God mean a constant struggle for power?

Quote:
Gen 3:22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever"--
When God says "us" does he mean "we/I" (the blessed trinity) or the angels/demons and him.

I'm curious
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Sep 5, '09, 11:08 pm
Eucharisted's Avatar
Eucharisted Eucharisted is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: November 14, 2008
Posts: 7,877
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

God promises man a redeemer. Redemption has two meaning: liberation from enemies and restoration of life. Israel was expecting a literal liberation from Rome and restoration of its kingdom, but God in Jesus Christ not only did this but also liberated man from Satan's power and restored in man the Divine Life through the forgiveness of sins, which is the power of His Love and Mercy.

God uses the royal We, which shows He is Triune.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Sep 5, '09, 11:47 pm
Huiou Theou's Avatar
Huiou Theou Huiou Theou is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2004
Posts: 2,155
Religion: Catholic; eg: under the Pope -- love of Maronite rite too.
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Me Home View Post
I don't believe God is promoting domestic violence, but it is hard to understand this passage. Does God mean a constant struggle for power?



When God says "us" does he mean "we/I" (the blessed trinity) or the angels/demons and him.

I'm curious
The word "us" or "we" relates to the head of a group speaking on behalf of the whole.
A divine "We" is the same thing.

It isn't completely clear that the "we" here is the divine one -- but in fact may be the angels who were commissioned with tasks involved in creation. It makes more sense in my mind that the "we" here includes those whom have fallen, eg: satan, for the phrase "knowing good and evil" indicates a participation in evil, which God himself does not do.

The immediate upshot of this conversation is the Serpent appearing in the Garden and tempting Eve (you both, not her alone) to eat the forbidden fruit so that their eyes would be opened to sin.

As to the enmity, there are two aspects of it: By joining in our flesh through the fall -- the serpent eats dust and corruption, the dead. So, there is an internal struggle against the devil whom has some power over the body which he has wounded.

I would hardly consider striking a venomous snake bent on killing as the same as domestic violence. Nor, in the final analysis, do we see Christ Crushing the head of the serpent from the cross itself as a figure. This battle is in the "midst" of the people of the serpent and those of the Woman; offspring with mutually exclusive requirements. I'm not sure how else to probe the issue, although there is much more metaphorical information to analyze.
Good luck.

--Pax Tecum
--Andrew.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Sep 5, '09, 11:51 pm
DOShea DOShea is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2009
Posts: 970
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

In the first one, Gen 3:15, God is pronouncing sentence on the serpent. These are the literal words you read, but there are deeper spiritual and allegorical meanings to the passage. The point of it is that it can have several different meanings. The most simple meaning is that serpents will be reviled as creatures. Indeed, many people dislike snakes of any sort.

Another is that this enmity symbolizes a constant struggle between man (as in mankind) and evil, where sometimes man will conquer evil, and on another day evil will conquer man. Yet another is that the "seed of Eve" is a metaphor for righteous men, and "seed of the serpent" is a metaphor for evil men or spirits, and the two oppose each other. There are even interpretations that this is a foreshadowing of Christ coming and His conquering death. There are tons of them, really.

In the second verse, 3:22, it is translated as "is become as one of us to know good and evil..." but there is no Hebrew word "us" in the text. It is a series of words that if you took them and translated each one literally and made a sentence it would read something like this: "become united of (or among) to know (by seeing) good bad." If you try and capture the essence of what those words together mean, you come up with a translation that forces the word "us" into it because of the other words around it.

Without delving into spiritual or allegorical meanings, it's not really speaking of God in more than one person as in a Trinity, it's speaking more to the idea of man (mankind) has attempted (by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) to be united with God, but in a devious or deceptive way. In other words, man had tried to achieve divinity (equality with his Creator) through disobedience, an obvious contradiction. Also, consider that God had already declared that the penalty, should they eat that fruit, was that they "would surely die."

So here in this verse you have basically a statement by God of what man did (or tried to), and a sentiment that if not punished more of the same behavior could be expected (lest he put out his hand and take of the tree of life..), and in the next verse they are tossed out of the garden. The construct of the sentence is very similar to a judge in a courtroom saying to a guilty person, "You knew it was wrong to drive while drunk, so before you kill someone, (sentence)."
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Sep 6, '09, 12:40 am
Omyo12 Omyo12 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2009
Posts: 376
Religion: none
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Me Home View Post
I don't believe God is promoting domestic violence, but it is hard to understand this passage. Does God mean a constant struggle for power?
God is telling this to the serpent (that is, Satan), not to Adam her husband.

I assume you thought this since you said "domestic" violence.. sorry if I misinterpreted your question!

Quote:
When God says "us" does he mean "we/I" (the blessed trinity) or the angels/demons and him.

I'm curious
As for Genesis 3:22, DOShea explained it very well!!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Sep 6, '09, 12:44 am
Peter Dawson Peter Dawson is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: April 16, 2009
Posts: 1,302
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Me Home View Post
I don't believe God is promoting domestic violence, but it is hard to understand this passage. Does God mean a constant struggle for power?
The verse you are referring to is a crucifixion prediction.

"he shall bruise your head" = a prediction of the cross of Christ piercing the ground at "Skull Place," to save us from sin. "Bruise your head," "Skull Place." Get it?

"you shall bruise his heel" = a prediction of the nail going through His feet at the same time. Get it?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Sep 6, '09, 6:57 pm
DOShea DOShea is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2009
Posts: 970
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Thank you, Omyo12, for your kind words.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Sep 6, '09, 11:05 pm
Lead Me Home's Avatar
Lead Me Home Lead Me Home is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2008
Posts: 369
Religion: Catholic (RCIA)
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Thanks. I realized that a lot of my confusion came from not understanding who was talking to whom. The bruise you skull and bruise your heal; I thought was Go talking about Adam (man) and Eve (Woman. HOwever, it was God talking about Adam (mankind) and the Serpent (Evil men/beings)

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Sep 7, '09, 11:11 am
Huiou Theou's Avatar
Huiou Theou Huiou Theou is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2004
Posts: 2,155
Religion: Catholic; eg: under the Pope -- love of Maronite rite too.
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Me Home View Post
Thanks. I realized that a lot of my confusion came from not understanding who was talking to whom. The bruise you skull and bruise your heal; I thought was Go talking about Adam (man) and Eve (Woman. HOwever, it was God talking about Adam (mankind) and the Serpent (Evil men/beings)

Thanks!
Ahh!
But there is more.

Genesis 3:22 Repeats the assertion that the divine beings "know" good and evil; as one of *us* Highlighting again the awkwardness of the assertion that "we" is the divine "we" of the trinity.

But look closely as the cursing phase of the encounter: Genesis 3:16

Each of the cursing is a result of the actions taken: Genesis 3:14-15 reflects the malice with which the serpents lie has engendered in the offspring of man. All children of Adam and Eve fall and suffer because of what the serpent did -- and thus there is just reason for anger between the innocent and the guilty.
Whether demon offspring, or men whom take their origin from the Devil as father.
This is a natural consequence of how their philosophies are incompatible and mutually exclusive and destructive. There is a unity implied between the serpent and its offspring, and the woman and her offspring. But also notice, as a minor point, that the woman has emnity with the serpent itself -- as it exists in the garden at that moment.

I had thought this was perhaps, Jewish poetic repetition, but notice that the idea flows immediately into another evil -- the relationship between man and wife.
Genesis 3:16.

In this passage, the offspring united to their mother are spoken of first in continuation of the previous idea. There is the bothersome idea of an "increase" in pain -- as in, there would have been pain of some kind had the fall not happened; but that which is to come will be worse. Since the last reference to pain is the striking of the serpent at the heel -- there is a loose association with the devil's power over the body implied here.

The following sentence "Your yearning shall be toward your husband, yet he will lord it over you." is rather cryptic in english. The CCC 400 simply says of it: the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.

But the Greek LXX (And I am starting to study the Hebrew) makes a peculiar set of comments here. Adam had listened to his wife back in v.3:12 -- the woman's eyes were not opened when she ate, but only after she tempted her husband to eat.
Just so, the woman listened to the serpent before she ate -- and it did not occur to her that nothing good came of her eating the fruit -- so she went the full way to see if her husband was required to make the Serpents promise come true.

There is a very deep relationship being expressed in v3:16 and v3:19 where the return to their origins are remarked upon -- but not that of the serpent.
Adam came from dust -- and to dust he shall return having broken the unifying principle of his body. Just so, Eve was not from dust -- but rather from her husband -- and in v3:16 God says her 'Yearing will be toward her husband, but he shall rule over her.'

It is this idea of a return to origins which is so prevalent in the curses. Man was taken from dust, woman was taken from Man. English does not do justice to the phrase rendered in v3:16 -- for what it is saying is that the woman will "apostrophe" toward her husband, and he shall "κυρι-ευ-σει" Lord WELL over her. That is the normal word for a master husband, a GOD.

To apostrophe is to turn/return to the reference point of an endless cycle. Often, in plays, it means to turn away from the audience and speak to an invisible God who causes all to happen -- begging for an audience, counselling the uncouncilable.

It is in this phrase that the church says that marriage will be marked with "Lust and Domination." The Lust, or "Seduction", being the womans part -- and the domination being the Man's; though a reversal is not at all impossible.

The pattern of domestic abuse, that is of usuery of one person by another for gratification, sperm donation, or other utilitarian goals is intimately tied to the acceptance of the serpent into the flesh of our first parents. These are the antithesis of Gift; for they are begging, demanding, and extorting the needs which we were designed to give freely in solidarity with our spouses.

--much to think about.
Peace.
--Andrew.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Sep 10, '09, 11:05 am
grannymh grannymh is offline
Forum Elder
Forum Supporter
 
Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 15,160
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

The best thing to do when it is hard to understand a particular passage is to check the footnotes. Be sure to check footnotes above and below the passage in question.

When it comes to the Book of Genesis, it is very important to read the whole chapter so that one understands the context. In fact, anytime there is an one or two verse quote, read verses before and after.

The footnotes for Genesis 3:15 includes references to other parts of Scripture for clarification. The serpent was regarded as the devil, himself, whose eventual defeat is implied. Read 1 John 3:8: "Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil." In other words, the passage in Genesis can be understood as the first promise of salvation for fallen mankind. The woman's offspring refers to Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.

God loved us so much that He immediately promised salvation.

Blessings,
granny

All human life is worthy of profound respect from the moment of conception.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Sep 10, '09, 10:06 pm
Gottle of Geer Gottle of Geer is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: July 12, 2004
Posts: 11,638
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Me Home View Post
I don't believe God is promoting domestic violence, but it is hard to understand this passage. Does God mean a constant struggle for power?
## Hard ? It means, in essence, that from then on:
  • men will be pitted against serpents
  • relations within the family have been spoiled (as per your suggestion )
Man and serpent "got above themselves" - now they are being thrust back within limits. The story is one of trans-gressing, "crossing boundaries". A great deal is being said.
Quote:
When God says "us" does he mean "we/I" (the blessed trinity) or the angels/demons and him.


I'm curious
## The alternatives:
  • plural of majesty
  • God addressing the Divine Assembly
  • plural to show deliberation
I'll go with the last.

The OT is an OT book - NT mysteries derived from the Appearing of Christ aren't to be found in it.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old Sep 10, '09, 10:39 pm
kepha1's Avatar
kepha1 kepha1 is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: August 10, 2004
Posts: 1,398
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

My favorite explanation of Genesis 3:15 is found here.

Quote:
"...In most editions of the Douay-Rheims Bible, Genesis 3:15, in which God is addressing the serpent, reads like this:
"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."
In the New American Bible, as in all other modern Bibles, it reads like this:
"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."
The essential difference between these two renderings -- or at least the one people always ask about -- concerning who will crush the serpent's head and who the serpent is trying to strike. The Douay-Rheims uses feminine pronouns -- she and her -- implying that the woman is the person being spoken of in this part of the verse. All modern translations use masculine pronouns -- he and his -- implying that the seed of the woman is the of that part of the verse.

The reason for the difference in the renderings is a manuscript difference. Modern translations follow what the original Hebrew of the passage says. The Douay-Rheims, however, is following a manuscript variant found in many early Fathers and some editions of the Vulgate (but not the original; Jerome followed the Hebrew text in his edition of the Vulgate). The variant probably originated as a copyist error when a scribe failed to take note that the subject of the verse had shifted from the woman to the seed of the woman.

People notice this variant today because the expression found in the Douay-Rheims has been the basis of some popular Catholic art, showing a serene Mary standing over a crushed serpent.

This is because Christians have recognized (all the way back to the first century) that the woman and her seed mentioned in Genesis 3:15 do not simply stand for Eve and one of her righteous sons (either Abel or Seth). They prophetically foreshadow Mary and Jesus. Thus, just as the first half of the verse, speaking of the enmity between the serpent and the woman, has been applied to Mary, the second half, speaking of the head crushing and heel striking, has also been applied to Mary due to the manuscript variant, though it properly applies to Jesus, given the original Hebrew.

This does not mean that the idea cannot be validly applied to Mary as well. Through her cooperation in the incarnation of Christ, so that the Son of God (who, from the cross, directly crushed the head of the serpent) became her seed, Mary did crush the head of the serpent. In the same way, the serpent struck at Christ on the cross, and indirectly struck at Mary's heart as well, who had to witness the death of her own Son (cf. John 19:25-27). As the holy priest Simeon had told her years before:
"Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against -- and a sword will pierce through your own soul also -- that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34b-35).
Thus Jesus crushed the serpent directly and was directly struck by the serpent; Mary, through her cooperation in the incarnation and her witnessing the sufferings and death of her Son, indirectly crushed the serpent and was indirectly struck by the serpent.
This has long been recognized by Catholics. The footnotes provided a couple of hundred years ago by Bishop Challoner in his revision of the Douay state, "The sense [of these two readings] is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent's head."
__________________
<img src=http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6155/6171262410_63c439459b_m.jpg border=0 alt= />
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old Sep 11, '09, 8:08 am
grannymh grannymh is offline
Forum Elder
Forum Supporter
 
Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 15,160
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gottle of Geer View Post
. The story is one of trans-gressing, "crossing boundaries". A great deal is being said.


.
A great deal is being said about original sin and the promise of a Redeemer. These truths are primary to all else.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old Sep 11, '09, 1:31 pm
LoM LdM's Avatar
LoM LdM LoM LdM is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: August 11, 2009
Posts: 35
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Thank you, kepha1, for explaining so clearly the different renderings of the verse in question. If you're not a teacher, you should be one.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old Sep 11, '09, 1:47 pm
CHRISTINE77's Avatar
CHRISTINE77 CHRISTINE77 is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: June 18, 2008
Posts: 3,523
Religion: CATHOLIC
Default Re: What does God mean by his words in Genesis 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kepha1 View Post
My favorite explanation of Genesis 3:15 is found here.
Wow - that's beautiful. Thanks for posting this.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Sacred Scripture

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8257Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: GLam8833
5018CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: UpUpAndAway
4345Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: lsbar
4029OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: B79
3833SOLITUDE
Last by: tuscany
3569Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: RJB
3227Poems and Reflections
Last by: tonyg
3203Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: memphian
3126Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3048For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: tammany



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 7:49 am.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.