The purpose of the creation story is not central to the Bible but serves as a prologue to the historical drama, which are the central concerns of the Bible. The narrative focus in the Bible is on the story that begins with Noah and is centered on the exodus from Egypt. The central event in the Bible is the creation of the covenant and the giving of laws and commandments. Although the creation of the world in Genesis I and the pronouncement of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 are two completely different accounts in the Bible, there lies a similar theme between them: God creates an orderly and hierarchical universe, both natural and moral. In Genesis I, God creates an orderly natural universe. He separates and categorizes everything he creates.
For instance, he separates the seventh day from all the others. This suggests that everything in the universe has its proper place and will follow its regular path. In addition, the cosmos is purposeful and unified. What is created each day depends upon what was previously created.
Those things created on the fourth through sixth days are dependant on those things created on the first through third days. For instance, air, water, birds, and fish are dependant on light, sun, moon, and stars, and land, vegetation, animals, and mankind are dependant among air, water, birds, and fish as well as light, sun, moon and stars. This suggests God created things in the world to fit together in an orderly and hierarchical fashion. Things are created to serve the needs or requirements of other things.
Thus, the universe is a place in which everything can, in general, expect to get what it needs or requires. In conclusion, we human beings can rely on the order of nature to attain our ends. In Exodus 20, God creates moral order. God's way of separation and categorization is a model for human morality. Morality divides up actions into right and wrong, good and bad. To be moral is to categorize actions and circumstances appropriately and follow the correct rules in each case.
The Ten Commandments serve as a guide for human beings to be moral. In disobeying these laws, God is well known to punish, starting with Adam and Eve. God punishes because punishment is necessary in order to create human beings who can be morally responsible for themselves. To be morally responsible, we must be able to do the following things: 1. Recognize that we can choose to act one way or another. (Given the simplicity of life in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were barely aware of this.
) 2. Be self conscious and self-aware. We must be capable of looking at our actions or interpreting our own actions. 3. We must be able to compare our actions to some ideal or standard of morality. 4.
We must be able to stop and think before we act. Recognition of a failure to follow God's commands brings about new capabilities. In violating God's commandments, Adam and Eve come to learn that they can choose to live one way or another. Coming to recognize that they have violated God's commandment, is coming to have self-awareness.
God's commandments are the ideal or standard which we must come to meet. Punishment helps us remember the consequences of actions and the importance of stopping to think before we act. God is known to intervene in history. In Genesis and in Exodus, God creates an ordered universe, both natural and moral. Both serve as a guide to our lives. Thus God gives us a vision of ideal life, but we are not able to live up to it.
God gives us commandments and promises to punish those who reject these commandments. Human beings need detailed instruction. We cannot seem to figure out what is moral and what God requires of us by means of reason alone. So, God gives us a set of commandments that concern all aspects of our political, social and individual lives in Exodus.