Genesis 3 Vacation

Genesis 3 Vacation July 13, 2012

One of the pitfalls of being involved professionally and/or personally in the study of the Bible, theology, and/or religion is that one may notice religious symbolism or overtones in unusual and unexpected places.

A case in point: I noticed after the fact that my recent family vacation mirrored the story in Genesis 3.

Our first stop was in Paradise, Pennsylvania, which is near Lancaster and Intercourse and thus in the heart of an area with a large Amish population.

From there, we went to the Big Apple, New York City.

And then from there, we went to Niagara Falls.

Paradise to the Apple to the Fall(s)!

Has anyone else taken a Biblically-themed holiday – even if it was one that they only noticed after the fact?

For what its worth, I should mention that despite the negative connotations that moving from Paradise to the (Big) Apple to the Fall(s) may have for those viewing the story in Genesis 3 from a religious perspective, it was a fantastic trip! 🙂

"You're about to make Canon: The MMO aren't you?"

Graphic Canon and Chronology
"The journal will be open access online, and so one can at least assign one's ..."

Call for Names, Editors, and Contributors: ..."
"Good question about the dean. I've found that, as long as I am productive in ..."

Call for Names, Editors, and Contributors: ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • William J E Dempsey

    Your story (perhaps inadvertently) illustrates one of my favorite explanations, for how the New Testament might seem to so fully re-enact the Old Testament. That is, as a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy.
    To wit? Many Jews in the time of Jesus would have had the Old Testament stories in mind – and might have often – consciously or unconsciously – molded their own current behavior around them.
    So that in the same way that you (and the namers of American towns) semi-unconsciously went from 1) Paradise and 2) the apple, 3) to the fall? Persons like Jesus might have likewise semiconsciously followed other Old Testament scripts in their own lives.
    Which would therefore seem like “realization of prophesy.” But which would really have been … following, being determined by, earlier cultural scripts.
    Poststructuralists know this. And at times they refer to all of us, being so heavily influenced by earlier cultural myths and legends and scripts, that we are in effect, “written” people.

  • Simon

    This is explosive – so much ink has been spilled on what Gen1-3 are said to be about, but now we KNOW that they were a providentially coded foretelling of JMG’s 2012 vacation. Praise God and somebody go tear down the creation museum and replace it with some exhibits of your family’s road trip. I think a better Biblical scholar than me will explain how it all went wrong when the subject of the Biblical tale turned right instead of heading straight on to intercourse.

  • William J E Dempsey

    Whether or not Dr. McGrath presents himself “The New Adam,” his example illustrates an important element of the methodology of Structuralism. The idea has been that various structured ideas persist, through culture, over time. Even through just names of towns. Or through Language, semantics. As per the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. They persist … and then often reassert themselves in our present lives, in various combinations and permutations.
    This kind of structuralist insight was one of the foundations of the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Which suggested that the fundamental organizing ethos/myth of the founders of the USA, consisted in part of ideas from Genesis. The founders of the US were Christians, who borrowed many of their ideas from the Bible. So that the new continent of North America was seen in terms of the “Myth of the Garden” of Eden; as a fantastically fruitful “Virgin” Land. Where one could all re-invent himself; as “A New Adam.”
    The hope was that to be sure, the first “Garden” and “Adam” went wrong. But the hope was that this “second” re-enactment of Genesis, this second coming, could correct the errors of the first.
    This and other basic ideas of the New World of fruitfulness, the “Garden,” influenced the naming of towns. Thus firmly imbedding a cultural idea in the language of North America. So that our very language contains many religious/mythic structures. To the degree that for that matter? Simply taking a vacation, touring and noting the names of various small towns … can often end up recapitulating say, the story of Adam.
    Or even one better? Showing how a “New Adam” might improve on the old. Including – who knows – a new and better sexual morality?
    One interesting reading of the Garden after all, might be that living naked in a fruitful garden, is true goodness and innocence; it’s only when we put on clothes and become civilized, that we err? Though of course there are other readings.

  • Michael Wilson

    And no one is making a joke about Intercourse?! Where are Beavis and Butthead when you need them. @BG, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………..

    • William J E Dempsey

      Dude! You missed the last paragraph: that’s academic humor!