Human struggle for power in Genesis and Exodus

Essay by pomegranetUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2003

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Both Genesis and Exodus address the issue of human power and how God limits it. Both provide physical evidence of human power, yet also show God's purpose in limiting it. Humans in Genesis and Exodus were constantly in a power struggle with God, as is shown by their disobedience, rebellion, and greed.

In Genesis, man and woman disobey God. They believe that they should control their own fates, and thus fail to heed God's commands. Because they ate the fruit for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, "the eyes of both of them were opened" (NIV 3:7). This is the initial reason God must limit human power. As punishment for both mankind's disobedience and greed, He increases Eve's "pains in childbearing" (NIV 3:16) and makes Adam's work into "painful toil" (NIV 3:17). In this situation, God must limit human power because of the possibility of more wrongdoing.

God realizes that if Adam and Eve can be convinced to eat of one tree, then their curiosity would surely tempt them to "take also from the Tree of Life and eat, and live forever" (NIV 3:22). To prevent this, God teaches Adam and Eve of their own human mortality and sets a guard with a "flaming sword" (NIV 3:24) in front of the Tree of Life. God therefore uses His power as Creator of man in order to change man's position in nature. If Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of Life, they would have become like God and the angels. God protects his relationship with man by punishing man for his mistakes and limiting the control that humans can have over their own fates.

An example from Exodus in which human disobedience and greed lead to divine interference is the story of...