I’ve noticed a habit amongst scholars and laymen alike that has been prevalent within the church for centuries: Convenient Assumptions. A convenient assumption is when details and facts are not in the text and so the individual interpreting the text makes assumptions about what those details would be and then builds off of his imaginary details to make his system of theology work.
Let’s look at a couple of common convenient assumptions from Genesis 3:
“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” – Genesis 3:2-3
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Genesis 2:15-17
We see that there has been a change from God’s command to what Eve says to the serpent, but how did this happen? I’ve seen men assume that the woman made the error of adding to God’s words. I’ve seen women assume that Adam was adding to God’s words. I’ve seen scholars say that when mankind are questioned we make up qualifications to further justify our actions that are actually untrue. But are there not other assumptions we can make? We can also assume that two finite beings will have misunderstandings due to being finite and so the command could have been messed up with no intentional changing of God’s word at all. There are other assumptions also… But all of these are the same: convenient assumptions that back up an agenda that we have. The Bible sheds no light on this and God doesn’t care to give us the details; silence is relevant. Rather than dreaming up a detail and building theology off of it we should accept that any way in which God’s words are changed is bad.
Let’s look at another text:
And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them – Gen. 3:21
Many scholars point out that the bloody sacrifice in the garden for making a covering for Adam and Eve points towards the bloody sacrificial system and then to the bloody cross. Where is blood mentioned? Where does any other part of the Bible point out that this was a bloody sacrifice? We just finished reading about how God created everything from nothing in Genesis 1 and 2 and now we see God making clothing and we assume that God is killing animals. The assumption is convenient because it fits with a theological system we are comfortable with, but is it valid? Why do we need to make big points out of things that aren’t even discussed? Why can’t we just be satisfied that God provides the better covering (animal skin vs. fig leaves)? Why do we need to not only fill in details with our assumptions but also draw major implications from those assumptions?
Here’s how this text points to Christ without involving blood: Adam and Eve’s covering was short term and pathetic while God’s provision was long term and durable. Christ is the ultimate long term covering and the all-durable covering for the shame of sinful nakedness.
Let’s not make convenient assumptions to promote theological systems – There are other biblical/logical sources for the skins other than God sacrificing animals to do so; there may have been a sacrifice or there may not have been. Let’s just read the text for what it says and let the silence bring along with it its own implications.