Author’s Note: I decided to combine these chapters because they are part of the same story, and otherwise Chapter 7’s post would have been very short.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Genesis 7 shows the first indications of the importance of the number seven. The “clean beasts” and “fowls” are brought into the ark “by sevens,” as instructed by God, and it was “after seven days” that the floodwaters came upon the earth (7:8-10).
The number seven, of course, is already significant because that’s how many days it took for God to create the earth plus one day of rest. This motif of a single number is a classic literary technique, and I’m sure it’s why seven has been and still is an important number in Western culture. (Harry Potter, anyone?)
This chapter includes another classic story: Cain and Abel. Cain’s story not only parallels his own parents’ casting out of Eden, but begins the solidification of God’s teachings, besides “do what I say or else.” At the same time, though, this chapter introduces how God’s teachings could be manipulated to serve one’s own selfish interests—a warning, perhaps.
It’s all downhill from here…nah, just kidding. This is where it gets interesting: it’s like viewing a string of landscape photos and then finally getting to one with people in it.
This first chapter oversees the creation of many binaries—heaven and earth, light and darkness, morning and evening, moon and sun, etc. There is an overarching sense of progressive division—one becomes two. Even so, with the creation of division comes the creation of binaries, and we all know the problem with binaries. (They are sometimes arbitrary, and one side always ends up being the “better” one.)