I think it might be about time to come clean on this — and admit that as whacky as they sound, my ideas about Genesis aren’t even particularly original. Check this out:
[T]he emphasis of Genesis 1.31 that what was made was “very good” reminds us that creation perfectly corresponded to the divine intention. This need not mean an absolutely perfect world stemmed from the actions of Genesis 1. It is possible that the world outside the garden setting of chapter 2 … needed to be brought completely under human control, since it may have contained all the difficulties which we experience in our natural world today. This suggestion raises difficulties, but the direction of biblical eschatology as well as the facts of human experience point to a consummation of history that is more than a mere return to the beginning.
Know who wrote this? Former Moore College Old Testament doyen, Bill Dumbrell — in The Faith of Israel (Second Edition, p 17).
He’s dead on. Even though the details of Genesis 1-2 provide the springboard, the decisive factor has got to be eschatology. If anything, it’s where the whole story God tells about his grace towards the world is headed that should push us in the sort of direction I’ve been exploring (although a few cameo appearances by ‘the facts of human experience’ won’t go astray either).