*from God and World in the Old Testament: A Relational Theology by Terence E. Fretheim
Chapter 2 is here!
Not that this is a difficult book to read but there is so much to process! If you want the real meat of it, take the time to ponder the passages of scripture in the light of the author's observations and let the Word change your thinking... Here is my over-simplification of the author's observations and a bit of my own random processing.
First and foremost, the author's thoughts about the relational character of God aren't sentimental, modernistic notions but observations about God's initial and ongoing interactions with what He created (and creates) as expressed in the scriptures.
God is Creator, communicator, servant. God is interactive, not out there somewhere. He shared his thoughts with man. He shared His work with man. God named, then He let man name. He took something he made (dirt) and made something new (man). He took man, and made woman. He made them in such a way that they could continue creating human beings and set up all of creation to do that.
The author's focus is less on God relating to what He has created as a non-resident ruler or landlord but more as Creator including what and whom He's created in the process of continuing what He began - not as clones but as helpers.
It wasn't enough for God to just create and enjoy His creation, by Himself. It wasn't enough for God and man to have only each other. God gave woman to man and they created more people. The creatures of the earth created more of themselves. The non-animal creation created more of itself. The non-living creation also continued to create...Such a God we have!
Rest was part of God's creative process, the author says that perhaps it gave God opportunity to enjoy the fruit of His labors. God had a day for this and a day for that - interesting observation. God orders time as a dimension of His creation: sunrise and sundown, phases of the moon, phases of the night sky, seasons.
The author's observation that God kept evaluating His work was an interesting observation: God said, "This is good!" Creation - God's creation - is good. It wasn't "good" that man be alone - just him and God. It wasn't "good" that man be alone with just God and all the other things that God had created. God made woman. Man had been helping God. Woman would help man. Interesting?
There was give and take between God and His creation. God made clothes for Adam and Eve after they fell. Interesting observation that patriarchy came with the "fall." God took them out of the garden to protect them from the possibility of continuing on the path they were on and partaking of the Tree of Life and living forever with the "Knowledge of Good and Evil."
That's an interesting thought, isn't it. Is it in God's plan to save us from the "knowledge of good and evil," to redeem us from the effects of "the knowledge of good and evil?" Is that why Jesus came? Is that what our restoration, our being brought back into a right relationship with God, walking with Him in the cool of the evening might look like?
God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose, knowing they could choose badly and they did. But God responded without giving up on that which He had made ... Man's choice affected all that God had made and God rolled with it, so to speak...Our wonderful interactive, relational, Creator God!