Yesterday, I turned 26. It was magical. Song and dance, pizza and sugar, thoughtful gifts and a Cardinals victory over Colorado. Beautiful.
Being a summer baby all but guarantees that your birthday will be sweltering and/or muggy. It’s law. We were born as sweaty chub balls to a life of perpetual birthday heat. But it’s possible that we weren’t all born as summer babies. It’s possible that we were, all of us, born as autumn babies. Humanity may have been born in the fall. To quote Don Knotts in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, “Let me clarify”.
“5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground,6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then theLord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” – Genesis 2:5-6 (English Standard Version)
Bear with me.
Some people read this bit of Scripture and think God installed some sort of miraculous irrigation system to water the whole planet. The word translated “land” in verse 5 could also be translated “earth”. Sometimes it does mean the earth as a whole (Gen.1:1-2). Sometimes it’s just talking about dry land (1:10). Sometimes it’s even talking about a certain region (2:11-13). How is the word used in the above quoted passage? Are we really talking about the whole earth or are we talking about a certain land?
In Palestine, it doesn’t rain. We’re had +100 degree heat in St. Louis the last week or so. It hadn’t rained in weeks. Imagine our joy, then, when a small thunderstorm snuck in yesterday evening to wring itself out over our sizzling city. It was wonderful. But in Palestine, the climate is much less merciful. The rains don’t really come until the autumn. That’s when you get a burst of plant growth.
So, the above quoted passage (Genesis 2:5-7) would make a fair bit of sense if it is describing a certain time of the year, a dry Middle Eastern summer where the plants aren’t growing in the land yet. The plants are missing here, not because they hadn’t been created, but because it hadn’t rained yet and there was no one to cultivate and irrigate the land. It’s all part of the rain cycle that God set up.
And in verse six, we see the mist (or rain cloud) rising up. The fog rolls in, bearing dew and moisture for the parched land. The rainy season has begun. And it is during the rainy season of autumn that God creates man and woman.
There are certain perks to being a summer baby. I can’t think of any right now, but use your imagination. I had a real nice birthday (with an official family celebration coming this Thursday). But as I read the text of Genesis, bearing in mind the original context, I lean with a certain seasonal slant. Am I 100% sure? Nope. But I’m roughly 96% sure. Some of us are summer babies. But all of us are autumn babies. That’s when God shaped humanity, pinching us off from the same piece of clay.
Maybe that’s why I’ve always liked autumn the best. Our birthday is coming. Autumn will rise up from the ground before we know it. But until then, enjoy the sweat and eat lots of ice cream.