Thanks, Phil, but I don’t see that you answered my question. If I read your original criticism, I understood you to imply that I thought Genesis II to be a historical, literal story AND THEREFORE readers do not have to deal with whether sex happened or not.
The problem I’m stuck on is how can you construct a metaphor (or allegory) without a rational understanding of the literal text. In so many words, one cannot have a metaphor or an allegory without a concrete basis in the text. So, I’m going to try again.
I’ll begin with an example from a video of a discussion between Tom Wright and your own Peter Enns. In discussing the relationship between the abstract and the concrete he gives the following example based on the familiar metaphor of a tin can meaning a car. When he says “I need to take 'the old tin can into the shop tomorrow” we know what he means. In other words, the metaphor works because we have a rationale understanding of the literal text (tin can) as symbolizing a car. After this discussion, Wright then illustrates how a literal understanding of Genesis I symbolizes a temple story about how God takes up residence on Earth.
As I see it, Genesis II is a story about how Adam and Eve become separated from God by the exercise of their free will. The literal story goes like this: Adam and Eve are two human persons who become procreative. However, since (1) they literally live in a literallybounded, enclosed environment and (2) are literally immortal as will be their children, the garden will soon become literally overpopulated and will have disastrous consequences for the garden.
The story then is a metaphor explaining how through the exercise of free will the primordial couple became separated from God. In the Bible, such separation is called sin. So, the story is, as St. Paul explains, a metaphor called the “fall of mankind”. All of mankind is fallen because God arranges things such that we and all subsequent generations can never get back into the garden by our own efforts (ever-turning swords and stuff).