How does Eve being made from a rib work with evolution?

(David Greathouse) #1

I’ve always been comfortable with the hypothesis that Adam was the first homo sapien to be given intellect, an understanding of morality and awareness that a God created the earth. Since the Bible never directly says Adam was the first human to ever walk the earth, the assertion that he was the product of evolution never seemed to bother me much.

However, once I reach Genesis 2, I see that Eve comes into the picture… the only part that bothers me, is that she is made from his rib/side. Is that a symbolic reference to humans (homo sapiens given intellect) being “one”? I just don’t understand how Eve and evolution work, unless one believes Adam and Eve were purely symbolic and never existed, which I certainly don’t want to believe (because it opens up a whole new can of worms).

So, what does it mean that Eve was made from Adam’s rib/side, in your interpretation?

(Christy Hemphill) #2

I think God putting Adam into a “deep sleep” was the cultural way of talking about God giving him a vision imparting great spiritual truth. (This comes out in comparative ANE lit studies.) The word translated “rib” is an unfortunate tradition in English, and the Hebrew word is usually used for a side or a half. So God was showing Adam that Eve was his “other half,” the designated counterpart provided him by God (also a theme in ANE lit), and that together they formed a complete whole, “the two become one.”

BioLogos Irony (YEC/OEC)
(Christy Hemphill) #3

I also think the account is concerned with addressing the question “what are women created for?” instead of the question “where did women come from?” So the focus is on woman’s role and function as a partner and counterpart to man, not on Eve having her origin in Adam.

(David Greathouse) #4

I think so too, regarding the “other half” and “becoming one”.

(Jay Nelsestuen) #5

Someone has been reading Walton. :wink:

(James McKay) #6

So in other words, Eve being formed from Adam’s rib was more likely a dream or a vision that God gave to him to show him who his wife was to be? And the bit about “but for Adam, no helper could be found” could possibly have meant that he’d had a string of unsuccessful relationships up to that point that hadn’t worked out?

It puts a whole new perspective on the story that I hadn’t even thought about.

(Christy Hemphill) #7

Well, most recently Longman’s Story of God commentary,and How to Read Genesis, but they have some similar themes as Walton’s commentary and The Lost World of Adam and Eve.

I admittedly read stuff mostly from one side of the gender theology debates, and most of what I have read sees the parade of animals as a set up that emphasizes woman’s equality and position as a peer, in contrast to the animals.

(David Greathouse) #8

But, as much as I’d like that to me true, Genesis 2:21 says that God “closed up the place with flesh” (NIV) or “Closed up the flesh instead thereof”, meaning Adam was “sewn up” or repaired after the rib/side was taken.

(Phil) #9

One problem if you take the sewing up as literal, is you then have to literally account for the extra biomass, or Eve would be a wee little woman. I think you have to look at it symbolically, as it is not a story that makes literal sense. One thing about looking at it as showing Eve was his Other Half, is that after the expulsion from Eden, the curse of having man “rule over” woman makes sense as a change in relationship.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #10

How are you deciding what parts (if any) of the story are figurative? I mean, if you’re going to go all-the-way literal, do you really believe that a snake, whose oral anatomy is not suited to the generation of human speech, spoke to Eve? What do you do with that?

(Jay Johnson) #11

Yes, and this same point is made in the more foundational creation passage, Gen. 1:27: “So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Notice that “God” and “created” appear in all three clauses, but in the last clause the expected “image” reference is replaced by “male and female”. Thus, the conclusion is that none of us individually is the “image of God,” but that both sexes – indeed, all of humanity – were created to “image” God together, as one.

(Jay Johnson) #12

Actually, you don’t have to go that far. The “helper” role is taken by God himself in such verses as Psalm 33:20 and 124:8. Unless one is prepared to argue that God’s role as Israel’s helper placed him in a subordinate position, it’s pretty clear that Gen. 2:20 does not place Eve in such a role, either.

(Christy Hemphill) #13

There’s that too, but I was more responding to the “why the parade of animals” question where James was wondering if Adam had unsuccessful relationships with the animals. I don’t think Adam ever considered taking a zebra out for a hot date to see if there was any chemistry there. I think the parade of animals was an object lesson, not God presenting Adam with real options.

(David Greathouse) #14

I don’t think Genesis 1-11 is entirely literal, I was only asking a question… I think the snake was most likely an angelic being that was considered or appeared serpentine. I have an article on the subject if you’d like to read it.

(Phil) #15

The snake is interesting. First, no surprise was shown at all to be talking to a snake. From what I have read, it really was not associated with Satan until Revelation, and even then Satan is just referred to as “that ancient serpent” and not specifically the snake in the garden. Then there is the difference in who Satan was seen as, even in Job.

(James McKay) #16

Actually, no, that wasn’t what I had in mind at all. Rather, I was thinking about the scenario where Adam wasn’t the only human around at the time, but that there were others, and that he’d had a string of unsuccessful relationships with various women in his tribe that never worked out? Or perhaps none of them at all who had given him that special “chemistry”? Could it have been God giving him some kind of vision or dream to show who was to be his wife?

Sorry if I didn’t make that clear.

(Christy Hemphill) #17

I think in the context of the narrative, he clearly is the only human around. It is an origin story, not a literal history. :wink:

(Jay Johnson) #18

Yes, well, I can be a little dense sometimes. Haha

(James McKay) #19

Actually, I was thinking more in terms of what it would say to anyone who is in a similar situation today…

(David Greathouse) #20

The snake may not have been a snake in the first place. That’s just another awesome English translation… Check out this article.