No. Adam and Eve were not the first humans


(Michael Peterson) #1

OK, the title is just a tad controversial, but I wanted to offer the view that a close reading of the Hebrew text does not preclude the existence of other humans at the time of Adam’s creation. In this post I offer what I would argue is an interpretation that is more nuanced and arguably more in keeping with the underlying Hebrew.

Here goes:

In verse 2:5-6, we are told that God’s motivation for creating “the man” wa because there were no cultivated plants. Here’s the two verses:

… all the wild plants were not yet present in the earth and the cultivated plants were not yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not yet caused the rain to fall upon the earth nor was there a man to cultivate the soil. So, rain clouds arose from the earth and all the surface of the ground was caused to drink.

Note that God needed someone (a man) to cultivate plants in the Garden of Eden. In other words, this verse does not preclude the notion that God chose to create His cultivator rather than select one from a pre-existing population. Later in 2:7, when He actually creates adam, the Hebrew author prefixes adam with the definite article. The definite article is used to note that adam is the man God created specifically to tend the garden. At this point in the text, there is no linguistic support for the idea that the man is fated to be the progenitor of all of mankind (NOTE that the man is not yet named - that doesn’t happen until verse 2:23. Until then, he is always referred to as the-man or a-man).

Why create a specific cultivator if other people are available?

One answer might arises from the idea that the man was initially created as mortal and only became immortal when placed in the Garden and had access to the Tree of LIfe. So, here we have a man who is confined to a prison of sorts in which his primary duty is to dig irrigation ditches for the rest of eternity. His only escape is to ignore God’s warning and eat from the Tree of Knowledge. In other words, life in Eden was likely not the utopia we moderns often imagine it to have been.

ASIDE: in Hebrew the Garden of Eden is translated from גַּן־בְעֵדֶן (gan-vəeiden) and literally means enclosure-within-Eden. Note that the word gan derives from the Hebrew verb ganan meaning to defend or protect. In the context of the ANE, such enclosures are meant to keep out animals who might otherwise destroy the crops contained within lending contextual support for the notion that life existed outside of Eden - especially wild life (and plants). Moreover, given the arid climate, the crops within the gan were often irrigated (Isaiah 58:11) lending additional contextual support for verses 5-7 in which the man was created because cultivated plants needed irrigation.

I have more points to make in support of this argument, but I’ll hold off on them till later. The best argument against this interpretation is the creation of the woman. God warned the man before He even created the woman that having sex would lead to their expulsion from the Garden. So, why would God put His garden at risk of losing its cultivator?

What do you think?


Why was man created? (continuation from "No. Adam and Eve were not the first humans") branch of conversation
#2

He did? I’ve never come across that in Genesis…


(Quincy Hansen) #3

There’s one simple verse that comes straight from the Bible that shows that Adam and Eve could not be the first humans. Genesis 4:14 reads "Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” For context, this quote is from Cain when he is responding to God’s punishment for killing his brother. Now, if we were to believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans, at this point Adam, Eve, and Cain are the only people on the earth. So, who is he worried will kill him? Surely not his parents, as some YECs will then go on to say that he made love with Eve. Even when taken as an entirely literal historical account, it is impossible that Adam and Eve were the first humans, or at very least impossible that they were the only humans existing at this point.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #4

Humans being formed from the dust of the ground is merely a statement of human nature. We are mortal and fragile like dust.


(Michael Peterson) #5

The Hebrew word in question is vayətzar, a word that is translated as ‘commanded’ in most versions of the 2nd Genesis creation account. However, recent studies have called this translation into question (It turns out that vayətzar has a wide semantic range and elsewhere in the Bible is translated variously as ‘warned’, ‘ordered’, ‘instructed’, etc). As with most words offering multiple translation choices, context is critical. To that end there is very compelling context that makes translation of vayətzar as ‘warned’ more reasonable than ‘commanded’. Indeed, my translation follows the specific recommendations of both Westermann and Waltke, two highly regarded Hebrew scholars. You can read more about the specifics of the translation here.

As for having sex in the the Garden of Eden, I would point out that many (if not most) Hebrew scholars understand “hadda’at tov vara” - the Hebrew phrase translated literally as “the knowledge of good and evil”, is recognized as a merism meaning carnal knowledge.

This understanding was first proposed by Ibn Ezra in the 12th century and more recently by Nahum Sarna in his magisterial commentary on Genesis (see p. 19) and has become the accepted understanding among most scholars today. Turning again to Westermann, he summarizes six of the most common interpretations of this phrase, concluding that the consensus is that the phrase refers to sexual knowledge (see footnote). You can read my explanation of this phrase here. But note these two observations:

  1. This phrase, “hada’at tov vara” is used elsewhere to connote knowledge not possessed by little children and “forgotten” by the very old.
  2. Immediately following the eating of the fruit, the story cuts to Adam and Eve covering only their genitals. Not their heads, legs, shoulders and so forth. They have acquired knowledge that causes them to be embarrassed when naked in the presence of each other.

Blessings,

Michael

NOTE: While Westermann, Sarna, and others recognize the phrase as meaning sexual knowledge, a number of the commenters I’ve read generalize sexual knowledge (i.e., “hada’at tov vara”) to the loss of sexual innocence.

P.S. Reading your question more carfully, I note that I didn’t address the issue of sex as the reason for expulsion. The reasoning (not my own but of the commentators I’ve read and just referenced) is that sexual procreativity between immortal beings (leading to immortal children) cannot exist within a confined area. I first ran across this theory in Marc Zvi Brettler’s book, How To Read the Jewish Bible. His discussion of the 2nd creation story was a real eye-opener for me as, at the time, I was unfamiliar with the scholarly view of this wonderful story. I might add that Brettler’s book is very approachable and I recommend it highly.


#6

If you really think eden wasn’t a utopia, you are completely missing the point and what a utopia is. Eden is the same thing as heaven, being in he presence of God, and having a relationship with God. The nice animals and the good fruits that mya or may not even be real fruits or just symbolic for good things are not what make it a utopia.

Being that man is brainwashed and lied to and deceived by the great deceived that is Satan, man thinks that having everything he desires is utopian. But a utopia is having everything we were designed to have, Namely, God. Just like a fish whom desires to be on dry land is not better off if given its desires, or a man who wants drugs and feel good chemicals is not better off. The only thing that we are better off for is to know God, that is why we were created, to have a relationship with God. We are also to have relationships with other people, the 2 greatest commandments. We were also created to work and create.

Work being hard or difficult or undesirable is also a construct of man. I enjoy cutting my lawn. It can become a chore at times, but being in Gods creation, seeing his wonders, using the ,uncles and abilities He blessed us with, is o god how good He is.

Is you read from the paradigm/perspective that we do as fallen humans, that work is hard, then sure, eden is not a utopia. But if you read it from the paradigm/perspective that God is good, that he created us to be with Him, and to enjoy using our different gifts for His glory, then heaven (where I believe we will also work/tend/ utilize the gifts He gave us) and eden will the the ultimate utopia.

This is why he’ll is the opposite of a utopia. The lack of Gods presence.

What a boring heaven sounds like to me, is if we all get 24/7 massages on demand and/or chemical drugs or stuff that brings us comfort and feel good and we have whatever we desire. It’s so pointless and meaningless.

If man never sinned, we would have been fruitful and multiplied. Tended to the earth, related with each other, and with God, giving Him the glory for all things.

Sorry for that long rant. I just feel so bad for anyone who doesn’t know how great of a utopia eden and heaven will be I. The presence of God! It’s the very meaning and purpose of life! It’s the reason everyone does anything, in an attempt to fill that void that man created when he sinned and we were separated from God.

Just like a fish is not in prison in the water. They are designed to be in the water. They could escape, but they would die or harm themselves. Eden was not a prison to hold us in, more like a castle, to protect us from what is out there. Satan, and deception that God is not enough, that knowledge of good and evil is what we desire. The original sin is belief/action in that belief that God is not enough.

Monarchy is the greatest government ever…if the king was righteous. Unfortunately, no human king is righteous. Thanks be to God that He is righteous, AND He loves us enough to want to be our King!

People back in monarchs were way happier than we are today…potentially… People were made/created/designed to work, and relate. Your life quality or enjoy,net of life was based on the quality of your king. Was his castle big/string enough to protect you, so you could iultivate the land, or to carpentry beautiful creations ( i.e. Using God’s gifts for His glory). Taxes paid for protection basically, so you could live life, working with your hands/minds, and relating with others. god is the King of Kings, the ultimate protector and provider, so we thank Him, and give Him the glory, for blessing us with these provisions and protections, and gifts you blessed us with.

God enjoyed creating the stars and the moons, just like He enjoys watching us create things. Just like we enjoy seeing our children grow into their own person and create things. It saddens us when they screw up or harm themselves, we have discipline to train them to do he right thing. Parenthood is an echo (like a sonar echo or a radar echo) that gives us a glimpse of who God is. Like openings your eyes for 1 milk see the rand canyon. You got a visual echo return…but you can’t grasp the majesty as well as someone who has open eyes and is looking around.

Sex between husband and wife is an echo of God… ore on hat below…

This is an interesting translation, I would have to trust the hermeneutics experts here as it is way out of my league to confirm this. But I believe if that is is accurate, an even more accurate translation would be carnal knowledge outside of matrimony. I will refer to as carnal knowledge or “knowledge of good and evil” as coitus. I would say breeding or mating, but it is for pleasure too.

Sex/marriage is another echo of God. God designed human sex does 3 things.
It unifies/joins us.
It is exclusive
It is unconditional.

Animals have sex it unifies (physically goes into) them, colitis
Animals aren’t known to have exclusive sex. Colitis
Only humans can have unconditional sex.

When a man and women that are married have sex, it inifoes them, “the two become one”. It is exclusively for the, “the two”. And it is unconditional love. When Adam and Eve are naked, they feel shame, naked is shameful. But you are allowed to see each other’s shame, and except the, for who they are, no coverings. When you accept someone who who they are naked, no mater the condition, you also do that on marriage. Why sex is for marriage.

Colitis is just like an animal. Do it whoever you want, with whomever you want., it’s so empty. Presently gratifying, yes, it if one thinks about it, so meaningless, and leaves you wanting more, like any lustfull thing. Only God has living water and can fill you so you never need filled again, no searching for that next best experience always being let down.

Sex echos God in that he joins Himself with us, we are exclusive to Him, and He loves us unconditionally.

Adam was told to be fruitful and multiply before the fall. So sex was not forbidden before He created woman. Though perhaps, colitis was forbidden. If your translation is correct that warning of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (which was said before woman was created) I could believe that colitis was forbidden. Man had no suitable helper, nor a mate to have sex with, which depending on what you believe about how many him sapient were on earth then or what created ,an or woman means. If there were no God crated female yet, then sex didn’t exist, but coitus did, and that was forbidden. Which also correlates beastiality also being forbidden.

The tree of life is union with God, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil is union with man. The fruit of something is the result. If you want the tree of man, the fruit is death. If you want union with God, the fruit is life!

I can’t believe I, or so many have been taking the account of genesis so literal. It is so symbolically so much more beautiful!

To sum up my thoughts, sex didn’t exist before Eve , it couldn’t have been forbidden, coistus possibly was forbidden and the meaning of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Maybe coitus with Homo sapiens was the forbidden fruit, God created/chose Adam and Eve to be set apart/holy people. God told them about sex with each other (fruitful and multiply) they then found Sex felt good, thought that coitus must feel good too, had coitus with homo sapiens, the Homo sapiens infected them with death, the death of being apart from God, and not wanting exclusivity with God and His commands or each other.

Which kind of solves original sin. Adam and Eve were special selected among the Homo sapiens to be with God, and created in His image. All things and animals and Homo sapiens were already in death, in that they did not know God personally as they weren’t created in His image. But when man and woman had coitus with these Homo sapiens, they were infected with this already occurring death/separation from God.

In His image just means we were to have a relationship with Him, an intimate relationship, like sex, which unites us, which is why Christ is the groom and we are the bride. So he first two makes and females were created in His image, to be intimate with God, and they chose not to be with God, God was not enough, and they wanted more. That was the original sin, and now the selected in His image rejected Him and needed redemption. All were separated through them.

That translation actually creates an entire new theory for e which plugs in so many holes of original sin and Adam and Eve being the first humans and evolution working out.

Unfortunately, sex has been ruined/defiled/perverted but humans, and there are so many circumstances where God treated sexual sins with such seriousness. It’s hard to grasp the concept that it is so much more than a physical thing. It really is an echo of God, and God created us to have union with Him. I hope no one takes this to mean that God created us as sex toys for Him. That is SUCH a misrepresentation of what I am saying or what sex is…or what it was supposed to be.

Too bad I am on a tablet and it is difficult to type. I need to think/pray/reflect on this and test it out with other words of scripture. It actually makes a ton of sense!


(Michael Peterson) #7

First, I’m not aware of any Hebrew word that means utopia or heaven (but, see footnote). A straightforward reading of the text, describes the ‘garden’ as an enclosure somewhere within the mythical land of Eden. In the ANE such enclosures were very common and were designed to protect the plants (usually vines of wine grapes) from wild animals (e.g., foxes in the Song of Solomon). Cultivation in the Canaan highlands and the land of Egypt where some scholars believed the author to have resided, require extensive irrigation. Indeed, irrigation is very critical to life in the ANE. To imagine that the man, created with the express purpose of cultivating plants within the garden (Gen 2:5-7), didn’t spend his days digging and cleaning irrigation ditches is to ignore the reality in which the author and his audience lived.

As for the Garden representing utopia/heaven, the biblical text makes no such statement nor inference, but I’d be glad to entertain your theory of why the text ought to be interpreted as suggesting the man lived an idyllic life in a utopia. I do understand that your understanding arises from a paradigmatic reading of the text. But, I would appreciate some clarification on what that means. I’ve never heard of reading a text paradigmatically except as a fancy name for eisegesis.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts, but it appears that for our conversation to be fruitful, I would need a more biblically-based critique - one grounded in the text of God’s word.

Blessings and grace to you,

Michael

  • Shammayim (used first in Genesis 1:1), often translated as ‘heavens’, although its literal meaning is ‘skies’. This, of course, is identical to English.

Heaven noun

  1. a place regarded in various religions as the abode of God (or the gods) and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky.
    synonyms: paradise, nirvana, Zion; More
  2. the sky, especially perceived as a vault in which the sun, moon, stars, and planets are situated.
    “Galileo used a telescope to observe the heavens”

#8

Once again I would say we don’t need to see Genesis as an actual history of humanity,just a drama about God’s intention and love that humanity in ignorance and hubis has messed up. It is the story of us all, not a literal once upon a time in history.


#9

Fair enough, it might take some time, as I’m out of town and an iPad makes it more difficult to quote and copy and paste and reference ect.


(Michael Peterson) #10

You are surely correct in that the second creation account, like the first ought not to be read as a fact-based, historical account. But, since you raised some interesting and important issues I thought I’d respond with 2 questions of my own.

How does the 2nd creation story illustrate God’s intention for humanity?

It seems to me that the story suggests God’s intention for mankind was to be a drudge, a slave to the Garden’s needs, as it were, not above nature as in the first creation story. Like the ANE’s pagan religions surrounding the ancient Hebrews, Adam was portrayed initially as a slave to nature, not above nature. Unlike other pagan creation accounts, the Genesis author has Adam and Eve rebel and go their own way independent of, and opposed to, nature.

As you reflect on this theme, note that God in the second creation story, unlike the first, is not transcendent but is part of, and present in, nature.

How does the 2nd creation story illustrate God’s love for humanity?

In this story, the primordial couple are expelled from their benign, humdrum existence - an existence that is immortal - to an existence fraught not only with more difficult work, but with a life of pain, danger and death. Would you argue that God’s love, in this story, is a kind of tough love? If not, where then does the author describe or imply God’s love for mankind?

Blessings,

Michael


#11

I disagree that God intends humanity to be a drudge to the needs of the garden. Rather God shares the divine love for the garden with humanity and gives them some authority in what they do in it and to grow the fruits for their bodily needs. They are to enjoy all that is in the garden and have fellowship with creatures Adam has been able to name. In the first instance the toil is not burdensome it is a shared joy with God.

Of course humanity then falls into distrust of divine intentions and wants power for themselves. God provides new coverings for their nakeness (skins instead of fig leaves), a sign of continued love even though they have gobe astray, and also this is a sign of God’s intention to cover and deal with sin. Humanity musy face the consequencies of their actions, but God still loves them and wnats to make up for what they themselves have done to ruin relationships.

It is true in the story that God seems to also act harshly and this may be how the author, who after all is Pre-Christ, sees the problem of human sin and under judgement. We have to add our known Christian dimension to the story of God’s saving love that comes to seek us out and make ammends for what we have done. That is, we have ti see scripture whole and not little bits at a time. We are not Judaic like the author, we are Trinitarian Christians. We have to acknowldge the author had only a partial view of human sinfullness and not the whole story of God’s absolute love and grace, and despite our sin and even because of it comes to us with a new invitation to come back into fellowship. As i say, with the loving will to cover our shame.


#12

Inflammatory bowel disease?


(Jay Johnson) #13

No, not at all. This was the common theme of ANE mythologies, in which mankind was created to serve the gods’ needs, so that the gods could “rest” and leave all the work to humanity. Genesis, as usual, subverts those mythologies and says that mankind was not created to serve God’s earthly needs (as if he had any), but to represent God as his likeness and image. This is the role of priests and kings in the ancient world, as well as the idols in their temples. The mythology of the ANE was essentially propaganda to support the political, economic, and religious “powers-that-be.” God commanded that no graven image be made in his likeness, because he already had created his likeness – mankind – and installed it in his cosmic temple as his representative. God’s purpose in creating mankind was no different than his purpose in redemption – to form a people for himself. Or, as Peter put it:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

You probably would enjoy The Temple and the Church’s Mission by G.K. Beale. It convincingly shows the connections between Eden and the vision of the New Jerusalem in Rev. 21. Great book. Highly recommended.


(Michael Peterson) #14

First, let me say that you are absolutely correct in your understanding that the Genesis creation accounts were polemics against the reigning ANE creation myths. Yours is a great point and needs to be reemphasized more than it is. However, I’m still stuck on the text of Genesis 2:5-7 where the author is very, very explicit: God’s purpose in forming mankind was to cultivate the plants of the Garden. Now, this is how the text literally literally reads. There is nothing about representing God “as his likeness” and nothing about a “cosmic temple”. Moreover, there is nothing about God creating the man to serve HIs needs (see footnote 1),

Your response seems to have conflated the second creation account with the first by giving priority to the first’s depiction of God as transcendent and also with mankind’s role as God’s stand-in as ruler of creation. I think it’s critical that if the two stories are to be reconciled, one must first get the text right. Do you not agree? The fact that the two stories are so different (see footnote 2) suggests the the authors of these two narratives sought to represent God in a way that moved their plot toward different literary goals. The first creation story is all about God and mankind’s position in God’s Temple hierarchy. The second is far more complex and nuanced. It is a story about the exercise of free will and its consequences. The second story takes dead aim at the pagan belief that one’s fate lies in the hands of capricious gods. Its author asserts that fate is determined by the choices we make. In summary, the story elevates consequences from the physical, natural realm (nature is the moral actor, not man) to the metaphysical realm where man is responsible for his choice

What do you think?

(1) I think John Walton has the best handle on Throne Theology.

(2) The two stories were written at different times, by different authors who sought to represent God differently. In the second creation story, unlike the first, God is depicted (and addressed) entirely differently. He is of the world, not transcendent over it. He creates with his hands, not with his words/thoughts. He, like the man He formed, is pictured as part of nature. Taken literally, the second creation story depicts God in exactly the same way as did the author of the Enuma.


(Michael Peterson) #15

[quote=“still_learning, post:6, topic:36569”]I will refer to as carnal knowledge or “knowledge of good and evil” as coitus.
[/quote]

And you would be completely correct.

[quote=“still_learning, post:6, topic:36569”]I can’t believe I, or so many have been taking the account of genesis so literal. It is so symbolically so much more beautiful!
[/quote]

Maybe you know this already - if so, I apologize, but others may benefit. I’d like to offer a way to think about the relationship between literalism and metaphor using an example. Read literally Orwell’s 1984 is a story about talking barnyard animals who try to form a government. Taken literally, it’s no better than a child’s fairy tale (see Footnote 1). It’s absurd on its [literal] face! But, we all know that the book is really about the injustices of soviet communism. We interpret the literal rendering of 1984 as an allegory.

Now, with respect to understanding the second creation story symbolically; it, like 1984 is absurd on its face. There surely is something far more important that a literal reading of the text reveals. To understand what these higher meanings might be, we have to get into the minds of the peoples of those days who might have thought:

- What are we to make of an immortal man assigned a back-breaking task that will never, ever be done?
- Why a Garden? Why didn't God just create a region,or better yet, just plop him down in Canaan?
- Why does he warn Adam not to have sex before the woman is created?
- what does it mean when the verb used to describe the formation of man  has the name of God embedded in it, but not when the same verb is used to describe the formation of the animals? 
- Knowing that the surrounding pagans attributed their misfortune and/or bad choices to the capriciousness of nature, what is the author telling us in a story where the primordial couple make a choice and must suffer the consequences of that choice? Is the author trying to tell us something about the exercise of free will?
- What might be the significance to the idea that one of the consequences of choosing to go one's own way to be separated from the divine?

My advice you is to always remember to ground the symbolism you infer in the literal text. Symbolism is NOT an excuse for ignoring its literal meaning. In fact, it is critical to the truth.

I’m sorry to bother you with what must be obvious to you, but I worry that the symbolism you describe in your response (above) is simply not tethered to the actual text.

Blessings,

Michael

  • Footnote 1: The original title of Orwell’s 1984 was “1984 - A Fairy Tale”

#16

Irrigation is critical to life, just like food was, but our Heavenly Father knows what we need and will provide for us if we trust in Him. he had water come from a rock in a desert. I’m sure Ge could have provided for Adam without irrigation. But it is also possible that Adam enjoyed working, digging ditches and tending to the garden. If you like what you do, you will never work a day in your life. What else was there to do? From a physical standpoint, it seems quite enjoyable to me to do work. Thing thin that makes work generally undesirable, is the nessesity to do it, and the stress of it.

Like some days you want to go to work, it’s good. But then some days you don’t…but you still have to, or your garden won’t produce fruit and you starve, or you get fired etc. it is stressful to depend on your work to live. It if you trust God or provide, it isn’t stressful, and it is enjoyable. And He gives us and wants us to rest.

But that is from a somewhat worldly perspective that I think it would be real reason it would be enjoyable is because we would be with God.

I might have misspoke if you took my words literal. I didn’t mean to say the garden was a utopia and the scripture says so. I meant utopian in he figurative sense, as to say it is the “bee knees”.

God created us to have relationship with Him, and to enjoy His creation. Eat the fruits and vegetables, play with the animals, use your muscles to get more muscles and create things, whether it is art or a irrigation trench, just enjoy life/creation and experience it with God.

If God created the entire universe and the insane complexity of all things in it, I’m sure He could have found something to tend the earth. he wanted to allow us to use His gifts to tend to it.

Gen 3:17-19. That is why work is hard or undesirable, the fall and separation from God, we lost our living water, and now we need to work to refill often. Many parallels to heaven/paradise/Zion and the garden. I realize it speaks of heavens as the sky, and ,y hermeneutics isn’t there to know what heaven is called, but when I say heaven now, or above, I was referring to the eternal place with God, were there are no hunger or tears. Rev 7:16. And I’m sure the English Bible is different from the Greek, but rev 22 is called “Eden restored”. I think it is very clear that heaven will be just like Eden before the fall, the only difference being that in this short life, we were given a choice to be with God, and we chose God (because He chose us first by sending His Son to redeem us), so we will now be with Him for eternity. Were as in the garden, the choice of God wasn’t made yet, and they chose not God. That choice won’t be there for us in heaven, because we already chose Him on earth. But other than that minute difference ( and billions of people vs 2), Eden and Heaven will be the same. And when we are in the presence of God,
“Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.”

So when in the presence of God in the Eden, I don’t think thirsted or needed to irrigate, but they might have still did, as they enjoyed using the muscular gifts God blessed the, with.

Figuratively speaking, a utopia.

But He created us to know Him and to be one with Him. He is the living water, the water that is never ending. Anything else you will run out of and need a refill. It doesn’t matter what it is on this earth, no one will be satisfied with it, it will always runout, and need a refill, except God. That is how we know that God created us to be one with Him, because we are incomplete with out him.

It speaks of Eden being with God. Gen 3:8 walking with God

Heaven, rev 22:4, they will see His face.

You can’t get more parallel than that. The only 2 places that God will be with man.

Anytime humans, who were created to be with God are with God, that utopia, it is perfection, it is what He designed us for. Trusting in Him to be the security and provider for us. And then making our own experiences with the gifts He blessed us with. Making art, digging ditches, praising Him with friends, relating with the other humans there. Enjoying the animals, enjoying the awe inspiring things He created. Like we enjoy going with friends or family to see the Grand Canyon, or an eclipse, or Niagara Falls etc. enjoying God’s beauty and wonder with others, and Him. Knowing there is nothing to worry about, no health concerns, no hunger, no thirst, no destroyer. That is what heaven will be like. All the good things of this earth, the giving and sharing, the peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self control, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness. The beautiful creations of God, and even the beautiful things God gives us the gifts to create.

There isn’t one specific verse that says this, re are so man verses that speak of this scattered throughout the Bible. There are so many echos of God and what Eden was like and what Heaven will be like. The diamonds and gold and shiny things are just to arch the environment, that is not what makes heaven so nice.

All the same, there are so many echos of hell. All the evil and hate and violence and selfishness, and greediness, and self worship, or harshness or theft are the echos of hell. The fire is just to match the enviroment, and/or possibly to attempt to atone for the sin or rejecting God, but fire is the least of the bad parts of hell.

It’s a rescue plan. The second man chose not To be with God, they were never allowed to be with Him for eternity, just like in hell. But God loving us, wanted a way for us to be redeemed, so He created a way to redeem us through the atoning death of His Son of the cross.

It’s so not humdrum! Being with God is what He created us for. This is what Jesus means when He says living water, a spring from within us. John4:11. No longer in need to keep searching and refilling, but like in heaven or in Eden, living filled with God. They were immortal because God would take care of the, and provide, there was nothing to kill or harm them.

Yes, a hell on earth, a life without God. Giving us what we wanted. We thought we didn’t need God, but then we found out that the only reason we we immortal and not hungry, was because we were with God. And when we left God, and were no longer with Him, we saw hard difficult life was. We no longer had this never ending living water, we now had to fetch water, and be scorched in the heat and provide nutrients so our bodies didn’t decay, and possibly be eaten by a bear and need to learn weapons to protect ourselves from animals and other humans. Other ones that needed that one animal to live, and had to kill you to eat it and live. To do what was “naturally moral” in their minds to keep them and their offspring alive.

Thankfully while God was busy with his second creation story, a story of redemption, He helped those who trusted in Him.

Kind of… It is our choice to not want Him. These are the choices we made, and God allowed us to experience the fruit of our labor and reap what we sowed at a very very small scale. But I think Just love is more accurate. God treats sin so serious, and is so holy, that He can’t be around sin. He can’t just absolve Adam of this sin as much as He loves Him. Instead He developed a plan to redeem mankind. This comes to fruition when His Son leaves His throne, in perfection with God, to come to this fallen disgusting earth, not to just come but be above us or better than us, but to serve us, and show us God’s love and provisions and the meaning of life and that God created us to be with Him, a living water of fulfillment. And then take the wrath of God for us and atone for our sins that we couldn’t atone for.

It’s like you get arrested for a murder, and it is a very serious charge, so your dad can’t erase that charge or make it go away, so he watches you go to jail with a sentence of a eternal years (impossible to lay this debt). It unknown to you, also has friends in jail that look out for you, and you also ask him for help and he lets you know that he helped you. And one day, someone who lived perfectly, said they would take your place and pay your debt, even though you could never pay it.

Tough love is learning from your mistakes and getting yourself through something maybe with help from the loved one. Just love is thanking God for helping you get through something you couldn’t have gotten through yourself, and helping through it.

You are missing the Forrest for the trees, or even have a miscroscope on the bark. Other than john 3:16 and the plethora of others speaking of God’s live, the Bible is filled with stories of His love. Jesus is His love. Providing a way out for us when there was no way out is love.

Sorry, stupid autocorrect. Coitus. Copulation is maybe a word you prefer? I’m just trying to distinguish sex as what God intended for a man and a woman in an exclusive oath to each other before God (make that easier, I said sex is the word I would use to fit that definition, and coitus, or copulation would be the other word I would use to mean joining of flesh.

Exactly. Christianity/Judaism is the only only religion were God created man to be with Him.

This is a cool thought. I have always believed that He said this because we can’t contain God. Meaning we can’t create an image of Him, because we can’t even fathom Him I our minds let alone create something to accurately represent Him.

Amen!

Jesus showed us in all 4 gospels two things.

  1. A mans purpose on earth. Jesus was a perfect man.

A. He worked. He enjoyed using the gifts God gave Him. I don’t have a specific verse, but I don’t think any one would argue He had a top physique, and people didn’t really body build back then, they worked.

B. He spent much time with God. Luke 2:52, mark 1:35 and many others.

C. He related to others. Mark 2:15. Mat 21:32, mat 9:10, john 4:9 and many others

These accounts clearly elaborate on the purpose for man.

Then Mat 22:36-40 is a HUGE indicator of why God created man. To love God, to chose Him, and to relate to neighbors. Loving God with heart is choosing Him. With mind, is learning about Him and using your gifts for Him. Soul, is worshiping and thanking Him.

  1. To redeem man, and reconcile man back to God again through His atonement.

@mtp1032. I will get to that last post later, I ran out of time.


(Jay Johnson) #17

Sorry, I have to disagree. God’s stated purpose in creating mankind is given in Gen. 1:26. Gen. 2:5-7 is not explicit regarding the purpose of man. It must be inferred from the text. Let’s take a look:

5 Now no shrub of the field had yet grown on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6 Springs would well up from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. 7 The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Verses 4-7 simply set the scene for the story to follow. Verse 4 begins the “toledot” by harkening back to creation. Verse 5a introduces two vegetative elements – the wild plants (shrub of the field), and those that are cultivated by mankind (plant of the field). In 5b, we are given an explanation for both situations – no rain had yet fallen to water the wild plants, and no man was there to water the cultivated plants. In verse 6, God rectifies the first deficiency, and in verse 7, he rectifies the second. There is no explicit statement of purpose here, as we find in Gen. 1:26. Then, in verses 8-14, we are told that the Lord God planted the garden and prepared it for the man, not the other way around, which is what we would expect if man were created for the purpose of drudgery.

If you are looking for a statement of purpose in Genesis 2, it comes in verse 15, where the man is “placed” in the garden “to care for it and to maintain it” (NET Bible). As Mathews says in his commentary on Genesis, “placed” in this verse “translates the causative form of the verb nuah, ‘rest,’ and so could be rendered literally ‘caused to rest.’” Mathews goes on to note that this is also the same term used of deliverance from Noah’s waters (5:29) and the safety (“rest”) from enemies that Israel would experience in the Promised Land (Deut. 3:20, 12:10, 25:19). Nuah is also used of dedicating something before the presence of the Lord (Exod. 16:33-34, Num. 17:4, Deut. 26:4, 10). Looking at the verbs used for the man’s work, both, of course, carry the common meanings of tilling the soil and taking care of property and flocks. More importantly, both verbs (and the noun derivative 'aboda, “service”) frequently describe Levitical duties in tabernacle and temple worship, such as when they occur together again in Num. 3:7-8 and 18:7.

Taking the above into consideration, Adam’s role in the garden is a priestly role. And, as Beale makes clear in the book that I referenced earlier, Eden is depicted in terms that prefigure the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence was manifested on earth. For instance, the gold and jewels associated with Eden are important to the tabernacle’s furnishings and priestly garments, particularly the onyx of the high priest’s breastplate and his ephod, which had inscribed on it the names of the 12 tribes. At the entrance to the Most Holy Place sat the lampstand that symbolized the tree of life. Both Ezekiel’s vision and Rev. 21 envision a river of the water of life flowing from the end-time temple, where the tree of life also reappears. I could go on, but you get the idea.

So, regardless of one’s view of the authorship of Gen. 1-2, they form a cohesive literary unit. They were not stitched together by an incompetent editor, in my opinion. Genesis 1 is concerned to place man in his cosmic setting. The “heavens and earth” are depicted in terms of a temple. Mankind is created as (or in) the image and likeness of God. Genesis 2 then “rewinds” to the beginning and focuses specifically on the creation of man. Here, Eden is symbolically depicted as the Most Holy Place, where God manifests his presence on earth. (One reason for the many anthropomorphisms.) Similarly, the tabernacle/temple had three divisions: the outer court symbolized the earth, the Holy Place represented the heavens, and the Most Holy Place the invisible presence of God, to which man’s access was then limited.

Finally, on your conception of ditch-digging as Adam’s ordained role, I’ll quote from Middleton’s article on the imago Dei in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics:

“In the ancient Near East imago Dei was linked to the king’s role in developing civilization or culture as builder, lawgiver, and patron of the arts. Mesopotamian kings were even charged with overseeing the irrigation system on which agriculture depended. This ancient connection of dominion with agriculture illuminates the link between the royal function delegated to humanity in Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 and the commission of humans to tend the garden in Gen. 2:15.”

Thanks for the link to Walton’s Throne Theology. Haven’t the time to read it at the moment, but I’ll return to it shortly.

Edit: Didn’t realize that what you called Walton’s “throne theology” was his book on Genesis 1. Yes, I have that one. Thanks.


(Jay Johnson) #18

What you have said is true, but the added dimension is the prophets’ consistent critique of idols: that they have no breath (ruah) in them.

All these idolaters will prove to be stupid and ignorant.
Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.
For the image he forges is merely a sham.
There is no breath in any of those idols. (Jer. 10:14)


#19

Find a concept please and request a Biblical tether, I might not be able to find 1 specific verse, but I can find verses or stories that tether all of it to the Bible.

In the New Testament, the use for any sex outside of marriage is porneia. This is what is should have used instead of coitus or copulation.

Exodus 6:6-7 I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.

I will bring you out
I will redeem you
I will rescue you
I will take you as my own

When a Israelite audience heard those phrases, they weren’t just thinking rescue. But those were the four phrases used in an Israelite marriage vow.

God is calling out His bride. That is why the 1st commandment is have no other God but me, ima jealous God. Like a husband is for his wife, not bad jealously, but He wants our affection, your mine and only mine.

The cloud of God, Shekhinah glory, covers over their head. An Israelite wedding had a prayer shawl put on a Huppah, so when you do you vows, it’s underneath the covering of God. God put this Huppah above them and figuratively said, were getting married.

At the end of Revelation when God takes us to be with Him, He invites us to the marriage supper of the lamb. The eternal honeymoon!

This is why we have marriage on earth, to have an echo of God and our eternity with Him in heaven.

Those 3 parts of sex above are the 3 parts of a marriage that echo God’s relationship with us. They are ultimately expressed in sex, not porniea.

  1. marriage is a fusion of persons. Their life, their family, becomes yours, the good and the bad, finances and debts, everything, then in sex, bodies fuse and mark 10:8.

  2. Exclusivity, your vows with your spouse in marriage and in sex.

  3. Unconditional. Humans want to be known and loved, so does God, we were created in His image. If you’re just know, but not loved, that is rejection. But if we are loved but not know, it’s just sentimental and not deep. We want to be known for who we are, but loved anyway. Like sex, you are naked and nothing hiding any imperfections. I see all of you, (body and mind) and accept and love you. That is why nakedness In the Bible was a sense of vulnerability and exposed. But in sex and in marriage and with God, all of you are known, and loved.

1… God lives inside of us (when we ask Him to through faith in His Son’s atoning work on the cross). He is fused, like sex, man is inside of woman, fused.

2… Exclusively, no other gods but Him.

3… Unconditional love. He died for us regardless/in spite of who we are, exposed and full of sin.

That is why sex outside of a man and a woman together in marriages so damaging. We are special, image of God, we aren’t animals, whom have coitus or copulate whenever, or wherever then want with who ever of whatever they want to. Sex is different for us, humans.

When you reduce sex to just biology or a good feeling, or fun, or a casual encounter, you de-humanize us.

That is why what you said about tree or carnal knowledge making such sense to me. God married us in the creation of man, and man chose to cheat on God and reject a Him and it lead to our death, an emptiness in us apart from God. God also didn’t want us to have sex with Homo sapiens or animals and why it was forbidden before He made Eve. But the tree of life is God, choosing God will result in eternal fulfillment and life.

What are you to think of someone who said you you have an eternity of donuts and messages and (insert the thing you enjoy the most here)? You keep seeing bad things here because we are in this fallen world. I’d God was there with me, I would be overjoyed to dig ditches for an eternity. However, I don’t think I will, or do I think that is what Eden was like. We see how Jesus lived, God has no need or desire for us to be eternal ditch diggers. But if a potter made me into a bowl that people pooped in, I wouldn’t have a say in the matter regardless of how much I liked it or not.

But you can’t read this 1 passage so literal in spite of an entire Bible showing how much God loves us and is our comforter. It would be more logical to take the Bible in its entirety, and apply your interpretation of this passage to that paradigm.

I don’t have all the answers. It the rest of the Bible has made it more than clear how much God loves us and what lengths He will go to to demonstrate this and that god is good and merciful.

See above explanation.

I think it is clear, to show that we are He image of God, and animals aren’t.

I think so. We have the choice to chose God, and that is the best choice, but the great deciever can make it seem like it is not. And once you make a choice, you can’t take it back. Or once you act on a choice, you can’t undo it.

Thats sums up he Bible basically. If you want to go your own way, God will allow it, for an eternity. But if you want to go God’s way, He created a way for us to be nearn Him now, and for eternity.


(Michael Peterson) #20

How in the world do you read this from this text? It’s just not there.

Now, I want to point something out to you and most of the other participatns in this thread and I mean this as a recommendation, not a criticism. But, when discussing biblical texts you should stick to the text and not jump immediately to theology. I would be genuinely delighted if you guys would point out problems with my reading of the text, but please ground your points in the biblical witness. If the man is to play with animals and exercise and grow bigger muscles where in the text of the story does it say that?

In this note, the issue centers on what the author’s words mean literally. Once we agree on the literal meaning of the words, then we can ask (and debate) their higher meaning and the theologies they imply.

So, let me repeat my literal interpretation of the first part of the second creation story: read literally, the created man is a worker-bee. His life in Eden is doing the same chores over and over again through all eternity (there are no walks with God in the cool breezes, there are no animals with which to frolic, and nowhere does God (or anyone) provide recreational activities so the man can grow bigger muscles…)

If you agree with my literal reading of the text, then for example, we might want to examine whether the man’s literal hum-drum existence might be a plot device to provide context to events later in the story. But, if you do not agree with my literal reading, then please share your reading of the text.

In other words, let’s make sure we are talking about the same text.

Blessings,

Michael