What do you think heaven will be like?

(Robin) #61

Well…thanks for the swing around the linguistic dial, Marvin. I think German would, at best, also have to have been translated from the Hebrew or Massoretic texts or Septuagint (Greek) at some point. If you have something that differs from how it is translated in English, then that is a matter of how a native German speaker would take it.

But I did just utilize the German to English translator which is available to anyone online. When I plunked in Baum der erkenntnis it came up with “tree of knowledge.”

We are being a bit picky here. I would say that this issue comes from something you have read or some other perspective that you have picked up. The “Garden of Eden” pericope is a gold mine of various issues. But the main issue is that – for whatever reason of His own – God gave “Adam” and “Eve” free reign in this garden – evidently to worship Him and to enjoy each other and to do whatever work they were given to do – but He had this one restriction.

Keep in mind — it was ONE restriction. They had everything else to see and to do. And it is typical of human nature – then evidently as now – that it is the one thing they could NOT do that they focused on… And this seems to have become a problem. This is not a puberty issue, at this point. It is a human nature issue.

They evidently did not understand or were just very easily led down the primrose path by some snake/serpent. This does not mean they were innocent. Both knew they were doing a wrong thing. They just “used their own minds,” so to speak and decided to do what had been forbidden…

:As a consequence, they experienced “knowledge” all right. But that knowledge made them separated from each other, from God…and ultimately got them expelled from this garden — the location of which many have speculated about. Since knowledge CAN include understanding, I would imagine that they understood – too late — that they had been misled or duped. That can be a sad moment indeed. . And then they also were made by God to understand that there were to be long-lasting consequences.

So they had even more understanding.

You compare all this to puberty in your several posts. Puberty is not a sin, but rather a stage of maturing. That is one thing, but to think that “Adam” and “Eve” were maturing would be to bite that same “magic apple” you like to talk about.

The German translation, like the English, is subject and should be subject, to the critiques and reviews of scholars who know the ancient languages and ancient texts. I know that many, not necessarily all, of them also have some knowledge of German. If there is indeed some different rendering of the German text, then that might, for all I know, be a bone of contention among some translators and not a commonly accepted rendition. In other words, the German might be wrong.

But judging by what I got off the translator online, there is no real difference between the German and the English.

As I said, all “Adam” and “Eve”: managed to do was to separate themselves and all their descendants from God, which ultimately led to the cross. It cost God everything to make it possible for us to have a relationship with Him again. And this is only through confessing our sins and asking Him to forgive us, based on the death and resurrection of Jesus. We ourselves can do nothing to earn favor with God again. “All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” etc. See Isaiah.

“There is no other name [than the name of Jesus] given among men by which we may be saved”-- see Acts somewhere…

Have a great Tuesday…

(Robin) #62

OK Marvin…I tried it again. I can see that this word has great significance for you. The German would be as much a translation from the LXX or the Massoretic text as anything in English. So it is not necessarily “more pure” or “closer to the original meaning” than the English rendition of things.

But I tried another way —

tree of knowledge = baum des wissens
tree of understanding = baum des Verstandnisses (umlaut over the a)
tree of experience = Baum der Erfahraung

(more on the third line later)

But then I saw that you have translated Erkennthis as cognition or realisation

cognition = erkenntnis
recognition = Realisierung

Interesting that the earlier German to English attempt came up with erkenntnis as meaning “knowledge” — or did it?? (sign)…is there really a difference?

I am not sure that “the limit of the english translation” is useful when the Hebrew or LXX Greek would be more important…but at any rate, I do not know that this is at all the issue here.

I have checked various Jewish sites and also seen the word “knowledge” used, and read their commentaries on this pericope.

In his book How to Read Genesis, author Tremper Longman III ( a professor of biblical studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA) said that “the Hebrew word for ‘knowledge’ implies experience.” Hence my line in German up at the top.

I still think you are “coming from” some Gnostic or gnostic position, and that is not one that I hold or that has any place in orthodox Christian thinking. Longman said that “by eating the fruit” the “couple” did a “tremendously wicked act” which meant they could now experience evil and “separating their moral judgment from God’s.” (p. 111 his book). This is not the positive “experiencing for yourself” and I do not know how realization of the self fits with “you can’t tale responsibility for your beloved children any more.” – especially not as part of this pericope. “Adam” and “Eve” did not have children at the time.

You see this a whole lot as revolving around puberty and now also “acquiring moral responsibility” which you think absolves you from responsibility for “your beloved children.”

The JewishPathways site — also using “tree of knowledge” [the commentator said it comes from the Hebrew word “da’at”] — called Genesis 2:17 “a test of obedience, and a proof of his being in a dependent probationary state.” As a result of the Fall in Genesis 3, “each person feels empowered to decide for themselves between right and wrong and moral confusion enters the world.”

But this is a negative — we “feel empowered” and that worked real well during the Holocaust or in a thousand other death camps and abortion clinics over the last century or two, didn’t it?

If you at all adhere to the JewishPathways version, then you cannot mean anything terribly positive by what you have said in various posts about puberty and the last line of your above post about not taking responsibility for your beloved children any more.

I still am not sure where you are coming from — New Age, “saw it on Oprah” or Gnosticism (some version of it). But Longman and the JewishPathways site (both of which — like everyone else — use “tree of knowledge” for the term) — state what is the common belief about the significance of the pericope. .

As I said at the beginning, you have to look at what the text says in light of the culture, ancient languages, traditional interpretations, etc. A wayward interpretation may be helpful, but is still subject to critique. Too wayward — and you are way off track. I think we have beaten this subject to a fine mash at this point, Marvin. We will just have to agree to disagree.


I think puberty was a great analogy used by @marvin. I don’t think he thinks puberty is a sin.

It sounds to me like semantics, it sounds to me like both of you are saying the same thing?

I agree with most of that, minus the descendants part, but that isn’t really what this topic is so I won’t go too in depth on it. I think we are all born perfect image bearers (going to paradise/sinless) until we first sin (like Adam or Jesus) Humans all have the propensity to sin, and will sin without God. They were both tempted, Adam chose himself and sinned, Jesus chose the Father’s will and remained sinless.

I don’t know where the Jewish got the bar mitzfah from at age 13? 13 you become an adult? Something to do with puberty and able to make decisions for yourself and be responsible for them like a man. In numbers I thought they counted adults at 20?

@marvin analogy of self aware when naked I think is very good and sounds similar of what Adam could have experienced. Adam has only chosen God’s will previously, but the first time he chose his own way, he was then aware of his nakedness and vulnerability apart from God and His will.

The fruit is possibly immaterial, it was more about the knowledge/understandings gained from choosing against God’s perfect will.

(Robin) #64

Thanks…I am not sure that I entirely know where Marvin is coming from. But we have gotten tied up in the translation of a phrase. He seems to have a German source, but that seems immaterial. The translation used virtually everywhere else is not something he likes for some reason.

Yes, I think that boys were welcomed into the adult community at age 13. I have no idea if the puberty issue fits there because he seems to have used it in a way that seems not relevant to this pericope.

And yes “by one man sin entered the world…” etc. The issue of “original sin” is controversial among some, but this is traditional teaching…What “Adam” and “Eve” experienced at the time of eating whatever they ate — I think it was worse than puberty. He had indeed separated himself from his wife and from his God…worse than puberty.

But we will let it drop — the subject that is.

(Marvin Adams) #65

I look at this from the point of view of a loving father who would like to take the responsibility and the suffering of his beloved children upon himself. And Adam and Eve were his children.
In puberty you reject the authority over the self by your parents to become you own self and with that enter the state of sin, e.g. conflict with any other self.

The difference between “Wissen” and “Erkenntniss” of something is that knowledge is memorised and accepted information written up in a book, whilst the latter is an event requiring comprehension more akin to “Offenbahrung” or revelation that is hold in your mind. Knowledge or Wissen is in today’s context located in the realm of science whilst realisation is more a term akin to philosophy implying a metaphysical aspect to it.

I hope this helps to explain my point beyond what you can extract from google translate.

Have a great time, Wednesday included :slight_smile:

(Robin) #66

Thanks, Marvin, It just does not work as an illustration. And I see little point in arguing German terms …since I do not speak German. Tree of knowledge…that is how the texts render it.

But have a good day…

(Susan Linkletter) #67

The Bible says there will be a new heaven and a new earth. So my idea of heaven is actually what the first humans experienced in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man - minus the needy human flesh that led us away from our relationship with God.

Without fleshly bodies I don’t think we will care if we eat or not. I am most looking forward to access to the knowledge of the intricate details of the universe, to all scientific mysteries solved and perfect communion with the creator. I don’t think it matters if there is anything to eat, streets paved with gold or people we know - those are all things that appeal to our current earthly bodies. We will be living in a spiritual realm that goes well beyond that and our current realities.

(Luca) #68

I disagree with not needing people to know. But i agree with all the rest.

(David Heddle) #69

R. C. Sproul once said he’d spend the first 10,000 years learning how to hit a curve ball. (I Hope you’ve at least had a foul tip by now, RC!) I fear it would take me longer. Speaking of sports, I always heard that heaven would lose a baseball game with hell, because all the umpires… well you fill in the blanks.

A premil friend has promised to send me (a postmil) a text: “In the dessert line at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Wish you were here.”

(Mervin Bitikofer) #70

I’m not sure he should be counting on having cell service or wifi available there…


Uh oh…let’s look at the context:

"Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God." (1 Corinthians 2:9 and 10, NASB, italics added)

Paul is not saying, “we’re looking ahead to what cannot be imagined.” He’s saying “what we couldn’t imagine has now been revealed.”

(Robin) #72

Thanks fmiddel…I think the purpose of this site is to speculate wildly about TV and all sorts of things in heaven.

Fine…but probably none of it right…

The quote from 1 Cor 2:9, 10 refers to wisdom. The wisdom God gives is not human in origin. The eye, ear, heart were organs of cognition in Semitic imagery and thus, if the eye could not see it or the ear hear it or the heart conceive of it — then it was unknown to humankind. God had to reveal it. This is primarily in reference to wisdom such as ability to love God, know the way of salvation, know Who Jesus is, know how to live for Christ and so forth…My source for this is the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament volume on 1 Corinthians…

As I have said elsewhere, you can speculate all you want. But do not take your speculation seriously. Paul and John (the apostles, not any ancient 1960s celebrities you might think of) both said they were transported to some heavenly places and not allowed to say everything they saw.

So if they were not allowed to discuss it, then that is what it is. Just don’t take the speculation here too seriously.


Well that’s fine for you but I plan on bathing in strawberry shortcake.

(George Brooks) #74


Don’t you find this whole thing interesting?

The New Testament presents the Old Testament as the basis of all its truth … and yet the one thing the Hebrew did not retrieve from 200 to 400 years in Egypt is a belief in an afterlife !

While the Old Testament makes a sparse mention of a person going up in a whirlwind, or God plucking someone out of the middle of everything … but there’s no promise for the multitude… there’s no expectation of a paradise after death. And you have singled out Daniel’s reference to Heaven and Hell… but there is still no applied theology to an afterlife.

The only explanation I have for this is that the Sadducees trimmed all of that out of the Old Testament… assuming it was ever there.

Individuals here might contest this … and (ironically?) insist that the Sadducees didn’t lay a finger on the Old Testament. Well, doesn’t that make the paradox even more severe?

As the Greek intellectuals prove to us Moderns, the one thing that thinking-people obtained while living with the Egyptians is a profound and certain expectation of a profitable afterlife !

(David Heddle) #75

(You probably know this) The Sadducees only accepted the Pentateuch. If they could not attribute the writing to Moses (e.g., Daniel) then it was not canonical in their eyes.

(George Brooks) #76


Perhaps more detail should be offered on this point? By “accept”, do we mean “adopt as sacred”? Does this necessarily mean that the other books were totally ignored by the Sadducees? Or were the Sadducees actively engaged in shaping even the books that may not be sacred, but were still important commentaries?
The schools of the Rabbis were to eventually fill a library … but did that mean the Rabbi’s writings could be ignored?

In the meantime, David Heddie, doesn’t your point actually deepen the mystery? If the “grip” of the Sadducees was only exerted on the Pentateuch, then why do we not find more writings like the New Testament in these other books? And by this, I mean, why is there not a Hebrew version of the Egyptian afterlife somewhere ? How can they write about invoking Samuel from the underworld… and totally ignore the problem (or, rather, the Promise!) of the general resurrection?

(David Heddle) #77

I might be saying something stupid because I haven’t gone back and read the whole thread, but both Pharisees and other parties (sects) believed that the OT, primarily in Daniel, taught of a resurrection. And Jesus himself pointed out to the Sadduccees that it wasn’t new, it had been taught all along, even in what they considered canonical, if they cared to look:

26 Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!" (Mark 12:26-27)

(George Brooks) #78


I confess limited knowledge on this issue. But I think the origin of a Jewish belief in a general resurrection comes from some complex feedback loops starting with exposure to Zoroastrians (who were the first to represent a vast realm for resurrection to be somewhere up in the heavens), which led to Enochian-era literature, which further triggered refinements to these ideas.

Daniel, a quilt of various Aramaic stories from an earlier time, seems to have as its most recent re-working as the 150’s BCE: “…The prophecies of Daniel are accurate down to the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and oppressor of the Jews, but not in its prediction of his death: the author seems to know about Antiochus’ two campaigns in Egypt (169 and 167 BC)…”

The “resurrection content” (as little as it is) seems to be more a reflection of the period, than a sufficient inspiration for the period.

So… if we look to the Book of Enoch for some sense of the transitions…

"There is little doubt that 1 Enoch was influential in molding New Testament doctrines about

  • the Messiah,
  • the Son of Man,
  • the messianic kingdom,
  • demonology,
  • the resurrection, and
  • eschatology.[fn 3 Ephraim Isaac 1 Enoch: A New Translation and Introduction in James Charlesworth (ed.) The Old Testament Pseudoepigrapha, vol. 1, pp. 5-89 (New York, Doubleday, 1983, ISBN 0-385-09630-5), page 10 ]:

The limits of the influence of 1 Enoch are discussed at length by

R.H. Charles [fn 54: RH Charles, 1 Enoch SPCK London 1916 - downloadable file:
https://archive.org/details/bookofenochor1en00char ]

E Isaac,[fn 3 ( fn 3 referenced above) ] and

G.W. Nickelsburg [fn 55: George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001) ISBN 0-8006-6074-9 ]

in their respective translations and commentaries. It is possible that the earlier sections of 1 Enoch had direct textual and content influence on many Biblical apocrypha, such as Jubilees, 2 Baruch, 2 Esdras, Apocalypse of Abraham and 2 Enoch, though even in these cases, the connection is typically more branches of a common trunk than direct development. [fn 56:see George W.E. Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001) ISBN 0-8006-6074-9 ]

An internet page providing a Table of Contents and numerous links:
"The Book of Enoch, tr. by R.H. Charles [1917]

A searchable / downloadable link:


What’s the oldest text in the Bible? I understand that many scholars believe it to be Job.

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another."

Job 19:25-27

(George Brooks) #80

Not surprisingly, @fmiddel, there are citations I can provide that say the Book of Job is not so old:

Authorship, language, texts
Rabbinic tradition ascribes the authorship of Job to Moses, but scholars generally agree that it was written between the 7th and 4th centuries BCE, with the 6th century BCE [i.e., the 500’s BCE of the Persian period] as the most likely period for various reasons.
[fn17: Kugler, Robert; Hartin, Patrick J. (2009). An Introduction to the Bible. Eerdmans. Page 193
ISBN 9780802846365. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=L8WbXbPjxpoC&printsec=frontcover ]

“According to the 6th-century BCE prophet Ezekiel, Job was a man of antiquity renowned for his righteousness, and the book’s author has chosen this legendary hero for his parable. The language of Job stands out for its conservative spelling and for its exceptionally large number of words and forms not found elsewhere in the Bible.”[fn 21: Seow, C.L. (2013). Job 1–21: Interpretation and Commentary. Eerdmans. p. 17
https://books.google.com/books?id=ZOn3ZK2n0UUC&printsec=frontcover ]

“The [medieval] 12th century Jewish scholar Ibn Ezra concluded that the book must have been written in some other language and translated into Hebrew, and many later scholars down to the 20th century looked for an Aramaic, Arabic or Edomite original, but a close analysis suggests that the foreign words and foreign-looking forms are literary affectations designed to lend authenticity to the book’s distant setting.”