Sunday, February 04, 2007

Adam & Eve

The story of 'Adam and Eve' may have actually started as a historical account. The problem is that the protestant bible only devotes part of one chapter (less than three hundred sentences) to describing a two-thousand-year period of history. Just how detailed (and how accurately) do you think that little chunk of writing can portray two millennia?

This will open a can of worms … but the word “adam” (not capitalized, and pronounced roughly “ah-DAHM”) is the Hebrew word for all of humanity. It is the exact equivalent of the modern English word “mankind.” It was never … not once … used as a proper name in any of the original Hebrew manuscripts. It was only applied to a single individual in the later Hebrew transcripts (about the time of the Septuagint), and it only became a specific man’s name after the translators of the King James Version (in the 16th Century) capitalized it. To this day, the Jews still consider it simply a “shorthand” method of condensing a lot of history into a small amount of writing.

I had a discussion the other day with a man who staunchly claimed that Adam and Eve were perfect. I doubt it. The Elohim were very careful to deny Adam and Eve access to the Tree of Life. If Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of Life, then yes, they would THEN have been as gods, perfect (including being immortal).

Adam and Eve were not “built to live forever” (as he put it). First, God told them specifically that He had already - before He ever created them in the first place! - arranged a way that they could indeed die (that is, by eating the fruit of the Tree of “Knowledge of Good and Evil”). They were not created as permanently immortal … they were simply blessed (a temporary and revocable decision on God’s part!).

Second, there are actually two Genesis creation stories. In the other (older, 'P' document) story … after Adam and Eve had already had their escapade with the serpent, the Elohim (a plural word meaning “gods” – not capitalized) very carefully denied Adam and Eve access to the Tree of Life (a second tree, not the same as the tree of “Knowledge of Good and Evil,” which at that point in the story they had already eaten from). The Elohim decision was predicated upon, “lest they become as one of us” … meaning both spiritually aware and immortal … thus, gods themselves. And no, I am not making this up.