Adam & Eve: Past the Hype
This article is divided into three parts:
1) Notes and Discussion on Language
2) “The Fall of Eve?” or “The Fall of Adam and Eve?”
3) The Bible Uses Figurative Language: Follow Your Heart
1) Notes and Discussion on Language:
Many people underestimate both the challenge of understanding the translation process and the rich amount of learning that can be gained by thoroughly understanding that same process. I shall set forth the many proposals put forth, and allow the reader to absorb what they will.
-It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew meaning “to be red”, referring to the ruddy colour of human, or from Akkadian “adamu” meaning “to make.”
-With Adam, God is portrayed as a potter molding man's body out of the clay. This is a play on the how the words sound in Hebrew. The Hebrew "Adam" is "man" and "adama" is "ground". Adam is literally simply named “man”.
-“Adham” is Hebrew for “of the ground” or “taken out of the red earth.”
-From the Hebrew name “Chawwah”, which was derived from the Hebrew word “chawah”, “to breath” or the related word “chayah,” “to live.”
-With Eve, the name is also descriptive. The Hebrew name “hawwa” (Eve) is related to the Hebrew word “Hay” (living). This implies that she is not only the mother of all the living, but also the mother of promised Seed who would give life to the human race now subjected to death.
-The name given to the first woman by the first man (Gen. 3:20). The Bible interprets this name to mean “the mother of all living,” both because Eve is, through her sons, the female ancestor of the entire human race and because the name sounds similar to the Hebrew word for “living being.” The wordplay is probably etymologically incorrect, and later rabbinic tradition proposed a connection with the Aramaic word “serpent.” The actual linguistic derivation of the name remains uncertain. (Oxford)
2) “The Fall of Eve?” or “The Fall of Adam and Eve?”
Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, has dedicated her life to understand the Bible and sharing that knowledge with others. I am going to quote her directly out of my great respect for her learning…..my paraphrasing would be insult to her concise and well-reasoned arguments. I went back and double-checked the Bible verses myself. She’s right…the Bible specifically states that they WERE together when the serpent spoke to them; God DID create them as equal; and they were BOTH cursed/punished, not just Eve. Anyway, in her own words:
“According to the the account in Genesis 2-3, the woman is created to be a companion corresponding to (not originally subordinate to) the man. Because the two of them eat the forbidden fruit, the man is destined to toil as a farmer in fields of thorns and thistles, and the woman is destined to suffer pain in childbearing. It is in the aftermath of these divine pronouncements that the man names the woman as he had earlier named the animals, thus indicating dominion over her.
Both Jewish tradition and the New Testament offer a very negative view of Eve, presenting her as representative of the alleged weaknesses of women. Paul feared that the Corinthian Christians would be led astray from Christ as Eve was deceived by the serpent (2 Cor 11.2). In 1 Timonthy 2.13-15, Eve’s deception by the serpent and also her creation subsequent to the man are cited as reasons that women must keep silent in church (cf 1 Cor 14.34-35) and hold no authority over men. Early Christian theologians contrasted Eve’s sinfulness with the perfection of the “new Eve,” Mary, the mother of Jesus.
This traditional emphasis on the gullibility of Eve and her tendency toward sin is one possible interpretation of the Genesis narrative itself. Genesis 3 gives no indication why the serpent addressed the woman and even indicates that the man and woman were together when the serpent spoke. It has been suggested that the serpent might have addressed the woman as provider of food or as theological thinker, not as the more gullible of the couple, and that the woman’s addition to the divine prohibition about the fruit (“we may not touch it”) represents not a lie, but a desirable exaggeration meant to make sure that the basic command would not be broken. The man and woman together discover their nakedness, together make fig leaf garments, and together hide from the deity. Both are destined to a life of pain (neither is cursed) because of their actions, and together they are expelled from the garden. Thus, once the reader sets aside the portrait of Eve based on later tradition, the great skill of the Genesis narrator in presenting a character open to diverse interpretation becomes apparent.”
3) The Bible Uses Figurative Language: Follow Your Heart
This current insistence on refusing to accept that the Bible uses various literary techniques and that every single word is a literal fact, not to be interpreted in any way, is simply foolish. I’m sorry, but it’s true. The Catholic Church, the most conservative of believers, maintains the position that we as human being must INTERPRET the Bible, that God can have placed more than one meaning in each story, and that our understanding can be wrong.
It also specifically, and in multiple places states, that the various events in Genesis are used to illustrate an eternal truth, that God is behind the existence of all, NOT that every event in Genesis took place during a literal 24-hour day, that the world began only 10,000 years ago, or that evolution is completely false. The following article explain these concepts at further length: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/adam-eve-and-evolution
As with all, use your mind. Pray to God for guidance. And follow your heart.
When we first contemplate Eden, the best place to start is with the exact Biblical verses that talk of Eden. After reading the Bible verses, we will look at possible word origins and translation notes as well as the various locations scholars have suggested for Eden. And finally, we will look at the various meanings and interpretations that can be drawn from the verses about the Garden of Eden.
In this case, I have taken these verses from the St. Joseph Edition, New American Bible.
Genesis, Chapter 2, Verses 8-15:
8 Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
9 Out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and bad.
10 A river rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches.
11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it is the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 The gold of that land is excellent; bdellium and lapis lazuli are also there.
13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it is the one that winds all through the land of Cush.
14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it is the one that flows east of Asshur. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.
Word Translation & Origins:
In the Saint Joseph Bible, the notes for this section note that in Sumerian the word Eden is derived from ‘eden’, meaning ‘fertile plain. In Hebrew, a similar-sounding word means ‘delight.’ Together: the garden in Eden could therefore be understood as the ‘garden of delight,’ so that, through the Greek version, it comes to us as ‘paradise,’ literally, a ‘pleasure park.’
The Archeological Study Bible has a slightly different meaning for the words. They state that the Sumerian word ‘eden’ means ‘steppe’ or ‘open field,’ and the identical Semitic word, denotes ‘luxury’ or ‘delight.’ The Garden of Eden is not only the name of the garden in which the first humans resided but also a metaphor for the Garden of God, or Yahweh’s dwelling place.
The Oxford Illustrated Companion to the Bible agrees with the general meanings stated above: that some scholars connect the word ‘eden’ with a Sumerian meaning of “wilderness” or “plain,” while others have proposed a derivation from the Hebrew word for “delight” or “pleasure.” Therefore, we identify Eden as an ideal garden of delight, or paradise.
*****St. Jerome’s commentary takes perhaps the most logical stand about the location: it states simply that the Garden of Eden is the locale of God. They take the following reasons as evidence:
“The river going forth from Eden to water the garden and thence dividing into four rivers of the world, may be the ‘flow’ referenced in verse 6.
In some Ugaritic and Akk texts the high god dwells at the ‘source of the double deep,’ i.e., the source of all life-giving waters of the earth.
The totality of the world is symbolized by ‘four,’ as in the Akk phrase ‘the four quarters of the earth.’
St. Jerome’s commentary goes on to state flatly that the location of Pishon and Havilah in this text is unknown. Later in the Bible, Havilah is a descendant of Shem and Gihon is the name of a spring in Jerusalem. However, here the river Gihon flows through Cush in southern Mesopotamia (as deduced by the known positions of the Tigris and Euphrates).
The Zondervan All-in-One Bible Reference Guide also admits the truth: we simply do not have sufficient evidence to determine where the Garden of Eden was actually located.
The Archeological Study Bible puts forth possible meanings for the Gihon River and Pishon River, with the Gihon possibly being Hebrew for ‘to gush’ and the Pishon being understood as a form of the Semitic verb ‘to spring up.’ Even with these meanings, the ASB admits that the two rivers are difficult to identify.
*****Some scholars believe that the Gihon refers to the Nile, as Cush is sometimes associated with Nubia, south of Egypt. This is a belief with many complications as by naming the Gihon as the Nile, it makes the rest of the geography impossible, as the other rivers are in a completely different region.
*****Other scholars identify Cush as the land of Kassites, east of the Tigris, which was also known as Kush during ancient times. This theory has the benefit of placing three of the rivers noted (Gihon, Tigris, & Euphrates) in the same region. Supported by the verse that God placed the Garden “in the east,” presumably, to the east of Canaan/Israel, where most of the later events of the Bible took place.
*****A final theory is that Gihon and Pishon were simply parts of the Tigris or Euphrates Rivers, in the form of canals or tributaries. This is also supported by the verse that God placed the Garden “in the east,” presumably, to the east of Canaan/Israel, where most of the later events of the Bible took place
These theories, while separate from each other, can be incorporated into another set of theories, these based around the words in Verse 10: “A river rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches.” These theories debate whether Eden was upriver of the four branches, encompassed the four rivers, or was downstream of the location of the four branches.
*****The first theory is that the four rivers shared a common source in Eden, placing Eden in northern Mesopotamia or Armenia. However, the fact that the Tigris and Euphrates lack a common source makes this theory suspect.
*****The second theory is that Eden is upriver of the four branches. This makes some sense with the current geography as the Tigris and Euphrates do indeed converge in southern Mesopotamia before they empty into the Persian Gulf. In this scenario Eden may still, as above, have been located in northern Mesopotamia or in the mountains in Armenia, from which the Tigris and Euphrates spring.
*****A third is theory is that Eden was in southern Mesopotamia, where the Tigris and Euphrates converge. This would place Eden downriver of the four branches.
*****A fourth theory is that Eden refers to an extremely large area of land, and that the four rivers referred to did not actually “meet” at any point, and instead, that they simply flowed within the boundaries of Eden. In this theory, some believe that the Pishon and Gihon respresent the Indus and Nile, indicating that Eden includes the entire Fertile Crescent from India to Egypt.
Once we have dispensed with the many, many theories about where Eden was located, we must look beyond the literal words to the various meanings and interpretations included in these verses. Eden has at its center the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. Thus, the garden is not simply an earthly garden, but a place created especially by God for humans. It is a model of the perfect relationship that existed between God and humans before the disobedience.
According to the Oxford Illustrated Companion to the Bible, later prophets had an altered meaning of the term. I’ll quote directly from that source: “The image of the garden of Eden reappears in somewhat altered form in the later prophets. The expulsion from Eden functions as a metaphor for the coming judgment against the nations (Tyre: Ezek. 28:11-19; Egypt: Ezek 31:8,9,16,18), and for the coming judgment of the day of the Lord (Joel 2:3). The garden of Eden is also an image of promise; in parallel with ‘the garden of the Lord,’ Eden appears in Isaiah 51:3 as a metaphor for the renewal of the land of Israel after the Babylonian exile (see also Ezek. 26:25, Rev. 22:2-3).”
I found a wonderful site that goes much more deeply into the matter of the location that I do. If you want more- or more complete- information, please visit: http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/biblical-garden-of-eden.html.
Brown, Raymond E. (S.S.), Fitzmyer, Joseph A. (S.J.), & Murphy, Roland E. (O. Carm). (1990) Genesis. “The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.” Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Catholic Book Publishing. (various) Genesis: Chapter 2 Notes. “St. Joseph Edition, New American Bible.” New York, NY: Catholic Book Publishing.
Geisler, Norman & Howe, Thomas. (1992). Genesis 2:8. “The Big Book of Bible Difficulties.” Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. (2005). The Location of Eden. “New International Version: Archaeological Study Bible”. Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, MI.
Green, Kevin (compiler). (2008). Eden. “All-In-One Bible Reference Guide”. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.
Lockyear Sr., H. (Ed.) (1986) Eden. “Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible”. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Metzger, Bruce M. & Coogan, Michael D. (2003). Eden. “The Oxford Illustrated Companion to the Bible”. New York, NY: Tess Press.
There are "difficulties" and misunderstandings about a lot of Bible verses, and some of the most complex and interesting of these are in Genesis.
2:2- Were the "days" and "nights" referred to during creation literal 24-hour periods? There is evidence both for and against the idea that these days were meant to be interpreted as 24-hour periods of time. First of all, there is no contradiction between the Bible and fact; it is a contradiction about the scientific evidence and/or the interpretation of scripture. The evidence of the Earth being billions of years old agrees completely if one interprets the "days" referenced to be longer periods of time than a simple 24 hours. So, either most scientists are wrong about the age of the Earth or SOME Biblical commentators are incorrect in their interpretation when they insist the days of creation were 24-hour periods with no gaps before, during, or after. (Evidence for the different interpretations of the meaning of the word "day" are available in multiple commentaries, study books, internet pages, and Bibles. I won't belabor the issue by re-hashing all of the quotes on both sides of the issue.)
2:8- Was Eden a real location on Earth? See "Eden" entry under Dictionary & Facts section of the website (Eden is located on the "Places" page).
2:17- God states "the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." Why, then, didn't Adam immediately die? Various explanations include: From the moment he took the first bite, the endless, happy existence he was going to have in Eden vanished and the fact that he would eventually die became a reality. Hence, he began to physically die. Adam "died" spiritually, that is, he was separated from God from the moment he ate of the fruit.
2:19- The order of creation: animals, man, then man naming the animals, seems to be different in chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 1 gives a strict chronological explanation of creation. Chapter 2 covers the story in general, with the focus being on God bringing the animals (which he had previously created) to Adam to be named.
There are "difficulties" and misunderstanding about a lot of Bible verses, and some of the most complex and interesting are in Genesis.
Genesis 1:1- the actual point of creation. In science, it is called "THE singularity" (a singularity is a zone that cannot be explained with our current understanding of physics). The theory of the Big Bang works perfectly mathematically until it goes back it time towards the actual point of creation. Thus far, science cannot explain the actual moment of creation. The same problem arises with the scientific law "energy is neither created nor destroyed." The math falls apart at the actual moment of creation. So, the Biblical explanation does NOT contradict with the scientific explanation. However, many scientists are starting to disbelieve the Big Bang theory due to the fact there are many contradictions. Research and theories are constantly being developed and are beyond the scope of this book.
Genesis 1:1-5- were the "days" and "nights" literally 24-hour periods? (See Genesis: Chapter 2 for more complete discussion).
Genesis 1: 13-18- the sun wasn't created until the third day, but God separated the light and darkness on the first day. There are two explanations often put forth: 1) God Himself was the source of light prior to the creation of the sun -and/or- 2) God had already made the sun prior to this point and it was providing light, but it wasn't until the third day he put it in it's current position (1:17 "set them in the dome of sky").
Genesis 1:26- God refers to Himself in the plural when he says "let us make man in our image." This is simply how the Hebrew language uses the word. "Us" is simply a more majestic form of "I"....not an indication of multiple Gods, references to the angels, or any other crazy theories (aliens, for example). Many Middle Eastern languages work this same way. Some claim that the "us" is a way of proving the existence of the trinity, but that is a misunderstanding of the translation. Other Old Testament verses more clearly foreshadow the trinity.
4:1 The Hebrew name "qayin" (Cain) and the term "qaniti" (I have produced) is another play on words that would be recognized in the original Hebrew, but is lost in translation.
4:4-5 Origin of sacrifice & various meanings: see below
4:15 The mark put on Cain was probably a tattoo. Tattooing of tribal marks has always been common among inhabitants of the Near Eastern deserts.
4:16 The land of Nod does NOT refer to a specific geographical location, instead it means "land of nomads" or "land of wanderers." Nod is play on the Hebrew word "nad" (line over a), which is the participle of "to wander."
The original beginnings of the practice of sacrificing to God are much debated, though in the rest of the Bible much of the practice relies on Genesis 4:4-5 as the foundation for sacrifice being an appropriate behavior. One of the major questions is: was sacrifice a direct command of God -or- did man come up with the concept out of religious instinct?
It is important to note that the offerings themselves weren’t the source of God’s rejection or acceptance. God doesn’t have a preference for meat over grain. It was the “spirit” in which it was given, aka- was the sacrifice given out of the spirit of faith or was it a mere "superstition"? Other scholars put forth the premise that Abel offered the first-born of his flock, the best part, and that Cain's offering was not of the best part of his crop.
In today’s day and age, we don’t offer meat and grain to the Lord. However, we can offer a “proper” spirit and behavior.
Can you name some examples of “proper” spiritual feelings or behavior that the Lord would “accept as an offering”?
Due to the sin of killing his brother, Cain receives punishment from God. However, Cain complains that it is too great to bear. We receive trials and tribulations (as part of life and for God’s own reasons; not because we murdered someone). It is important to note that God will help us through those trials as long as we display faith in his all-knowing wisdom.
Name one trial or tribulation that you have gone through. Did God help give you strength? In retrospect, did you gain any spiritual benefit from the trial/tribulation?
Genesis is the first book of the Pentateuch. The English title is derived from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), which is derived from of the Greek. Genesis means "the origin, source, creation, or coming into being of something" (also "beginning").
Tradition states that Moses is the author, as he is credited with authoring the other books of the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch is Genesis through Deuteronomy. It is also possible (and a bit more likely) that the stories and laws were passed down via oral tradition and then written, with many different authors contributing to the text, with authorship suggested around 1446 to 1406 b.c.. Strictly speaking, Genesis is an anonymous work. If the author/editor was Moses, the date of authorship is suggested to be about 550 b.c.
Genesis is concerned with origins- of the world, of human beings, and of Israel and its ancestors. Creation and the origin of the “specialness” of the tribe of Israel (as demonstrated by the tracing of the genealogy from Adam to Jacob) are the main themes of the book.
The beginning of "salvation" is also a theme of Genesis, one which repeats throughout the Bible. Salvation includes: sin and grace, wrath and mercy, along with the idea of a covenant with God leading to redemption.
2166-1991 b.c.- Abraham’s life
2070 b.c.- Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed
2066-1886 b.c.- Isaac’s life
2006-1859 b.c.- Jacob’s life
1915-1805 b.c.- Joseph’s life
Outline (short version):
I. Primeval History: Four Great Events (1:1-11:26)
---A. The Creation of the Universe; Adam and Eve (1-2)
---B. The Fall and the Results of Sin (3-5)
---C. The Flood (6-9)
---D. The Scattering of the Nations (10:1-11:26)
II. Patriarchal History: Four Great Characters (11:27-50:26)
---A. Abraham (11:27-20:18)
---B. Isaac (21-26)
---C. Jacob (27:1-37:1)
---D. Joseph (37:2-50:26)
Outline (long version):
Part 1: Primeval History (1:1-11:9)
I. The Creation (1:1-2:25)
---A. Creation of the World (1:1-2:3)
---B. Creation of Man (2:4-2:25)
II. The Fall (3:1-5:32)
---A. The Fall of Man (3:1-3:24)
---B. After the Fall (4:1-5:32)
III. The Judgment of the Flood (6:1-9:29)
---A. Causes of the Flood (6:1-6:5)
---B. Judgment of the Flood (6:6-6:22)
---C. The Flood (7:1-8:19)
---D. Results of the Flood (8:20-9:17)
---E. After the Flood: The Sin of the Godly Line (9:18-9:29)
IV. The Judgment of the Tower of Babel (10:1-11:9)
---A. Family Lines after the Flood (10:1-10:32)
---B. Judgment on all the Family Lines (11:1-11:9)
Part 2: Patriarchal History (11:10-50:26)
I. The Life of Abraham (11:10-25:18)
---A. Introduction of Abram (11:10-11:32)
---B. The Covenant of God with Abram (12:1-25:18)
------1. Initiation of the Covenant (12:1-12:20)
------2. Separation of the Covenant (13:1-14:24)
------3. Ratification of the Covenant (15:1-16:16)
------4. Institution of the Covenant: Circumcision (17:1-17:27)
------5. Testing of the Covenant (18:1-20:18)
------6. Consummation of the Covenant (21:1-25:18)
II. The Life of Isaac (25:19-26:35)
---A. The Family of Isaac (25:19-25:34)
---B. The Failure of Isaac (26:1-26:33)
---C. The Failure of Esau (26:34-26:35)
III. The Life of Jacob (27:1-36:43)
---A. Jacob Gains Esau's Blessing (27:1-28:9)
---B. Jacob's Life at Haran (28:10-31:55)
---C. Jacob's Return (32:1-33:20)
---D. Jacob's Residence in Canaan (34:1-35:29)
---E. The History of Esau (36:1-36:43)
IV. The Life of Joseph (37:1-50:26)
---A. The Corruption of Joseph's Family (37:1-38:30)
---B. The Exaltation of Joseph (39:1-41:57)
---C. The Salvation of Jacob's Family (42:1-50:26)
1 The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have produced a man with the help of the Lord."
2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil.
3 In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil,
4 while Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
5 but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen.
6 So the Lord said to Cain: "Why are you so resentful and crestfallen?
7 If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master."
8 Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out in the field." When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the Lord asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" He answered, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
10 The Lord then said: "What have you done! Listen: Your brother's blood cries out to me from the soil!
11 Therefore you shall be banned from the soil that opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
12 If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce. You shall became a restless wanderer on the earth."
13 Cain said to the Lord: "My punishment is too great to bear.
14 Since you have now banished me from the soil, and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, anyone may kill me at sight."
15 "Not so!" the Lord said to him. "If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold." So the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.
16 Cain then left the Lord's presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain had relations with his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. Cain also became the founder of a city, which he named after his son Enoch.
18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael; Mehujael became the father of Methusael, and Methusael became the father of Lamech.
19 Lamech took two wives; the name of the first was Adah, and the name of the second Zillah.
20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, the ancestor of all who dwell in tents and keep cattle.
21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the pipe.
22 Zillah, on her part, gave birth
to Tubalcain, the ancestor of all who forge instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives: "Adam and Zillah, hear my voice; wives of Lamech, listen to my utterance: I have killed a man for wounding me, a boy for bruising me.
24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold."
25 Adam again had relations with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth. "God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel," she said, "because Cain slew him."
26 To Seth, in turn, a son was born, and he named his Enosh. At that time men began to invoke the Lord by name.
3:5 "liked gods who know" can also be interpreted as "like God who knows."
3:8 Adam and Eve heard the Lord God moving in the garden at the breezy time of day. The literal translation is "the wind of the day" and refers to the fact that in Palestine a cooling breeze blows from the sea shortly before sunset.
3:15 "He will strike....at his heel"- in translation it is turned to a singular from a multiple, aka: "They will strike...at their heels" is another meaning. Also, the word "serpent" is actually a play on the original Hebrew for the word "naked" making an alliteration in the original text. The word "serpent" is actually a play on the original Hebrew for the word "naked" making an alliteration in the original text. Later tradition hold that the serpent is actually "Satan", earlier tradition simply credits the serpent as being a "mischievous creature." Later theology ties this to the phrase in 1John 3:8 "the Son of God appeared that he might destroy the works of the devil", making this passage as the first promise of a Redeemer (Jesus Christ) for mankind.
The serpent promises that the fruit will open their eyes to good and evil. The first thing they realize is that they are naked, which brings shame to them (as they hasten to cover themselves). We are later taught that true wisdom is following God's will perfectly. And his will was quite clear that they were not to eat the fruit.
God, however, told them that they would die if they ate of the fruit. The serpent told them they would live, but gain wisdom.
So, did the serpent lie??
If not, did man and woman gain wisdom by their act?
What do you think and why?
1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the Lord God had made. The serpent asked the woman, "Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?"
2 The woman answered the serpent: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
3 it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'"
4 But the serpent said to the woman: "You certainly will not die!
5 No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad."
6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
8 When they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 The Lord God then called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?"
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself."
11 Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
12 The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me- she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it."
13 The Lord God then asked the woman, "Why did you do such a thing?" The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."
14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."
16 To the woman he said: "I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master."
17 To the man he said: "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, "Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life.
18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return."
20 The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.
21 For the man and his wife the Lord God made leather garments, with which he clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said: "See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is bad! Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life also, and thus eat of it and live forever."
23 The Lord God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.
24 When he expelled the man, he settled him eat of the garden of Eden; and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Language Notes: God is portrayed as a potter molding man's body out of the clay. This is a play on the how the words sound in Hebrew. "Adam" is "man" and "adama" is "ground".
Eden is derived from the Sumerian word "eden", which is "fertile plain."
"Man" and "woman" is a play on the Hebrew words "ishah" (her man, her husband) and "ishsha" (woman).
Location: Eden is used here as the name of a region in southern Mesopotamia. Eden is near the head of the Persian Gulf where four other rivers/streams combine: the Tigris, the Euphrates, and two others.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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Thank you & God bless you.
~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong