Hello; and welcome to the very first book of the Bible.
I'm posting a systematic, daily-bread style commentary on the book of Genesis, practically verse by verse from the creation of the cosmos to Joseph's burial in Egypt
Barring emergencies, accidents, unforeseen circumstances, and/or insurmountable distractions, vacations, difficulties, computer crashes, brute force, and dumb luck et al; I'm making an effort to post something fresh and new to read on this blog every day including Sundays and holidays.
Genesis is a one of those things that are called "foundational". What that means: there's some pretty serious ground work laid in this book and a poor knowledge of it will handicap your understanding of the rest of the Bible; most especially the New Testament portion.
All the really cool stuff is in Genesis: the origin of the cosmos, the origin of homo sapiens, Adam and Eve, the origin of marriage, the Devil, the first lie, the first transgression, the origin of human death, the origin of clothing, the first baby, Cain and Abel, the first murder, the Flood, the tower of Babel, and the origin of Yhvh's people.
Big-name Bible celebrities like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael, Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph are here too. (Sorry, but Moses vs. Pharaoh and the parting of the Red Sea are in Exodus; Samson and Delilah are in Judges, and David and Goliath are in 1Samuel)
The author of Genesis is currently unknown; but commonly attributed to Moses. Scholars have estimated the date of its writing at around 1450-1410 BC; which is pretty recent in the grand scheme of Earth's geological history-- a mere 3,400 years ago. Since Moses penned Exodus (Mark 12:26) it's conceivable that he also penned Genesis; but in reality, nobody really knows.
Genesis may in fact be the result of several contributors beginning as far back as Adam himself; who would certainly know more about the creation than anybody, and who entertained no doubts whatsoever about the existence of a supreme being since he knew the Creator himself like a next door neighbor. That would explain why the book begins with an in-your-face deistic account of the origin of the cosmos, rather than waste words with an apologetic argument to convince Atheists and Agnostics that a God exists.
As time went by, others like Seth and Noah would add their own experiences to the record, and then Abraham his, Isaac his, Jacob his, and finally Judah or one of his descendants completing the record with Joseph's burial.
Genesis is quoted more than sixty times in the New Testament; and the Lord himself authenticated its Divine inspiration by referring to it in his own teachings (e.g. Matt 19:4-6, Matt 24:37-39, Mk 10:4-9, Luke 11:49-51, Luke 17:26-29 & 32, John 7:21-23, John 8:44 and John 8:56).
†. Gen 1:1a . . In the beginning God
What was God doing in the dateless infinite past before the current universe came into existence? (I say "current" because there's another in the works. Isa 65:17, 2Pet 3:10-13, Rev 21:1) Who really knows? But a creative genius like that couldn't possibly have been sitting around for zillions of years staring at the walls with nothing to do.
The word for "God" is from the Hebrew 'elohiym (el-o-heem'). It's a plural word and means, ordinarily: gods.'Elohiym isn't really the creator's personal name, but a nondescript deistic term that pertains to all sorts of gods, along with, and including, the supreme one.
†. Gen 1:1b . . created the heaven and earth
The word for "heaven" is from the Hebrew word shamayim (shaw-mah'-yim) and means: to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the plural (heavens) perhaps alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve). So the word "heaven" is ambiguous and can mean the breathable air in our planet's atmosphere as well as the stratosphere and the vast celestial regions of space. Shamayim corresponds to the "air" in the Navy SEAL acronym that stands for Sea, Air, and Land.
The word for "earth" is from 'erets (eh'-rets) and means: to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land) Erets is sometimes spelled with a zee; eg: ERETZ Magazine, or in the phrase Eretz Israel-- meaning, of course, the land of Israel.
The Lord made this comment about the creation of Man; which has a bearing on the meaning of the phrase "in the beginning."
†. Matt 19:4 .. Haven't you read; he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female
Wasn't the human race actually created on the sixth day? Yes, it was. So apparently Christ understood the word "beginning" to be an inclusive term comprising the entire creation endeavor, rather than a precise moment, because he obviously meant the human race was created during the construction of the current natural order of things, but not right at the gun.
The Hebrew word for "unformed" is from tohuw (to'-hoo) and means: to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; figuratively, a worthless thing; adverbially, in vain.
The word for "void" is from bohuw (bo'-hoo) and means: to be empty; a vacuity, i.e. (superficially) an undistinguishable ruin.
The terms tohuw and bohuw, don't imply the complete absence of matter. They just imply ruin and/or chaos. The very same wording is used in another part of the Bible regarding the land of Israel in an utter shambles because of God's judgments against it.
†. Jer 4:22-28 .. For My people are stupid, they give Me no heed; they are foolish children, they are not intelligent. They are clever at doing wrong, but unable to do right.
... I look at the earth, it is desolate and empty (tohuw and bohuw) at the skies, and their light is gone. I look at the mountains, they are quaking; and all the hills are rocking. I look: no man is left, and all the birds of the sky have fled. I look: the farm land is desert, and all its towns are in ruin-- because of Yhvh, because of His blazing anger.
... For thus testified Yhvh: The whole land shall be desolate, but I will not make an end of it. For this the earth mourns, and skies are dark above-- because I have spoken, I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back from it. (cf. Deut 29:22-28)
The construction of planet Earth, was an orderly step by step process. If you were to visit a housing tract under construction out here in the West, you wouldn't see the beautiful homes that people move into. You would first see the neighborhood as unimproved land.
Then the surveyors come and measure and mark the locations for water, sewer, power, and property lines. Then huge earth moving machines come in and scrape off the topsoil. After that, smaller machines cut in streets and storm drains, and mold the land into home sites while the utilities people install sewer lines, electricity, water and gas pipes, and wiring for telephones, cable television, and broadband. Then other workers show up and start making foundations while yet others are making sidewalks. Then carpenters show up and begin framing. Pretty soon, roofers are nailing on shingles, and the structures begin to resemble homes. Then sheet rock guys install wallboard, cabinet makers hang the cabinets, other men install showers, sinks, and bathtubs, while yet others lay down carpet and vinyl flooring.
Before you know it, a real neighborhood appears with parks, paved roads, and street lighting. But at first, everything is confusing and disordered; and all the building materials are laying around in heaps and piles looking more like a refuse disposal site than a habitable neighborhood.
I've a notion that's the way the Earth began: as a chaotic heap of building materials, which were then utilized to construct a habitat for living organisms.
†. Isa 45:18 .. For thus said the Lord, The Creator of heaven who alone is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who alone established it-- He did not create it a waste, but formed it for habitation:
The big question of course is where did the Earth's building materials come from? Did they always exist, or did God invent them just especially for the Earth now in existence? Were those materials leftovers from another Divine project prior to the current universe, or maybe even parallel to it?
Regardless of how, or out of what, they were made, the origin of the materials has to be founded in a Creator. It is both maddening and futile to consider any other possibility. By faith we understand much more about the origin of the cosmos than ever could be understood by the unaided mind of natural reason.
†. Heb 11:3 .. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's vocal command, so that what is visible was made from something invisible.
Faith doesn't violate reason; on the contrary, faith is both a friend and a help to Man's rational understanding of his own existence.
†. Gen 1:2b . . with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water--
At this point, there was no ordered cosmos, nor any planets, nor an Earth, nor anything solid: just a massive chemical matrix, while the wind of God held it all in place like corralled livestock; because as yet, no physical laws were in force to make matter behave the way it does as we know it.
The ancient Jews understood the "wind" of Gen 1:2 to be God's spirit.
T. and darkness was upon the face of the abyss, and the Spirit of mercies from before the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters. (Targum Jonathan)
T. and the Spirit of mercies from before the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters. (Jerusalem Targum)
NOTE: Targums aren't translations; but rather, very old Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew bible. They were authoritative, and spoken aloud in the synagogues along with the Hebrew of the Torah and Haftarah readings. Public readings of the scriptures in ancient synagogues were accompanied by commentary in Aramaic because that was the spoken language of most Jews in Israel and Babylonia during the Talmudic era. The normal practice was that after each verse was read from the sacred Torah scroll, an official commentator known as the Turgeman, or Meturgeman, would then recite orally an Aramaic explanation; usually from memory.
Targums were utilized in the synagogues before, during, and after the times of Jesus-- being necessary because many of the Jewish people of that day could not understand Hebrew. That's still true today. Because of their assimilation and world-wide dispersion, the vast majority of modern Jews cannot read, nor speak, nor understand the Hebrew language. Today, no doubt the most important, and the most influential translations of the Scriptures are no longer in Hebrew or in Aramaic, but in English.
Targums are important as evidence for a history of thought among the Jewish communities in Israel and abroad during Jesus' day.. The major Targums are those that originated in Palestine and those that were revised in Babylon. Recently a complete manuscript of the Palestinian Targum has come to light-- Neofiti 1 of the Vatican Library. The best known Babylonian Targums are those of Onkelos and Jonathan.
The Targum of Onkelos is commonly included along with a traditional Torah scroll in modern synagogues, but its teachings have pretty much fallen by the wayside and for the most part, ignored.
Anyway; the universe was dark, and undisciplined; and all the cosmos' building materials were a swirling, chaotic mass of matter-- but totally lacking the natural energies and forces that would hold things in place and make them react with each other. The creation of light would rectify that situation.
†. Gen 1:3 . . God said: Let there be light; and there was light.
The Hebrew word for "light" in that passage is from 'owr (ore) and means light in every sense of the word; which Webster's defines as : illumination, truth, a set of principles and standards, spiritual illumination, served (as coffee) with extra milk or cream, ignite, guide, animate (give life to), dawn, and others. So then "Light" can't be narrowly defined, but rather, it's an example of the Bible's many ambiguous words with several definitions to choose from.
The illumination of Gen 1:3 is not said to actually glow-- no glowing celestial bodies were created until the fourth day-- so that during the interim, even while Light was in the universe, you still couldn't see anything. According to the Bible, the light of Gen 1:3 is not a supernatural kind of light, but a created kind of light-- not light that was introduced into the void from outside, but was from within, and was a kind of light with the potential to forge the universe into a living, active, organized, energetic structure rather than just a heap of chaotic debris.
†. 2Cor 4:6 .. God commanded the light to shine out of darkness
The light of creation shined "out" of darkness rather than into darkness as if Light was introduced to dispel the dark and brighten things up. A safe assumption is that at least one of the meanings of the light of Gen 1:3 refers to the natural laws of physics that regulate how matter in the current cosmos behaves. In other words where there's light there's order, as opposed to where there's darkness there's chaos and confusion; viz: light is a good off-the-cuff synonym for law and order; and without light, the entire universe would exist in a state of physical anarchy.
Without the laws of physics, the universe would instantly fragment itself and nothing would either hold or work together. There'd be neither natural nor artificial light, no energy, no motion, no gravity, no atomic attraction, no magnetism, no molecules, no liquids, no gases, and no solids. The laws of physics were created to make matter behave the way it does and to hold the entire creation together in a state of synergic unity-- making it possible to utilize elements from the liquid matrix to form an orderly Earth rather than one of tohuw and bohuw.
Introduction To The Memrá
According to 1Tim 6:16, creation's architect is shrouded in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. Since the Master Architect himself in person is somehow untouchable, it's necessary to provide a viable link between the Forbidden Being and His earthly creations. One of the important links regarded in ancient rabbinical thought was The Word, called memrá in Aramaic (from the Hebrew and Aramaic root,'mr which means: to say). The memrá concept-- that of a Divine Verbal Mediator between the Forbidden Being and the creature Man-- occurs hundreds of times in the Aramaic Targums.
The Architect's voice has been of utmost importance ever since the first day of creation week. It's the primary way that the Forbidden Being implements His will. It's also how the Mysterious Life communicates and interacts with human life, and how The Life reveals itself in a way human life can understand. On the one hand, the Forbidden Being has done this somewhat through inspired writings. But there is much more to the Untouchable Potentate's speech than just ink and letters. Those materials merely constitute an inert, man-made record. On many occasions, when The Life's words were actually expressed, they effected far more power and impetus than that of a mere page of transcript.
Why did The Life even bother to speak during creation? Why didn't The Architect just do His work silently without utterance or sound? To whom, or for whom, was He speaking when He said: "Let there be light."
Answer: there's a creative, dynamic force in The Almighty's voice, a power and energy in His words, a tangible release of Divine life. His voice is an extension of His nature, a movement of His will-- alive, powerful, and effective-- not just letters, syllables, and sounds. There is vigor and activity in the Mysterious Being's voice extending far beyond the applications of thought and communication.
According to the Targums, which were at one time accepted as sacred Jewish beliefs, God's voice is a sentient being; actually The God himself. So then, the Memrá is to be worshipped, and served, and obeyed, and spoken to as the Ultimate Sovereign.
The Jewish apostle John, no doubt schooled in the Targums several years before he met the Bible's Christ, opened his gospel with these words :
†. John 1:1-3 .. In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.
John then proceeded to reveal that the Christ of the Bible is an aspect of the very Voice of creation.
†. John 1:14 ..The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
Modern Judaism accuses John of fabricating his Christology from Greek philosophy. However, John 1:1-3 was a very Jewish belief back in his day, and nothing said in that passage would have raised a single objection from any of his peers and contemporaries because that passage reflects 100% Targum teachings that were commonly dispensed in the synagogues of that day.
The Targums taught that God's voice-- the Memrá --reigns supreme upon The Almighty's throne.
T. Deut 4:7 …For what people so great, to whom the Lord is so high in the Name of the Word of the Lord? But the custom of (other) nations is to carry their gods upon their shoulders, that they may seem to be nigh them; but they cannot hear with their ears, (be they nigh or) be they afar off; but the Word of the Lord sits upon His throne high and lifted up, and hears our prayer what time we pray before Him and make our petitions. (Targum Jonathan)
According to the Targums, Jacob, an important progenitor of the people of Israel, worshipped God's voice as his own divine sovereign.
T. Gen 28:20-21 …And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: If the Word of Yhvh will be my support, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Word of Yhvh be my God. (Targum Onkelos)
†. Gen 1:4-5a . . God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.
Day and Night simply label two physical conditions-- the absence of light, and/or the absence of darkness. Labeling those physical conditions may seem like a superfluous detail, but when analyzing crucifixion week in the New Testament, it's essential to keep those physical conditions separate in regards to the Lord's burial and resurrection if one is to have any hope of deducing the correct chronology of Easter week. In other words: in regards to crucifixion week; Day is when the sun is up, and Night is when the sun is down. (cf. Matt 12:39-40)
Anyplace there's light, there is no true darkness because light always dispels darkness. However, darkness is powerless to dispel light. In other words; science and industry have given the world a flashlight; but they have yet to give the world a flashdark. So then, light is the superior of the two and rules the dark. That is a biblical axiom; and, typically: light is good, and dark is just the opposite.
Light has huge significance in the Bible. Whether in the form of atomic energy, spiritual truth, good times, or all that is noble; true Light (in the biblical sense) always brings with it blessing and order, and Dark always brings just the opposite; for example:
†. Matt 8:11-12 .. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
†. Job 10:20-22 .. My days are few, so desist! Leave me alone, let me be diverted a while before I depart-- never to return-- for the land of deepest gloom; a land whose light is darkness, all gloom and disarray, whose light is like darkness.
†. Amos 5:18-20 ..Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light; as if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
In contrast to those passages; the 60th chapter of Isaiah characterizes Messiah's kingdom as a place of perpetual Light.
†. Isa 60:19-20 .. No longer shall you need the sun for light by day, nor the shining of the moon for radiance [by night]; for Yhvh shall be your light everlasting, your God shall be your glory. Your sun shall set no more, your moon no more withdraw; for Yhvh shall be a light to you forever, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
†. Gen 1:5b . . And there was evening and there was morning, a first Day.
The Hebrew word for "evening" is 'ereb (eh'-reb) which means: dusk. And the word for "morning" is boqer (bo'-ker) which can mean either dawn (as the break of day) and/or morning (as the early part of day)
The Bible's dusk is a bit ambiguous and somewhat different than Webster's dusk. In the Bible, evening is actually anytime between high noon and sunset when the sun is losing altitude as opposed to morning which is anytime between sunrise and high noon when the sun is gaining altitude. The terms evening and morning therefore are limited to daylight hours since Gen 1:4-5 clearly defines Day as a time of light rather than a time of darkness. Officially; a civil day is no more than twelve hours (John 11:9). However, as we're going to see very soon, a creation day is quite a bit longer-- but the point to note is that creation's days were periods of light rather than periods of darkness.
According to Gen 1:24-31, God created homo sapiens and all land animals on the sixth day; which has to include dinosaurs because on no other day did God create land animals but the sixth. Hard-core Bible thumpers insist the days of creation were 24 solar hours in length; but scientific dating methods have easily proven that dinosaurs preceded human life by several million years. So then, in my estimation, the days of creation should be taken to represent epochs of indeterminable length rather than calendar days of 24 solar hours apiece.
That's not an unreasonable estimation; for example:
"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven". (Gen 2:4)
The Hebrew word for "day" in that verse is yowm (yome) which is the very same word for each of the six days of God's creation labors. Since yowm in Gen 2:4 refers to a period of time obviously much longer than a 24-hour solar day; it justifies suggesting that each of the six days of creation were longer than 24 hours apiece too. In other words: yowm is ambiguous and not all that easy to interpret sometimes.
So then, why can't Bible thumpers accept a six-epoch explanation? Because they're hung up on the expression "evening and morning". The interesting thing is: there were no physical evenings and mornings till the fourth day when the sun was created and brought on line. So I suggest that the expression "evening and morning" is simply a convenient way to indicate the simultaneous wrap of one epoch and the beginning of another.
Ironically, modern man has a much better understanding of the "week" of creation than the author himself who penned Genesis. He was aware that God created the cosmos and the earth, but didn't really know very much about how God went about it. We today do.
Some Bible students regard science an enemy of the Bible; but that is not only a very isolationist attitude but self-defeating as well. Science and religion are not enemies; no, to the contrary, science and religion assist each other. Galileo believed that science and religion are allies rather than enemies-- two different languages telling the same story. In other words: science and religion are not at odds; no, in reality, science is just simply too young to understand; but it's rapidly catching up.
If you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend watching History Channel's two-season series titled: "How The Earth Was Made". The earth's geological past, and its present, are just astounding. The series takes some liberties here and there-- especially in its theories about the origin of the blue planet's huge volume of water --but by and large, it's very informative; and I believe quite useful to students of Genesis.
The word for "expanse" is from raqiya' (raw-kee'-ah) and means: a great extent of something spread out, a firmament, the visible arch of the sky.
The expanse here in Gen 1:6 is doubtless included in the "heavens" of Gen 1:1 where the sky is labeled shamayim (shaw-mah'-yim). Raqiya' is distinct from shamyim in that it indicates the location of the earth's atmosphere; which is sort of sandwiched between the earth's surface and the vacuum of space.
†. Gen 1:6b-8 . . in the midst of the water, that it may separate water from water. God made the expanse, and it separated the water which was below the expanse from the water which was above the expanse. And it was so. And God named the expanse Sky.
We can easily guess what is meant by water that's below the sky. But is there really water that's above it? Yes, and it's a lot! Earth's atmosphere holds roughly 2,900 cubic miles of water in the form of vapor. That may seem like a preposterous number of cubic miles of water; but not really when it's considered that Lake Superior's volume alone is estimated at nearly 3,000.
Suppose you had a tank one mile wide, and one mile high. What length would it have to be to contain 2,900 cubic miles of water. Answer: 2,900 miles; and the tank would stretch from San Diego California to the Brooks Range in Alaska.
Now supposing we again make the tank one mile wide, but this time only as tall as the Eiffel Tower. How far would a tank of those dimensions containing 2,900 cubic miles of water go? Answer: the Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall; which is .1863636 miles. So a tank 1 mile wide, and .1863636 miles tall, whose volume is 2,900 cubic miles, would be 15,561 miles long.
If that tank was poked into the Earth, it would go all the way through the planet, out the other side, and keep going for another 7,634 miles into space; which is roughly 31 times further out than a Space Shuttle orbit. Laid South to North, the tank would stretch from Antarctica past Bangladesh to the North Pole and keep going over the pole southwards for yet another 3,151 miles to Minneapolis Minnesota.
The number of gallons of water in a single cubic mile is 1,100,956,999,000 gallons. That's over 1.1 trillion gallons of water. Multiply those gallons by 2,900 to obtain the number of gallons in the form of vapor dissolved at any given time in Earth's atmosphere; and you get 3.2 quadrillion-- which is fourteen zeroes after the 2; and looks like this:
A quadrillion is a thousand trillions. The US national debt hasn't topped a hundred trillion yet, and still a good ways off from a quadrillion. God help us if it ever gets to a quad. By then, we'll all be working side by side with the child labor in Chinese factories.
Global warming isn't as unnatural as some folks would have us to believe; but rather, it's an essential element in our environment. Global warming is the result of two sunlight catchers: gases and water vapor. Some of the more familiar global warming gases are carbon dioxide, fluorocarbons, methane, and ozone. But as popular as those gases are with the media, they're bit players in comparison to the role that ordinary water vapor plays in global warming. By some estimates; atmospheric water vapor accounts for more than 90% of global warming; which is not a bad thing because without atmospheric water vapor, the earth would be so cold that life as we know it couldn't exist here.
†. Gen 1:8b . . And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
†. Gen 1:9 . . God said : Let the waters below the sky be gathered into one area, that dry ground may appear. And it was so.
If you're a student of geology, then you know Gen 1:9 speaks volumes and fully deserves some serious consideration. Shaping the earth's mantle in order to form low spots for the seas and high spots for dry ground was a colossal feat of magma convection and volcanism combined with the titanic forces of tectonic plate subduction; all of which require beaucoup centuries to accomplish.
At the ocean's deepest surveyed point-- the Challenger Deep; located in the Mariana Islands group, at the southern end of the Mariana Trench --the water's depth is over 11,000 meters; which is about 6.8 statute miles (36,000 feet). That depth corresponds to the cruising altitude of a Boeing 747. At that altitude, probably about all you're going to see of the airliner without straining your eyes is its contrail. Were Mt Everest to be submerged in the Challenger Deep it would still have about 7,000 feet of water over its peak.
NOTE: The discovery of fossilized sea lilies near the summit of Mt Everest proves that the Himalayan land mass has not always been mountainous; but at one time was the floor of an ancient sea bed. This is confirmed by the "yellow band" below Everest's summit consisting of limestone: a type of rock made from calcite sediments containing the skeletal remains of countless trillions of organisms who lived, not on dry land, but in the ocean.
†. Ps 104:5-9 .. He established the Earth on its foundations, so that it shall never totter. You made the deep cover it as a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. They fled at your blast, rushed away at the sound of your thunder-- mountains rising, valleys sinking to the place you established for them. You set bounds they must not pass so that they never again cover the Earth.
Psalm 104 is stunning; and clearly way ahead of its time. It says that the land masses we know today as mountains were at one time submerged; and it isn't talking about Noah's flood. The speech of "mountains rising, and valleys sinking" isn't Flood-speak, no, it's geology-speak. I seriously doubt that the Psalmist knew about the science of tectonic plates, magma pressure, and the forces of subduction, but he was clearly somehow aware that the Earth's crust is malleable. And that's true. With just the right combination of temperature and pressure, solid rock can be made to bend; even forced to hairpin back upon itself like taffy.
†. Gen 1:10 . . God called the dry ground Land, and the gathering of waters He called Seas. And God saw that this was good.
NOTE: there are Hebrew words in the Bible for marshes, impoundments, rivers, and streams; but none for natural lakes and ponds. In other words "seas" suffice for those kinds of bodies of water.
"good" meaning not that the dry ground and seas are perfectly moral, but rather, perfectly suitable for the purposes that God had in mind for them.
July 29, 2013
†. Gen 1:11a . . And God said: Let the earth sprout vegetation
Before God could set out plantings; He first had to create soil for them to grow in; which is only barely alluded to in Genesis' reference to dry land making its appearance: and this is where any young-earth theory really falls on its face because it takes a long time for nature to manufacture soil-- upwards of three hundred years to a millennium to produce just one inch; which indicates that it took an enormous number of years after the formation of dry land for the earth's crust to weather and break down on its own to make soil enough for plantings; hence the proliferation of "aged earth" creation theories which essentially postulate that God got vegetation up and going with a starter kit of fertile dirt.
The soil requirements of different species vary widely, and no generalizations can be made concerning an ideal soil for the growth of all plants; e.g. avocado trees; which thrive just fine in the relatively dry, sunny climate and alkaline soil of San Diego; do poorly in the acidic soil and much wetter, not-so-sunny climate of Oregon's Willamette valley. There are upwards of 30,000 different soils in the USA alone.
†. Gen 1:11b-12 . . seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it. And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good.
All vegetation was created on the third day. Every plant since then, and all plants that will ever be, pre-existed in the cell structures, and in the DNA, of the original flora because God created nothing else after the sixth day.
God produced the origin of species, but from then on, the various species reproduced themselves with subsequent adaptations and mutations; which is okay except that the ability to adapt and mutate has made possible serious problems with organisms like Escherichia coli O157-H7.
That deadly little pathogen didn't exist in nature till the 20th century. It's the progeny of regular E-coli adapting itself to overcome the antibiotics used to control disease in large-scale, overcrowded, unsanitary feed lots where animals are rapidly fattened up on a brief diet of genetically modified grain prior to slaughtering them for food.
Although the creator made O157-H7 possible; I doubt if anybody would have any luck suing Him for product liability since it's homo sapiens' own greed and stupidity that forced E-coli O157-H7 into the food distribution system. Its mommy was just trying to give her lethal little offspring the tools necessary to survive. It's like chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park; "Life finds a way"
†. Prv 1:32 ..The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
†. Gen 1:13 . . And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
†. Gen 1:14a . . God said: Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky
On the fourth day, God spent time up in the higher reaches of the Sky. It might seem odd that He began work on the surface of the Earth, and then before finishing, stopped short and moved off into space. Why not finish building down here on the planet first?
Because many types of plants and animals need sunlight if they're to be strong and healthy. At this point in the creation, planet Earth was very dark and freezing cold. The dark side of the Moon gets down to like 279º below zero; so it was time to turn the Earth into a greenhouse. And besides, temperature variations play a role in the process of erosion; which assists in soil formation.
Oxygen is a must gas for sustaining life on earth and a very large percentage of it is produced by photosynthesis which is a chemical process that works best in sunlight. No doubt the original atmosphere contained oxygen enough, but would eventually be absorbed by oxidation and other kinds of chemical activity. Plant life plays a major role in both filtration and replenishment; hence the need to get the Sun shining as soon as possible.
The atmosphere contains about 19.5 to 23.5 percent oxygen at any given time and even with all the fossil fuel burned around the world, along with the destruction of savannas, prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and rain forests, coupled with volcanic activity, the percentage remain fairly stable.
The lights created in verse 14 are luminous objects; and one of them; the Moon, doesn't generate its own light. It reflects light from the Sun. But for practical purposes, both of them shed light upon the Earth just as God intended for them to do.
†. Gen 1:14b . . to distinguish Day from Night;
On the first day; God defined Day as a condition of light; and Night as a condition of darkness. Here, it's further defined that Day on earth is when the sun is up; and Night on earth is when the sun is down. These definitions occur so early in the Bible that they easily escape the memories of Bible students as they slip into the reflexive habit of always thinking of Days as periods of one earth rotation of 24 hours. That's okay for calendars but can lead to gross misunderstandings when interpreting biblical schedules, predictions, and/or chronologies.
†. Gen 1:14c . . they shall serve as signs for the set times-- the days and the years;
The word for "signs" is from 'owth (oth) and means: a signal; such as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.
The Sun and the Moon are very useful time keepers. The period of time between full moons, roughly 29.5 earth-rotations, is handy for dividing the year into major divisions. Though the moon doesn't divide the year into equal months, it is nevertheless close enough for practical purposes. If you were to tell somebody your intention to visit them in five moons, they would have a pretty good idea when to get ready for your arrival.
The Earth's orbit is handy too because it makes the Sun appear to move along a vast circular path in space called the Ecliptic. The Sun's location along the Ecliptic, relative to the stars, at any given time, is always against the backdrop of one of the constellations of the Zodiac. So a person familiar with those signs, can, without even looking at a calendar, come pretty close to telling you the month of the year. That may seem superfluous to us modern city slickers, but if you were a farmer or a rancher living in ancient times, or even today living in a third world country, that information might come in very handy. When the Sun gets back to the same place in the Zodiac, everyone is older by one solar year, depending on their sign.
†. Gen 1:15-18a . . and they shall serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth. And it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to distinguish light from darkness.
Stars illuminate the Earth too. They may appear too dim for that purpose, but that's because the unaided human eye isn't all that sensitive. If you have never looked at the universe through a pair of binoculars on a pitch black night, by all means try it sometime. You will be amazed at its brilliance! Some animals' eyes are more sensitive to light than the human eye so starlight is perfectly adequate for their nocturnal way of life.
George Ellery Hale, the man who concerted construction of the Palomar telescope, was dismayed at all the starlight going to waste in our world. That's why he was so obsessed with building instruments with huge mirrors to collect and focus starlight from a surface area much larger than his own eye.
The pupil diameter of the average human eye in the dark is roughly 7 millimeters; yielding a surface area of about 38 square mm. Palomar's 200 inch mirror yields a surface area of approximately 20,268,299 square mm. That is a significant gain in light collection; a ratio of about 2,895,471 to 1.
Every square inch of your neighborhood is bathed in starlight on a clear night. If you could see all of it falling around your house, you might have to squint or wear dark glasses when you went out at night.
Scientists have attempted to estimate the age of the universe by calculating the number of light years between Earth and distant objects. For example: this past decade, Hubble telescope detected a galaxy at a distance of 12.8 billion light years; and given the label A1689-zD1.
Chronologically; the cosmos' creator began constructing the Earth before He began constructing the stars; which indicates, biblically, that as a physical structure, the Earth is older than the sun, moon, and stars. But geologists have pretty good reasons to believe the Earth to be only something like 4.5 billion years old; while A1689-zD1 appears to be a minimum 12.8 billion years old. So then, it seems reasonable to conclude that A1689-zD1 is Earth's senior by at least 8.3 billion years; but there's a rub.
An article in the May 2013 issue of Astronomy magazine said that the "horizon" of the so-called observable-- a.k.a. visible --universe is approximately 46 billion light years away from Earth in all directions. No one has actually detected light from that far away yet but the figure represents a distance beyond which light coming from objects farther away will never reach us. In other words; it's theoretically possible to detect light coming from objects 46 billion light years away; but light coming towards the Earth from beyond that distance has not yet reached us; nor ever will reach us due to a couple of factors which we'll discuss below. Suffice it to say: 46 billion light years represents the practical limits of observation.
How is it possible to observe light that's 46 billion light years distant when the age of the universe is estimated to be only 13.77 billion years? Well; nobody yet, to my knowledge, has resolved that rather curious paradox. Some say that light from objects like A1689-zD1 appears to be that old because the cosmos is curved. In other words; light from very distant objects doesn't arrive to us via a straight shot like the chord of a circle, but rather, takes a curved path like a circle's arc. For example: a baseball pitcher's fast ball takes a direct route to the plate; while a curve ball takes a longer route to go the same distance. If we were to gauge the distance between the rubber and the plate using the length of a curve ball's arc, it would seem farther away than a distance gauged using the length of a fast ball's path. There's yet another factor to contemplate.
The available data suggests that the universe is expanding in all directions. In other words: every galaxy in the cosmos appears to be moving away from every other galaxy (with the exception apparently of the Milky Way and Andromeda, which astronomers-- according to an article in the Mar/Apr 2013 issue of Science Illustrated --predict will collide in 4 billion years). And not only is the cosmos expanding; but the velocity of its expansion isn't slowing down as might be expected; but rather, contrary to expectations, the velocity of the cosmos' expansion is accelerating; which means that the stars God created on the fourth day are quite a bit farther away from Earth now than when He first made them. How much farther away I don't know; but it's my guess the difference is significant.
Some theorists contend that the cosmos' galaxies aren't actually flying around out there; but rather, only appear to be because the fabric of the cosmos is stretching. Try this experiment. Find a rubber band and draw some dots on it at various intervals. Now stretch the band. You'll note that the dots stay where you drew them. In other words; their locations on the band are unchanged: only the distance between the dots changed due to stretching the band. This theoretical stretching of the fabric of the cosmos has to be taken into account when astronomers attempt to calculate the distance to extremely remote objects based upon the characteristics of their observable light. The only trouble is, nobody really knows how to do that yet.
If somebody ever figures out a way to calculate the age of electro magnetic radiation, then maybe astronomers will have something to go on. But even so, knowing a light's age only tells you how long the light has been en route to your location; but not the distance to the location due to the theoretical curvature of space: a curvature for which the radius is currently unknown. And what if the theoretical curvature of space is aspherical; viz: elliptical or ovate? Then things really get complicated.
All the above suggests to me that the estimated age of the cosmos is only loosely theoretical rather than actual. In other words; current dating methods are grossly unreliable and it's very possibly true that the Earth really did precede the stars just as the Bible says.
A theory that satisfies me is that stars, regardless of their distance, became visible on Earth the instant God created them-- no delay, and no waiting period. He just punched their light right on through because it was His intent in Gen 1:15 for the cosmos' first stars to shine upon the Earth on day four; and they did.
But what's the point of putting all those objects out there in deep space? Well, for one thing, they're not only brain teasers; but they're actually quite pretty. Celestial objects decorate the night like the ornamentation people put up during holidays. The night sky would sure be a bore if it was totally black. But decorated with stars; the night sky is like a beautiful tapestry, or a celestial Sistine Chapel. Stars makes better sense that way than to try and find some other meaning for them.
†. Ps 19:2 ..The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims His handiwork.
The universe is simply a magnificent work of art-- just as intriguing, if not more so, than the works of Picasso, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Monet, Vermeer, and da Vinci -- testifying to the genius of an engineer-artist without peer. It was never meant to be a home for Mr. ET. Sadly, many intelligent people like Carl Segan look to the sky for the wrong reasons. Personally, I think it's futile to look to the sky for SETI reasons. Why not just look to the sky for inspiration instead of intelligent extraterrestrial life? What's so bad about visiting the sky as a Metropolitan Museum of your maker's many-faceted talents?
†. Rom 1:19-22 .. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord Him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became futile in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools
Which would you rather be: a fool, or an idiot? Well, I'd prefer being the idiot. At least the mentally challenged man has an excuse for being stupid.
†. Gen 1:18b-19 . . And God saw that this was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
†. Gen 1:20 . . God said: Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and birds that fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.
The Hebrew word for "birds" is 'owph (ofe) which just simply means covered with wings rather than covered with feathers. It's a rather unusual word because it includes not only aerial creatures with feathers, but according to Lev 11:13-23,'owph also pertains to bats and flying insects. The English word "birds" was obviously an arbitrary translation since owph is ambiguous.
What did those early winged creatures look like? My money is on the Pterosaurs (pterodactyls). Precisely when God phased out those early skin-winged creatures and replaced them with feather-winged creatures isn't stated; but since no winged creatures are reported created on the sixth day, then we have to give the birdies a share of the fifth; so I think we're talking about a pritt-tee long fifth "day" with quite possibly some carry-over into the sixth. What I mean is; I don't think it prudent to rule out the possibility that those early skin-winged creatures were the ancestors of later-to-come feather-winged creatures.
How can water be used to create both winged creatures and sea creatures? Well, it can't be any harder than creating terra creatures from the dust of the earth seeing as how the very same elements are dissolved in earth's waters; and in point of biological fact, land creatures are composed of not only dust, but also water. Dehydrate an air-breathing land creature, and it will die.
"bring forth swarms" is derived from sharats (shaw-rats') and means: to wriggle, i.e. (by implication) swarm or abound. Sharats, strictly speaking, simply indicates large numbers; like in Ex 1:7 where Yhhv's people multiplied like rabbits, and in Ex 8:3 where ka-zillions of frogs infested the land of Egypt.
Sharats is a different word than the ones translated "bring forth" in Gen 1:12 and Gen 1:15. The word in Gen 1:12 is from dasha' (daw-shaw') which means: to sprout. The word in Gen 1:15 is from yatsa' (yaw-tsaw') which is a word of action and/or motion and means: to go, to cause to go, send away, or to bring out, or proceed.
It's important to note that winged creatures were just as distinct a creation as aqua creatures. So winged creatures didn't evolve from creatures who once lived in the sea. Winged creatures are a separate genre of life in their own right, and absolutely did not evolve from some other order of life.
The word for "creature" is from nephesh (neh'-fesh) and means: an air-breathing creature, viz: one that breathes atmospheric gases to survive-- whether in free air or dissolved in water. A nephesh is different than vegetation. Although vegetation is alive, it isn't sentient.
This is the very first mention of nephesh. According to Gen 2:7, nephesh are not only animal creatures, but homo sapiens himself is a nephesh too. The word nephesh implies an innermost being, a mind, a consciousness of one's existence, a sense of individuality, and a consciousness of one's surroundings. Some say that animals are people too. Well .. they're certainly not human, but according to the Bible, they are very definitely just as much a nephesh as a human being. So I guess we could consent, at least to some degree, that beasts are people too; in their own way.
†. Gen 1:21a . . God created the great sea monsters, and all the living creatures of every kind that creep, which the waters brought forth in swarms,
"sea monsters" is from tanniyn (tan-neen') and/or tanniym (tan-neem') which mean: a marine or land monster. Tanniyn is sometimes translated "dragon" as in Isa 27:1
It wasn't a tanniyn, however, that swallowed Jonah. That creature was either a dagah (daw-gaw') a dag (dawg) or a da'g (dawg). All three words mean a fish.
NOTE: the reason I quoted the three Hebrew words for "fish" is because to tell the truth, translators are not always confident what they're looking at. In point of fact, there are ancient Hebrew words that nobody really knows what they mean so translators are forced to take educated guesses here and there.
"of every kind that creep" in this case regards only aquatic creatures that creep e.g. starfish, lobsters, clams, and crabs et al. The terra creepers are coming up in a little bit.
But what about aquatic dinosaurs? Well .. according to Discovery's web site "Walking With Dinosaurs" paleontologists believe there were some amphibious reptiles such as plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs, but those creatures didn't have the gills necessary to be truly aquatic like Nemo and his dad Marlin.
†. Gen 1:21b . . and all the winged creatures of every kind.
"kind" is from miyn (meen) and means: to portion out: to sort; viz: species.
In other words: God created a variety of winged species all at once, rather than just one specie like He did with man.
†. Acts 17:25-26 .. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
Man is a one-of-a-kind specie. From just one man's genetic chemistry came all the other variations of Man; ranging anywhere from Pygmies to Eskimos; and has to make you wonder how that works if evolution is total bull. Well; I don't think it's wise to relegate Darwin to the category of total bull. I mean, just look at how well pathogens adapt and mutate in order to cope with antibiotics. That's a natural process and the pathies don't even have to give it any thought. I believe Darwin was on to something, but shot himself in the foot by leaving intelligent design out of the equation. An origin of living species theory is incomplete without an originator of life.
God built mysterious genetic reactions into living organisms that give them the ability to make adjustments to themselves in order to survive-- adjustments that are triggered by conditions in their respective environments. It's because of those kinds of involuntary adaptations and mutations that I'm very curious sometimes what the original homo sapiens really looked like.
†. Gen 1:21b-22a . . And God saw that this was good.
Well; I have to agree it's good too. I love exploring tide pools, watching birds, feeding peanuts to the squirrels in my backyard, and going to the zoo once a year.
†. Gen 1:22b . . God blessed them, saying: Be fertile
Without the blessing of fertility, nephesh couldn't reproduce. Although reproductive systems are built into all nephesh; those systems are merely glands and plumbing without the miracle of fertility. God himself personally enabled the reproductive systems of nephesh to not only reproduce their own bodies; but also to transfer their own life. That is very interesting, and to this good day, the transfer of nephesh life from one generation to another is still a great big mystery. The transfer of flesh is biological. But the transfer of life isn't; hence; it's a bit more complicated.
†. Gen 1:22c . . and increase, fill the waters in the seas, and let the winged creatures increase on the earth.
Sea creatures exist in the most unlikely places. When the crew of the bathyscaphe Trieste descended into the 35,761 feet Challenger Deep located in the deepest part of the Mariana Trench in 1960, they didn't really expect to find anything living down there; but to their surprise, the saw some flat fish similar to sole and flounder where the pressure is about 15,945 pounds per square inch which is roughly equal to the weight of a block of Portland cement measuring 5.5 feet x 5.5 feet x 5.5 feet
If all the weight of that block were concentrated on an area no larger than a 25¢ piece, you'd have a pretty good idea of what 15,945 pounds per square inch represents. The palm of my hand can be covered with approximately fourteen 25¢ pieces, which at a the bottom of the Challenger Deep would represent a weight of 223,230 pounds sitting on my hand which is roughly equal to the combined weight of two D9 Caterpillar Tractor bulldozers.
But those fourteen 25¢ pieces don't really tell the whole story. The dimensions of my palm and fingers are roughly 4" x 7" which is 28 square inches. At the bottom of Challenger Deep, the cumulative force on palm and fingers would be about 446,460 pounds. But in water, the pressure is all around, so if we add the pressure from the backside of my hand, then the combined pressure on my hand would be 892,920 pounds (446 tons) and that's not factoring in the edges of my hand nor the inside surfaces of its fingers. Those tons aren't just dead weight, but rather, the measure of a squeeze-- a monster hand-shake --that would compress my entire hand into a rather grotesque sight in no time at all if the pressure inside my hand were only atmospheric; which is a mere 14.7 psi which isn't near enough to resist the vice-grip pressure of 892,920 pounds.
You know, the Creator must regard the oceans as His own private aquarium or why else would He put fish where nobody sees them but Himself?
†. Col 1:16 .. all things were created by Him, and for Him
†. Gen 1:23 . . And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
†. Gen 1:24-25 . . God said: Let the earth [produce] every kind of living creature: cattle, creeping things, and wild beasts of every kind. And it was so. God made wild beasts of every kind and cattle of every kind, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. And God saw that this was good.
Now we come to the sixth day when all terra life was created; including dinosaurs and homo sapiens.
This grouping of creatures (except for Man) isn't specifically given the blessing of fertility. But if God would bless sea creatures and those with wings, why ever would He not bless the cattle too who are just as important? But since they've been reproducing all this time, then I'd have to say there is sufficient empirical evidence to support the assumption that that they were equally blessed with fertility just like everything else.
The Hebrew word for "living creature" is nephesh (neh'-fesh); the same word used in verse 20 regarding winged creatures and aquatic life. Terra critters consist of the very land masses upon which they live. They, like Man, weren't created out of thin air; but rather, God used all-natural earthly materials and ingredients already at hand to manufacture them. Neat-O. Not only are the various plants and animals indigenous to planet Earth; but they are part of it too and blend right back in when they die and decompose.
For example: trees that investors cultivate for carbon credits lose their value as credits the moment they're harvested or left to rot on the forest floor. In other words: trees are viable carbon credits only while they're alive taking carbon dioxide out of the global air because when they're dead; they stop and begin giving it all back. But their release of carbon dioxide back into the global air isn't pollution; no, it's a natural cycle.
Carbon credits for growing trees is ridiculous when it's taken into consideration that all trees, even mighty redwoods, eventually die of old age, get harvested, or end up felled by storms and/or insects and disease. At best, trees are temporary containments for carbon dioxide because it's only a matter of time, due to one cause or another, before that stockpiled carbon is released back into the global air. But even if trees covered every square foot of arable soil in the world, it wouldn't be near enough to keep up with the millions of tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air by burning fossil vegetation; e.g. oil, coal, and natural gas.
The word for "cattle" is behemah (be-hay-maw') and means: a (mute) dumb beast; especially any large quadruped or animal (often collective) These kinds of animals are the herd species from which come those that can be domesticated for Man's uses. They can pull plows and wagons, provide tallow for candles and soap, and hide and wool for clothes, meat and dairy for table, carry loads on their backs, and give people rides. Not all herd animals can be tamed. Zebras, for instance, and male elephants are not particularly suited to domestication.
The plural of behemah is behemowth (be-hay-mohth') a word which some have construed to indicate dinosaurs; citing Job 40:15-24 as their proof text. But even if Job 40:15 did indicate a species of dinosaur, it would be limited to one that ate grass like an ox, lived near lakes and rivers, and drank lots of water. However, it's easily proven that the age of monster reptiles was long gone before Mr. Job was even born.
It's no accident that some of the animals are so useful to Man. God made them for the express purpose of serving people. Although they're nephesh, same as Man, that doesn't make them equals with Man. However, although they are below the rank of Man, people have no right to be cruel to animals. But Man does have the right, by the Creator's fiat, to take advantage of them; and to induct them into slavery for Man's benefit.
"creeping things" is the word remes (reh'-mes) and means: a reptile; or any other rapidly moving animal. Dinosaurs would've been included in this grouping.
Some Christians are embarrassed by the big guys because paleontologists have easily dated them to cease existing a good many thousands of years prior to the emergence of mammals; but that's not really a problem if we but permit creation's days to be epochs rather than 24-hour solar events.
"wild beasts" is from chay (khah'-ee) which doesn't mean wild beasts at all. It simply means animal life: as opposed to vegetable life. It also means: alive, living, raw, fresh, and strong. Man himself is chay. It's just a nondescript classification and is the very same word as in verse 20 where it regarded swarms of aquatic life. This time chay regards swarms of terra life; viz: herds and hives, et al.
When I was a little boy, my dad bet me that he could make a dollar bill stand on edge. Well, I passed on the bet because I didn't own any money at the time. So my dad proceeded to fold a dollar bill in half end-for-end into a vee and it easily stood on edge like that. When I protested, he replied: You didn't say I couldn't fold it.
We have a really interesting museum in the Portland Oregon metro area called OMSI with lots of interesting exhibits, a real Navy submarine (it had a brief role in the movie Red October) and some brain-busting puzzles too.
One of the puzzles consists of maybe five large jig-saw looking wooden pieces that when correctly arranged depict a jockey riding a horse. Try as I might, I could not make those pieces come out right. Well, a museum volunteer came by and asked me if I had tried stacking the pieces. I replied by telling him that the instructions don't say I can stack the pieces. He responded by asking me: Do the instructions say you can't stack the pieces one on top of another? No, they don't, and that's the secret to the puzzle. My mind assumed all the pieces had to be arranged side by side but in reality, the instructions don't say one way or the other.
As a follow up to reinforce the reality of the human mind's propensity to make assumptions; the volunteer told me he had two coins in his pocket adding up to 55¢ and one of them wasn't a nickel. He then proceeded to extract a 50¢ piece and a nickel from his trouser pocket. When I protested that he said one of the coins wasn't a nickel, he calmly replied: That would be the half dollar. You see; he said "one" of the coins wasn't a nickel, rather than neither coin. The volunteer then proceeded to lecture me on the importance of paying attention to words and grammar.
Moral of the story: It's just as important to discern what words do say, as well as discern what they don't say; thus avoiding false conclusions derived from a so-called "argument from silence" a kind of logic which essentially believes that if something isn't clearly stated, then it's inferred from the silence that there was nothing to state.
It was a humiliating experience, but a valuable one too because in time; I began applying that principle to the Bible in regards to what it does say, and in regards to what it doesn't say; and one thing it does not say right from the outset is that creation's six days consisted of twenty-four hours each; but most of us assume the terms evening and morning insist upon it; when even those terms only define daytime rather than daytime plus nighttime.
This has been a chronic problem for just about everybody who takes Genesis seriously. We assume the "days" of creation consisted of twenty-four hours apiece; so we end up stumped when trying to figure out how to cope with the 4.5 billion year age of the earth, and factor in the various eras, e.g. Triassic, Jurassic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, Cretaceous, etc, plus the ice ages and the mass extinction events. It just never seems to occur to us that it might be okay in some cases to go ahead and think outside the box. When we do that-- when we allow ourselves to think outside the box --that's when we begin to really appreciate the contributions science has made towards providing modern men a window into the Earth's amazing past.
No doubt by the time Adam arrived, the world of his portion of day six scarcely resembled the world that existed when day six began . I'm confident in my own mind that quite a number of millennia elapsed by the time human life came on the scene, and the Earth had already undergone some large-scale geological incidents resulting in mass extinctions and colossal effects upon the earth's topography and its various climates and environments; which is not all that bad a thing. A world suitable for humanoid mammals is, of necessity, going to be different than a world suitable for giant reptiles and whatever else roamed the earth prior to man.
The introduction of the plural pronoun "us" into the narrative at this point has given rise to some interesting speculation regarding the identity of the antecedent. To whom was creation's God referring when He spoke to us?
According to Jewish folklore, "us" indicates that holy angels assisted God in putting the cosmos together. And who really knows?
†. Job 38:4-7 ..Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
To others "us" indicates the presence, and the activity, of the Word of John 1:1; whose counterpart in sacred Jewish literature is a divine entity known as the Memrá; and in targums Jonathan and Onkelos known as The Word of The Lord God.
According to the pragmatist "us" is merely a rhetorical kind of expression; like when you see a link on a web page and click on it, thinking to yourself: hmmm; let's see where this goes. The possibility of creation's God talking to Himself may seem odd; but I really don't think that's so strange-- I mean, after all, humans talk to themselves all the time, and nobody seems to think much of it.
According to some, the plural pronoun indicates there's more than one God out there.
And to others, the plural pronoun indicates that creation's God, although a lone individual, is somehow a composite unity-- a man of many parts; so to speak.
One way to resolve this issue is to simply parse the words in the verse. The Hebrew word for "God" is 'elohiym (el-o-heem') which is, you guessed it, a plural noun; so that, grammatically, "us" is correct.
All the other acts of creation up to this point were impersonal; like when a building contractor erects a shopping center. It's just a job .. just a task. But when that same contractor comes home and remodels his wife's bathroom on the week-end; then it becomes personal. The words "let us" indicate to me that when it came time to manufacture Man; God really rolled up His sleeves went to work; viz: Man is the only thing God ever created in this cosmos that His heart was really in it.
The lack of details regarding the incredible processes of creation aggravates many intellectuals because Genesis reveals so little-- hardly any scientific information at all. Many, many questions still remain unanswered regarding the origin of the universe. But that stuff is biblically superfluous. I think the first parts of creation actually made God impatient and He could hardly wait to get to the people part of creation because the soul of the Bible's God desires interaction with human beings. Why? I don't know; and David didn't know either.
†. Ps 8:4 ..What is man that you are mindful of him: the son of man that you care for him?
Some of the atheists with whom I've dialogued allege that the Bible's God is an egotist who craves a following; viz: an entourage of admirers. Well, if that were the case, then He certainly didn't need man for that purpose; I mean, after all, the Bible's God already had a following of angels if admiration were His goal. Besides, David wrote that God "cares" for man. Egotists usually regard their entourages as expendable commodities; and they'll scrape you off at the drop of a hat with no more regard for your loyalty than a man who cheats on a faithful wife.
Other atheists allege that the Bible's God is a bully who isn't happy unless He has someone to dominate. (chuckle) That one's my favorite-- not that I agree: it's just that it's so grossly contrary to the Bible God's nature.
†. Ps 103:13-14 .. Like as a father pities his children, so The Lord pities them that fear Him-- for he knows our frame; He's aware that we are dust.
People mean something to Man's creator. They're creatures with whom He desires not to dominate; but rather, to interrelate. I really like that because it makes me feel special. I'm not just another mass-produced swarm of wild beasties, or dumb animals, or screeching dinosaurs, and bugs, birds, fishies, crabs and earthworms. I'm somebody. All the other creations-- the water, the land, the air, space, stars, and all the rest-- were merely tasks; just chores. But Man himself was neither a task nor a chore. People were a Divine labor of love. Humans were what God was really after all along; and the rest is just habitat.
†. Prv 8:30-31 ..Then I was the craftsman at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind.
†. Gen 1:26b . . in our image, after our likeness.
Because of the terms "image and likeness" there are some who believe that creation's God is a human being; or at least resembles one. But according to the Bible's Christ, creation's God consists of spirit.
†. John 4:24 .. God is spirit
Spirits don't have solid physical bodies.
†. Luke 24:36-39 .. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them: Peace to you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And he said to them: Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.
Moses warned Yhvh's people to avoid making any kind of mannequin, figurine, totem pole, or statue representing God since no one has any true concept of what creation's God actually looks like in person. (Ex 4:10-19)
There exists absolutely nothing in nature physically resembling creation's God; except maybe the air in front of your face-- neither Man, nor beast, nor plant, nor bird, nor bug, nor reptile nor anything out in the void (Rom 1:21-23). Concepts that portray creation's God as a human being are purely fictional. (Rom 1:25)
The terms "image and likeness" in relation to creation's God therefore don't indicate a reproduction of God; no, not by any means. Rather; those terms indicate the status of a son; for example:
"When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and named him Seth". (Gen 5:3-4)
The Bible's God clearly labels Man a son of his creator.
†. Ps 82:6 .. I said: You are all sons of the Most High.
It's important to note that Man was "made" a son rather than born a son; ergo: his status as a son is conferred rather than inherited.
It's also important to note that Man's status wasn't conferred upon other of God's creatures. Therefore Man easily outranks everything else in the whole cosmos: all animals, all vegetables, and all minerals; because a king's son outranks the king's servants and they all have to bow and scrape to the king's son out of respect for the king; for example: Moses was, in a manner of speaking, the chief steward in God's house; but Christ is God's heir, so he easily outranks Moses.
†. Heb 3:5-6 .. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house ... But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house.
In other words: Moses was "in" God's house; but Christ is "over" God's house and that's because he's kin, whereas Moses was just an employee.
†. Gen 1:26c . .They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.
The word for "rule" is from radah (raw-daw') and means: to tread down, i.e. subjugate; specifically: to crumble off.
I saw a pretty interesting bumper sticker some time ago that went like this:
We are not above the Earth; We are of the Earth.
Well .. I appreciate the Native American cultural feelings behind that statement; and must admit that I agree with it whole-heartedly. But creation's God decreed that Man is very definitely above the Earth, and has the God-given right to subjugate every living thing on the planet including the whole earth itself: its forests, its grasses, its rivers, its seas, its soil, its rocks, its air, its minerals, its mountains, its valleys, and even its tectonic plates and the very atmosphere itself.
†. Ps 8:4-9 ..When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and stars that You set in place-- what is man that You have been mindful of him, mortal man that You have taken note of him? You have made him little less than divine, and adorned him with glory and majesty; You have made him master over Your handiwork, laying the world at his feet, sheep and oxen, all of them, and wild beasts, too; the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, whatever travels the paths of the seas.
†. Gen 1:27a . . And God created man in His image,
Although Adam was made in the image of God, his imagery isn't precise. The Hebrew word used to describe Adam's imagery in Genesis is tselem (tseh'-lem); which means: a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure, especially an idol.
The shadow of a tree is something like Adam's likeness of God. On the ground, a tree's shadow is little more than an irregular puddle of contrasts, just a patchy smirch. But when we look up, oh! the tree comes alive with color and detail. We can see how tall it is, the features of the bark, and the shape and texture of the leaves and how they are arranged on the branches. And then we notice that the tree is an ecosystem in itself; a habitat for insects and other creatures invisible in the tree's shadow. When we look at ourselves, we don't really see God at all; no, all we really see is something akin to a tree's shadow.
The word for "Man" is from 'adam (aw-dawm') and means ruddy i.e. a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).'Adam is derived from a very similar word that means to show blood (in the face), i.e. flush or turn rosy.
Is that an indication of Adam's color? Was he a Red Man, like we sometimes call Native Americans? Maybe; but it's far more likely he was brown (or coffee) although nobody really knows for sure. However, all human life, regardless of race or color is 'adam because this is the only occurrence on record where God made human beings. After the sixth day, He stopped creating and has made no further additions to the cosmos since then.
NOTE: on numerous occasions, Jesus identified himself as son of man. That title was neither new nor unique in the Lord's day. God addressed the prophet Ezekiel as "son of man" on at least 93 occasions; and in every case, the Hebrew word for man is 'adam the same as it is here in Genesis; which is the proper name of the human race God created in the beginning. (Gen 1:26-27, Gen 3:9, Gen 5:2)
†. Gen 1:27b . . in the image of God created He him; male and female He created them.
Some women would be offended to be called a "him" but it's a biblical designation nonetheless. Regardless of one's gender, all human beings are of the genus 'adam and can be legitimately referred to as a him or as a he. Bible students really have to watch for that because when they run across the word "man" in the Bible, it doesn't eo ipso indicate males.
†. Gen 1:28a . . God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and increase,
Some interpret that verse to be a mandate requiring married people to have children; and that they have no business getting married for any other reason. But the wording is so obviously a blessing rather than a mandate; especially since God said the very same thing to the winged creatures, and the fish, and the reptiles, and the bugs, and the beasts.
It's always best to regard blessings as benefits and/or empowerments unless clearly indicated otherwise. Some blessings have to be merited (e.g. Deut 28:1-13) but not this one. It was neither requested nor was it earned-- it was freely given without any strings attached and nothing asked in return.
NOTE: The belief that couples should enter marriage for no other reason than procreation is an invention right out of an ascetic imagination; and if truth be known, it's in defense of a celibate clergy. According to Gen 2:18-24 and 1Cor 7:7-9, marriage is primarily for the purpose of companionship rather than procreation. If in fact deliberately childless marriages are wrong, then Catholicism's platonic union of Joseph and the Lord's mom would be a sinful relationship.
Without the gift of fertility, Man would be just as sterile as a soup spoon. So it was a very essential blessing. And a very interesting blessing it is because the blessing of fertility empowers living things to pass their own kind of life on to a next generation. God quit creating after six days. So unless creatures were enabled to reproduce, all would soon die out and become quite extinct in a very short time.
Libido therefore, is an essential element of the blessing of fertility. God intended for His creatures to reproduce; and to ensure that they did, He "doped" them all with libido rather than instilling within them a sense of duty. It isn't necessary to cajole creatures to mate; no, they will do so on their own, propelled by built-in sensual propensities.
†. Matt 22:30 .. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
The discussion leading up to the Lord's statement concerned an Old Testament law requiring a Jewish man's nearest eligible male kin to marry his widow and attempt to produce a male child with her who would become the deceased man's legal heir; viz: essentially a posthumous adoption. (Deut 25:5-10)
The opposition's error was in assuming that the blessing of fertility carries over into the resurrection. It doesn't because angels don't reproduce. So your first life is the time to have a family because death closes that door forever.
It's difficult to imagine an existence sans libido; but I have to say: it will be a welcome relief. In my opinion; sexual frustration and sexual tension are major downsides to the first life for people born with my looks.
†. Gen 1:28b . . fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.
The Hebrew word for "master" is from kabash (kaw-bash') which emphasizes coercion and force; and means: to disregard; to conquer, and to violate.
The word for "rule" is from radah (raw-daw') and means: to tread down; to subjugate.
kabash and radah are very strong language. Those two words combined leave no room for doubt regarding Man's supremacy in the sphere of things. God blessed Man with the authority to dominate and to violate planet Earth at will, and exploit it to his own advantage. Man answers to no plant nor animal on this entire globe. The whole Earth is within the scope of Man's purview. If aliens ever come here unannounced, they can be arrested for trespassing, and/or charged for parking.
But the interesting thing is;'adam is also the monarch of the whole cosmos; not just the dinky little third rock from the Sun he calls home.
†. Heb 2:6-8 .. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him.
†. Gen 1:29-30 . . God said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food. And to all the animals on land, to all the winged creatures of the sky, and to everything that creeps on earth, in which there is the breath of life, I give all the green plants for food. And it was so.
Prior to the Flood; man, beast, bug, and birds too-- even the lions and tigers --subsisted on fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. Precisely what kind of diet God intended for sea life is not stated.
That raises an interesting question: why do carnivores have teeth so uniquely suited for killing other creatures and ripping their flesh? Well, I think it's obvious that they didn't use their teeth like that at first. For example; buck-toothed beavers have incisors that could take your hand off but they don't use them for that purpose. Male musk deer have saber-like upper canine teeth and their diet is moss and grass and sometimes twigs and lichen. And of course walruses. Though the fossilized remains of a therapsid, named Tiarajudens eccentricus, exhibits saber tusks, it is believed to have efficiently chewed leaves and stems with interlocking incisors and cow-like molars.
In the kingdom of God, carnivores won't be carnivorous any more, and nothing in the animal kingdom will any longer pose a threat either to Man or to each other.
†. Isa 11:6-9 ..The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yhvh as the waters fill the sea.
NOTE: "the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yhvh" indicates that in the future there will be only one religion, one god, and one universal set of beliefs about that god. Plus; man will no longer govern the Earth according to his own whims; but will govern the Earth according to Yhvh's whims.
†. Gen 1:31 . . And God saw all that He had made, and found it very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Some feel that the cosmos-- all of its forms of life, matter, and energy --was created incomplete, not quite up to snuff: that it was to Man that God entrusted the task of bringing his environment to perfection. But that is very doubtful. But why ever would God, after an overall inspection, conclude His work by pronouncing it all good-- and not just good, but "very" good. Why would He say the creation was very good if in truth it wasn't?
In reality, Man hasn't improved his environment at all. He has actually ravaged it and left it with terrible damage-- indiscriminately obliterated habitat, wiped out animals to extinction, denuded water sheds thus causing unnecessary erosion and stream sedimentation, dammed rivers thus disrupting ancient fish migration routes, over-exploited natural resources, filled the atmosphere with toxins and greenhouse gas emissions, destroyed soil and waterways with massive chemical pollution, genetically modified crops, and seriously upset the balance of nature.
It seems that everything Man touches, he ruins; and as if the earth isn't enough, he's moved out into space where in just the 55+ years since Russia launched its first Sputnik into low earth orbit on Oct 04, 1957, humans have littered the sky around their planet with 13,000 catalogued pieces of space junk, which is only a fraction of the more than 600,000 objects circling the globe large than one centimeter (a centimeter is a little over 3/8ths of an inch). Humans have even deposited 374,782 pounds of litter on the Moon, including Alan Shepherd's golf balls.
So; when God looked over His work and "found" that it was very good, does that mean He was surprised it came out like it did? (chuckle) No. It would be a strange craftsman indeed who couldn't look over their work with pride and satisfaction in a job well done.
I believe the Bible's God knew precisely what He was doing, and where He was going with creation; and was highly pleased that it came out exactly as planned. I seriously doubt that God was feeling His way along like experimenters in medicine and rocket science. Nobody could build a fully functioning cosmos and all of its forms of life, matter, and energy unless they knew what they were doing from beginning to end.
†. Ps 104:24 .. O Yhvh! .. what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all.
NOTE: the information disclosed in the first chapter of Genesis is incorporated in the text of a gospel labeled as "everlasting".
†. Rev 14:6-7 .. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, announcing with a loud voice: Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
†. Gen 2:1-3 . .The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done.
Thrice it's stated in that passage that creation's God finished His work and ceased creating things for the current cosmos; yet people are still under the impression that He creates new souls every time a baby is conceived in its mommy's womb.
God hasn't created anything new for the current cosmos since the sixth day of creation when He completed Adam and his wife. What that means is: Adam's progeny-- you and I and all the others --are not direct creations; no; we're reproductions; viz: there's no need for creation's God to take a hand in producing baby souls, or any other souls for that matter-- either birds, bugs, beasts, or fish --because He created all life on earth as sustainable, transferable kinds of life which means that the blessing of fertility is a remarkable blessing because it enables living things to reproduce themselves sans divine micro management. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.
The seventh day, although included among the days of creation week, is a peculiar day because it lacks the boundaries of an evening and a morning like the others; but is instead an open-ended period of repose; in other words: I think it's pretty safe to assume that when creation's God went into sabbath mode, He wouldn't come out of it till the time to start all over again.
†. Isa 65:17 .. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
†. 2Pet 3:10-13 .. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up ... we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
†. Rev 21:1 .. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
The phrase "declared it holy" is from the word qadash (kaw-dash') which means: to be clean, or to make, pronounce, or observe as clean. Pronouncing something clean, or observing something as clean and/or conferring upon something the status of clean, doesn't mean it's intrinsically clean. It's just regarded as fully dedicated to God's purposes; which is exactly what the word "sanctified" implies. The Hebrew word for "sanctify" is also qadash: the very same word as for "declared it holy".
†. Gen 2:4 . .These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.
The Hebrew word for "day" in that verse is yowm (yome) which is the very same word for each of the six days of God's creation labors. Since yowm in verse 4 refers to a period of time obviously much longer than a 24-hour calendar day; it justifies categorizing each of the six days of creation as epochs of indeterminate length.
Gen 2:4 is the very first time in Scripture where God's most famous of His names appears. Up to this point, The Creator has been identified by 'elohiym (el-o-heem') which is a nondescript label for any and all kinds of gods; whether true or false.
The noun is grammatically plural but doesn't necessarily indicate creation's God is a plural being. Sheep, fish, and deer are plural too but don't always indicate more than one of each. So plural nouns don't eo ipso denote more than one item. There are other gods in the Bible, such as Baal and Dagon, to whom the word 'elohiym is applied and those gods aren't composite entities; e.g. 1Kgs 18:25-29 and Jgs 16:23.
Yhvh's appellation is so sacred among pious Jews that they make every effort to avoid speaking it except under very special circumstances. In some of their writings, in order to avoid using the four sacred letters comprising the tetragrammaton, they write instead "The Name" and/or sometimes "Hashem". So Ex 20:3 could be written : "I, The Name, am your god" or "I, Hashem, am your god."
NOTE: The Bible's God is commonly referred to with masculine pronouns. Why masculine? Because Yhvh is a king; and kings are always males rather than females.
†. Isa 44:6 ..Thus testifies Yhvh, the king of Israel, and His redeemer, Yhvh of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; other than Me there is no god.
†. Gen 2:5 . . and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for Yhvh God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
One has to be very careful when reading that section in order to avoid making the mistake of concluding that homo sapiens was created prior to vegetation; when we know for a fact from the day-by-day account that humans were the very last to be put on earth.
†. Gen 2:6 . . a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.
The word "mist" is from 'ed (ade). It's a very rare word and appears only one more time in the whole Bible.
†. Job 36:26-30 .. See, God is greater than we can know; the number of His years cannot be counted. He forms the droplets of water, which cluster into rain, from His mist. The skies rain; they pour down on all mankind. Can one, indeed, contemplate the expanse of clouds, the thunderings from His pavilion? See: He spreads His lightning over it; it fills the bed of the sea.
According to the translators; Job understood 'ed to mean water vapor; viz: fog. California's coastal redwood trees derive much of their moisture from fog.
†. Gen 2:7a . . And Yhvh God formed a man's body
The Bible's God didn't give birth to man like women give birth to children or baby chicks hatch from eggs; no, homo sapiens isn't God's progeny-- homo sapiens is God's handiwork like the glass products manufactured by craftsmen in Murano; where they make things from scratch using mostly sand for their base material.
†. Gen 2:7b . . from the dust of the ground
The earth consists of all the basic metallic, non metallic, and gaseous chemical elements such as carbon, calcium, phosphorous, hydrogen, oxygen, iron, sodium, and stuff like that constituting everything that exists in nature: both the organic and the inorganic. More than a hundred elements are known to exist and many of them can be found in all living things; not just man.
NOTE: since Jesus didn't have an immediate biological father; then from whence did he get a Y chromosome? He got it from the very same place that Adam got his: from the dust of the earth. How so? Easy.
Mary's flesh and blood came from Eve. Her flesh and blood came from Adam; and his flesh and blood came from the dust. So then, a Y chromosome manufactured from Mary's flesh and blood is all the same as manufacturing a Y chromosome from Adam's flesh and blood so that it wasn't necessary for God's Spirit at Luke 1:31-35 to create a Y chromosome for Jesus ex nihilo; not when the Spirit had a ready supply of human tissue at hand to work with from Mary's own body.
It was important that Jesus be Adam's honest-to-gosh, bona fide progeny. Had Jesus' Y chromosome been created ex nihilo; it would have broken his biological link not just to Adam; but also to Abraham and David.
†. Gen 2:7c . . and breathed into it the breath of life
The word for "breathed" is from naphach (naw-fakh') and means; among other things: to kindle; which Webster's defines as (1) to start (a fire) burning: light, (2) to stir up: arouse, (3) to bring into being: start, and (4) to animate.
The word for "breath" is neshamah (nesh-aw-maw') which means: a puff. Neshamah is a bit ambiguous and has been variously translated air, soul, spirit, blast, and inspiration.
What we're looking at here isn't artificial respiration because it doesn't do a bit of good pumping air into the lungs of a corpse. They won't come alive like that; it's been tried. So, what is it that aroused the man's body? It was life; which is neither a substance nor an energy, and that's why nobody yet has been able to make it in a lab. Life isn't something that can be produced by means of a recipe; no: life is derived from a source of life-- sort of like filling a bucket with water from a well, or a fountain, or a river.
Some pretty amazing things can be produced by combining various elements listed on the periodic table; but life is not one of them. The breath of life then, can be defined as the mystery with power enough to make things sentient; for example:
†. Matt 3:9 ..Think not to say within yourselves: We have Abraham to our father. For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
†. Gen 2:7c . . and man became a living soul.
The Hebrew words for "living soul" are chay nephesh which is the very same nomenclature of every living thing aboard Noah's ark at Gen 9:10. Although Man is a higher form of life than all the rest of the chay nephesh, he is, nevertheless, an animal-like being; and except for his apparently higher consciousness; humans are little more than brutes in their basic nature: they eat like brutes, sleep like brutes, react like brutes, reproduce like brutes, excrete like brutes; they're territorial like brutes, drink water like brutes, run and hide like brutes, squabble like brutes; and they die like brutes.
†. Ps 49:10-12 .. For one can see that even wise men die; the stupid and the senseless perish too; and leave their wealth to others. Their inner thought is: that their estates are forever, and their dwelling places to all generations. They have called their lands after their own names. But man's pomp will not sustain him; he is little different than other perishable beasts.
NOTE:some feel that the "breath of life" is limited to humans; but it's easily shown from those who missed a ride aboard Noah's ark that both man and beast share that aspect of their creation.
"And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died." (Gen 7:21-22)
The problem is: folks want something to account for man's propensity towards religion. But the breath of life makes no one religious; it just makes them active instead of inert.
As we saw; the two Hebrew words composing "living soul" are chay and nepehesh; which are very common and very definitely not restricted to humans.
Nephesh, for example; is located in 1:20, 1:21, 1:24, 1:30, 2:19, and 9:4.
Chay is located in 1:20, 1:21, 1:24, 1:25, 1:28, 1:30, 2:9, 2:19, 2:20, and 3:1.
When all those references are compared, it's easy to see that a living soul is simply a sentient creature like a koala bear as opposed to an unresponsive object like a hula hoop or a Frisbee.
The remainder of Earth's flora was planted in a large scale, landscaping manner. But the garden was specially prepared for Man like someone might build a home for their family. It's true that Man is a creature and Yhvh isn't his actual biological kin. But Man is much more than just another nephesh like as if he were a pet canary or a gerbil. No, human beings were given the honor of God's image, and are as close to being God's kin as a creature can possibly get in the natural world.
The Hebrew word for "garden" is from gan and means: a garden as fenced. So the garden wasn't just a nondescript parcel of acreage with apricots and turnips growing wild on it. The garden (which very likely was a full-blown farm complete with orchards) was meant to be tended.
†. Gen 2:8b . . in the east
"east" in that verse was an east that the author(s) of Genesis understood. Out west here in Oregon, we consider east to be New York and Chicago; while the world considers the Orient to be east. For the purposes of modern navigation, everything towards sunrise from the meridian of Greenwich England around the world to Samoa is East longitude, and everything towards sunset around the world to Samoa is West longitude. So if you were standing in Mexico, then Greenwich would be to the east; but if you were standing in Iran, then Greenwich would be to the west. It's all a matter of perspective.
For Bible purposes, the State of Israel is oftentimes regarded the geo-political center of the Earth. Its position is spiritually elevated too. So whenever you go to Jerusalem, you go up. And when you leave, you go down. It was from the east (east of Jerusalem) that magi came to pay their respects to the young Jesus. (Matt 2:1)
Just exactly where "the east" was in Adam's day is hard to tell. But the garden itself is not to be confused with Eden. The garden was located "in" Eden; an ancient pre-Flood unspecified geographic region. Some people think Eden was somewhere in Africa but that's just a shot in the dark.
The word "Eden" is from 'eden (ay'-den) and/or 'ednah (ed-naw') and means: pleasure, and delight. So Adam's farm was in a very nice location and we could, if we had a mind to, name his spread:Happy Valley or Pleasant Acres.
†. Gen 2:8c-9a . . and placed there the man whom He had formed. And from the ground Yhvh God caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food,
The exact site where God did the work of creating Man is unknown but there's no reason to doubt he wasn't created right there in his intended home. And I think we can safely assume the garden was already viable and productive when Man arrived. God didn't just throw him in the water to sink or swim. He gave the man a suitable habitat right from the get go. Adam wasn't a hunter-gatherer like some sort of rootless nomad; no, he had a place to settle down and call home.
So Man's first impression of his maker was one of caring, providence, and support. Adam was in no way a desperate cave man struggling to survive in a hostile world by courage, daring, and ingenuity. Man came into being by the designs of a Superior Intelligence who looked out for the unique little creature made in His own image right from the first, and got him off to a good start.
†. Gen 2:9b . . with the tree of life in the middle of the garden,
The leaves of the tree are stated to be beneficial to man rather than its fruit.
†. Rev 22:2 .. On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year-- once each month --the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
The leaves of the tree of life contain something that stops debilitation (Gen 3:22). Exactly how the ingredients of a leaf could be so rich in nourishment as to halt the aging process in the human body is unknown. A very active field of modern scientific research in our own time is gerontology-- the study of the phenomena of the aging process. As yet, gerontologists have no significant understanding of the aging process, and therefore no clue as to what treatments, or nutrients might be employed to stop it.
†. Gen 2:9c . . and the tree of knowledge of good and bad.
The Hebrew word for "good" in 2:9 is from towb (tobe). It's an ambiguous word and isn't restricted to morals, ethics, or scruples. Even a tasty meal or an entertaining movie can be towb.
The word for "bad" is from ra' (rah) It's another ambiguous word; and includes anything that's bad for us like poison ivy, playing with matches, E.coli 0157-H7, toxic chemicals, salmonella, eating without washing your hands, bungi jumping, investing in penny stocks, walking on train tracks, pimples, a sore throat, and going to bed without brushing your teeth.
From the gist of upcoming verses, it's readily apparent that the knowledge of good and bad implies an intuitive moral compass. Though Man was created intelligent; he was basically ignorant. A sense of right and wrong wasn't programmed into his intuition. He was supposed to learn right and wrong via Divine tutelage; not by trial and error nor by self initiative-- and certainly not by doing something stupid like eating from a tree known to be toxic to humans. I mean, how smart is it to take LSD after you've been adequately instructed that it will mess with your head and/or your DNA; maybe even permanently?
†. Gen 2:10a . . A river issues from Eden to water the garden,
The verb "issues" is in the present tense; indicating whoever wrote Gen 2:10, did so while the land of Eden yet existed. The authorship of Genesis has yet to be positively established. A verse like 2:10 strongly suggests that the data used to compile Genesis, was progressively accumulated in hand-me-down journals or in oral rote, generated by people who lived prior to the final compiler's input.
The Hebrew word for "river" is nahar (naw-hawr') which is another of those ambiguous Bible words. It can indicate a stream or a sea and/or metaphorically: prosperity. It was stated previously in Gen 2:6 that the face of the whole ground was watered by fog; which suggests that the Eden river was either an aquifer or something similar to the slow-moving water of the Florida everglades.
†. Gen 2:10b-11 . . and it then divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon, the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah where there is gold,
The Pishon river has yet to be positively identified.
The Hebrew word for "Havilah" is Chaviylah (khav-ee-law'); which means circular. It's not only a place-name but also a person-name (e.g. Gen 10:7, Gen 10:29) which may indicate that the land of Havilah was named after an antediluvian individual who settled in that area.
†. Gen 2:12 . . (The gold of that land is good; bdellium is there, and lapis lazuli.)
Again, the author used a present tense verb. The gold "is" good, not was good-- strongly suggesting the author actually lived in the period he wrote about.
As a money; gold has intrinsic value, whereas fiat currency as a money is worth little more than the good faith and dependability of the country that issues it and the people who trade with it.
Gold is valuable no matter where it comes from but some gold is easier to mine than others and some is a whole lot more plentiful. Placer gold for example is usually in the form of dust and requires dredging, sluicing, and washing. Hard rock gold is better; but requires boring tunnels, rock crushing, and refinement in smelters. I'd say the really good gold is that in the form of nuggets. However, rather than the quality of Havilah's gold, the author's use of the word "good" might just be saying that its gold is bountiful; as opposed to scarce. Gold can be found just about everywhere, but concentrations of it exist in only a relatively few places.
Bdellium is a gum resin similar to myrrh; obtained from various trees. The author could have been referring to amber; a hard yellowish to brownish translucent fossil resin that takes a fine polish and is used chiefly in making ornamental objects like beads and such. Bdellium was the comparison Moses used to describe the color of manna in Num 11:7.
In ancient Egypt lapis lazuli was a favorite stone for amulets and ornaments such as scarabs; it was also used in ancient Mesopotamia by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians for seals and jewelry. Lapis jewelry has been found at excavations of the Predynastic Egyptian site Naqada (3300–3100 BC), and powdered lapis was used as eye shadow by Cleopatra. In ancient Mesopotamia, lapis artifacts can be found in great abundance, with many notable examples having been excavated at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (2600-2500 BC).
†. Gen 2:13 . .The name of the second river is Gihon, the one that winds through the whole land of Cush.
Cush of the post-Flood world is associated in Scripture with both a region of Arabia and the present-day land of Ethiopia. But the exact geographic site of the Cush of antediluvian days is impossible to know. If it's the same, then we can be pretty sure that the Earth underwent some dramatic geological events in the distant past because it is now impossible for any river in Ethiopia to connect in any way at all with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of today's world.
†. Gen 2:14a . .The name of the third river is Tigris, the one that flows east of Asshur.
According to Assyrian monuments, the Tigris was known to the post Flood ancients as the Chiddekel, or the Hiddekel. Asshur was located in modern-day Iraq south of Mosul on the western bank of the Tigris river in between the Great Zab and the Little Zab rivers.
†. Gen 2:14b . . And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Tigris and Euphrates rivers of today headwater not too far from Elazig Turkey; flowing roughly (very roughly) parallel to each other from out of Turkey, past Syria and Mesopotamia, and down into modern-day Iraq before joining together and emptying into the Persian Gulf.
The general picture in Genesis 2 is that of a major watercourse (the Eden River) feeding an immense aqua system supplying water to a very large geographic area comprising parts of Turkey, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nubia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Iraq. It would appear that the Eden River itself head-watered possibly in what the world today knows as Russia; but it is impossible to tell exactly where it came from because that region no longer generates a south-flowing monster river system such as the one from Eden described in Genesis 2.
The third and fourth rivers no longer connect to a larger river that elsewhere branches off and flows to Ethiopia. It's pretty obvious from the author's geographical descriptions that the world's current topography didn't exist prior to the Flood. The antediluvian world was shaped quite different than the one we live in now. The Tigris and Euphrates of today are but remnants of an ancient irrigation system that at one time made the entire Middle East a very beautiful and fertile region; but to look at it today; you'd never guess it.
†. Gen 2:15-17 . .The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to till it and tend it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden you are free to eat; but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for in the day you eat of it, you shall die.
The details of the upcoming event give the impression that Adam had not yet tasted the tree of life before tasting the forbidden tree. So then, he was susceptible to death up to the moment that Eve handed him a sample.
According to Rev 22:2, the tree of life is an Rx meant to sustain life rather than to give life. So if Adam had been allowed access to the tree of life after tasting the forbidden tree; it's healing properties would have made it impossible for him to die of natural causes.
†. Rom 5:12 ..Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned
There are probably just as many interpretations of that statement as are the number of its words; but the one that satisfies me goes like this:
Adam wasn't created a superman. He came into being a warm-blooded, air breathing creature. In other words: had you smothered Adam prior to his tasting the forbidden tree; he would have died. Had you severed Adam's carotid artery and let him bleed out prior to his tasting the forbidden tree; he would have died. Had you chopped off Adam's head prior to his tasting the forbidden tree; he would have died. Had you crushed Adam with a massive boulder prior to his tasting the forbidden tree; he would have died. Had you cut out Adam's heart prior to his tasting the forbidden tree; he would have died.
It wasn't inconsequential death that Adam introduced to the world; it was consequential death; viz: "death through sin". In other words: the law of sin and death (Rom 6:23) wasn't a law prior to the forbidden fruit incident so that Adam wouldn't have died as a consequence of doing something bad.
It's often been argued that God's death threat at Gen 2:16-17 wouldn't have resonated in Adam's thinking had the man not seen dead birds and animals in the garden on a regular basis; and I think that argument is quite accurate. In other words; I do not believe Adam understood God to mean he would die spiritually; but rather, physically, because that was the kind of death with which Adam would have been familiar.
Some believe that the creator was testing Man with the forbidden tree. I believe he was simply warning His little creature about a particular danger in his environment. We sure don't want kids to play with matches, pick up rattlesnakes, eat deadly mushrooms, drink bleach, or get too close to the edge of a precipice. So when we tell them to stay away from things like that; it's for their own good.
The ban on the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, was tempered by a carte blanche to eat fruits from all the rest of the trees; including the tree of life. So it's not like God pigeonholed Adam and forced him to eat from the wrong tree in order to survive. Earlier, in Gen 1:29, God gave Adam permission to eat all manner of plant life. So he had lots of options. An abundance of other nutrition was available. Therefore, if Adam ate from the wrong tree, he had no excuse for it. And that is what really made eating from that tree so serious-- it was willful, and done in full understanding of both the ban and the consequence.
NOTE: "all sinned" in Rom 5:12 is grammatically past tense;indicating that people who have not even been born yet are already on the books of heaven as sinners. David understood this and wrote:
†. Ps 51:5 .. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the instant my mother conceived me.
But why on earth would God put a deadly tree into an otherwise perfect environment? Was that really necessary? What real purpose does a tree serve that has the potential to kill? Why even create such a tree in the first place? Was that tree a bad tree? No, it was not a bad tree. When God finished creating, He looked over His work on the 6th day and pronounced it all not just good, but "very" good.
The tree of the knowledge of good and bad wasn't a bad tree per se; any more than toad stools, poison ivy, lightening, rattlesnakes, scorpions, avalanches, tornadoes, typhoons, hurricanes, cactus needles, tsunamis, earthquakes, electricity, fire, lava, and arsenic and hemlock are bad in and of themselves. Those things are hazardous, yes, but they all fit into the natural web of life. When people willfully cross over boundaries, ignoring the dangers, and start messing around, then they get hurt and it's really no one's fault but their own. For example:
San Francisco was once destroyed by an earthquake related to the San Andreas fault; but where did they rebuild San Francisco? Right back in the same place.
Los Angeles is at risk of the same San Andreas, and are even now as I write this preparing for a major quake. Are there plans to evacuate Los Angeles and relocate the city? No. They plan to ride out whatever the San Andreas and/or any of the other faults throw at them and city planners and disaster control specialists have already calculated the body count because the Andreas is overdue for a massive slip and so is one known as the Puente Hills Blind Thrust System,. City officials know big quakes are coming but nobody is getting out of the way.
All around the island of Japan are ancient monoliths, some as much as 600 years old, with the inscription: Do not build your homes below this point. The monoliths testify to past tsunamis. People back then set up those monoliths to warn future generations; but do future generations listen? No; they don't. 25,000 Japanese are listed as dead and/or missing from the tsunami of 2011 because they settled in communities below those ancient water marks.
The below-sea-level city of New Orleans was flooded by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Did city planners wise up and relocate the city to higher ground? No; they rebuilt right back in the same place.
On the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo rumbles two-mile high Mt. Nyirangongo; one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The city of Goma, consisting of something like one million people, will be pelted with falling rocks and lava splatter, and buried by molten rock and pyroclastic flows of superheated dust just as sudden as the city of Pompeii if that mountain should ever decide to get serious about its business. Past eruptions bear this out.
And as if the volcano itself isn't threat enough, 2,590-hectare Lake Kivu nearby conceals an enormous underwater concentration of carbon dioxide and methane which could be released by a major eruption, spreading a lethal cloud across Goma that would spare no one.
Are Gomites concerned? No. Thousands of homes-- shacks constructed of hand-hewn eucalyptus boards and sheet metal roofs --have been built right on top of the solidified lava of past eruptions. In other words; the Gomites are knowingly living at ground zero; right in Mt. Nyirangongo's known kill zone.
The Cumberland River inflicted major flood damage throughout the city of Nashville in 2010. Pete Fisher, manager of the Grand Ole Opry needed a canoe to get across the parking lot and enter the theater. He reported that had someone been sitting in the front row seats, they would have seven feet of water over their heads. Did the owners move the Opry to higher ground? Nope, the Opry is still right there on the banks of the Cumberland targeted for the next flood event.
City planners have known for years that Manhattan is so few feet above mean sea level that any sizable tsunami at all would flood both the city and its subway system; but have the Sand Hogs stopped boring tunnels or have construction workers stopped erecting buildings? No, they keep right on boring and erecting; and in 2012 hurricane Sandy pushed a surge of sea water inland and crippled the city's public transportation and much of its electrical power.
Adam was given fair warning what would happen if he ate from the tree. It was just as fair a warning as parents give their kids not to poke paper clips into wall sockets or lean over a dog too close with their face when they pet a strange one. Consequences for spurning a parent's rules in those cases can be very terrible.
†. Prv 22:3 .. A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
Note: I'll be away till Aug 14, 2013. See you back here then.
†. Gen 2:18 . .Yhvh God said: It's not good for Adam to be solitary; I will make a fitting helper for him.
"a fitting helper" is from two Hebrew words. "Fitting" is from neged (neh'-ghed) which means: a front, i.e. part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate. The word for "helper" is from 'ezer (ay'-zer) which means: aid.
Note that aid isn't spelled with an "e" as in aide; so that Eve wasn't meant to be either Adam's servant, nor his assistant; but rather, his assistance-- in other words; his aid as in first aid. Note that assistance is not spelled the same as assistant nor are the two words synonyms. An assistant does what they're told, while assistance is supportive.
You know what that suggests to me? It suggests that Adam didn't really have it all that easy in his world, and that Eve's companionship made his life a lot more tolerable and worth the living. The helper that God made for Adam would be both his counterpart, and his crutch. In other words: wives are really at their best when they strengthen their men to go out that door and face the big, bad, mean world.
In making a statement like Gen 2:18; God made it very clear right from the beginning that human beings were not intended to live a celibate life. If homo sapiens were packaged in a box of software, one of his system requirements would be Companion. A woman's potential for companionship is the primary reason that God made her-- not for her sex appeal nor for her reproductive value; no, for companionship.
Before God introduced the man to a woman, He first gave the man an opportunity to seek appropriate companionship from among the creatures of the animal kingdom. That route was futile.
†. Gen 2:19-20a . . And the Lord God formed out of the earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that would be its name. And the man gave names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to all the wild beasts;
Adam gave names to all the beasts of the field, to all the fowls of the air, and to all the livestock. He wasn't tasked with naming aquatic life; only terra life.
The point is, even limiting Adam's task to just beasts, fowls, and livestock would have been an overwhelming task if as many varieties existed in his day as ours; which I honestly don't think did because, for one thing, prior to the existence of homo sapiens the earth underwent some mass extinction events. It's believed by some that during the Permian period, 96 percent of all marine species and more than 50 percent of all other species disappeared. Later, at the end of the Cretaceous period, it's believed that another 1/3 of plant and animal species, including the dinosaur guys, went extinct. So that by the time we get to Adam, a pretty good percentage of the original flora and fauna was gone; converted into fossil bones and fossil fuels.
I'm sure Adam loved animals; I mean look: he gave them all names; which is something that people who make their living in animal husbandry try to avoid because the practice can lead to attachments; thus making the situation very difficult when it's time for sale and/or slaughter.
My wife's kindergarten class visits a working dairy farm every year where all the cows and the calves have number tags stapled in their ears. On the books, those numbers are the bovines' names; but in a matter of minutes, my wife's kinders give the little calves real names because it's just in human nature to do that. (I named one White Shoulder because it had an epaulette of white hair on its right shoulder)
But as cute and cuddly as creatures are, they just don't have what it takes to be the kind of companion that a human being really needs.
†. Gen 2:20b . . but for Adam no fitting helper was found.
That's telling me that people who seek companionship from a pet are out of kilter because pets are unbefitting-- they're a lower form of life than homo sapiens; and God didn't create them to be man's companion, no, He created them to be man's servants.
†. Gen 2:21a-22a . . So the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man; and, while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot. And the Lord God fashioned the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman;
The Hebrew word for "rib" is tsela' (tsay-law') and Gen 2:21-22 contains the only two places in the entire Old Testament where it's translated with an English word representing a skeletal bone. In the other twenty-nine places, it's translated "side"
Since Eve was manufactured from Adam's own already-existing human tissues, then she was just as much Adam was he was; only a different gender. So then, if a virgin descendant of Eve were to produce a child, then the child would be just as much Adam as its mother, Though the child would have no immediate biological father, it would have at the very least one biological father: Adam. This is really, really important.
Woman is a human being not formed directly from the Earth, but formed indirectly; from another human being. God transferred the human life thriving in Adam's body to his wife's body. They were truly one flesh in every sense of the word but gender. Her flesh was his flesh, her bones were his bones; and her life was his life. The woman completed the creation of Man; so that Man is actually a composite unity-- a male part and a female part.
Why wasn't Eve given a chance to fit in with the animals before introducing her to Adam? Well, I think it's because men can make do with a soccer ball named Wilson if they have to; but normal women, as a rule, can't. Men and Women share a lot of similarities; but the resolve to go it solo, to be a rugged individual-- to live alone and unloved in the world --is not one of them. There are exceptions, of course; but as a rule, women do not care to live alone and unloved in the world. It's curious, but when we think of hermits; our minds typically think of them as male because female hermits just seem so contrary to nature.
†. Gen 2:22b . . and He introduced her to the man.
Upon seeing Eve for the very first time, Adam didn't exclaim: Hot diggity dog! Now I can get laid! No he didn't say that at all.
†. Gen 2:23a . .Then the man said: This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.
In other words: finally somebody Adam could relate to; and the expression became a colloquialism. (Gen 29:13-14)
Eve's primary purpose in life was to be her man's best friend; and that is precisely why God made women: to be their husband's buddy. Therefore wives who aren't their husband's buddy are seriously maladjusted; and can only be accepted as cheap goods rather than top-of-the-line in quality.
The one who designed a man said it is not good for a man to live alone. And if it's not good for a man to live alone, then it goes without saying that it's not good for a woman either. If men are supposed to be happier with a woman, then women should be happier with a man. In other words: mankind's designer didn't intend men and women to function independently of each other. They were created to function together; as couples.
So Adam saw in Eve his true counterpart-- a blood relative who was just as human as himself; and one who could truly relate to him, be sensitive to his feelings, and understand his thoughts; something no other creature ever yet has been able to do.
Pop Quiz: How many friends do people need to dispel feelings of isolation and loneliness? Answer: Just one-- if that one is a supportive spouse. They say dogs are Man's best friend. No they aren't; dogs are beasts. A human being's best friend is a spouse that looks out for them.
†. Gen 2:23b . .This one shall be called Woman, for from Man was she taken.
The woman wasn't created directly from the dust as had the man. She was created from the dust indirectly via a human tissue sample taken from the man; so that she was just as much the man as the man himself except for gender. This is a very important point to nail down because it has repercussions all the way forward to Christ; whose chain of biological fathers stops with his mother's dad. Was Jesus a real, honest-to-gosh, bona fide human being? Well; we could ask the very same question of his mother, and of his great grandmother Eve too. Were they real, honest to-gosh, bona fide human beings? If they were; then so was Jesus because was made from Mary's organic tissues just as Eve was made from Adam's.
The Hebrew word for "woman" is from 'ishshah (ish-shaw') which is the feminine form of 'iysh (eesh) which means a human being as an individual or as a male person. So 'ishshah doesn't indicate another species of homo sapiens (e.g. Lilith) it just simply indicates the opposite side of the same coin.
†. Gen 2:24a . . Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife,
At first glance it appears that Adam was the speaker of Gen 2:24, but according to Christ, it was man's creator who spoke it rather than Adam.
†. Matt 19:3-6 .. Haven't you read? he replied; that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man split apart.
There are no specific Hebrew words for "wife". The word for wife in that verse comes from the very same word as woman-- 'ishshah (ish-shaw'). What makes an 'ishshah somebody's wife? The possessive pronoun "his" So Eve became Adam's woman; and Adam of course became Eve's man. They quite literally owned each other. New Testament marriage retains the Old Testament's concept of possession.
†. 1Cor 7:1-5 .. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.
Adultery is very serious not only because it's immoral, but also because it's an act of theft. Spouses that cheat on their partners are no different than carjackers taking an SUV that doesn't belong to them and selling it to a chop shop.
An important point in Gen 2:24 is the clinging. There comes a time in every youth's life when it's time for him to grow up, sever the apron strings, leave home, become his own man, and take up residence with his own woman.
Sometimes it's difficult for a young man to accept that his mother is another man's woman. When my son was around 29 years old and home for Christmas one year, his mother and I were having a disagreement and he stuck up for her. I had to take my son aside and school him that it is a serious breach of male etiquette to come between a man and his wife. I let him get by with it that time; but in another man's home his meddling just might cost him a broken nose. He never did it again.
†. Gen 2:24b . . so that they become one flesh.
Adam and Eve were the same species; so their joining was a joining of the same flesh rather than cross-breeding the flesh of two different critters like a centipede and a cassowary.
Bible marriage isn't a political arrangement like the marriages of feminism where couples retain their independence. In Bible marriage, the two individuals lose their independence and become, no longer two sovereign individuals; but one. People who regard their spouse as an associate rather than themselves, have got the wrong attitude about marriage.
In Bible marriage, opposite genders are fused together and the half each brought to the union forms one whole human being. They may appear on the surface to be two separate individuals but in marriage they aren't; no they're an organic unity-- one body, one person --and all other loyalties take second place; especially loyalty to parents. If married people are still putting their parents first, marginalizing loyalty to their spouses, then they have not really cut the apron strings yet, and they surely don't think very much of their spouse either.
If a boy and a girl are not prepared to shift their loyalties to an intended spouse, then their marriage would be an evil union. They dishonor their spouses; and they spurn their maker's wishes regarding the marriage relationship. Marriage isn't for people who are incapable of running their own life; and it is absolutely not for children who cannot put loyalty to their spouses ahead of their parents.
In the movie "Moonstruck", Loretta Casterini's fiancé comes over to the house and wishes to speak with her in private. Loretta responds by saying she needs her family around her. Well, guess what? A guy in that predicament needs to get out NOW, while he can; before it's too late, because he will always be marginalized in his own home by the meddling of his best girl's family.
†. Gen 2:25a . .The two of them were naked, the man and his wife,
It's very difficult to believe that God fully intended for people to always live without clothing. So how come early Man didn't need protection for his skin? Nobody really knows for sure; maybe because human beings had fur, or that human skin was a whole lot tougher and thicker than now; and far more resistant to abrasion and sunlight.
Still; nudity seems so impractical. And I would imagine that Adam and his wife needed to bathe pretty often too. Without clothing to protect their skin from dust and grime, in no time at all they would be as funky as two pigs in a puddle.
†. Gen 2:25b . . yet they felt no shame.
Webster's defines shame as: 1) guilt, or disgrace, 2) a feeling of inferiority or inadequacy, and 3) inhibition.
In other words, there was absolutely nothing in early Man's psyche restraining him from parading around in full frontal nudity; and actually, neither was there anything in his psyche encouraging him to. They weren't exhibitionists by any stretch of the imagination because in their innocence, Adam and his wife simply were neither proud of, nor humiliated by, their appearance in the nude.
Adam and his wife felt neither naughty nor perverted about frontal nudity at first, nor were they self conscious in the slightest respect because as yet they knew no cultural boundaries, nor were they infected yet with a guilt complex about sex and the human body; and concepts like vanity and narcissism had no point of reference in their thinking whatsoever. They had absolutely no natural sense of propriety, nor were they even aware of any because their creator hadn't taught them any proprieties yet at this point.
That was an interesting time in the first couple's development. They had neither intuition nor conscience as yet to moderate their dress code. Some expositors label this era in the human experience as the age of innocence; which implies not just an ignorance of ethics; but primarily a lack of self consciousness-- which Webster's defines as uncomfortably aware of one's self as an object of the observation of others. Had somebody criticized the first couple about their appearance, they would no doubt have stared at their critic like a man taken leave of his senses.
The event recorded in this third chapter is a bit of an enigma. The reason being that not only can the Bible's God see the future as if watching a video recording, but He's also fully capable of manipulating it. In other words; the event in this chapter wasn't unexpected; and God could have, had He wished, easily prevented it.
In point of fact, Christ was already assigned the task of giving his life for the sins of the world before there even was a world (1Pet 1:20, Rev 13:8). For that reason, God's enemies often complain that humanity was set up to fall, and that it was actually God's wishes that the Serpent succeed in pulling humanity down just so Christ could die for it.
People are upset with creation's God for not stepping in and preventing the so-called original sin. But they need to remember that humanity holds the rank of a king on this earth and has the God-given authority to conduct its own affairs as a sovereign (Gen 1:26, Gen 1:28, and Ps 82:6). Besides; does anybody really want to live in a micro-managed Big Brother society? I don't think so. But that's the logic behind just about every product liability lawsuit.
Rather than taking the bull by the horns and doing something to cure humanity's propensity to destroy itself, product liability lawsuits go after suppliers who provide the means for humanity to destroy itself.Well; I'm sorry but God gave humanitythe liberty to destroy itself; and actually, that's the way many of us prefer it because we want to make our own choices rather than have I-know-what's-best-for-you fanatics limit the choices available to us.
Recently, in the county where I live in Oregon, a drive-thru coffee hut opened for business where the coffee is brewed and served by female baristas clad with little more than pasties and scanty bikini bottoms. The girls can't be seen from a pubic thoroughfare. Patrons can only see the girls by driving up to the window. Well; local do-gooders went on the war path and began pressuring the city to close the coffee hut due to its being (they claimed) a nuisance, pornographic, unprofessional, unsafe, contrary to religious and family values, objectifies women, degrades the neighborhood, indecent, and a bad influence on children.
But city officials refused close it because the coffee-hut hotties weren't doing anything illegal-- they weren't performing lewd acts nor were they soliciting prostitution. Also; they were indoors rather than out in public and they weren't violating any local health codes.
As an editorial in the Oregonian so aptly pointed out: Those who prefer fully-dressed baristas have plenty of choices of places to buy their coffee. In other words: If you don't like your morning latte brewed and served by nearly-naked girls, then get your coffee elsewhere and leave the coffee hut to folk who don't mind some legal skin with their beverage.
†. Gen 3:1a . . Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
Probably no other creature in the Bible provokes so much skepticism as the Serpent. It just smacks of mythology. But this particular serpent was no ordinary reptile. It was indeed a remarkable creature. Not only was it capable of language, and able to communicate on a very sophisticated level with human beings, but it had an exceptional IQ too. It grasped the significance of a supreme being, and totally understood the workings of human nature and the human mind. No mere animal is capable of that degree of insight, cognition, and communication.
The final book in the New Testament confirms the Serpent's true identity, and it is none other than the dark spirit being well known to everyone as the Devil and Satan. (Rev 20:1-3)
According to the Lord, Mr. Serpent was in the world from the very beginning; and his stock in trade was murder and deception right from the get go. (John 8:44)
Since Rev 20:1-3 has not yet come to pass, then the Serpent remains at large and very active in today's modern world. It is highly skilled at mental suggestions: secretly guiding mankind along a road to self destruction. It is the source of much of the world's political tensions, and certainly the impetus behind all large scale anti-Semitic agendas.
I have never seen the Serpent myself; nor would I care to. But I know from Matt 4:1-11 that the Lord saw it, and spoke with it. From that passage it's obvious that the Serpent is capable of human speech, understands human needs and weaknesses, believes in the existence of the Bible's God, understands the concept of worship, understands the Bible, and understands the advantages of manipulating human minds, and world power.
The Serpent certainly wasn't squeamish about tempting the Son of God to sin; so it should come as no surprise that it wouldn't hesitate to entice a little nobody like Eve. But Eve was extremely strategic; she was the high ground in the battle for men's minds, because Eve was destined to be the mother of all subsequent human beings. If the Serpent could get to the root of humanity, it would surely gain control over the entire human race; and it did. (Eph 2:1-3)
The Serpent seems possessed with a strange, criminal mentality: beyond comprehension. But then, so are pedophiles, serial killers, uni-bombers, terrorists, and men like Son of Sam and Jack the Ripper. Those kinds of criminals are psychopathic prisoners of dark minds clouded with unnatural inclinations. The Serpent, though surely an incredible genius; is nonetheless an evil genius; not unlike the nefarious masterminds in action comics.
Five elements of psychopathy are evident in the Serpent's behavior.
(1) Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
(2) Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.
(3) Reckless disregard for the safety of others.
(4) Deceit and dissembling; viz: repeated lying and conning others for profit.
(5) Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors.
If those elements sound familiar it's because they're the all-too-typical management practices of corporations the likes of ENRON, Nike, Nestlé, Bechtel, Union Carbide, Shell Oil, and Monsanto. Wall Street is especially brutal. I watched a trader interviewed in a documentary who said that his first reaction-- upon seeing the Twin Towers aflame in 2001 --wasn't concern for the families and friends of the 2,300 killed and missing; but rather he inwardly exclaimed: Oh m' God! What will that do to the price of gold? In that man's mind, a catastrophe isn't a tragedy, no, it's an opportunity. Future's traders are very attuned to things like that.
The garment industry in particular, stands out as the poster child of psychopathic management practices: a veritable jewel in the Serpent's crown.
What we see in human nature often mirrors the Serpent's own dark personality. But the origin of the Serpent's twisted mind is really puzzling. How did it get that way? Was it a birth defect? Did it bump its head? I don't know; but one thing is for sure though: the Serpent's fondness for deceit is living proof that angels are not mindless robots created to obey the will of God without thought or question. No; they too have a mind of their own, and the freedom of choice between good and evil-- the very same choices that Man is at liberty to exercise. Satan chose poorly, and his human counterparts oftentimes do too.
A characteristic of Eden's world was not only a lack of human death, but also a lack of fear. Man feared neither himself, nor the other creatures, nor the dark, nor the boogie man.
The woman displayed no recorded astonishment whatsoever when the Serpent spoke to her; which suggests it had conversed with the Adams on other occasions before this incident; and possibly had become a close family friend. Before making its move to wreck their life, the Serpent more than likely spent some time in advance nurturing a rapport with the Adams so the woman would have no cause for alarm when it approached; and would. therefore not suspect its intentions.
Being an innocent who had never been exposed to evil, the woman would certainly never suspect one of God's creatures to be anything but honest and truthful. Up to this point, Eve wasn't even aware that something called a lie existed. And actually, she didn't even know what honesty was either because nobody had taught her anything about it yet.
†. Gen 3:1c . . Did God really say: You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?
Catching the woman alone, away from her husband's oversight, the Serpent began subtly introducing a concept which neither she nor Adam had even imagined before: it is actually possible for a creature to question its maker. However; that is not a particularly good idea.
†. Isa 45:9 .. Shame on him who argues with his Maker, though naught but a potsherd of earth!
†. Dan 4:32 .. All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account. [God] does as He wishes with the host of heaven, and with the inhabitants of the earth. There is none to stay His hand or say to Him: What have You done?
Why didn't the Serpent attempt to trick the male before turning to Eve? Well, who says he didn't? To assume otherwise is cave to the logic of what's known as an argument from silence; which essentially attests that if something isn't clearly stated in the biblical record, then it's inferred from the silence that there was nothing to state. But Adam was a tougher nut to crack because he got his intel straight from the horse's mouth and knew the truth very clearly and without ambiguity. But the woman quite possibly was instructed second hand, in conversations with her husband; who was, in effect, her personal rabbi. So it would be fairly easy to convince Eve that maybe she didn't hear her husband correctly.
Of course it was ridiculous to suggest the humans were forbidden to eat of "any" tree. But the Serpent was slowly sneaking up on the woman with subtle suggestions. Probing for weak points, the Serpent tested her understanding of God's instructions by asking a question that she should have been able to answer with relative ease. In response; the woman bounced right back and quoted God like a pro (or so she thought).
†. Gen 3:2-3 . . The woman replied to the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the other trees of the garden. It is only about fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said: You shall not eat of it or touch it, lest you die.
oopsie! Where did God say Adam couldn't "touch" the fruit? He didn't. (cf. Gen 2:16-17)
The woman adulterated God's instructions by reading something into them that He didn't actually say. She fell prey to a very human weakness-- not only of adulterating God's testimony, but of a tendency to make the laws of God more cumbersome and more strict than they really are.
Adulteration changes the meanings of God's sayings and inevitably leads people into error. While often containing a kernel of truth, adulterations are nevertheless not pure truth, but amalgams of truth and error that falsify God's teachings and direct people off in the wrong direction; leading them to believe, and to repeat, things that aren't true. Adulterations are also very useful for manipulating people to favor the Serpent's wishes rather than the Lord's. Thus, without their knowing it, they fall in line and become the Serpent's sheep instead of Christ's.
†. Gen 3:4 . . And the serpent said to the woman: You are not going to die,
Having already tested the woman's interpretation of God's instructions, and found it in error, the Serpent was understandably encouraged to push on and attempt to introduce some additional bogus concepts. The woman's fall is typical. First she adulterated God's instructions. Then she listened to someone refute them. Next, she will accept the refuter's argument, and then she will break with God.
Now the curious thing is: the Serpent somehow knew in advance that Eve was immune to the fruit of that tree. So when he told her she wouldn't die; he told the truth; but it was a half truth. In other words; the Serpent somehow knew the fruit wouldn't take Eve's life by means of her own eating; but rather by means of Adam's eating. In other words; Eve died because of Adam's mistake rather than her own; and it's been that way for the human family ever since.
NOTE: according to Deut 24:16, a man's progeny cannot be held responsible for his sins. However, According to Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17, the Old Testament's laws aren't retroactive. In other words: Deut 24:16 had no say in people's lives prior to Moses; and since Deut 24:16 was powerless prior to Moses, then so was Ezek 18:4, Ezek 18:17-18, Ezek 18:20, and 2Chron 25:4.
So then, for whose sins, if not for their own, did people (including underage children) die prior to Moses? The answer is to be found in the third chapter of Genesis and in Rom 5:12-21. The consequence of Adam's eating the forbidden fruit was death to his entire progeny, including Eve, since she was constructed from human tissue amputated from his own side; thus making Eve, in effect, Adam's very first child.
Adam's entire progeny includes Christ. So then, had he not been crucified, Jesus would have eventually died of natural causes anyway because Christ wasn't immortal prior to his resurrection.
NOTE: something that believers have to be constantly on guard against is sophistry; which Webster's defines as subtly deceptive reasoning and/or argumentation. Quite a number of cults are built on sophistry; which of course they call "reasonable" and/or "sensible". But faith isn't built upon only what makes sense to it; but rather, built upon what's revealed to it. So be careful out there; most especially with door-to-door missionaries.
While we're on the subject of sophistry; I should mention a bit more about it.
Women have a natural-born propensity to yield to satanic sophistry rather than God's expressed wishes.
†. 1Tim 2:14 .. Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
Women'snatural-born propensity to yield to satanic sophistry wasn't a result of the fall. Women's creator built that propensity into the feminine mystique right from the get-go; and is given as one of the reasons by Christian women are forbidden by 1Tim 2:11-14 to either preach to Christian men, teach Christian men, and/or supervise Christian men within a church environment.
†. Gen 3:5a . . but God knows that as soon as you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings
The Hebrew word for "divine beings" is'elohiym (el-o-heem') which is the very same word for man's creator in Gen 1:1. If someone presented you with an opportunity to be a God; wouldn't you take it? I think so; especially if you didn't know any better.
The thing to note is that the Serpent's promise wasn't altogether untrue. In time they did become gods (Gen 3:22, Ps 82) but his promise was a half-truth. In other words; he withheld a very important aspect of god-ism; and that is there is only one true god (John 17:3) so that by default, Eve and her husband became false gods since in the Bible there is no intermediate layer of gods sandwiched between the true and the false.
There are belief systems (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses) who practice a form of deism called Monolatrism (or Monolatry) which is defined as the belief in the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity. Unlike Henotheism, Monolatrism asserts that there is only one god worthy of worship, though other gods are believed to exist. In other words: Monolatrists believe in a layer of intermediate gods sandwiched between the true and the false; which is where the Watchtower Society's theologians have installed The Word of John 1:1. Here's their version of his existence.
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."
Anyway: the Serpent insinuated that creation's God was withholding the tree, not because it was poisonous or anything like that; but to keep the humans in check: much in the way that some of the world's despots utilize illiteracy, control of radio and television programming, and limited internet access to keep their subjects in check. In effect, the Serpent was saying that God got His wisdom from that very same tree and that's why He didn't want to share the fruit with them; because then they might become savvy enough to go out on their own without depending so much upon their maker.
In her defense; the woman was inexperienced, and certainly no match for the Serpent's intelligence. But her defeat wasn't inevitable. She could have easily resisted the Serpent by simply sticking to her guns and parroting God's instructions over and over again until the Serpent got disgusted and gave up. But no, she dropped God's instructions early on; and thus set the stage for the utter ruin of her own posterity.
The serpent finally convinced Eve that the tree was not just a path to better judgment, as if there are many such paths; but rather "the" path.
The Serpent was correct about one thing though. Eve would know good from evil after eating from the tree alright; only he didn't tell her it would be an intuitive knowing rather than an enlightened knowing. In other words; man wasn't designed to be a god; but rather, the student of a god.
†. Gen 3:6a . . When the woman saw that the tree was good for eating
By watching what birds and animals eat, people can often tell what's safe for human consumption. That's not always true of course, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb. So the woman could safely assume the tree wasn't poisonous if there wasn't a growing pile of dead critters at the base of the tree.
†. Gen 3:6b . . and a delight to the eyes,
Most fruits and vegetables are very appealing-- just look at bananas and pears and apples and oranges and watermelon and cantaloupe and grapes and plums and mangoes and strawberries. God doubtless made them that way so Man could not only nourish himself, but also enjoy his food; viz: not only eat because he has to, but also because he'd like to.
†. Gen 3:6c . . and that the tree was desirable as a source of wisdom,
The "wisdom" available from the tree was in the form of intuition; which Webster's defines as: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference. In other words: intuition is a kind of insight that knows about certain things without having to be either told or taught.
†. Gen 3:6d . . she took of its fruit and ate.
You can just see Eve's eyes brighten from the sugar rush as she realized the Serpent was right after all-- she didn't die. So the woman brought it home and convinced her man to try it too.
†. Gen 3:6e . . She also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
Did Eve first deftly dice the fruit and camouflage it in a tasty parfait so her husband wouldn't know what he was eating? No. Adam knew exactly what he was doing. He went into it with eyes wide open.
†. 1Tim 2:14 .. Adam was not the one deceived
I have to wonder why the husband followed his wife's lead and did something he knew full well to be breaking God's commandment and putting himself at risk of death. Genesis doesn't reveal why Adam chose to eat the fruit. I suppose he had his reasons, but apparently God didn't think they were sufficient to excuse the man's disobedience.
I think Adam was cautious at first, and kept a wary eye on Eve for some time waiting to see if she would get sick; and when she didn't, he surely had to wonder if maybe God was wrong. I think most husbands would sympathize with Adam. I mean: here's your wife sitting right beside you happily munching away on something that you were led to believe was deadly poisonous, and she's still healthy, lucid, and exhibiting no ill side effects: how is a man supposed to argue with that?
Adam was told by a competent source that the forbidden tree was toxic. Though he could see for himself that Eve was experiencing no ill side effects; he should have refused to eat until at the very least he inquired why she wasn't getting sick from somebody who knows what they're talking about.
There's a useful lesson to be learned from it. In other words: Faith believes what's revealed to it rather than only what makes sense to it. Eve's apparent immunity to the fruit's toxins wasn't really reason enough to assume that God's instructions were unreliable. But even had they been unreliable; it was still wrong of Adam to brush them aside and do as he pleased. He was told not to eat the fruit. Whether it was actually toxic or not toxic is unimportant. This episode was primarily about the quality of Adam's obedience rather than about the quality of the fruit.
Did Adam die the instant he ate the fruit as predicted in Gen 2:17? Yes, he most certainly did; though his heart didn't stop till quite a few decades later (Gen 5:5). What's with that? Easy. Tasting the tree resulted in the loss of Adam's perpetual youth, and he began to age.
One morning years ago as I was looking in the mirror shaving getting ready for work, I noticed that my once-thick hair was thinning; and upon closer examination, I also noticed that my face was beginning to sag a bit and there was the slightest hint of bags under my eyes. And then it hit me like an icy wind that my youth was over and the aging process had kicked in. I had become a dead-man-walking; and I was just 32. (That was back in 1976. You should see my face and hair now)
Death then, includes one's gradual debilitation; viz: death on the hoof. Whereas in the beginning man's youth was perpetual; now he enjoys a relatively brief period of freshness before he begins to fall apart; and from then on his remaining time on this globe can be defined as the throes of a living death for which there is no known treatment except one: the tree of life; and it's no longer available.
A pretty good illustration of the fatal effects of the aging process is one I borrowed from the movie Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was said of a terminator that it can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop-- ever! --until you are deceased.
†. Gen 3:7a . .Then the eyes of both of them were opened
Eve ate the fruit first; but her eyes weren't opened until after the rootstock of the race tasted it. That incident introduced an important biblical absolute that regulates even the scope of the Lord's crucifixion. (cf. Rom 5:12-19)
Although Eve was tricked, she wasn't innocent.
†. 1Tim 2:14b .. the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.
†. Gen 3:7b . . and they perceived that they were naked;
Shazaam! Their newly acquired moral compass kicked in with an intuitive sense of propriety. In other words: Adam and his wife found themselves slaves of a humanistic sense of right and wrong so powerful that even if Almighty God himself told them it was okay to remain in the nude; they would not have believed Him.
†. Gen 3:7c . . and they sewed together fig leaves and made themselves loincloths.
I seriously doubt they had a needle and thread. The word for "sew" is taphar (taw-far') which just simply means to fabricate clothing. If taphar were used to strictly mean needle and thread; then it would appear that Job stitched fabric directly to his own skin. (Job 16:15)
But why not bosom coverings? Why not derrière coverings too? Why only loin coverings? Well it's not too hard to figure out is it? The moment Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, they developed a guilt complex over sex and the human body that continues to this day; and I sincerely believe that complex is the very reason why so many people feel that the male libido is sinful.
Some say there were no agents in the fruit to cause the changes in human nature that occurred in the Adams. But I'm not so sure. According to an article in the Oct 8, 2011 issue of the Oregonian; new research reveals that some, if not all, the plants we eat actually change the behavior of human genes in ways never before imagined.
A new study led by Chen-Yu Zhang, of Nanjing University, found that fragments of plant genetic material survive digestion and wind up swimming in the bloodstreams of humans and cows. Those tiny strands of RNA that somehow make it through the toxic acids and enzymes in the gut come from rice and the plant family that includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Zhang found that they can muffle or amplify human gene expression in various ways. The discovery could lead to ways of designing plants that act as medicine or even change our own genetic structure for the better (or the worse).
And it's well known what happens to kids when they move into adolescence. Hormonal chemicals kick in, and their childish innocence vanishes; right out the window. They lose interest in kid's toys and begin to take an interest in things more appropriate for their age; including a very noticeable interest in themselves, and in the opposite sex; and most especially in what others think about them. In other words: they become self-conscious; which Webster's defines as: uncomfortably aware of oneself as an object of the observation of others.
NOTE:I strongly suspect that self consciousness played a major role in the Adams' sudden impulse to wear clothing; viz: neither wanted the other to think of themselves as perverted and/or narcissistic for parading around totally bare.
Those adolescent changes aren't miraculous changes-- they're totally natural, hormonally induced, organic changes. So if kids undergo a natural kind of change because of the chemicals generated by the glands in their own bodies, then there is good reason to believe that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil actually did contain something that caused Adam and his wife to morph and develop a humanistic sense of propriety; and that "sense" can't help but influence people's interpretation of Matt 5:28. In other words they want male libido to be naughty because their forbidden-tree intuition compels them to "feel" it's naughty.
At any rate, the pending dialogue, between God and Man in the next few verses, implies that God himself had no hand in making those two people change. On the page of scripture, their altered human nature is directly related to the fruit and to nothing else. So instead of stretching our imaginations to construct a spiritual explanation, I think it would be better to stick with the biological one and let it go at that.
†. Gen 3:8a . . They heard the voice of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day;
The grammar and syntax of Gen 3:8 strongly suggests that it was His voice moving about rather than the Lord God Himself in person. So, we might ask: how does a voice move about? Well, if the Lord God's voice was the Word of John 1:1-2 then there's no mystery to it because we know from John 1:1-18 that the Word is capable of human form; and that the Word is God's preferred means of interacting with humanity.
I think it's appropriate to state at this point in our journey through Genesis that the divine being interacting with humans in this book wasn't God Himself in person; but a being whose name is his master's; identified in sacred Jewish literature as Metatron; but widely known by the name yhvh. We'll get to that a bit later on.
The breezy time of day is a bit difficult to figure out without really knowing the climate conditions under which Adam and his wife lived. The breezy time may have been a routine part of their day when the mist was gently blown around to irrigate the garden.
The Lord God may have conducted school for the Adams every day at just about that time; so His arrival was likely expected. It was an opportunity to share their experiences and ask questions about things in nature that they didn't fully understand. And maybe they even talked about life on other planets, and how to make hot cocoa and pop corn.
Can you imagine the incredible advantage of being in a classroom with the undisputed expert on everything? You would never need a second opinion, nor go away wondering if your speaker really knew what He was talking about.
†. Gen 3:8b . . and the man and his wife hid from Yhvh God among the trees of the garden.
Well, that's understandable. They usually met with God in the buff; but now, the Adams were no longer comfortable with frontal nudity and the Lord God would surely notice their unease.
†. Gen 3:9a . .The Lord God called out to the man
Why did God call out to the male? Answer: the principle of primogeniture. In other words: the male was created first, and the female second; ergo: Adam held the rank of the firstborn and also the paterfamilias of his race; which included his wife who, in a manner of speaking, was his first child. Thus, the male was God's point of contact with the human family; and the one held most responsible for its welfare too.
NOTE: the rank of firstborn is always, and without exception, a male position. No woman has ever held that rank in the Bible simply because women are the wrong gender; which explains why the Bible's God has permitted women neither in the Levitical priesthood nor in the Christian pulpit.
†. 1Tim 2:11-13 .. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
†. Gen 3:9b . . and said to him: Where are you?
Since God is omniscient, "where are you" can be taken to mean: Adam; come out, come out, wherever you are!
But the important thing to note in this incident, is that God took the initiative to seek Man, not the other way around.
†. Gen 3:10 . . He replied: I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.
Now that's interesting. Adam seemed concerned about being chastised for nudity; which in his mind was now naughty where before it was completely innocent. Well, if so, it was because of the intuitive sense of propriety he recently obtained from the forbidden tree; which is a natural sense of propriety rather than a divine sense.
†. Gen 3:11a . .Then He asked: Who told you that you were naked?
In other words: who said frontal nudity is indecent? Well; nobody had said frontal nudity is indecent, nor even suggested that frontal nudity is indecent-- they just "felt" it's indecent. In other words; it was their intuition telling them that frontal nudity is indecent. Where did they get that? Not from their creator; no, they got it from that tree.
†. Gen 3:11b . . Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?
Mr. Adam's guilt complex about sex and the human body was a dead giveaway that he had experimented with that tree. (chuckle) Adam was covering up more than just his pelvic region; but God sleuthed it out of him.
Something in the chemistry of that tree altered Adam's consciousness. His human intuition now "senses" that frontal nudity is indecent; whereas before it sensed no such thing.
That is an astounding revelation. It tells me that man's natural moral compass is maladjusted and can't be trusted to provide him with absolutes; which is precisely why there are nine justices on the US Supreme Court instead of one, because one justice alone can't be trusted. In point of fact, it is extremely rare for all nine justices to agree because they don't render absolutes; no, they render opinions; and the majority's opinion is not always right; no, it's just the one we have to live with until such a time as it's overturned by a future majority's opinion.
So why didn't Adam just meet with the Lord God in the buff that day and try to act as if nothing was amiss? Because he just couldn't do it. Their new sense of propriety was fresh and strong and right off the tree. Nowadays, by the time most people are of age, they've managed to desensitize their conscience so it doesn't bother them as much. But the Adams hadn't learned how to do that in time for the Lord's next daily visit.
†. Gen 3:12 . .The man said: The woman You put at my side-- she gave me of the tree, and I ate.
Adam's defense actually insinuates that God set him up to take a fall. Like: "This wouldn't have happened if you hadn't imposed that female upon me. Did I ask for a wife? NO! And what kind of person is this woman you gave me anyway? She has managed to ruin my life in very short order. Is this your idea of suitable aid?
Adam's defense is very typical. I hear it all the time from atheists in the form of this question:
"If God created humanity capable of yielding to temptation, then how can He rightly condemn us for only doing what comes natural?" In other words: "since God made us this way; then it's His own fault when we stray; not ours."
Some people would like nothing better than to sue God for product liability and thus remove any responsibility for their own conduct.
†. Gen 3:13 . . The Lord God said to the woman: What is this you have done? The woman replied: The serpent duped me, and I ate.
The first couple exhibited early-on a very common aspect of human nature of which all of us are so familiar-- blaming others for the way we act. I once worked in a boatyard with a very hot tempered man. Previous to his employment with us, we had another with just about the same temperament who quit right before the second one signed on. Some time later, the new guy got irate about something or other and said: Now I know why that other guy was difficult. You made him that way. (chuckle) Wasn't that a perfectly natural Adam-reaction?
I had a girlfriend like that once. When I pointed out one day that she was behaving peevishly; she retorted: "I'm only responding to you". (chuckle) Ms Peevish employed the age-old excuse of blaming someone else for the way she acted when really the blame was just simply her own lack of self-control; which Webster's defines as: restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, and/or desires.
†. Gen 3:14a . .Then the Lord God said to the serpent:
A marked departure in procedure is very evident here. God gave the humans an opportunity to defend themselves; but not so with Mr. Serpent. On the page of scripture, the trial phase was skipped and proceedings went straight to the sentencing stage just like Osama Bin Laden's recent assassination. It's almost as if the Serpent had already discussed with God how it planned to turn the humans against Him; like when it later moved against Job.
One thing for sure about the Serpent; it is an utterly condemned individual. Repentance is out of the question and definitely NOT an option. Its destiny was determined long, long ago.
†. Matt 25:41 ..Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels
The apostle John saw the Serpent's fate; like a video clip from the future.
†. Rev 20:10 .. And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
It is only too obvious that the Serpent crossed over a line somewhere in the past and now there is no going back. Humanity is redeemable; but the Serpent is beyond hope. The scary part is: the Serpent is not only doomed, but busy making every effort to take as many people down with it as possible-- like a disgruntled postal worker coming in one day and cutting loose on everybody with a shotgun.
†. Gen 3:14b . . Because you did this, more cursed shall you be than all cattle and all the wild beasts:
The Hebrew word for "curse" is from 'arar (aw-rar') which means: to execrate. Webster's defines execrate as: to declare to be evil or detestable; viz: denounce. Synonyms listed for execrate are: hate, abhor, abominate, detest, and loathe. When the Bible's God has those kinds of feelings for someone; they are really in trouble.
But what really caught my attention is that God implied cattle and beasts would be cursed too. Up ahead we'll see that even the soil would be cursed. In other words: Adam's progeny would never live on the planet as it was when their ancient grandparents were created. We today exist on a cursed planet. That's a terrible thought.
The third chapter began with a statement that the Serpent was more cunning than any of the beasts of the field: a creature that began with a level of dignity way over and beyond the land animals; but fell to a position of esteem far below them because of what it did to the Adams family. In other words, the Serpent is now lower than the lowest thing on the face of the earth.
†. Gen 3:14c . . On your belly shall you crawl and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life.
Ancient Jews thought maybe the Serpent was originally equipped with feet.
T. upon thy belly thou shalt go, and thy feet shall be cut off, and thy skin thou shalt cast away once in seven years; and the poison of death shall be in thy mouth, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. (Targum Jonathan)
It's probably best to interpret Gen 3:14c as poetic language because I have never seen, nor yet heard of, a species of snake that eats soil for its food. True, snakes crawl on their bellies; but they probably always did; because that's the way they're designed. Some snakes live in trees and others live in water. Those kinds don't spend a whole lot of time on the ground so not all snakes are alike. I really don't think snakes crawl because they were condemned to crawl. Nor was every species of snake condemned; just the one snake in verse 14.
A person who crawls and eats dirt is typically someone held in very low regard; in other words: a worm. And "all the days of your life" is saying that God's low opinion of the Serpent will never be rescinded.
Serpents will eat dirt in the kingdom of God; possibly as a perpetual reminder of humanity's first great mistake.
†. Isa 65:25 ..The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and the serpent's food shall be earth.
Today, snakes don't eat earth, they eat prey. How serpents will survive on dirt is unclear, unless their digestive system will be changed to that of a night crawler. Serpents in the Bible are never portrayed as beneficial to humanity. They are always of the poisonous variety and a serious threat to Man's health and well being. That will all be different in the kingdom of God.
†. Isa 11:8-10 .. A babe shall play over a viper's hole, and an infant pass his hand over an adder's den. In all of My sacred mount nothing evil or vile shall be done; for the land shall be filled with devotion to the Lord as water covers the sea. In that day, the stock of Jesse that has remained standing shall become a standard to peoples-- nations shall seek his counsel and his abode shall be honored.
†. Gen 3:15a . . I will put enmity between you and the woman,
I don't think the kind of enmity that God spoke of was the kind where friends fall out of harmony; but rather, He decreed a sort of poetic justice; viz: "You caused her downfall; and now I'm going to make it so that she causes yours."
†. Gen 3:15b . . And between your offspring and her offspring.
The word for "offspring" is from zera' (zeh'-rah) which is an ambiguous Hebrew word that technically means: seed; but can also mean a product and/or a result, and also fruit, plant, sowing-time, and/or progeny.
For example: the 53rd chapter of Isaiah predicts that Christ would "see seed" in spite of the fact that Isaiah also predicted Christ would die and leave behind no posterity. In that case; zera' can't possibly mean that Christ would see biological seed; but rather, see the fruits of his labor; which within the context of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah consists of bearing the sins of many and thus shielding them from the wrath of God.
Zera' is one of those words that can be either singular or plural, depending upon the context. Other words like that are deer, sheep, Man, and head (as in head of livestock). Every kid in a family can be called the parents' zera' whether there's eight kids or a lone child.
†. Gen 3:15c . . He will pound your head, and you will bite his heel.
The Hebrew word translated "he" isn't gender specific. It can mean either he, she, and/or it. So that Gen 3:15c could be-- and in some translations is --translated: "It will pound your head, and you will bite its heel". The decision to use "he" was an arbitrary choice; but seeing as how the Serpent, to my knowledge, is unable to reproduce itself with biological offspring, I'd recommend going with "it".
Anyway; from that point onwards the Serpent has made it his mission in life to prevent Eve's seed from doing the very thing God predicted; eventuating in Herod's slaughter of Jewish toddlers and the Lord's murder on the cross.
Who are the Serpent's seed? Liars and Murderers; for starters (John 8:44). Additional Serpentary seed are people who exist solely to satisfy their passions and desires (Eph 2:1-3). And people given to rivalry and strife (Jas 3:14-15). Those kinds of seed are seed from the aspect of being products of the Serpent's handiwork.
†. Gen 3:16a . . And to the woman He said: I will make most severe your pangs in childbearing;
For many women, the pregnancy stage of motherhood is often characterized by bloating, illness, nausea, depression, anxiety, insecurity, and irritability. For them, pregnancy is more like a curse than the intended blessing of Gen 1:28.
†. Gen 3:16b . . in pain shall you bear children.
It's difficult to imagine childbirth without pain because that's the way it's always been right from the beginning, even with Eve's very first child. Apparently before Man's fall, having a baby would have been no more painful than doing one's business in the ladies room-- and just as lacking in danger to mom and baby.
†. Gen 3:16c . .Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
The Hebrew of that passage is very difficult; not even the great rabbis Rashi and Ramban were in agreement how best to interpret it. But it appears to me simply the very first prohibition against adultery.
†. Gen 3:16d . . and he shall rule over you.
That is probably one of the most hated verses in the whole Bible. Eve's daughters do not like to be subjugated to and/or dominated by men. It really goes against their fallen grain; and if the women's suffrage movement that took place in America's early 1900's were to be thoroughly analyzed, it would not surprise me that women's right to vote wasn't really an equality issue: it was a rebellion against male rule.
That rule isn't restricted to marriage. It regulates women's place in church too-- all churches.
†. 1Cor 14:33-35 .. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
†. 1Tim 2:11-15 .. Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.
How long the Adams lived together sans the imposition of a gender hierarchy isn't stated; but evidently there was no need for it prior to the tree incident. But the incident aptly demonstrates that manipulative women can quickly lead men to ruin in no time at all because it's all too easy for them to persuade men to behave themselves in ways contrary to their own better judgment; which reminds me of a really cute line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Toula Portokalos complains to her mother: "Ma, dad is so stubborn. What he says goes. Ah, the man is the head of the house!"
Toula's mom, Maria Portokalos, responds: "Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck; and she can turn the head any way she wants."
That's humorous but it's not a laughing matter. Many a man has been led like sheep to the slaughter by women who got them to do things contrary to their own better judgment.
†. Gen 3:17a . .To Adam He said: Because you did as your wife said, and ate of the tree about which I commanded you; "You shall not eat of it"
God's biggest gripe was that Adam put a woman's wishes over and above His own; thus making women one of God's competitors for a man's loyalty.
But you know; Adam probably balanced things out and figured that, all things considered, it was better to disappoint God than to disappoint his wife because, after all, Adam had to live with Eve; he didn't have to live with God. So he put her first, and made her happy rather than make God happy. Lots of married guys can easily identify with Adam's predicament; and I'm sure the majority of us would have made the very same choice.
There is really nothing intrinsically wrong with the influence that women have over their men. After all, that's the way the guys were made from the get-go. It's not as if Adam became inclined to make his wife happy sometime later after he became a sinner. No, he was inclined to make his woman happy right out of the box. So it's okay if woman influence their men; but it's the way women use their influence that makes all the difference. Most guys love to please their best girl; and a wise one will take advantage of that love sensibly so that everything comes out all right, and no one gets hurt.
†. Gen 3:17b . . Cursed be the ground because of you
Not only would Man himself be effected by a curse upon the ground, but every living thing that depends upon the Earth for food would be effected too; from lowly nematodes and earthworms right on up to the top of the food chain. The whole animal world, and all the seed-bearing plant life too, would pay for Adam's mistake.
God somehow manipulated the soil's fertility so that it now no longer produces as well as it did in the beginning. The abundant swarms of life that God created in the beginning would, at that point, begin to thin out as the competition for available natural food-stuffs intensified.
†. Gen 3:17c . . By toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life
Adam was no stranger to work because God already had him tending the garden. But matters worsened with a new ingredient. The word for "toil" is from 'itstsabown (its-tsaw-bone') and means: worrisome-ness. Webster's defines worrisome-ness as: causing distress or worry or inclined to worry or fret; viz: Man became anxious, insecure, and perhaps somewhat melancholy.'Itstsabown is the very same word used in verse 16 to describe the physical and emotional discomfort women now have to endure during pregnancy.
†. Gen 3:18a . . thorns and thistles shall it sprout for you.
God finished the entire cosmos in six days; and no more creating took place after that: so thorns and thistles already existed prior to the events of chapter 3. But in the beginning, noxious plants doubtless weren't so dominant. Today they're a nuisance because if ground is left fallow, it will soon be covered with dock, mustard, dandelion, chaparral, wild flowers, brambles, reed canary grass, and stuff like that. Those kinds of plants may be okay for wildlife, but Man needs something a little more substantial.
†. Gen 3:18b . . and your food shall be the grasses of the field;
I don't think Man is supposed to graze on pasture like buffalo or deer and elk. Many of the grasses God intended for him to eat fall into the food group we call cereals; which are raised primarily for their grain; e.g. corn, wheat, and rice; et al.
Recently, while making play dough for her kindergarten class, my wife was surprised by little bugs in her bag of flour whose eggs had somehow survived the milling process. People subsisting on vegan diets, such as many of the people of India, eat lots of minute insect eggs along with their fruits and vegetables without knowing it, thus providing themselves with a number of essential nutrients that most everyone else obtains by eating animal products; so I'm pretty confident Adam got by okay on a diet of grasses.
†. Gen 3:19a . . By the sweat of your brow shall you get bread to eat,
Whereas the Adams before had a beautiful productive farm complete with orchards that required minimal maintenance, they became faced with stubborn soil that needs plowing and sowing, and weeding. Very few natural grains exist abundantly in nature. These days; if he wants them in any sizable amount, Man has to farm.
Those of us who live in 9 to 5 leisure-intensive America really don't appreciate just how laborious and time consuming the work is to grow your own food. Early Man's days were hard. They're still hard in many developing countries. Adam had to get out there with a hoe and a plow to provide for his family. Today, only about 2% in the USA work the ground. Most people make their livings indoors in professions and trades totally unrelated to food production.
†. Gen 3:19b . . until you return to the ground-- for from it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
Did God have to kill Adam in order for him to stop living? No; all He had to do was deny Adam access to the tree of life and let nature takes its course; in other words: it was only a matter of time before Adam simply passed away of natural causes.
But what happened to Adam when his body returned to dust? Did he return to dust too? No; and the reason is: the living, conscious, sentient portion of Adam's existence didn't come from the dust. According to Gen 2:7 it came from God. Life then, isn't indigenous to planet earth. No, life is invasive; viz: it was introduced.
†. Gen 3:20 . .The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
The word for "mother" is from'em (ame) which can mean a mother in an immediate family, or the matriarch of a blood line, or the mother (as the rootstock) of an entire nation.
The word for "Eve" is from Chavvah (khav-vaw') and means: life giver. Some people have a problem with Eve. They just can't believe she's the mother of the entire human race; which would include Jesus too. But Genesis says Adam named his wife Eve because she was the life giver of all the living, not just a portion of the living. According to the Bible, Man wasn't created in groups nor in swarms like the other nephesh. The human race was created in its entirety a singular, solo, male specimen. Every human being since, including the first woman, came from that one lone male.
†. Acts 17:26-28 .. He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.
NOTE: limiting the human race to just one blood was a practical consideration. Had God started a second race by creating Eve from dust instead of from Adam-- in effect creating a male race and a female race --then it would have been necessary to provide the world with two saviors: a male savior for men, and a female savior for women.
†. Gen 3:21 . . And the Lord God made garments of skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
The exact cut and design of their garments isn't specified, and the words kethoneth (keth-o'-neth) and/or kuttoneth (koot-to'-neth) just indicate a shirt, or covering; as hanging from the shoulder. Modern shirts aren't long enough to provide an adequate covering of Man's body. Theirs were probably more like a knee or calf-length dress. A shirt implies that Eve's topless days were over; although that wouldn't necessarily rule out the possibility that she may have become the Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel of her day and created some interesting necklines.
The garments weren't for the Lord's sake; but theirs. Frontal nudity isn't forbidden in the Bible, nor does God himself feel particularly offended by it. Exposure is forbidden during religious services like in Ex 20:26 and Ex 28:42; but that's not really for God's sake but rather for the worshippers. After all, God created Man totally disrobed; and that's the way Man lived for an unspecified time in the garden until he became sensual and developed self-consciousness coupled with a guilt complex over sex and the human body.
The garments actually facilitated the people's association with God. They were unbearably uncomfortable around their creator in the buff and that was principally the reason they hid from the Lord when He came calling. However, fig leaves aren't very durable; they're merely an expedient. God showed them a much better way-- and actually, one they would never have thought of all by themselves because nobody had ever killed an animal before and who would have guessed their skins could be used for clothing until God showed them how?
That day, homo sapiens learned something about the advantages of leather goods. Most leather is produced from cattle hides: calfskin, goatskin, kidskin, sheepskin, and lambskin. Other hides and skins used include those of the horse, pig, kangaroo, deer, crocodile, alligator, seal, walrus, and of late; Python. Human beings have used animal skins for a variety of practical purposes since ancient times, and to this good day leather is still a useful material all around the world. Precisely what species of animal God killed in order to make Adam his first suit of leathers is unknown.
The point to note is that the clothing that creation's God made for the Adams didn't cost them one red cent nor did they have to contribute even the slightest bit of labor in its design and manufacture. God slaughtered the animals, treated their hides, and fabricated the garments Himself; and gave the clothing to them for free, out of kindness; and free of charge. I believe God went to all that trouble because He didn't want anything coming between Himself and Adam. In other words, Adam's felt-shame over frontal nudity was a barrier between him and his creator so God showed him a really good way to overcome it: a way much superior to Adam's limited degree of human ingenuity.
At some point in the future, everyone will be required to stand before God and face an accounting. Apparently some will be just as disrobed as Adam was in the beginning.
†. Rev 3:18 .. I counsel you to buy from me white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed.
The white garments aren't for covering one's nakedness so much as their intent is to prevent the feelings of shame resulting from being disrobed; which is exactly what Adam's leathers were intended to do for him and Eve. If there is anything to learn from Adam's experience it's that even people who are usually comfortable nude-- e.g. exotic dancers, nude bathers, and porn actors --are not immune to feeling shame in the presence of God. In other words, though people may be comfortable naked in front of people; they won't be so comfortable naked in front of the Almighty. It's somehow different in a way that I don't quite understand but when those people stand before God in the buff, they will be anxiously looking about for something to hide behind just like Adam did.
†. Gen 3:22a . . And the Lord God said: Now that the man has become as one of us, discerning good and evil,
Man didn't become one of the us, he became "as" one of the us; in other words: homo sapiens became a race of gods.
†. Ps 82:6a .. I said: You are gods,
When did God say you are gods? Right here in Gen 3:22 and that was really a turn of events. Previously God had pronounced Man a son of creation's God (Gen 1:26, Gen 1:27, Ps 82:6b). Man's new status as a god is problematic because there is only one true god (John 17:3, 1Cor 8:4-6). Therefore Man is a false god; and subject to the condemnation of idolatry; viz: self reverence.
†. Gen 3:22a . . discerning good and evil,
Isn't that what gods do? Yes; gods are judgmental; viz: they develop their own ethics in accordance with their own personal concepts of whatthey think should be right and be wrong. Talk about a clash of the Titans! From that point on, God and man have been at odds with each other fighting over which of the gods is going to set the standards for everybody else: the god of heaven; or the gods of the earth? Well; gods are supposed to be eternal; but Man dies like flies.
†. Ps 82:6-7 .. I said: You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men, and fall like all other princes
†. Gen 3:22c . . what if he should stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever!
The Old Testament Hebrew word translated "forever" doesn't always indicate infinity. Normally it just means perpetual as "in perpetuity" viz:indefinitely; which Webster's defines as: having no exact limits. In other words: it's not unusual for something said to be forever in the Old Testament to be subject to an end; for example the law of the Passover as per Ex 12:1-14. The Passover is to be observed by pious Jews until such a time as God says not to; and so far, He hasn't.
The tree of life didn't contain enough nutrients to give Adam eternal life. It couldn't even give him immortality. But the tree could have given Adam perpetual youth; but even then, only so long as he supplemented his diet with regular doses of it; for example: I have an under-active thyroid gland that if left untreated would eventuate in my untimely death. But so long as I continue to supplement my diet with a prescribed daily dose of a medication called levoxyl, I can expect to live to a normal old age.
However; I can't get by on just one dose of levoxyl, nor can I take a lifetime of doses all at once. Levoxyl has to be taken a little at a time on a daily basis. What I'm saying is: as long as Adam supplemented his diet with nutrients from that tree on a regular basis; he wouldn't die of natural causes; thus he had the potential to remain forever twenty-one. But that was not to be since God had already decreed that man must die for eating the forbidden fruit.
†. Gen 3:23-24 . . So Yhvh God banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he was taken. He drove the man out, and stationed east of the garden of Eden the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.
In order make the warning of Gen 2:16-17 a reality; all that God had to do was deny Adam access to the tree of life and let nature take its course.
The cherubim and the fiery sword didn't actually guard the tree-- they guarded the way to the tree. That's a curious situation and strongly suggests that there is but one route to the tree rather than a variety of routes.
The sword itself almost seems to be a sentient form of life, turning in every direction, threatening and warning all who dared approach. At night its eerie glow lit the sky, and in the daytime, passersby observed its eternal flame burning perpetually like the bush Moses saw in the desert. Brrrr. What a creepy sight that must have been.
From this point on in the book of Genesis, we will never again see another normal human being. Every one of them is going to be a sinful creature; and we are going to see just how wicked those sinful creatures can really be when they put their mind to it.
†. Gen 4:1a . . Now the man knew his wife Eve,
There is more to knowledge than just facts and data. Some kinds of knowledge can't be learned from a book or a lecture; they can only be learned by personal experience. Carnal knowledge is one of those kinds of knowing. It's one thing for a young man to learn things about girls from looking at their pictures and reading about them in biology books and/or in magazines like Cosmopolitan, and Maxim; but it's quite another learning experience to actually cuddle with a girl and sleep with her skin to skin. Throughout the Old Testament, "knew his wife" is a common colloquialism for people sleeping together.
Genesis records no human intimacy in the garden prior to Man's eviction; but that doesn't prove none occurred; it just proves that none is mentioned till the fourth chapter.
†. Gen 4:1b . . and she conceived and bore Cain, saying: I have gained a male child with the help of the Lord.
God wrapped creation on the seventh day (Gen 2:2) and rested after that. Not because He was tired, but because He was all done. At that time, the human race was all done too. Everyone since then has just been a reproduction of Adam.
†. Ps 139:13-16 .. It was you who created my consciousness; you fashioned me in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am awesomely, wondrously made; your work is wonderful; I know it very well. My frame was not concealed from you when I was shaped in a hidden place, knit together in the recesses of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; they were all recorded in your book; in due time they were formed, to the very last one of them.
The writer of that Psalm believed that God saw him way before he was ever conceived in his mother's womb. In fact; saw his substance in the recesses of the earth before his mom even conceived: which attests that everyone pre-exists in Adam because he alone was actually created directly from "the recesses of the earth". Everyone else stems from Adam's organic tissues and it's just a matter of time before the right combination of genes brings them out.
†. Ecc 11:5 .. Just as you do not know how the spirit of life passes into the limbs within the womb of the pregnant woman, so you cannot foresee the actions of God, who causes all things to happen.
No act of creation takes place when babies are conceived. No, man's creation took place back when Adam was created. Babies are merely reproductions of Adam via the blessing of fertility.
Adam received life from God on the sixth day of creation. When God formed the woman, He didn't breathe the breath of life into her nostrils like He did Adam. God simply used Adam's already-existing life to activate Eve. And ever since then, parents have been passing their life on to their children. In other words: human life-- like bird life, fish life, bug life, reptile life, and beast life --is a transferable kind of life; passing from one generation on to the next. It's not a miraculous process; no, it's a perfectly natural process; and it's a pretty amazing process too.
According to ancient Jewish thought, Eve thought Cain to be a very special boy.
T. Gen 4:1 .. And Adam knew Hava his wife, who had desired the Angel; and she conceived, and bare Kain; and she said: I have acquired a man, the Angel of The Lord. (Targum Jonathan)
Apparently Eve expected her firstborn son to be "the God-sent one" who was supposed to fulfill the promise of Gen 3:15 and crush the Serpent's head. But alas, Cain was just an ordinary kid; he wasn't the Angel of The Lord.
NOTE: the Hebrew word for "angel" is mal'ak (mal-awk') which doesn't especially indicate a celestial being. The word is a bit ambiguous and essentially means a dispatched deputy or a messenger; viz: someone who speaks for another; e.g. a courier and/or an ambassador. The New Testament equivalent is aggelos (ang'-el-os) and means pretty much the same thing.
†. Gen 4:2a . . She then bore his brother Abel.
Abel's name is from hebel (heh'bel) and means: emptiness or futility. Figuratively: something transitory and unsatisfactory. Poor Eve; she's only had two kids and already motherhood has lost its appeal. Cain was her very first pregnancy. It was a new, exciting adventure. Well, Abel's birth was no big deal. He was redundant; just another bun in the oven. The first one is the best. After that, they're all Same-O, Same-O.
Cain and Abel are very interesting and share a lot in common. In fact, they share so much in common that their individual personalities must be an enigma to behavioral scientists. Neither boy came from a large gene pool because there were no grandparents. Their genealogy stopped abruptly right in their own home with mom and dad and went back no farther. They both had the same parents, lived in the same home in the same neighborhood, grew up with the same customs, ate the same food, associated with the same people, breathed the same air, survived in the same environment, went to the same church, and worshipped the same God. Yet those boys were noticeably very different from each other. Abel was an inspired man (Luke 11:50-51) but Cain, though religious; was not. And he was violent too. (1John 3:11-12)
†. Gen 4:2b . . Abel became a keeper of sheep, and Cain became a tiller of the soil.
The Hebrew word translated "sheep" is either tso'n (tsone) or tse'own (tseh one') which mean: a flock; which Webster's defines as a group of birds or mammals assembled or herded together. So you can see there that "sheep" is an arbitrary choice of words. Abel could just as easily have been a cowboy wrangling bovine and/or tending goats rather than sheep; but I won't argue the point. Sheep will do.
Both men worked at honorable professions and their skills were essential to the Adams' survival. Man at this time was a vegetarian so Cain farmed and raised the family's food; while Abel kept them clothed and shod by tending flocks for leather; and possibly fleece too.
NOTE: the Hebrew language didn't exist in Adam's day; nor would it exist till some time after the Flood and the tower of Babel. Ancient names given in Hebrew aren't the native-tongue names of people prior to Babel; but rather: Hebrew equivalents of those names.
†. Gen 4:3-4a . . In the course of time, Cain brought an offering to The Lord from the fruit of the soil; and Abel, for his part, brought the choicest of the firstlings of his flock.
The brothers' offerings were consistent with their professions: Abel was an animal husbandman, hence his offering was an animal, while Cain's profession was farming; hence his offering was produce.
There's no indication in this scene suggesting their oblations were sacrifices for sin. The Hebrew word for their offerings is from minchah (min-khaw') and means: to apportion, i.e. bestow; a donation; euphemistically, tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary). Since the offerings were minchah type offerings-- which are essentially gifts rather than obligations --it would be wrong to insist Abel slew the firstling. In a nutshell; minchahs are goods and/or services dedicated towards the Lord's use rather than one's own. Precisely what practical use the Lord made of the brothers' minchah offerings isn't disclosed.
Ancient rabbis believed the brothers' offerings to be a "first fruits" kind of oblation.
T. And it was at the end of days, on the fourteenth of Nisan, that Kain brought of the produce of the earth, the seed of cotton (or line), an oblation of first things before the Lord; and Habel brought of the firstlings of the flock. (Targum Jonathan)
A "first fruit" offering shares your God-given prosperity with the one responsible for it. And you don't give your benefactor the least of your stuff; no, courtesy and common sense insists that you give Him the best of it.
Many years ago, back in the early 1960's when I was a young paratrooper in the US Army, my platoon went on a training mission in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia. A Green Beret tasked with our training shot and killed a deer and some of us were detailed with trekking to the location and hauling the carcass back to camp; where the Beret eventually proceeded to clean and cook it. Our recognition for packing the Beret's deer out for him? A small C-ration can of spoiled meat infested with little white grubs. That was NOT a first fruits kind of offering-- that was an insult.
You know, the providence of God doesn't get much press these days; especially in industrialized nations like the USA. God has a denigrating label for providence-challenged people.
†. Isa 1:2-3 .. Even the donkey and the ox know their owner and appreciate his care, but not my people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand.
(chuckle) Donkeys and oxen aren't all that famous for their IQ but in the Lord's opinion; the intelligence of those beasts exceeds the intelligence of providence-challenged people; and in reality, they're even dumber than Cain.
I think it's safe to assume the brothers were no longer boys, but rather, responsible men in this particular scene because God is going to treat them that way. This incident is not said to be the very first time they brought gifts to God. The brothers (and very likely their parents too), probably had been bringing gifts for many years; ever since they were kids. And up to this point, apparently both men were doing everything right and God was just as much pleased with Cain and his gifts as He was with Abel and his gifts.
But where did they get this religion of theirs? Well; wasn't Abel a prophet?
†. Luke 11:50-51a ..Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary.
It's evident then that the offerings were a legitimate part of a God-given religion rather than a pagan ritual. (cf. Heb 11:4)
†. Gen 4:4b-5a . .The Lord paid heed to Abel and his offering, but to Cain and his offering He paid no heed.
It's common for poorly-trained Bible students to trip up on the nature of the offerings; in other words: they assume Cain was rejected because his offering was bloodless and they attempt to support their theory by citing the below:
†. Heb 11:4 .. It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. God accepted Abel's offering to show that he was a righteous man.
However, the focus in both Genesis and Hebrews is not really upon the offerings because it's okay for a minchah to be bloodless. The focus is actually upon faith and righteousness; that is: the focus is upon the nature of the brother's conduct rather than upon the nature of their gifts. Abel was a righteous man; hence God accepted his gift; and would have accepted it even if Abel's gift had been nothing more than a double-shot Starbuck's latte. Stay with me as I develop this principle because it is very crucial to understanding how one's faith correlates with one's worship.
Whether produce or livestock was the proper offering is not the issue here. In making a determination regarding the gifts, God evaluated the men themselves first. The Lord respected Abel, therefore He respected Abel's gift too. But although God very likely had been satisfied with Cain in the past, this time there was something amiss.
Cain was of a good family. He wasn't the product of poverty or an inner city barrio or dilapidated public housing. His mother wasn't cruel and/or thoughtless, nor did she abandon him. He wasn't in a gang, didn't carry a church key, a shank, an ice pick, or a gun; didn't drink, snort coke, smoke meth, gamble, or chase women. He was very religious and worshipped the exact same God that his brother worshipped, and the rituals he practiced were correct and timely.
Cain worked for a living in an honest profession. He wasn't a thief, wasn't a predatory lender, wasn't a Wall Street barracuda, a dishonest investment banker, or an unscrupulous social network mogul. He wasn't a cheap politician, wasn't a terrorist, wasn't on the take, wasn't lazy, nor did he associate with the wrong crowd. The man did everything a model citizen is supposed to do; yet he, and subsequently his gift, were soundly rejected. Why?
Well, the reason is an elephant in the middle of the room. It was friction between him and his brother. Christ taught that it is incorrect to worship God while the worshipper's relationship with their brother is dysfunctional.
†. Matt 5:23-24 ..Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
So then, what are Gen 4:4b-5a and Matt 5:23-24 teaching? They're teaching that one's worship is unacceptable when their conduct is unbecoming. (cf. Isa 1:11-20, Hos 6:6, Pro 15:8-9, and Prv 21:27)
This principle of comes out very early in the Bible because it is so foundational to man's association with creation's God.
†. 1John 1:5-6 ..This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
†. Gen 4:5b . . Cain was much distressed and his face fell.
Cain was a whole lot worse than distressed. He was blazing mad. The word for "distressed" is from charah (khaw-raw') and means: to glow or grow warm; figuratively (usually) to blaze up, of anger, zeal, jealousy. Cain is actually in a passionate rage over this and certainly in no mood for a lecture.
Central to Cain's problem is something very, very common in human nature: sibling rivalry. To be shown up by someone outside the family would have been okay, but to be shown up by his kid brother was intolerable. In my estimation, Cain was not only angry, but was humiliated as well; and he did not get over this turn of events any time soon.
†. Gen 4:6 . . And The Lord said to Cain: Why are you distressed, and why is your face fallen?
God made an honest effort to talk things over with Cain and resolve their differences; but Cain didn't respond; he was too busy sulking in a black pout.
†. Gen 4:7a . . If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?
That principle is foundational to a mutually profitable relationship with the Bible's God, yet the average pew warmer seems to think it's superfluous. Haw! it's far from superfluous.
†. 1John 3:22 .. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Cain didn't really have any commandments with which to be concerned. His business was to do those things that were pleasing in God's sight; and if he didn't know what those things were; he could always ask; but apparently chose not to-- although I think he kind of suspected what the answer might be.
†. Gen 4:7b . . But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.
This is the very first instance in the Bible of the word "sin". The Hebrew word is chatta'ah (khat-taw-aw') and/or chatta'th (khat-tawth') which are ambiguous words that technically mean an offense; as in repeat offender. In other words; not just an occasional slip-up, but a life style; viz: a habit.
Whatever it was that God found displeasing in Cain's life at the time of the minchah disaster was moved to the back burner at this point because something far worse is looming on Cain's horizon; and it wasn't his kid brother's murder; no, it's something far more fatal to one's spiritual welfare. It's a perpetual unwillingness to talk things over with God and get some things straightened out between the two of you. This is not just serious-- it's extremely serious: and the very thing that prompted God to dispatch Christ into the world to be executed on a cross.
†. John 3:19-21 ..This is the condemnation: that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
Cain wasn't the pioneer of a sinner's propensity to shut God out; no, his mom and dad were.
"They heard the voice of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day; and the man and his wife hid from Yhvh God among the trees of the garden. Yhvh God called out to the man and said to him: Where are you? He replied: I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid". (Gen 3:8-10)
It's true after all that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
†. Gen 4:8a . . Now Cain talked with Abel his brother;
Cain probably complained to his brother that Yhvh was unfair. But the poor man couldn't have picked a worse sounding board because Abel was a prophet (Luke 11:50-51). In Cain's dispute with the Lord, Abel no doubt took Yhvh's side in it. That was too much. There's no way a man like Cain was going to take a lecture from his own kid brother. Abel's popularity with God was bad enough, but preaching only made it worse and added insult to injury.
No doubt Cain was very jealous of his kid brother's on-going popularity with God. Poor Abel lost his life just because he was a pious man.
†. 1John 3:12-13 .. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
One of the boys involved in the April 20, 1999 Columbine High School shooting incident shot and killed a girl in the cafeteria just because she believed in God. Isn't that amazing? That boy was nothing in the world but a twentieth century Cain with a gun.
†. Gen 4:8b . . and when they were in the field, Cain set upon his brother Abel and killed him.
Whether or not Cain premeditated his brother's death that day is difficult to tell. The word for "killed" is from harag (haw-rag') and just means: to smite with deadly intent. Harag is not the same Hebrew word for murder which is ratsach (e.g. Ex 20:13). So the attack on his kid brother, whether premeditated or not, was definitely meant to end Abel's life rather than to just rough him up and teach him a lesson.
How Cain planned to explain Abel's death to his parents isn't stated. He couldn't very well blame it on a carnivorous predator since man and beast were on friendly terms prior to the Flood. It's my guess he set up the crime scene to make it look like an accident.
†. Gen 4:9 . . The Lord said to Cain: Where is your brother Abel? And he said: I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?
Cain worshipped the True God, same as his brother, and he participated in the very same rituals, same as his brother; yet responded to his maker's simple question with a lie and a sarcastic rejoinder. Those who are the Serpent's progeny often act like that because the Serpent's progeny have a Serpent's tongue.
†. John 8:44-45 ..You are of your father the Devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
†. Gen 4:10 . .Then He said: What have you done? Hark, your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground!
The Hebrew word for "cries out" is from tsa'aq (tsaw-ak') and means: to shriek; which can be defined as a wild involuntary scream.
Whether or not human blood actually has an audible voice isn't nearly important as to what it might be saying. And in this case, it certainly couldn't be good.
In civil law, it's handy to produce the corpus delicti in a homicide case because it's very useful for proving the reality of a death, and for establishing the cause, and the time of its occurrence. It's interesting that God didn't produce Abel's body for evidence. He could have, but instead relied upon the voice of his body's blood. So a murder victim's blood can be introduced as a witness in the courts of Heaven. That is very interesting.
Abel's blood spoke (or rather; shrieked) and served to accuse a sinner of homicide. In contrast, when the Lord's blood speaks; it will serve to acquit sinners (e.g. Rom 5:6-11, 1Pet 1:18-19). That's a whole lot more to people's advantage.
†. Heb 12:22-24 .. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than the blood of Abel.
FAQ: Did the Lord take his blood with him to Heaven?
According to John's first epistle, the Lord's blood is still here in use as empirical evidence of his crucifixion.
†. 1John 5:8 ..There are three that bear witness in earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood-- and these three agree in one.
The "water" of that verse would be the serous fluid that drained from the Lord's pericardium when he was impaled by a soldier's spear in order to make sure he was indeed deceased.
†. John 19:34 .. One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
†. Gen 4:11 . .Therefore, you shall be more cursed than the ground which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
That is so creepy. It portrays planet earth as a hungry beast ingesting people down into its gaping maw like a massive carnivore. Well, actually it is-- in its own way.
This big ol' terrestrial ball we live on is nothing in the world but a mausoleum, coasting through space like a giant death star serving to warehouse the remains of millions and millions of dead bodies within its vast earthen chambers. If aliens had radio capability to pick up the combined voices of all the blood that was ever shed on the Earth since the beginning of time, they would surely be scared off by all the ghastly shrieking coming out of their radio speakers.
Cain was neither condemned to die, nor doomed to hell for what he did. He was simply more cursed than the ground; but he wasn't cursed beyond hope any more than the ground was cursed beyond hope in Gen 3:17-18. The soil still produces; just not as good as it once did before the curse. And Cain lost a goodly percentage of his talent for making things grow. In fact, God will see to it that his efforts at farming are frustrated no matter how skillfully he goes about it.
†. Gen 4:12 . . If you till the soil, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. You shall become a ceaseless wanderer on earth.
Ceaseless wandering is a natural consequence of the inability to raise an adequate amount of your own food in that day and age. Nobody was eating meat yet, so the soil was pretty much it as far as nourishment went.
Cain went on to become a very hungry, very overworked man. Wherever he tried to farm, the ground would respond in such a way as to act infertile and its production was stunted. The curse was leveled right at his diet and the source of his food. Up till now, Cain had been a successful, independent farmer. But no amount of agricultural wisdom would ever restore his independence, nor his once green thumb no matter how hard he tried to overcome it. Cain had crossed over a line and there was no going back.
Since Cain could no longer sustain himself by farming, it would be difficult to settle down and build himself a home; so he was forced to become migratory and forage for seasonal foods like the uncivilized beast that he was. It was poetic justice. The punishment sure fit his personality. If he was going to act like a brute, then he deserved to live like one.
Though the Bible doesn't say; it would seem to me a reasonable assumption that Cain's curse effected his progeny too. Up ahead we'll see that they became renowned as an industrial society rather than agrarian. As time went by, and the Adams family multiplied and spread out; Cain's community no doubt traded with them using income from the sale of manufactured goods to pay for the foods that they themselves were unable to grow. Dependence upon imported food may not be ideal; but it's certainly better than going hungry.
†. Gen 4:13 . . Cain said to the Lord: My punishment is too great to bear!
His punishment was actually very lenient. It's true that Cain would struggle to survive; but at least he was allowed to live. His kid brother was dead. How is that fair?
FAQ: How did Cain get off with only a slap on the wrist? Why wasn't he executed for murder since God himself mandates capital punishment for murderers as per Gen 9:5-6, Ex 21:12-14, Lev 24:17, Lev 24:21, and Num 35:31-34? Does God practice a double standard?
ANSWER: Cain got off with such a light sentence because according to Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17, law doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction; viz: it isn't retroactive; which was very lucky for Cain because under those circumstances; God couldn't legally prosecute him for the capital crime of murder in the death of his brother Abel because the laws of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers weren't introduced until better than four centuries after God's covenant with Abraham; and I have no clue how long after Gen 9:5-6.
Murder is morally wrong, yes; and it is intrinsically a sin, yes; but God's mandate for punishing murderers wasn't imposed until after the Flood-- too late to use against Cain. So men could kill each other up until the mandate with a certain measure of immunity because the mandate doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction; viz: it isn't retroactive. That may sound ridiculous; but nevertheless, it's an extremely important biblical principle.
†. Rom 4:15 .. The commandments worketh wrath: but where there are no commandments, there is no transgression.
†. Rom 5:12-14 .. For until the commandments sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there are no commandments.
That same principle applies to those who are in Christ. His crucifixion moved them into a zone where the Commandments have no jurisdiction (Rom 6:3-11, Rom 7:1-6, Gal 2:16-3:29, Eph 2:11-18). Thus, since they are no longer under the jurisdiction of those Commandments; then they're in no danger of the curses, judgments, and/or punishments for breaking them; because where there is no law, there are no trespasses to punish.
The Lord's sheep are in a neutral zone; immune to the Commandments, and therefore completely safe from the Almighty's criminal justice system. They are not safe from discipline, that's true, but discipline is a family matter rather than a criminal matter.
†. Gen 4:14a . . Since You have banished me this day from the soil, and I must avoid Your presence and become a restless wanderer on earth--
Cain wasn't actually banished from the soil-- he could still farm if he wanted to; only he wouldn't be very successful at it. And who said he must avoid God's presence? Somebody can be a ceaseless wanderer without losing touch with God; I mean, after all God is omnipresent; viz: He's everywhere at once.
Avoidance was Cain's decision, just as it was Judas' decision to abandon Jesus. Both men could've turned it around had they wanted; but didn't. Cain walked out on God of his own volition. Now he would face life very insecure.
†. Gen 4:14b . . anyone who meets me may kill me!
I'm curious as to who Cain feared might slay him. The Adams family were the only people on earth at that time.
NOTE: Webster's defines "allude" as making an indirect reference to something. Allude is from the Latin word alludere; which means: to play around with. In other words, when somebody says that Cain's statement suggests the possibility of another family besides the Adams; they are playing around with Scripture because nowhere in the creation story is any more than one man created from the earth's dust; nor is any other woman but Eve said to be the mother of all living.
†. Gen 4:15a . .The Lord said to him: I promise, if anyone kills Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be taken on him.
God didn't promise to be Cain's body guard; only to severely punish anyone who slew him. This event highlights one of the problems associated with domestic tranquility. Law works to protect you only when people obey it; so that retribution becomes the only really practical deterrent. However, when people don't fear retribution, as in the case of the Islamic terrorists who crashed airliners into the World Trade Center, then it's every man for himself.
†. Gen 4:15b . . And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest anyone who met him should kill him.
The nature of Cain's mark is totally unknown. However, the "mark" wasn't so people would hoot at Cain wherever he went. It was a "No Hunting" sign so future generations of the Adams' family would know Cain was a protected species; so to speak.
God allows ignorance as an excuse; to a degree. However, information creates responsibility. When a person knows an act is wrong, and goes ahead and does it anyway, they are in much deeper trouble than one who did not know that a particular act was wrong. No one had been forbidden to kill Abel, nor forbidden to kill any other man for that matter. But soon it would become widespread public knowledge that God strictly forbade killing Cain. Therefore, anyone who ignored God would pay dearly for knowingly, and willfully failing to comply with His wishes. (cf. Num 15:30-31, Matt 11:20-24, Luke 12:47-48, Heb 10:26-27 ).
†. Gen 4:16a . . Cain left the presence of The Lord
Cain's departure from the presence of the Lord wasn't a forced eviction as had been Adam's departure from the garden. Cain's departure was of his own volition; and has the aura of a dreadful finality. He renounced God, and his native religion, and was content to forego its privileges so that he might not be under its control. He forsook not only his kin but also their worship, and cast off all pretenses to the fear of God; and never, on the page of Scripture, came among God-fearing people again, nor ever again gave any thought to any of God's holy ordinances. That verse is a terrible epitaph upon the tombstone of Cain's life, and you can almost feel the concussion of a dreadful thud as the mighty doors of perdition close solidly behind him; sealing his passage into permanent darkness.
Why didn't God plead with Cain to stay in touch? Well, that would be like throwing good money after bad. God had already tried that approach at Gen 4:7.
Of all the things that Cain had done up to this point, walking out on God was his worst mistake. Yes, he would have to scrounge for food; but that was a mere slap on the wrist compared to loss of contact with his maker. People need to think that over. No matter how harsh your circumstances are, and no matter what life has thrown in your face, loss of contact with your maker is much worse. It is wise to stay in touch with God even if your life is a train wreck and God seems oblivious to your circumstances.
†. 1Cor 7:24 .. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
When the Adams fell, God drove them out of the garden; but not out of contact. When Cain fell, he wasn't driven out of contact either. He took the initiative to break contact of his own volition. Though doomed to the life of a nomad, he should have made the best of it and tried to maintain some sort of connection with his maker.
†. Ps 103:8-14 ..The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. He will not contend forever, or nurse His anger for all time .. As a father has compassion for his children, so The Lord has compassion for those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed; He is mindful that we are dust.
†. Gen 4:16b . . and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
The Hebrew word for "Nod" is from nowd (node) and means: wandering, vagrancy or exile. Precisely how Nod got its name, or where it was located is unknown. The only other place in the entire Old Testament where the word nowd is found is at Ps 56:9.
†. Gen 4:17a . . Cain knew his wife,
NOTE: When people build doctrines upon things that are not expressly stated in the Bible; they sometimes resort to passages that allude to their doctrines. A very common one is the doctrine of purgatory. There is no purgatory expressly mentioned in the Bible so those who believe in a purgatory point to passages that suggest the possibility of one.
Webster's defines "allude" as: to make indirect reference. Allude is from the Latin word alludere which means: to play around with. In other words: when people build their doctrines upon allusions, they are playing around with Scripture and construing it to mean things it doesn't say in writing.
People not only use Gen 4:17 to allude to a second, non-Adam family of human beings; but also Gen 4:14.
However; when you get right down to it: there is no record in the Bible of God creating any other family of human beings from the dust but Adam. Biblically; he's it.
†. Acts 17:26 .. He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth
Are you expecting to die some day? If so; then you are in Adam rather than in some other man.
†. 1Cor 15:22 .. In Adam all die
The genetic unity of all human beings is very important to the overall plan of salvation because according to the Old Testament's laws related to kinsman redeemers; Christ could give his life a ransom to rescue only his own human family from the wrath of God. Were there additional human families, one of their own would have to give his life for them; which of course would then require additional crucifixions were those races fallen races.
Cain, of course, married a sister or a niece because there were no other families on the entire planet at that time but the Adams. Some believe that inbreeding has always been abhorrent to God since it's forbidden by stipulations in Moses' covenanted law. However, those laws were not enacted till many, many years after the Flood; and they are not retroactive.
Inbreeding is currently very risky business indeed. But it was neither a risk, nor a taboo in Cain's day like it is now. After all, Adam's wife, Eve, was the female version of himself. In reality then, Adam engendered the entire human race by mating with his own organic tissues. You can't get any closer to home than that.
The human race in Cain's day was very young, very healthy, and very close to its origin. Not enough time had elapsed to damage the human genome. Proof of the excellent quality of the early human genome was longevity. Adam lived till he was 930 and Noah till he was 950. Nobody even comes close to that anymore.
Everybody alive today is the progeny of inbreeding; no exceptions. When the ark finally came to ground, the only people left alive on the whole earth were grandpa and grandma Noah and their three sons and their wives: eight souls; that's all.
†. 2Pet 2:4-5 .. He did not spare the ancient world when he brought the Flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others.
It was from those eight survivors that everyone alive today descends; via inbreeding.
”Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated". (Gen 9:18-19)
†. Gen 4:17b . . and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he then founded a city, and named the city after his son Enoch.
The "city" probably wasn't the kind of city we're used to thinking. The word for it is from 'iyr (eer) and simply means a community-- a place guarded by waking or a watch --in the widest sense; even of a mere encampment or post.
Whether Cain actually lived in a permanent settlement is doubtful since he was stuck with vagrancy and wandering. Cain's city was very likely nothing more than a rudimentary village like the towns in the Old West and the Klondike that grew up around rail heads and mining camps. Some of those were little more than a village of tents, and that's probably all that Enochville amounted to. Just a nomadic assembly of Cain's clan where they could pool their resources, and watch each other's back as they wandered from place to place in the land of Nod searching for sustenance.
†. Gen 4:18-19 . .To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methusael, and Methusael begot Lamech. Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other was Zillah.
Adah is from 'Adah (aw-daw') and means: ornament. It's not unusual for people to name their little girls after precious and/or semi precious stones like Pearl, Ruby, Jade, Sapphire, and Amber. Zillah is from Tsillah (tsil-law') which is derived from tsel (tsale) and means: shade (or shadow), whether literal or figurative. Shade is a good thing in sunny locales so Zillah's name may have been associated with shelter, protection, peace, serenity, and rest-- as in Song 2:3.
Lamech's marriages are the very first incidence of polygamy in the Bible, and I have yet to see a passage where God either approved or disapproved of it other than the restrictions imposed upon New Testament church officers. (e.g. 1Tim 3:2, 1Tim 3:12, and Titus 1:6)
Aside from the obvious sensual benefits men derive from harems; polygamy does have its practical side. The gestation period for human beings is nine months. At that rate, it would take a man many years to build up his clan to a respectable size. But with multiple wives, he could speed things up considerably. In primitive cultures, large families are very influential, and their numbers crucial to survival and self preservation.
†. Ps 127:4-5 .. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are sons born to a man in his youth. Happy is the man who fills his quiver with them; they shall not be put to shame when they contend with the enemy in the gate.
Cain's line, though distant from creation's God, produced a culture of very high intellect and extraordinary ingenuity. Proof enough that just because people don't associate with the Bible's God doesn't necessarily mean they're brainless; I mean: look where much of the outsourcing like computer tech support goes-- to India; an essentially Hindu/Buddhist country. Russia, an essentially atheistic country, was the first in rocketry to put a man-made object in low earth orbit. Who makes the best cell phones and electronic watches? Japan; which is not what I would call a Christian nation. And who leads the progress in natural sciences? Atheists and Agnostics. Actually, it's to be expected that the majority of true Christian believers reflect a cross section of mediocrity: a people-group of just average achievement.
†. 1Cor 1:26-27 .. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
It's tragic that so many otherwise bright, gifted people are lost to perdition where their intellect, their energy, and their talents will never be appreciated nor put to good use ever again: for example Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs; whose religion of choice was Buddhism: a spiritual philosophy utterly incompatible with the principle's of justice underlying the necessity of the Lord's crucifixion; and also incompatible with his teachings on resurrection and fiery retribution.
†. Gen 4:20 . . Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who dwell in tents and amidst herds.
This is the Bible's very first mention of man-made dwellings. Jabal was (maybe) the inventor of the first portable shelter; sort of a primitive version of the modern RV. Tents and teepees make it possible to roam long distances in relative comfort while searching for foods and pastures. Abraham and Sarah were housed in portable shelters the whole time they lived in Canaan. With tents and teepees, Enochville could be a very mobile community, staying in one place only long enough to deplete its natural resources before moving on to better diggings to invade, plunder, exploit, pollute, and depredate.
Jabal wasn't the father of animal husbandry as the passage seems to suggest. Abel was already tending flocks before Jabal was born (Gen 4:2). Dwelling "amidst" herds describes the lifestyle of America's early plains Indians; whose livelihood depended a great deal upon wild buffalo. Though they followed the herds, the Indians didn't actually raise any of their own like on a ranch.
Dwelling amidst herds is a nomadic way of life rather than one that's domesticated; hence the need for portable shelters; and the herds (e.g. deer, wild goats, antelope, wildebeests, et al) would provide fabric for not only the tents, but also for shoes and clothing; which would need replacement quite often. One of Lewis' and Clark's complaints, when they were passing through the Oregon territory, was that moccasins rotted off their feet in the Northwest's climate. Even without rot, the soles of moccasins are not all that resistant to wear. Buckskins, manufactured from Elk hide and/or deerskin, fared little better.
†. Gen 4:21 . . And the name of his brother was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the pipe.
The word for "ancestor" is from'ab (awb); a primitive word which means father, in a literal and immediate, or figurative and remote application. In this particular case,'ab wouldn't mean literal kin, but likely analogous to an inventor who is the first to introduce a new concept which then later becomes widely adopted.
The word for "lyre" is from kinnowr (kin-nore') and means: to twang. So the actual instrument itself is difficult to identify. It could have been a harp. But then again, it may have even been something as simple as a string stretched between a washtub and a broom stick. The interesting thing about an ancient twanging instrument is its string. How did the Cainites make them? Of what material? A stringed instrument is a pretty advanced musical tool and certainly not something you would expect to find among so primitive a people as the antediluvians.
The word for "pipe" is from'uwgab (oo-gawb') and means: a reed-instrument of music. A modern reed instrument is typically a woodwind that produces sound by the vibrating of a thin strip of wood against the mouthpiece; like clarinets and saxophones (hence the classification: woodwinds). But in that culture, it could very well have been something as simple as a tube whistle made from a single hollow section of plant stem; or several of those bundled together like a Pan flute.
†. Gen 4:22a . . As for Zillah, she bore Tubal-cain, who forged all implements of copper and iron.
Tubal-cain was an early smithy of metal knives, hoes, chopping tools, kettles and skillets; which would certainly make life a lot easier out on the frontier. Copper and iron, in their natural condition, are not too strong nor very hard and wear resistant. Their properties are much improved when alloyed with additional elements.
If the smithy adds a tiny percentage of carbon to iron, he gets steel; a much tougher and far more durable metal than its parent. If the smithy adds even more carbon, he gets cast iron, which is a very rigid metal and really good for cooking because it cools slowly.
Adding a little zinc to copper produces brass, which is much stronger and tougher than pure copper. Copper's advantage in cooking is its natural heat conduction, which is very fast as compared to iron and/or steel. It's also an excellent conductor of electricity, but unless they were bottling lightening in those days, copper's electrical properties would have to wait for future exploitation.
†. Gen 4:22b . . And the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
Naamah is from Na'amah (nah-am-aw') which means pleasant, amiable, or agreeable. A girl named Joy would probably fit that category. Naamah was maybe Enochville's public affairs officer over at the local chamber of commerce. A prosperous community like Enochville could always use a friendly hostess, one who was good with the public. Naamah was the lady to see for information about the metal tools and implements on sale over at Tubal-cain's blacksmith shop, and about the musical instruments available over at Jubal's place. Somebody in that town knew how to make tents too; and with the hunters out there stalking herds; there was always a supply of hides and leather goods at hand; and if there was trading with the Adams over in Eden, then there was no doubt imported produce available too.
So all in all, Enochville, though unproductive at farming, prospered through commerce instead; trading the goods and services of their industrial base for much needed produce; the same way that most urbanites still do even today. People in towns and cities typically don't support themselves directly from nature. They earn a medium of exchange in some sort of skill or profession, then trade it with merchants to buy the things they need to survive.
The technological, and cultural, level of early Man was very high. It's interesting that the identifying marks which evolutionary anthropologists use to denote the emergence of a stone age culture into a civilized society were evident in Adam's day: animal husbandry, agriculture, trades, urbanization, music, and metallurgy. All these civilizational technologies emerged very early: within just a few generations of Adam; not after thousands upon thousands of years of human development. I'm not saying there never was any "stone-age" peoples. Obviously there were. But Adam and Cain were not among them.
It's a pity the Flood wiped early Man off the map. Who can tell what he might have accomplished had his progress not been interrupted. (cf. Gen 11:6)
†. Gen 4:23-24 . . And Lamech said to his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice! O wives of Lamech, give ear to my speech! I have slain a man for wounding me, and a lad for bruising me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.
Brag, Brag, Brag-- boy, I tell you some men sure love to show off and glorify themselves in front of women; no doubt about it. Apparently ol' Lamech figured the homicide he committed wasn't nearly as severe as Cain's because he killed in retribution; whereas Cain killed in a rage. Also, Cain killed his kid brother, whereas Lamech killed a relative a little more distant. So in Lamech's estimation, Cain's killing was a much more serious crime; and if a dirty rotten scoundrel like gramps was under God's divine protections, then, in Lamech's mind, he certainly deserved to be under them even more so; or so that's the way it was in his judicious estimation.
It almost appears that Lamech killed two people, but really it was only one; and in fact a person younger than himself. Two words describe Lamech's opponent. The first word is from 'enowsh (en-oshe') and simply means a mortal; viz: a human being (of either gender), in general (singly or collectively). The second word reveals the person's age. The word for "lad" is yeled (yeh'-led) and means something born, i.e. a lad or offspring-- boy, child, fruit, son, young one and/or young man.
Apparently Lamech got in a disagreement with somebody and they settled their differences in a fight. The injury Lamech received in the ensuing scuffle could have been something as simple as the man biting his ear or kicking him in the groin. It's my guess Lamech over-reacted and stabbed the man to death with a spiffy bowie knife that his son Tubal-cain made for him over in the blacksmith shop.
Lamech's sense of right and wrong reflects the humanistic conscience of a man void of God's mentoring. In his earthly mind, revenge was an okay thing; which is a common attitude in many primitive cultures. But his opponent only wounded him. In return, Lamech took his life. The scales of justice don't balance in a situation like that-- they tip. Pure law says eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burning for burning, stripe for stripe, life for life, and no more. If the lad's intent was obviously upon great bodily harm; Lamech would probably be justified to kill him in self defense since his opponent was a younger man and had the advantage in age. However, according to Lamech's own testimony, he killed the man in revenge; not self defense.
Cain's side of the Adams family is characterized by technology, invention, boasting, achievement, commerce, and violence. But not one word is recorded concerning its association with, nor its interest in, their maker. Cain's entire community was a God-free zone and went on to be completely destroyed right down to the last man, woman, and child in Noah's flood. No one survives him today.
The Bible doesn't record even one single incident of a Cainite blessing God for His goodness; nor for His mercy, nor for His providence. There is no record that any of them ever said even one single prayer-- not even a simple lay-me-down-to-sleep kind of prayer. Every one of the little kids in Enochville went to bed each night without the slightest assurance that the God of creation cared at all for the well being of their little souls.
How many homes right here today in modern America reflect that very same Cainish culture? The parents and the children are unthankful, unholy, and irreligious; caring little or nothing for things of eternal value: moving towards an inevitable head-on rendezvous with death and the hereafter, and totally unprepared to meet their maker.
†. Gen 4:26a . . And to Seth, in turn, a son was born, and he named him Enosh.
Sometimes the record shows the mother naming a child, and sometimes the father; which suggests that in all cases there was very likely mutual consultation between husband and wife on this important decision. But it's always important for the father to take a hand in naming the children because the act testifies that he has legally, and officially, accepted them as his own (e.g. Gen 15:16, Gen 21:3, Matt 1:21, Luke 1:13, Luke 1:63, Rev 2:17).
"Enosh" is from 'enowsh (en-oshe') and means: a mortal; hence a man in general, singly or collectively (and thus differing from the more dignified 'adam (aw-dawm') which means: a human being) There's really nothing special about an 'enowsh-- just a feller. Sometimes boys are named Guy, or Buddy, so 'enowsh would be a common enough name.
†. Gen 4:26b . .Then men began to call on the name of Yhvh.
That doesn't mean people began communicating with God only just then. It only means they began calling upon God by a personal name instead of an official title. According to a note in the Stone Tanach, the four letters of this name are those of the Hebrew words "He was, He is, and He will be" signifying that Yhvh is timeless and infinite; ergo: self existent; which is exactly what God conveyed when He identified himself to the people of Israel.
†. Ex 3:13-14 .. And Moses said unto God: Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them "The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you" and they shall say to me "What is his name?" what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses: I Am that I Am. And He said: Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: "I Am hath sent me unto you."
The Bible record generally follows the genealogy that leads to Christ; but, on the way, sometimes takes little side trips along lines forking off the main stem. So Genesis first shows where Cain's line went, drops it, and then picks up Seth's; beginning at Adam. Adam's line of course includes every human being who ever lived, but the only fork in his tree that really counts is the one leading to Jesus of Nazareth : the Bible's central figure.
†. Gen 5:1b-2 . .When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; male and female He created them. And when they were created, He blessed them and called them Man.
As a preamble to Seth's line, Genesis reminds the reader that Man's origin was by intelligent design and special creation, and that he was made in the likeness of his creator, and that he's been a homo sapiens right from the get-go. Man didn't begin his existence as some sort of pre-human hominid named Ardi who lived in Ethiopia's Afar Rift some 4.4 million years ago. The Lord's pedigree in the book of Luke begins with his nearest male blood kin, a man named Heli, and goes all the way back to Seth and Adam. It goes no further because there is no further to go but the dust of the earth.
Some people of course have problems with Genesis because it seems so unscientific and contrary to the (known) fossil record. But they need to be cautious because science doesn't have perfect understanding of everything yet, and it often has to be revised to reflect new discoveries, and to correct outdated theories and opinions. But to be fair, Bible students don't know everything yet either so I would advise watching the sciences for new discoveries that help fill in some blanks about not only man's progress, but also the earth's.
NOTE: The average rank and file pew warmer has had it drilled into their head that Jesus had no biological father; therefore he had not biological lineage to Adam; but that is not only a gross error; but also a professed disbelief in the details of Man's creation.
According to Gen 2:21-23, Eve got her life from Adam; so then Gen 1:27 and Gen 5:2 are justified in saying that Eve was just as much Adam as Adam. Therefore, any child born of Eve is just as much Adam as Adam regardless of whether the child is virgin-born or natural-born.
Well; unless somebody can prove that Jesus' mom popped out of a rock, then I think it's pretty safe to assume that Mary was born of Adam. So then, any child born of Mary is Adam's child just as every child born of Eve is Adam's child; because Mary was just as much Adam as Adam; the same as Eve was just as much Adam as Adam. In other words: women are not a distinct species of their own; no, they are not: they are Adam.
Jesus referred to himself as the "son of man" on numerous occasions. That label was neither new nor unique in Jesus' day. God addressed the prophet Ezekiel as "son of man" on at least 93 occasions; and in every case, the Hebrew word for man is 'adam (aw-dawm') which is the proper name of the human race God created in the beginning (Gen 1:26-27, Gen 3:9, Gen 5:2). So then, according to Ezekiel, the label "son of man" identifies Christ as Adam's biological progeny.
†. Gen 5:3a . .When Adam had lived 130 years, he begot a son
Adam lived to be 930. If we compare that age to that of the average life expectancy of American men today, Adam would have been an eleven year old kid when Seth was born.
Eve understood Seth to be Abel's replacement. But that doesn't necessarily mean Seth was the very next boy born into the Adams family after Abel. It doesn't even mean Seth was her third child. Bible genealogies often have very large gaps in them, omitting insignificant male siblings; and typically all of the girls. In one instance (1Chrn 1:1) the record skips Abel and jumps right to Seth; and in another (Ruth 4:22) it leaves out all of Jesse's sons but the youngest. Taking advantage of this rather strange Bible practice; critics are quick to point out generational short-cuts in Christ's genealogy with the intent of invalidating the entire New Testament.
†. Gen 5:3b . . in his likeness after his image, and he named him Seth.
Seth' image and likeness is the very same wording as Gen 1:26-27.
Adams' image and likeness of God was obtained via the process of creation; while Seth's image and likeness of Adam was by means of procreation; which Webster's defines as reproduction; viz: biological progeny. Had God actually reproduced to create Adam, then homo sapiens would be just as God as God because like engenders like; viz: more of itself.
†. Gen 5:4-5 . . After the birth of Seth, Adam lived 800 years and begot sons and daughters. All the days that Adam lived came to 930 years; then he died.
Well, there goes grandpa Adam, just as God predicted at Gen 3:19. But hey? Where's the listing of the rest of his kids? Didn't God bless him with the words "be fruitful, increase in number, and fill the earth". Well, I seriously doubt that he and Eve stopped after just three kids. But the rest of his progeny-- for reasons I can only guess --didn't make the cut.
But when did Eve die? Did she outlive Adam? Who died first, Adam or Eve? Nobody really knows. But supposing Eve died quite a while before Adam? Did he remarry? And if he remarried, who did he marry? One of his own grandchildren? Well .. in Adam's case, what's so bad about that? I mean, after all, his first wife was manufactured from the organic tissues of his own body; so that in reality, Eve was his first child which means that by today's social standards; Adam practiced the worst kind of incest. At least his grandkids would have been six or seven times removed.
†. Gen 5:6-7 . .When Seth had lived 105 years, he begot Enosh. After the birth of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and begot sons and daughters.
No doubt some people envy the longevity of the antediluvians; but I don't. Their life was hard, and for the most part, pretty boring. Would you want to live for 912 years in primitive conditions? Not me.
Was Enosh the first of Seth's children? Maybe, but probably not. However, he is the only child that counts because it's through him that we're moving towards Noah; and ultimately, Christ.
†. Gen 5:8 . . All the days of Seth came to 912 years; then he died.
(sigh) The story of our futile lives. So and So was born. He got married and had children; lived X number of years after that, and then died-- same O, same O. The weary circle of life.
†. Ecc 1:2-4 .. Meaningless! Futile! complains the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
The earth is dumber than a brick; yet easily outlives its human potentate; whose IQ is infinitely greater.
†. Gen 5:9 . .When Enosh had lived 90 years, he begot Kenan.
Kenan's name in the Hebrew is Qeynan (kay-nawn') which means fixed or permanent; sort of like birds' nests, homes; and drifters finally ending their nomadic life and putting down some roots. Fixed can also mean that someone's life has a noble purpose and that their mind is focused upon that purpose rather than looking two ways at once.
†. Luke 9:62 .. No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom
The Lord's sheep are exhorted to fix their minds upon the realities of their position in Christ.
†. Col 3:1-3 .. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
†. Gen 5:10 . . After the birth of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and begot sons and daughters.
You know, some of these guys really didn't accomplish very much. All they seemed to do was reproduce. But the important thing is: they made a line to Messiah and, as is the duty of patriarchs, preserved whatever sacred teachings were handed down from their fathers.
†. Gen 5:11 . . All the days of Enosh came to 905 years; then he died.
(yawn) Over and over again. Just about everybody reproduces in chapter five. And just about everybody dies too.
†. Gen 5:12-20 . .When Kenan had lived 70 years, he begot Mahalalel. After the birth of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and begot sons and daughters. All the days of Kenan came to 910 years; then he died. When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he begot Jared. After the birth of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and begot sons and daughters. All the days of Mahalalel came to 895 years; then he died. When Jared had lived 162 years, he begot Enoch. After the birth of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and begot sons and daughters. All the days of Jared came to 962 years; then he died.
Four of those men-- Enoch, Jared, Mahalalel, and Kenan (Cainan) --are listed in the Lord's genealogy at Luke 3:37-38.
†. Gen 5:21 . .When Enoch had lived 65 years, he begot Methuselah.
Methuselah's name is Methuwshelach (meth-oo-sheh'-lakh) which is a compound word made up of math (math) which means an adult (as of full length or full size), and shelach (sheh'-lakh) which means a missile of attack, i.e. a spear, sling stone, or perhaps an arrow. Methuselah was a man-size weapon rather than one that might be employed by little children.
Today our preferred missile of attack from a hand held weapon is the bullet. A Methuselah bullet would probably be known today as a magnum. Magnums cost more than normal ammo but hit harder, go further, and cause more damage (they're louder too). A modern name that might correspond to Methuselah is Long Tom-- a nickname often given to very large canons. Maybe they meant to call him Big Guy because he was such a heavy newborn.
†. Gen 5:22-23 . . After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years; and he begot sons and daughters. All the days of Enoch came to 365 years.
Enoch was a fiery preacher, speaking the words recorded in Jude 1:14-15; warning people prior to the Flood that Almighty God intends to make the wicked give an account of themselves some day.
†. Gen 5:24a . . Enoch walked with God;
Enoch was the exact opposite of Cain; he walked away from God rather than with God.
This is the very first man on record who is actually said to have walked with God; though no doubt Abel did too. People still walk with God. Here's a useful acronym that covers most of the essential elements of faith regarding walking with God. The acronym is ROTC.
Read your Bible.
Obey His will
Talk with God
Confess your sins.
Those who are outwardly religious, but don't actually walk with God, might be wise to give this next little saying some thought.
Ye call me Lord and respect me not.
Ye call me Master and obey me not.
Ye call me Light and see me not.
Ye call me Way and walk me not.
Ye call me Life and choose me not.
Ye call me Wise and heed me not.
Ye call me Kind and love me not.
Ye call me Just and fear me not.
If I condemn thee, blame me not.
†. Mal 1:6 .. A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the fear due me?
†. 1John 1:6 .. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
On the page of Scripture, Enoch isn't said to walk with God until after his little boy Methuselah was born; suggesting perhaps that parenthood can have an amazing influence on some men's attitude towards their maker-- some men.
†. Gen 5:24b . . then he was no more, because God took him away.
Enoch has the distinction of being the shortest lived man in chapter five. But he didn't die a natural death. He crossed over to the next life miraculously.
†. Heb 11:5 .. Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
The koiné Greek word for "translate" is metatithemi (met-at-ith'-ay-mee) which means: to transfer, to transport, to exchange, to change sides, or to pervert. In other words: Enoch went from being physical to metaphysical in the blink of an eye. Precisely what became of his corpse isn't revealed but for sure he didn't take it with him to heaven.
†. 1Cor 15:50 .. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
†. John 3:13 .. No man has ascended to heaven but he who came down from heaven: the Son of Man who is in heaven.
†. Gen 5:25-27 . .When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he begot Lamech. After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and begot sons and daughters. All the days of Methuselah came to 969 years; then he died.
Ol' Methuselah holds the record for longevity. He outlived his son Lamech, dying five years after him in the very year the Flood came; when Methuselah's grandson Noah was 600. Whether or not Methuselah died in the Flood or by natural causes is not said. However, he may indeed have perished in it right along with all of the rest of Noah's relatives. Just because men are listed in Messiah's genealogy doesn't necessarily mean they were righteous. In point of fact, some of the Davidic kings in Jesus' line were totally wicked men beyond remedy. (e.g. Jer 22:24-30)