The importance of this investigation can hardly be over-rated. But if you cannot accept that Adam and Eve were real people, living but a few millennia ago, then of course it is impossible to go further. We are aware that many philosophical ideas have arisen in the last century to cause an atmosphere of mirth, and even mockery, to arise whenever anyone talks about a LITERAL Adam, but as a personal testimony we should like to state the following. (a) “Jesus answered them saying, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning, made them male and female?'” (Matthew 19:4) (b) “As by ONE MAN sin entered the world, and by means of sin came death, and so death passed upon all men.” (Romans 5:12) (c) “Adam was formed first, and then Eve.” (1 Timothy 2:13)
These three verses from the N.T. give us the authority to say “It is written,” in the same way that our Lord answered the Devil in the wilderness. If Jesus believed in Adam and Eve, can I, as a Christian, have some credible alternative to offer? If the Apostle Paul believed that sin entered the world through the first man, bringing death to the whole Adamic race, how can I maintain some alternative hypothesis, when the evidence of death is forever with us? And if Jesus said that His Father created Adam and Eve IN THE BEGINNING, then how can I allow myself to investigate some other concept, assuming that there was a “pre-Adamic race”? It is upon these Scriptures, and the sure foundation they offer, that this paper is written.
But there may be someone who, reading this paper, will ask a question saying, “O.K., I accept what you have just said, but I believe the Genesis story is largely figurative. I don’t believe in literal trees, or a literal serpent, or a literal conversation, or a literal eating of fruit. Isn’t it a pictorial way of showing how temptation and sin entered the world?” My answer would be, “Why do you feel the necessity to change what is written? Is it that you cannot maintain the simplicity of the record because of the mockery you will endure? Isn’t there always a price to pay for an act of faith?” In this paper I shall take the story of Adam and Eve and accept it in a literal sense. There are certain misunderstandings which may need to be addressed, but otherwise I believe the account to be a plain straightforward record of happenings, written in cuneiform script by Adam himself on a clay tablet, with the aid of God, and passed down through the generations to Moses, who was given the task of editing and writing the account we now have in Genesis.
The reason why I consider this topic of extreme importance is that it deals with the most fundamental departments of human life. And this paper should be read in conjunction with the last one, where we compared the characters of Lucifer and the Lord Jesus. Only then will the amazing truths shine out to the full. Let’s take a quick over-view of the antediluvian world as it was when Adam and Eve were living in the Garden of Eden. The earth’s land mass was that of just one large continent, with inland seas. In the east there was a specially beautiful country which was known as Eden. The name means “delightful.” And in the eastern part of Eden the Lord had planted a special Garden. It was no 10-acre plot. There is evidence that it was about five times the area of Great Britain, in other words about half a million square miles. Within that Garden the Lord had placed His first human pair.
Adam was a superb figure of a man, about seven feet tall, of bronzed complexion, excellent physique, and remarkable mental ability. His wife was similar in all respects, but about six inches less in height. They were without clothing as we know it today, but were robed in what can only be called a “canopy of light”. The Targum Jonathan says that after their fall, “They were stripped of their glorious clothing, and their glory was taken from them, and they were deprived of the light which had been their clothing.” The Lord asked them to tend and keep His Garden. This would be a task wholly outside the capabilities of a married couple today, who would find it daunting to manage anything more than a few acres and keep it in trim. This shows us something of the grandeur that Adam and Eve possessed. Furthermore Adam was given the task of naming all the animals. How many were there? We can only guess. But was it all that different to our present world in this respect? If not, then how did Adam have the ability to compile a zoology textbook containing the names and characteristics of ALL the species he found in his world? Here is evidence of his superb mental ability. We tend to build mental pictures of the Adamic world based upon what we are NOW.
This will simply not do. I think it comes from the serpentine whisperings of the evolutionary theory, which makes us think of ourselves as HIGHER UP the tree than any of our ancestors. But in fact the human race is now in a much LOWER state than even those who lived in Egypt when the great pyramid was built, or when the Incas were building their great wall. In trying to build up a true mental picture of the Edenic scene we need to understand that sin has taken a dreadful toll on humanity, and progressively so. All those who lived before the flood had lifetimes approaching 1,000 years. Today there is precious little “glory” left when a person reaches 100 years! Adam and Eve had “senses” which are now forbidden to us. They were able to move from place to place by the power of thought. In Elijah’s day, or in the apostolic era (e.g. Philip), the Holy Spirit “picked them up” and transported them from place to place when necessary. But Adam was able to do this of his own volition.
In the midst of the Garden in Eden there was a wide open space of grassland dominated by two central trees of imposing grandeur, growing near to each other. These were the two named trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The latter was forbidden to Adam and Eve. The former was left untouched as well. Although as yet there were no other human beings to converse with, the first human pair had many visitations from beings of a higher dimensional order, in other words from the angelic realm.
Furthermore, the “Covering Cherub” was frequently in the Garden, as Ezekiel revealed in chapter 28 of his prophecies. This Cherub was the chief of the Cherubim, and held the highest place amongst all those whom God had created in the heavenly realm. He was able to appear to Adam and Eve in human form, and was a regular visitor because his duties were to watch over the visible world, even as Adam and Eve’s were to keep the Garden. But our human parents were also privileged to walk and talk with their Creator. It must be remembered that although they were as yet sinless and innocent, they were not “perfect.” Our Lord appeared in human form on the earth, and grew up in every respect as a man, and it was said of Him that “He became perfect by the things that He suffered.” In other words, the tests and trials of life were His Father’s vehicles to transport Him to full-grown mature manhood.
Something similar to this existed for Adam and Eve. They were not just left to themselves to enjoy their Paradise. If we think like that, and imagine their days together as being like a modern “tropical holiday” with sunshine, palm trees, blue sky and clear water sea, with all mod-cons provided, then we shall be far from the truth. The Lord never created His humans to vegetate in an idyllic but purposeless arena. They were created to be perfected, and this required discipline, purpose, training, understanding and development under conditions and circumstances that were continually provided by the Lord Himself and the angelic messengers. And so the Lord walked and talked with them in the cool of the day.
Neither must we imagine that the “fall” took place after just a few days of being in the Garden. A moment’s reflection will dispel any such thought. When Seth was born, Adam was 130 years old. He was a “substitute” for the loss of Abel and the dismissal of Cain. How old were Cain and Abel when the murder took place. One may make a reasonable guess, and say that they were between 30 and 50. The circumstances of the story seem to require that. Therefore going back to the birth of Cain would make Adam between 80 and 100. And Cain was born just after the fall. In 1968 the Lord spoke to a friend and brother saying that the fall occurred SEVENTY YEARS after the creation of Adam. Hence Cain would have been 60 years of age when he killed his brother if we are able to accept this prophetic word. Certainly it was a most credible figure.
Seventy years had passed, and something happened to “upset the apple-cart”, to put a “spoke in God’s wheel.” Or at least, that is how we often look upon the event. But even this is faulty human philosophy. In 1 Peter 1:19-20 Peter says that Christ was our “Lamb without blemish and without spot”, and he goes on to say that Christ was “foreknown (or foreordained) before the foundation of the world, but manifest in these last times.” We must never look upon the fall as something which took God by surprise, causing a high-level conference, at which Jesus decided He would offer Himself to save Adam and Eve. Emphatically NO! Free-will was part of God’s creation, by which man may, and must, learn to choose correctly, and know why. God knew that it would involve falling, and although this would be the entrance of SIN, that would have to be purged from the Universe, it was His purpose, His design, and therefore to look upon the fall as an “unfortunate event” is missing the point altogether.
God is not the Author of Sin, but He takes full responsibility for it, and enters the human world to cleanse it. Nothing is by chance, unforeseen, unexpected, as though to present the Godhead with an insuperable and unexpected problem. The scene has now been set. Seventy years have passed by. God has walked with Adam and Eve, and instructed them on many issues. The prohibition about the tree is of little or no interest to them. There is so much to do, so much to think about, so great an exhilaration in the sheer joy of living, that in fact BOTH of the trees are left in the centre of the Garden without so much as a thought.
Now comes the really interesting bit. And there are questions which need careful answering. For example, why was the Covering Cherub called “the serpent”? And what did the Lord mean by “good and evil”? And how could Adam and Eve have appreciated what either “evil” of “death” could mean, in a world that knew nothing of either? These questions must be looked at from THEIR point of view, and NOT from ours. We know about Evil and Death after thousands of years of evidence in the history of mankind. But we are not at liberty to introduce these evidences into the minds of Adam and Eve. We have to start thinking as they would have thought. And that is not an easy task. We might ask ourselves why God used the terms at all, if He knew they wouldn’t understand them.
First of all, about the Serpent. Each of the Cherubim was assigned a “Kingdom” over which he/she presided. [N.B. I don’t know whether it is right to use “gender” when speaking about these glorious beings – so far elevated above even the archangels.] It seems as though “The Covering Cherub” was the blueprint, not only for the Reptilian Kingdom, but also as the Head over all the other Cherubim. Imagine a pyramid. Take off the Capstone, and it is a small pyramid in itself. Put it back on and it makes the rest just a larger version of itself. I see the Covering Cherub in such a role, relative to the rest of the Cherubim. Now we must ask ourselves about his method of presentation to Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Notice that I said Adam AND Eve. It wasn’t that he came and spoke to Eve whilst she was alone. In Genesis 3:6 we are told that Eve gave some fruit to her husband “who was with her.” They both listened to his conversation. (Other evidences of this are present.) What then was he like? This involves a lot of careful thought, and the answer can only be derived from an understanding of a number of things. I’ll give the answer first of all, and use the rest of this article to provide the evidence required. I believe that he appeared in human form, but on a far grander and more majestic scale than either of them possessed. We may safely dispose of the juvenile and meaningless image that is so often seen of a snake speaking out of an apple tree. Such pictorial presentations have done much to attract the ridicule of the world about Genesis 3, and rightly so. It is up to us to present a more worthy picture of the event.
In Genesis 2:25 we are told that Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” In 3:1 we find that the serpent is “more cunning than – -.” But the Hebrew word for cunning is virtually the same as that for “naked” in the previous verse. There is an allusion here to a state of existence, which required the expression “more naked” to be used. Later the expression came to mean “cunning” by association with the Devil’s ways, but initially he was just “more naked”. What on earth can that mean? The Targum of Jonathan, quoted above, referred to Adam’s “nakedness” as distinct from what we now call “nude.” It was an elevated expression of man’s pristine glory, covered by light with no sense of the shame that later they knew when they had fallen. Now, if that was the case, then the Covering Cherub was even more so. He was a being who was dazzlingly bright, and on a much higher plane than Adam and Eve. That was his intrinsic nature. That was a measure of the glory of his own creation contrasted with Adam and Eve.
And when he appeared on this occasion, I believe he did so in “full regalia.” Both were shocked, and somewhat overawed by his appearance. Let’s formulate a simple example. Suppose we have been used to talking to a friend down the road, who seems to be just an ordinary chap like ourselves. We often meet him and spend a few minutes chatting. But then one day he knocks at our door, and on opening it we see him standing there dressed in the uniform of an admiral of the fleet. Our immediate reaction? – one of shock, and awe. Furthermore, there can be no more “ordinary chat”. He stands there with grave officialdom written all over him, and we must now take the more lowly position, remain quiet, and just answer his questions to the best of our ability. In some ways this was a rather poor parallel, but I think it contains enough truth to help us know what happened on that climactic day.
Adam and Eve were taken aback – they had never seen the Covering Cherub in his full regalia before. They knew that something very important was in store, and they had to listen attentively. Why are we at liberty to make this proposition? It is because of the nature of God, and the nature of Lucifer AS HE WANTED TO BECOME. As the Covering Cherub he had the task of hiding the sheer weight of glory of the Godhead. But this was his great test. God had said something to him of similar vein to what he said to Adam. It was like this. “I ask that you will always present yourself to others as I present myself. There must be no parading of glory, but rather a hiding, a modesty, a shyness, for that is my own character. If you become a showman, then I shall strip you of all the glory you possess.”
For those seventy years Lucifer (who’s name means Praise-master) was more or less content to comply with that restriction, but as Isaiah tells us in very plain language, he gradually began to question the wisdom of always acting in humility. Why cannot he put on his “state robes” occasionally, and command the respect he deserves? After all, he said to himself, I have been made the grandest of all creatures in the heavenly sphere. Why shouldn’t I be looked up to? Praised? Admired? Bowed down to? But this erroneous thinking expanded into an even greater error. He began to question the advisability of God covering Himself. Only HE knew the real glories of the One he was required to “cover”. Why should God want to hide His glory? Wouldn’t it be better for Him to reveal it? Yes, so that everyone will hold Him in greater awe, and worship Him for what He TRULY IS!
Such thoughts could be suppressed, but on the other hand they could be allowed to grow in his mind until they produced the inevitable FRUIT. On that particular day, he made up his mind to do something, and the doing of it caused the fall of Adam and Eve, and the stripping of his own glory. He decided to throw off all restraint, and put on his “state robes” and appear in all his awesome wonder before the humans. He had come to the conclusion that God was WRONG! Yes! That was the inevitable conclusion to his bad thinking. He accused God of doing things the wrong way. There was a BETTER way, and he was going to adopt it. The result was a bid for independence from God, the setting up of an alternative structure of life, where HE was in charge, rather than God. It was a most crazy thing to do, but had been triggered by the humble, unobtrusive way in which the Lord had Himself appeared to Adam and Eve, almost as we might say in His “gardening clothes”. (Please do not take offence – I am in no way belittling our Lord – indeed, I believe this to be the whole crux of this paper – and a huge lesson to each of us.)
Yes, Lucifer had come to believe that he was able to do things BETTER than the Lord. Moreover, he believed that he had the power to rule creation, and DEPOSE God! This seems beyond all reason to us, but can only be entertained after careful analysis of the BASIC CHARACTER OF GOD. There is never any vulgar showmanship in the Godhead. Now we must ask another question. Why did the Serpent choose this particular day? Some may ask, why should there have been any special day? What gives one the impression that the “day” had something special about it? Surely it could have been any day?
But I sense there WAS something special, and strangely the answer comes from the way in which the Devil tempted our Lord in the wilderness. There is such a strong parallelism between these two events, that one is led to believe that they HAD to be parallel. That could lead to another article of great interest. But suffice it to say here that the Lord had come to gain all the kingdoms of the world. In Revelation 11:15 we are told that He accomplishes this goal – “The Kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ.” Satan knew in advance that this was His goal. So he comes to Him and suggests an alternative way – his own way – the way of pomp and display, the way of bright lights and magic – the way of stripping off the covering of humility. “Throw yourself down,” he said. Because this didn’t work, he played his last trump card – “Bow down and worship me and I will give all those kingdoms to you.” He tried to pre-empt what the Lord was going to do, by offering Him an ALTERNATIVE ROUTE TO ACHIEVEMENT. The Lord dismissed him.
Now come back to the Garden of Eden. I sense that the time was near when the Lord was going to instruct Adam and Eve about the true meaning of “good and evil”, and in fact I think the Lord must have shared this intention with Lucifer, because it looks as though Lucifer was suddenly galvanised into action. His entrance into the Garden that day was to PRE-EMPT the Lord’s coming. Knowing the difference between good and evil was NOT after all such a bad thing. God had been keeping Adam and Eve in the dark about something they had a RIGHT to know about. For thus he thought. And now was the crucial time for him to show Adam and Eve that HIS way, the way of pomp and display, was the better way. And he knew how he would do it.
But at this point, we must ask ourselves the question posed at the start of this article. Why “evil”? And what did Adam and Eve understand by this word? Until very recently I had never consulted the lexicon to find out what the Hebrew word meant, but on doing so I was in for a shock! The word is RA (pronounced Rar). And this noun is derived from a verb of similar sound (RAA) which, according to Gesenius means “to make a loud noise, or to break in pieces.” Hence strictly RA means “a loud noise,” or “a smashing sound.” Immediately the truth dawned. Satan’s way is the LOUD way, everything about him is SMASHING!!! As a result of this revelation, I saw that Adam and Eve must have heard these words in their very basic form, meaning “good” and “loud”. They never had any understanding of “evil” as it means to us NOW. But the word RA came to mean something different after the fall, except in Ezekiel, when the prophet used the word for wild animals, and the translators adopted the expression “noisome beasts.”
I then looked up the word “good”, which is TOV (pronounced Tove), and the lexicon said “good, pleasant, cheerful, beautiful, joyful.” But because in Genesis 2 our PRESENT contrast didn’t apply, the word TOV must have had a meaning something like “soft, gentle,” as well as “good” as we now think of it. Note the contrast then – “soft, gentle, pleasant, beautiful” and“loud, clamouring, demanding, demonstrating.” The Lord wanted Adam and Eve to know the vital truth about this contrast, but He had told them not to use a forbidden route to obtain that knowledge. The acquisition of this knowledge had to come via His own teaching, not by the eating of the fruit of that tree.
Both Adam and Lucifer were given simple directives. Each had been given a “boundary fence” which they were not to transgress. The instructions were simple enough. Lucifer’s boundary was, being on a higher level, much clearer and more exacting than Adam and Eve’s, but each in his own sphere was given a simple prohibition to test obedience which couldn’t be misunderstood.
Now we come to the actual event. Lucifer appears in all his glory to the shocked human couple. Speaking to the woman, perhaps because men like to show off in front of women, and after all he was “showing off” to the n’th degree that day, he starts by asking something like a question. It doesn’t come over as a direct question, but rather as an intimation. However, Eve realises that an answer is required. But as I said in the last paper, this suggestiveness acted like a sheet of frosted glass to her mind, causing her to lose full control of her otherwise very acute senses. “Can it be that God has said you shall not eat from any tree of the Garden (?)“ Smitten by awe at his appearance, and coupled with this strange mistiness in the mind, she stumbles for an answer – “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the Garden, but of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the Garden God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” Of course, the Lord had said nothing about TOUCHING the tree, and with regard to DEATH, He had said, “You shall surely die.” She had watered down a certainty into a contingency. Such was the power of Satan’s suggestion. And the Covering Cherub now proceeds to the point where he actually becomes “the father of lies.” “You shall NOT surely die.”
It is important to see that the verb here is “2nd person plural future”. Lucifer was not just addressing Eve. They were both there together, as I said before. So why didn’t Adam interrupt him at this point, and point out the obvious contradiction? He just allowed his wife to become the victim of deception. Because later the Lord said that the man should “rule over his wife” I see that he was to perform the very function he failed to do here. It was not that God wanted Adam to “dominate” his wife, but rather to be a protector, a canopy of concealment, that she should be preserved from the fatal influences of Satan and the angels. Paul said that “the head of every woman (that is, every wife) is the man (i.e. the husband), and the head of every man (regardless) is Christ, and the Head of Christ is God.” In another place Paul said that a woman should have a covering on her head because of the angels. This whole concept of “covering” takes on a new and meaningful understanding after reading and studying Genesis 3.
Satan had now broken the divine commandment. He had appeared in his royal garb, and he had flatly denied the word of his Creator. Thereupon he proceeds to force the argument to his intended conclusion. “God knows that in the day you (plural) eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you (plural) shall be as God, knowing TOV and RA.” If TOV had meant a basket of good apples, and RA a basket of bad apples, then there would have been no comparison worthy of consideration. Who in their right mind would have wanted to choose a basket of bad apples? But TOV and RA had these other meanings to them, such as “soft” and “loud”, and as yet they hadn’t appreciated the advisability of the one over the other.
Lucifer was now hotly advocating the “loud” way, and his royal garb reinforced that idea. Eve “saw that the tree was good (TOV) for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise.” She had never bothered to consider this tree before. The prohibition was such that they had both kept well away from the trees in the centre of the Garden – but now – yes, it IS a good tree, and the fruit looks quite delicious, and if what you say is correct then by eating it I shall become greater, wiser, more magnificent than I am at the moment. She was deceived.
But Adam was in disobedience. They both ate the fruit, and the damage was done for ever. Suddenly a change came over them. The light canopy had disappeared. Self-consciousness had appeared for the first time. “What are we doing here in the open with nothing on?” There were no other human beings, but they were conscious of the angelic hosts who were around all the time. “Nakedness” had been reduced to “nudity”, and it didn’t feel at all comfortable. They rapidly repaired to the nearest bushes and began to make tunics of fig leaves. But the Lord sought them, and called for them. They were afraid. And THAT was a new feeling as well. Whereas God hides His glory, Adam and Eve were now hiding their shame. God appeared to them, and at His side was the Covering Cherub. Judgment was about to commence.
Questions were asked of Adam and Eve, but not of the Serpent, because as Ginzberg points out in his “Legends of the Jews”, ‘the wicked are good debaters.’ First of all the Serpent receives his punishment. His glory is stripped from him, and he is reduced in level, not just to the human level but down to the level of a beast that crawls on its belly. That was a figurative expression illustrating the depth of humiliation. He who was unable to accommodate humility was now to experience humiliation. Likewise the Lord told him that he would “eat dust.” Now as a matter of fact, not even a snake eats dust. Once again a figure of speech is employed, meaning continual defeat to all his plans. And the seed of the woman would eventually bruise his head, meaning that his aspirations (the product of his head, his thinking) would ultimately be destroyed for ever.
The woman’s curse was upon her role as child-bearer. In this the Lord was saying in effect, “I gave you to be a mother, a creator of other humans by conception and birth, but now I want you to know that everything good can only be created out of suffering. That is My way for all mankind.” “Your desire will be to your husband and he will rule over you.” In other words, “You will in future be required to act dependently rather than independently, and your husband will act as arbiter in all decision-making,” (the role he has just left undone.) Man has frequently abused this position to his own advantage, instead of using it as a protective shield for his wife. Likewise woman has frequently tried to emancipate herself out of this God-given haven of security. Both have therefore abandoned the divine directives, and played into the camp of Lucifer, wanting to be “up” rather than “down”, to be “loud” rather than to be “soft”, to be “renowned” rather than to be “humble.”
Man’s lot was also one of restriction. His agricultural pursuits were to be hampered by noxious weeds, and loss of physical energy, so that only by “perspiration” could he produce the food he needed to live by. Like his wife, his creative activities were thereby thwarted, so that only through suffering could he achieve. In every direction, and from every angle, we see in this story, as in the rest of the Bible, two ways presented, the way of God in that of quietness, humility, softness, beauty and shyness, and the way of Satan in pomp, showmanship, ostentation, self-seeking, and self-glorification.