The Making of Man - Keith Relf - August, 2004The Making of Man
Scripture Translation: Jewish Publications Society
If you watch some of those very interesting TV "Nature" documentaries it is possible to be amazed beyond imagination by the wonders of living things, only to be informed by inference or direct statement that the whole thing is the result of an accident. A Big Bang. A Singularity. A time when absolute emptiness suddenly became a universe - all by itself. It must be the only time we ever got something for nothing.
Although much reputable scientific research today has concluded that Darwinistic Evolution is an impossibility and although many notable evolutionists have "confessed" the poverty of the theory that they have so long and lovingly espoused, the media and educational establishment still peddle the evolutionary lie.
Of course there is a reason for this - If you don't want to admit to 'design' and by extension a 'designer', because of the moral implications on your lifestyle - then you 'fudge' the whole issue with scientific jargon - a case of deliberate denial - self deception to avoid facing the issue.
On the other hand, Christians have tried to justify a medieval view of nature or have bought into any one of a number of "compromise" theories that may be made to reconcile the words of Genesis 1 and the misleading claims of science, so called.
Might it not be, that the account of these events as given to us by our Creator is easier to understand than our vanity has allowed. It is seldom, that this issue is not approached, except with a lot of preconceived ideas and theological pre-conditions. It is interesting to take a fresh look at the record without the bias of self replicating scholarship and the traditions of men.
Genesis 1:1 makes a simple statement concerning an infinite matter. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth". No process or time span is indicated. Just a simple, direct statement that tells us, Who did what and when.
Genesis 1:2 gives us another picture unrelated in time from the first. "Now the earth was (became is a fairer translation) unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters." This verse is concerned only with the last word ("earth") of the previous verse and therefore is obviously not spatially related to the whole of the first verse. There appears no need to include events so far either physically or chronologically with the six days of accounts or visions that follow. The "six days" are complete in themselves and the events related may have happened instantaneously or occupied varying time spans - we are not told and does it really matter? In one sense the answer is "no" but if we are to understand the psalmist and others who declared that God is known through His creation, (Romans 1:19,20) then the answer is a resounding "yes!".
What follows from verse 3-onwards describes the furnishing of this particular planet, Earth and this may have taken a short time, just 6 x 24 hour days as some believe or the "days" may only have been the time and sequence of the revelation of what actually took place at another time, somewhat like an "action playback" of one aspect of a game. The writer tends to prefer this latter view as it is absolutely consistent with the general order of events as we learn from observation and also allows that each "day's" events were actually inter-dependent and ran, either, parallel or concurrently with those on other "days".(1) Obviously, the linear limitations of narrative require the sequential telling as described in Genesis 1:3-31.
What we want to particularly dwell on in this study is, however, the making of Man. What sort of creature was he/she.
We read in Genesis 2:7 that Man was created from the elements already existing, literally "the dust of the ground. "Then Yehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." And, science would show that as to our composition, this is true, we are made of the stuff of the universe.
Now right here we find that Man was not given, as is today commonly believed, a "soul" but when he received breath (nefesh - spirit) he became "a living soul". Animals too were formed from "the dust of the ground", v.19 and are referred to in the Hebrew as "living souls", it's a term for a living, functioning biological mechanism. The fact that animals seem to have been considered for a possible companion for Adam established at least a mechanical similarity. However, no animal had the "likeness and image" characteristic so the psychological and physiological gap was too great. Gen.2:20 A true “mate” after his kind, must be found (v23) for Adam.
So, next comes the first mention of cloning where God takes some of Adam's cells and creates a modified human, a female complimenting the male and providing the mechanisms and technology for reproduction. Something similar must have been done for each of the animals and even many plant species as they too exist as male and female with a dazzling array of variations in function and process.
As we start to consider the kind of creature Adam was, it is best if we forget fanciful stories and stick to the Word - the record given us by the Creator. At this point in time, Adam is mortal as also are the animals and the cessation of existence known as death may well have happened in the animal kingdom, depending on their determined life span. (See "Were Adam and Eve Immortal?") You see, immortality for any created being was only possible through partaking of the Tree of Life and later we learn something of the nature of that "Tree" that may surprise you.
First, there was another "Fruit" that displaced innocence, the Tree itself was, as all things God created, "good" - in fact it is through knowledge of the Torah that we know "good and evil", (see Paul on that) - so one must surmise that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a form of the Torah. However, at this time in the affairs of this planet, Yehovah desired Adam and Eve to remain innocent, as part, if you like, of a developmental or maturing process. They were not yet ready for initiation into "the other side" of reality. At the same time, as part of that process, Adam had to be free to choose. It would not be wrong to surmise that in the fulness of time Yehovah would permit access to this presently forbidden Tree. You see Man was being made in "the likeness and image" of his Creator and the Creator knew "good and evil" so it's clear that man's development was not yet complete.
Now earlier I said that immortality was made possible by the partaking of the Tree of Life - whether by one "eating" or by repeated partaking, we can only surmise. The environment in those days permitted great longevity, probably through massive shielding from cosmic radiation by a dense cloud blanket that was only lost at the time of Noah's flood. However, there was some cellular damage and eventually the mechanism of life would break down. Therefore, I suggest that the Tree of Life was a natural remedy that simply reversed the injurious effects of cosmic exposure.
Now before you throw that idea out as "just speculation", hear the words of the Creator Himself when he cast Adam from the garden and set up some technically equipped guardians to this Tree of Life.
Genesis 3:22 And Yehovah Elohim said: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever."
Notice that Adam and Eve, through disobedience, had become as the Elohim, "knowing good and evil", contrary to the Creator’s intention at that time and if they now managed to eat of the Tree of Life they could be or would become immortal sinners. I believe this is a very important verse as it gives us an understanding both of the nature of Yehovah and the type of beings we humans are, but it gives us a picture rather different from popular teaching.
It's really a matter of just reading what is there and not "interpreting" the record through some theological lens that attributes meanings (interpretations) not intended by the text.
Another verse that is frequently "interpreted" is just next but one, Genesis 3:24 "So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way to the tree of life." How many pictures have you seen of a single angel (inaccurately called a cherubim) holding a flaming sword? Well, notice Yehovah placed "the cherubim", cherubim is Hebrew and it is plural so it could have been any number of beings, a whole company. Then it also says " . . . and the flaming sword which turned every way". This was obviously a device described according to the vocabulary of the writer as a "flaming sword", that was some sort of barrier or warning system that moved around somewhat like a searchlight. Too simple? Well, it may not fit some interpretations but what other account can you give that fits more closely to the actual text.
You see, our faith has become questionable by being made subject to man's imagination, when in fact the record is simpler than we have dared to imagine.
If we can go back for a moment to Genesis 1:26,27 And God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. Which is a brief overview of what we learn in more detail in the next chapter.
Notice the Elohim said "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" and it has been debated in scholarly circles for generations what these words "likeness and image" mean and the consensus is usually that they don't mean what they say. Yet what is it that separates man from all other animals? Creative, imaginative and emotional qualities that were to enable us to walk, talk and have fellowship with, the Being who created the universe. Early disobedience and sin severely curtailed those abilities, but the promise was there - we were created more like the Elohim than we have ever dared to imagine.
Those who debate the meaning of the words "likeness and image" seem to fail to notice that some years later, Adam and Eve had a son who was described as being in their "likeness and image" - the exact same Hebrew words as in Genesis 1:26. In fact it is a sort of summary of events to date concerning Adam.
Genesis 5:1-3 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; 2 male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. 3 And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.
Notice these three verses repeat that Adam was made in the "likeness of God" and that the son of Adam was in his "likeness, after his image" - the same words as Genesis 1:26.
(1) A careful study of the inter-dependence of plant life with other life forms (insects) and it's environment essential for reproduction strongly support the "paralell" view of the "days" of creation.
SUMMARY: What have we learned?
The whole universe did not necessarily get created in six 24 hour days.
Adam was not created immortal.
Man does not have a soul - he is a soul.
Death is merely the "wearing out" of the biological mechanism.
The real judgement was being deprived of the source of rejuvenation which meant the loss of potential for immortality, the natural consequence of which is death.
That God meant us to be a whole lot more like Himself than we have ever imagined and other studies will show us that this is still His purpose and how He is achieving it.
Other Studies: Beginnings The Biblical Day The Tree of Life
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