Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is easily among the ten or so greatest books possessed by mankind. As with the book of Revelation, and scripture generally, more so than other books, the reading of the text unfolds anew each time we take up the work, so that comment is inexhaustible, yet always insufficient. Even while we are dependent upon the stewards of the text for access to the original language, Genesis in English may be the most influential of all books, so that some understanding is required for the study of man and history. This work has now set the principles of Western Civilization for some two thousand plus years, and is more universal than the New Testament, as it is read and assumed by Israel and Islam as well. Having then recently attended a course of taped classes, and needing to come up with a term paper, I will write an essay as best able. For, As Steven Rowe professor at Grand Valley, would say, “no impression without expression.” We learn better by trying to write, regardless of deficiency.
Abraham, with Melchizedek, swears by “God Most High, the maker of heaven and earth (14:19; 22; 12:1).” Genesis is unique, or nearly so, in presenting the transcendent God, above and beyond anything in heaven or on earth. The same is God, directing Christians, Israel and Islam. Genesis tells the history of Israel from the beginning, through Noah, to the distinction from the rest of mankind of Israel as the twelve tribes of the sons of Jacob. It is entirely possible that Moses, writing Genesis, retained an oral teaching of the Creation from Abraham, who may have had this from a source it has in common with the Gilgamesh tradition of Babylon, Ur and Erech, even passed on from those who spoke to Noah, only 292 years prior to the birth of Abraham. We have as a working hypothesis that the difference between what are called the “Jahwehist” and “Elohimist” authors of Genesis, first noted by Jean Astruc in 1753 (Durant, vol 1, p. 329 note), just might be the difference between the speech of Abraham and that of Moses, who was given the name when he asked. Written Hebrew seems to come after the captivity in Egypt, related to Arabic and Egyptian alphabet and script, but the story of the flood does not come from Egypt (Plato, Timeaus 22c). It is very amusing that one possible origin of alphabetic writing is in the Egyptian mines along the rout of the Exodos. Spoken Hebrew is from Eber, the son of Shem, prior to the division of languages after the flood, and so it may be original language, at least from Noah.
I. Chapter One
Leo Strauss writes: “The first account (of creation) ends with man; the second account begins with man.”[Note 1]. So in considering Genesis on man, we may approach the account of the creation. The second account, in Chapters 2-3, is a drawing out of 1:26: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” That is, the story of Eden is an explanation of what it means that man is made in the image and likeness of God, drawing out the account of the male and female, leading up to the account of how man became “like one of us, knowing good and evil.”
The first chapter leads up to the distinction of man among the beings. Its summary is the work of reading and commentary. Strauss writes:
“The clue to the first chapter seems to be the fact that the account of the creation consists of two main parts…” “The first part begins with light, the second with the sun,…” “Only on the third and sixth days were there two acts of creation.” (p.11)… The creatures of the fourth to sixth days are “able to separate themselves from their places…” “The principle of the second half, the fourth to sixth day, is local motion. It is for this reason and for this important reason that the vegetative world precedes the sun; the vegetative world lacks local motion.”
On the Interpretation of Genesis, p. 11
Except that the green world precedes the sun, the order of the creation is astonishingly like the account we have from modern science. The author knows that the birds and fish are as if creatures of a different day, and the same day as the creeping things, just as we distinguish the age of the dinosaurs from that of the mammals. As has been noted, the first three chapters set something like the places to be inhabited by the beings created on the fourth through sixth days, vegetation too making something like a garden [Note 2]. The Fourth day makes the Sun, moon and stars, which move, and then on the fifth day, it is beings which change their courses. Then on the sixth day, in the second speaking, man. Strauss draws out this teaching:
Local motion is separation of a higher order, …to be set off against a background” of what is not moving…Local motion is followed by life. Life too must be understood as a form of separation…animals can change not only their places, but also their courses. From this it follows that the being created last, namely man, is characterized by the fact that he is a creature which is separated in the highest degree; man is the only being created in the image of God…finally, a being which can separate itself from its way, the right way (p. 11-12). Man “can move or change his place to the highest degree. But this privilege, this liberty, freedom, is also a great danger. Man is the most ambiguous creature; hence man is not called good, just as heaven is not called good…(p. 17).
On the Interpretation of Genesis
As Jung too notes, there is a medieval commentary which notices that unlike the other days of creation, on the second day, the text does not say that God “saw that it was good” (Maimonides, Guide, II. 50, p. 353) Similarly, on the sixth day, after the creation of the animals, it says God saw that it was good. But after the creation of man, it does not say that God saw that it was good, but that he saw the whole was “very good.” Heaven, it is said, or “sky,” is incomplete, as is man, the one to be completed by the ascent or redemption of man. To know good and evil, in the second account, is the same as this ability to change courses and ways of the being created in the image of God in the first account.
So far as I can tell, the entire creation has been described without the use of the word “will.”
The First Sentence
Maimonides explains that the correct translation of the first sentence is: “In the origin, God created what is high and what is low” (Guide, p. 352). “En Archae” is the Greek written by John for In the beginning when he repeats the opening of the Bible (John 1:1). An archae is a ruling principle or first principle. The word “Baro” is used uniquely of Gods’s creating. Bereshith Elohim Baro’…Is the Hebrew, “In the Beginning, God created…” ‘et va ha aft,” the heavens or “sky” and the earth. Maimonides explains that the “Be-” means “in,” reshith, derived from rosh, head, “the principle of the living beings” (Guide, II.30, p. 348-9). So the word contains part of the meanings “in the first place,” and “Chiefly,…” It is said that heaven is demoted as the focus of interest, but it is quite possible, we think, that the account of heaven is simply set aside, turning to the earth, which was “without form and void.” It is not clear that sky or firmament, the expanse of the second day, is the same as “the heavens” of the first sentence. Is the sky an ordering of the visible world, a part of what is called “earth” in the first sentence? Augustine, too, notes that the coming into being of the angels, assumed by the text to exist, is not described, unless it is included in the light created on the first day (City of God, XI.9). The first sentence may be a chapter summary rather than an act of creation without a word. It is indicated that this book, like other ancient books, was titled later, not by the author, so that the first sentences functioned as a title. Genesis is from the Greek word “come to be,” or happen, occur. The text does not decide the question later introduced (Sacks, The Lion and the Ass, pp. 33-34), of creation “out of nothing.” What exists when God speaks first is the formless earth and the wind of God moving on the “face of the deep.” We imagine sea, but what the earth as formless is becomes clear as the waters are separated and the dry land appears. Water is not created, but separated out. There is also motion or “energy,” even before light. Earth air and water turn out to be the same, as solid, liquid and gas. We imagine liquid water, but which of the three is water? “Saw,” or seeing, and “good,” too, are not brought to be with the light, but must be assumed to just “be.” And what does it mean to see that something brought into being is “good”? Sacks notes too that evening and morning are not brought to be, but simply result from the creation of “day,” or, what we call “light” and its separation from “darkness” or “night.” The heaven and earth of the first sentence, the earth that is formless, cannot be the same as the sky and earth of the second day, as dry land has not yet been separated out. Earth in the first sentence might mean the whole visible world that we distinguish from the intelligible, not the planet, which appeared not even as round to the view of the writer, nor even the ground beneath the sky. Is it possible that he did not see that days depend upon sun, or are caused by the sun rising? Did he think there are waters above because rain falls, as when the “windows of the heavens” are opened? Could the author have seen the sun as rather inhabiting than causing the day? But, it seems, there must also be space and time, which may as well be permanent or eternal, as Aristotle teaches, so far as Genesis is concerned. It surely does not say that time itself was created, introducing the contradiction of a time before time. The six days of the creation might from another view be seen as ongoing, as light too is even now still being created, ontological precedence being set in in a temporal articulation. There is also “face” and “the deep.” A student at the clearing indicates that numbers, too, are not created, but assumed in numbering the days. “Word,” too, is “in” or before the beginning, and the trinity is hence said to be present in the first three sentences of scripture. It does not say otherwise what the creation is “out of,” but that it is “by his word (Psalm 33:6; Note 3]” When Jesus turns water into wine, he need not begin with nothing. When he heals the blind man, he uses clay. From the image of God in man, one suggestion would be “out of himself,” even as Eve springs from the rib of man. “In whom we live, move and have our being” Romans ).
That God saw that the creation of light and its separation from darkness was good shows some thing of what knowledge of good and evil is, the question of the second account. The Good is yet something distinct from God, from light and from his seeing.
When God speaks, the effect is visible, not only audible. “He spoke, and it came to be.” David (Psalm 33:6-9) writes:
By the word of the Lord, the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
He put the deep in storehouses…
He spoke, and it came to be;
He commanded, and it stood forth.
Evening and morning appear reversed in order, and it is commented that Hebrew days begin in the evening. But this would seem to imply that the morning mentioned followed the evening. Could it then be the first morning? Does not the first evening presuppose a morning? Does the creating occur at night? “Day” and light are not caused by the sun, and it is not clear until the fourth day what questions are involved in the meaning of “day.”
Carl Jung (Aion, p. 254) writes: “God unfolds himself in the form of syzygies (paired opposites such as heaven/earth, day/night, male female, etc. It is an amusing study to note that there are different kinds of opposites, conflicting and complementary, for example. Left and right appear reversed in a mirror, while up and down holds true-unless the mirror is on the floor, though fore and aft too appear reversed- do east and west?
It is possible that the sky, spread out on the second day, is not the same as the heavens and earth of the opening sentence. The alternative seems to be that heaven and earth are mixed together until the second day, and gradually separated. The spirit of God is moving over the face of the waters 1:2). Then, having created light and separated it from the darkness that was on the face of the deep, …
…God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
The firmament, and not the upper waters, is what is called “heaven.” It is in this firmament that the sun moon and stars are to be set, and above this, called “heaven,” is water. Being “beyond the heavens” is spoke of in a dialogue of Plato (Phaedrus), and in his Phaedo there is an analogy with waters above what we call air” (111b; 109b-111b). Would this not be a three part creation of heavens, earth and waters above? Or perhaps sky and all above it are both the “heavens.” In the Allegory of the Cave in Plato’s Republic (VII), too, there is a pool outside the cave in which the humans and things on earth and in the sky are seen reflected. But the reference to waters above does seem to be the cause of rain, as in the “windows of heavens” in the Noah story (Genesis 11:11), and not yet to the living water of Paradise. The distinction between fresh water and salt seas, as in the Revelation, does not occur in Genesis. The possibility is that Genesis knowingly sets an analogy in the creation of what in the first sentence is “earth,” as the whole visible cosmos reflects the invisible. The twofold division of earth and sky that we see in our familiar world is an analogy of the division between the visible and intelligible. or heaven and earth.
Again, the high is set aside, and the waters below described, as gathered so that the dry land appears (1:9). God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called “Seas.” Does “earth” here mean the same thing as in the first sentence? Are the seas “on earth”? Surely these are not in the heavens!
Strauss notes that the things named by God are Day, Night, Heaven, Earth, and Seas (Int. Genesis, p. 15). Adam names the animals and Eve.
That God saw that it was good is said twice on the third day, after each time that God spoke, and He speaks a total of eight times. On the second day, the land is separated out, rather than being otherwise made. As Strauss again notes, the earth is commanded to bring forth the vegetation, and does so, “whereas God made” the sun, moon and stars (p.10). “Kinds” are first mentioned regarding plants,
…yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind upon the earth.
The plants and animals are brought forth “according” to their kinds,” and one must wonder about life and the kinds of things. Outside of life, one will notice, most “matter” is only elements and compounds lying about, as rocks and rivers, mountains and seas. That the living things are brought forth by the earth according to their kinds is cited as the Biblical basis for the teaching against evolution. To see the kinds as changing, as the “tree of life” unfolds, is the Darwinian revolution. It is clear that these forms must draw upon some source of order, like frost unfolding on a window, but the universals are not permanent, as are Platonic forms. But- as often occurs on questions of this sort- both turn out to be true, as kinds might come from kinds over time, even while each generation is produced according to its kind. Nor is evolutionary theory able to explain the origin of the forms selected, but only the means assuming the forms. The wing develops in 5 places in evolutionary history, and only 5, or a certain number, not everywhere wings would be useful- insects, birds, bats, fish and squirrels, etc. Life crawled out of the oceans onto land, but only a certain number of times: plants, insects, salamanders. Life returned only in the ancestor of dolphins and whales, so as we say, evolution defeated the porpoise. Unicorns and even mermaids, as well as giants, are distinct possibilities, as everything rare has been lost. It is not said in what manner the earth brought forth the animals, nor how long, in our years, this forming out of the ground or the dust of the earth might have taken.
On the fourth day, the sun is restored to its position as the cause of the day and daylight in our world, when it is said (1:18) God set the sun, moon and stars…
…to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.”
Now the full question of the light created on the first day becomes apparent. Is it the light that was created long before our sun was lit? Or is it rather, heaven and earth un-separated, that this is the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it? The intelligible light may not properly be called created.
Strauss (Int. Gen., pp. 15-16) writes:
…These heavenly bodies are lifeless; they are not gods (p. 15)….All nations, all men as men cannot help but be led to this cosmic religion, if they do not go beyond created things…That the world is created is known by the fact that God speaks to Israel on the Horeb; that is the reason why Israel knows that the sun and moon and stars do not deserve worship, that heaven must be deprecated in favor of life on earth, and ultimately, that the origin of the world is divine creation.”
One wonders, though, if the createdness of the world could not be known from the very lack of sufficiency and passing of the things that come to be. Strauss emphasizes the difference between biblical faith, the way of Jerusalem, and the way of Athens of inquiry. But Anaxagoras was tried in Athens for impiety for teaching that the sun is not a god but a burning stone. Abraham, in the rejection of idolatry, is much like the natural philosophers in the effect of purging the visible world of the imagination of spirits. Josephus reports that Abraham taught among the Egyptians. The sun was worshiped in Babylon and Canaan, but especially in Egypt, under Ikhnaton, called the first monotheist, about 1350. The honoring of many gods is contradictory in a number of ways, as what is pleasing to one may not be so to another. Moses is dated roughly about 1250, around Ramses II, though the two timelines have proven difficult to coordinate (See A Timechart History of the World, from the wall in the British museum).
Man is created in the image of God, but it is not literally that he is male and female, nor for that he has the breath of life, that distinguishes man from the animals. In addition to being able to change his ways, man practices domestication:
…and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
This is said three times, as part of the blessing. The domestication of plants and animals distinguishes our kind of human from apparently every other sort that existed, some of whom had fire. Dogs were first domesticated, three times from wolves, from possibly 100,000 years ago, though maybe as recent as 30,000 years. Agriculture astonishingly did not begin until roughly 10,000 years ago, though in archaeology, rare things are most often lost, leaving the prominent. Still, only a few kinds have been domesticated- of animals, we might count on our hands. The fruit tree is very significant. It was domesticated in the area of the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates. and as will be seen, Noah is the first in the new world to practice vinyarding. That our kind of man is traced to a single female is a fact of genetics. One documentary identifies her as of the San tribe, some crossing over into Arabia and Europe from northern Africa, about 70,000 years ago, as all humans outside Africa seem to have died due to a volcano about that time.
The plants are given to man and beast for food, though it is not yet said that there are any carnivores, and the animals are not given to man for food. And here all the plants are given, while in Chapter 2, one tree is forbidden. After the fall, Abel is a herdsman, and his offering implies carnivorism. Nor, of course is dominion over any man given to any man.
Chapters Two and Three
Chapter 2 might have been written by Moses, as there is no reference to the seventh day in the entire first chapter. Saturday is the seventh, Sunday our first day of the week. The Sabbath seems not to have been observed until the legislation of Moses, and the reason given is that they worked 7 days while slaves in Egypt.
2:4: …In the Day…”, the second account seems to take the six days of Chapter One as a single day. Just before the earth was commanded to bring forth the vegetation, as if on the third day, before rain, when a mist watered the ground,…
…then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
It is not said where this occurs, but one pictures dry land. But then God …
…planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there put the man whom he had formed…
Is this then the paradise of God? And where is it, on earth, or in heaven? Indeed, it is watered from below by mists.
“In the east” is the first of numerous statements in Genesis which imply the perspective of the author. The perspective seems to be from the time of Abraham or later, viewing the land of Shinar from Israel Egypt or the Wilderness. We will collect these statements, such as regarding the tomb of Rachel (35:20), and try from these to locate the viewer. The place of Eden is identified by four rivers, two of which have never been lost to history. Following these upstream, much can be told by archaeology. The water level was likely higher, and two other rivers also met, Gihan and Pishon, flowing out to the east and west, around the land of “Havilah,” where there is gold and lapis lazuli. Cain is later banished to the land of Nod, east of Adam, who was already sent out east of Eden. As Cush is to the west, so Havilah seems to be to the east, though it could also be to the northwest of the place where the Tigris and Euphrates now meet. Another interesting possibility is that these two rivers once met in the north, near to the origin of the domestication of fruit trees such as the apple. One clue might be to find the very ancient mines for gold and lapis lazuli. Some have tried to bring in the Nile and the whole Fertile Crescent, including the Vulga, which is not impossible, but it seems likely that Eden was where the two rivers then met, quite near to where these now meet.
…And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 2:8.
Adam is placed in the garden “to till and keep it.” To till and keep the garden of the Lord is the purpose of life so often wondered about in words. It is the statement in image of the proper work from which our “essence” is “alienated,” as the thinkers lately would say. This work too has something to do with tending the garden of the tree of life. One statement of Jesus to Peter, in terms of shepherding rather than gardening, is: Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep… Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Another is the parable of the sower. Another is that to love God and one’s neighbor is to fulfill the law Matthew 22:9-40).
The tree of life is explicitly “in the midst” or the middle of the garden. The two named trees are not yet explained. Their meaning becomes clear through what follows. Adam is permitted to eat from all the trees of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is also translated good and “bad.” This is the second command, the first prohibition. After Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge, they have become “like one of us, knowing good and evil.” They are expelled lest they also eat of the tree of life, and become immortal. The gate to the garden is blocked by a cherubim with a flaming sword. After the Eden story, the tree of knowledge does not appear again in scripture, though Solomon prays:
…Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?
I Kings 3:9
The tree of life does appear again in scripture, in the middle and then again in the Revelation, pertaining to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem (2:7; 22:2, 14, 19). Its leaves are given for the healing of the nations following the events of the end times. In the Proverbs, the tree of life is identified as wisdom, present at the creation:
She is a tree of life to those that lay hold of her,
and those that hold her fast are called happy.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding he established the heavens
By his knowledge the deeps broke forth,
And the clouds drop down the dew…
Prize her highly, she will exalt you…
She will bestow on you a beautiful crown.
And wisdom is shown saying:
The Lord created me at the beginning of his work (or way)
The first of his acts of old
Ages ago I was set up
at the first, before the beginning of the earth
When there were no depths I was brought forth…
Wisdom is there personified as calling in the streets, and in the “Wisdom of Solomon, that thorough or by which creation occurs, similar to the word of God in John 1.
Having set man in the garden with the prohibition, …the Lord God said
“It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper fit for him.”
And the Lord makes the animals, and brings them to Adam to see what he would name them. But in none was found a helper suited to man.
So the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept, took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord had taken, from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh; She shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man. Therefore a man leaves his father and mother, and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were naked, and were not ashamed.
In this “cleave” is contained a good third of human psychology, the principle of the male and female at the root of the political nature of man and the succession of generations in the human family. The parental images or complexes are transferred from the parents to the spouse in the fundamental political attachment at the founding of the family and, as we say, our participation in creation. The union of the male and female is the image of God, and in this men, made in the image of God, are made. Sacks (p. 54) notes that where the text reads “helper for him,” the Hebrew word means “in front of,” vis a vis,”, and also mean an opposite, or “against,” As a verb, the word mean “to put something in front of,” or in the sight of someone, or to make something apparent. Sacks (p. 54) continues:
In sharp contrast to the phrase and God said that it was good that occurred so many times in Chapter One, God says it is not good for man to be alone…He, too, is alone.”
The navel of one’s attachment to the earth meets in this “cleave,” and so love crises stir the individual to the core, presenting the fundamental challenge of sacrifice, even of all attachment to the earth. It is the cause of the illusion and perception of love, and this that Jung calls anima, the soul that is as if sprung from one’s own rib cage, [note 4] as well as jealousy, self perception, concern with reputation, and other political or social aspects of man, heartbreak and occasional rare and fragile, temporary happiness, which nonetheless is, as though in defiance of time. Paul (1 Corinthians 6:16) writes:
Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For as it is written,, “The two shall become one flesh…
There is a mystery of fusion and image in the bond resulting from human unions, often surprising to both lovers and casual romancers, as the fundamental political nature takes over, and what occurs is as if by fate. The very soul of one may be entrusted to another in marriage. All are parts of the mystery regarding human gender and marriage, of “the two become one flesh-” and that despite the surprising if obvious thought that Adam and Eve are not married. The things of love are in one sense outside convention, again as though touching upon original innocence. Love too has its own principles everywhere acknowledged but nowhere understood or explainable, least of all by the lovers themselves, who, if they were to try to explain, struggle to arrive in explanation at love’s own first principles. We say that lovers enter briefly into the original harmony of Eden, and that this, regarding the soul, is the meaning of the two become one “flesh.” Paul explains that the mystery refers to Christ and his Church (Ephesians, 5: 32). It appears in the Revelation as the Bride, and blessing is pronounced upon those invited to the wedding. The linen of her gown is the righteous deeds of the saints (Revelation 19:8-9). These are the feminine divine in the scripture, as somehow both wisdom, and the body of the servants, including angels. Jesus bases the teaching against divorce upon this “cleave,” and it is clear that adultery causes faction and dishonesty in the soul, a lie between the soul and itself, as said in Plato’s Republic about the lie regarding the most important things. Jesus says:
He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. What therefor God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
(Matthew 19:4; 5:2)
The serpent asks the woman if God told them not to eat of any of the trees in the garden. Woman answers, relating, only in part correct, that God told them not to eat of the tree “in the middle” of the garden, failing to distinguish the tree of life, She adds that if they even touch the fruit they will die, but the prohibition mentioned only eating the fruit.. It is commented that Eve only learns the prohibition from Adam, by report or custom. The serpent tells the woman they will not die…,
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
It is very strange that in the literal sense, it is the serpent rather than God who tells the truth, as they do not literally die bodily in the day that they eat the fruit, like a mortal poison. Adam dies, but within a day that is like a thousand years (Psalm 90:4). Rather, the immediate effect is shame. Their conscience is turned on, like one of “us,” but it is as if they are surprised looking down to find themselves embodied. It is surely not as though they now had theoretical knowledge of good and bad, or practical wisdom regarding what is to be done. What they know and introduce into the entire human race is the opportunity to choose evil, and to suffer the effects of the choice of evil as when Cain murders Abel. To say the least, the fruit does not confer episteme or scientific Knowledge of good and evil, but rather something more like the experience and suffering of evil in addition to good, and the need for guidance and the law. Man is divided between law and sin. This is called the “fall” of man, as by one man Adam, all men…Paul (5:17-19) writes to the Romans,
…If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.. For as by one man’s disobedience,many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous…
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor 15:22). Adam and Jesus are in some sense universal man, or all men, bringing in a new condition of humanity. And so it is by following the Christ through death that the expulsion from paradise is undone. The Quran (20: 123) states: states:
He said, get you down, both of you all together from the garden (paradise), with hate and anger between one another. Then if, as it is for sure,guidance comes to you from me,, then whosoever follows my guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall deep into sorrow…
But “die” means something much more broad than the sense in which the serpent is correct in his debunking. Man enters the condition of mortality, as paradise and earth are separated. Sacks (p. 57) writes: “The act of procreation is intended to be a replacement for mortality- since sexual relations in the garden did not have that character, there was no reason for shame.” There was no procreation until there was mortality. The cleaving of Adam and Eve is above mortality, as love is above animal reproduction.
What we have in everyday life that is somehow like the story of the garden is the innocence of childhood that gives way in adolescence to the adult world, and is consumed through young adulthood with establishing the fundamental political associations. The male and female together function as the crown of the family, so that the household might be ruled by intelligence (Aristotle, Politics, I, ).
Love in the Bible is quit interesting in connection with the well and the theme of consent. Abraham and Sarah are monogamous into their nineties. The meeting of Isaac and Rebekah by the well, and again of Jacob and Rachael, are some of the most ancient love stories. Moses similarly meets Miriam at the well, where he heroically secures her right to water against seven bullies (Exodus 2:17). Jesus, too, has an interesting conversation with the woman at the well (John 4:7-30).
God learns by deduction that they have eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when one day He goes walking in the garden and the man hides. Questioned, Adam explains that he was afraid because he was naked. Then God asks Adam if he has eaten from the tree of which he commanded him not to eat. To hide from God is the effect of conscience. Hence man is divided between what we can show God of ourselves in light of conscience. This division leaves the soul in a constant strain, something like atmospheric pressure, and the discord and the seeking for relief are said to be related to why humans desire drugs and alcohol, or why wine is so pleasant. Mankind is under a constant strain due at root to our failure to know ourselves or show ourselves to God. But man hides from God. This apron, often found as minimal clothing on natives to this day, is the origin and meaning of clothing, the first thing made by man, [Note 5] or the first conventional being, following the names given by Adam. The inner faction, projected outward, cases humans to see ill intent where there is none, and to exaggerate what ill is there, making it difficult to govern ourselves and families, let alone in the affairs of cities and nations.
There are two stories in Herodotus that show different aspects of the question of shame- a very perplexing human emotion. The Greeks of course would exercise naked and may have introduced nudity in art, while the Barbarians, as Herodotus explains, believe it better tow keep bodies covered. “Let each look on his own” is the saying of Gyges, the Lydian, who, upon seeing thee beautiful Queen naked, is compelled by her to murder the king and marry her (Inquiries, I. 8-12). In the second story, Democedes cures the boil on the breast of the queen of Darius, Atossa (III,.133). In medicine, shame and human sexuality is transcended, because of science, truth and medical necessity.
Shame has two different roots: One is courtesy, regarding the grossness of the body, and another is modesty. Males are set in motion by sight, and if that were not so, pornography would do no more to men than it does to women. Clothing is a replacement for the natural cycles of estrus common to other mammals, so that we might go about our business undisturbed on occasion. Our removal from the other mammals is a deep mystery, inseparable from reason, speech and our political, as opposed to filial nature. But it is the same mystery, and Genesis indicates, as much as it might cover over, the question.
Adam and Eve confess, but Adam blames it on the woman, or even on God (“The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate”). The woman in turn blames the serpent, who “beguiled her.” She does not confess that she “saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise (3:6).”
Dooms are decreed, first on the serpent, to crawl on his belly, and to suffer enmity between his seed and that of the woman:
He shall bruise your head
and you shall bruise his heel.
The doom of the woman is pain in childbearing, said to be peculiar to humans due the size of the brain of homo sapiens. There is again the echo of deep truths, as the intelligence of man is related to both the fall from the original innocence and pain in bearing children.”Yet your desire shall be for your husband,and he shall rule over you.” One wonders why women would tolerate men and childbirth, and the possibility of escape must be welcomed. But the rule of the male in the household is based upon the begetting of children. Otherwise, Adam eats what she feeds him.
The doom on Adam is that the ground will no longer be as fertile as in Eden. His fate is toil until death:
Cursed be the ground because of you;
In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field
In the sweat of your face
You shall eat bread till you return to the ground for out of it you were taken;
You are dust and to dust you shall return.
Hence the offering of Cain, of the fruits of the earth, is not as well received. The curse on the ground is alleviated under Noah, who was the first to have vineyards, after the flood.
Eve is not named until later, when Adam calls her Eve because she is the mother of all living. One tradition reports that Adam had 33 sons and 23 daughters. Man would quickly fill the world. Sacks (p. 66) notes that her name is related to the Hebrew word for life”
Strangely, God himself is said to have made clothing of skins, the first indication that animals are killed at all.
The meaning of the trees is shown also from their place in the story, as well as from their effects. Though in Paradise, Adam is not immortal.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever-“
“Like one of us” is very near to what the serpent told Eve. The serpent had said, “…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man and at the east of the garden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Sacks notes that Cherubim are Babylonian. These are also on the Ark, and it would be interesting if they were Babylonian rather than Egyptian. There are numerous similarities between Genesis and the Gilgamesh story, which includes the quest for eternal life. These two are thought to have a common influence in some of the thoughts. One is the curious similarities and differences between the eating from the tree of life and the seduction of Enkidu by a prostitute, hired by Gilgamesh to civilize the natural man, who associates first, like Adam, with the animals for his companions. Enkidu is made to be for Gilgamesh “…his equal, let it be as like him as his own reflection, his second self, stormy heart for stormy heart.’ Enkidu was grown weak, for wisdom was in him, and the thoughts of a man were in his heart. She tells Enkidu that now that he has become civilized, by her, “you have become like a god.” It is odd to say that he has become like a god, when in truth he has become a civilized human, distinct from the animal world.The Gilgamesh similarities may suggest that the Genesis story comes from Abraham.
From the book of Enoch (I Enoch XXIV.-4, Charles Ed.), In a vision of the throne where He will sit “when he shall come to visit the earth with goodness,” the prophet asks an angel, Michael, about a certain fragrant tree, and he is answered:
…And as for this fragrant tree no mortal is permitted to touch it till the great judgement, when He shall take vengeance on all and bring to its consummation forever. It shall then be given to the righteous and holy. Its fruit shall be for food for the elect; it shall be transplanted to the holy place, to the temple of the Lord, the Eternal King
When they enter the holy place, its fragrance will be in their bones, and their lives long again as the forefathers.
In the Revelation, this, the giving of the fruit and leaves of the tree of life, occurs when there is a new heaven and a new earth, “for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (21:1). It is not clear whether what is meant is sky or the heaven from which the angel is seen descending, opening the prior chapter, in which earth and sky too are seen to flee the appearance of the throne. The current earth and sky may be changeable, while the earth and heaven as the embodied visible and the intelligible world might be eternal.
Chapter 4: Cain and Abel
There is not yet a law against murder. Sacks calls this a “pre-legal period” or phase of humanity, outside the garden and yet without the law given after the flood of Noah (p. 47). The murder of Abel by Cain is the first crime. The disobedience of Adam is not even called sin, and it is not even clear that he knew what he was eating. The murder of Cain is bad, or, evil. Cain is a farmer, and Abel a shepherd. Cain brings an offering to the Lord of the fruits of the ground, and Abel brought the fat portions of the firstlings of his flock. The offering of Abel is regarded by the Lord, while “for Cain and his offering, he had no regard…”
…So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
that this second mention of rule among humanity is advice regarding self government Sacks (p. 70) writes;
The distinction between ruler and ruled was the necessary result of the knowledge gained from the fruit of the tree. In the case of Cain this same knowledge will present him with the possibility of ruling over his own passions.
Sin is portrayed now as a lion or leopard, crouching toward Cain as prey, “At the door,” rather than, say, in brush along a forest path, because the house is an image of the soul. It is when he does not do well that he is vulnerable to sin, making the first sin motivated by the frustration of failure and the envy or hatred of the success or good of others, because of the reflection n comparison. The motive of the murder of Abel by Cain is sin.
William Whiston, annotating the edition of Josephus, cites 1 John 3:12, “that Cain slew Abel “because his own works were evil, and his brothers righteous.” The murder committed by Cain is the contrast of the love of one another ( John 3:12). The statement is:
…For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him?Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous….He who does not love abides in death…
(I john 11-14)
Opening a series of five departures of the teaching of Jesus from the tradition that grew around the law of Moses, Jesus teaches:
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, you shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to the council. But I say to you, that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says “you fool” shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled with your brother, and come and offer your gift…
When God questions Cain, asking where his brother is, Cain does not confess as Adam and Eve did, but lies: “I do not know.” He asks God a smart question to balance God’s rhetorical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord asks What have you done? “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” One is reminded of the saying that bodies tend to rise to the surface, revealing murders. In some cases it is as though a common human soul were disturbed, and then ghosts are seen and psychics are sometimes helpful to detectives, as though the soul knew and could not rest till the injustice were balanced. But there is not a life for a life in the case of Cain. There is yet no law, and so no law against murder with a set penalty. The ground is further cursed for Cain, so that he must become a wanderer, and he is sent to the land of Nod, which means “wanderer,” the first land such as “Shinar” mentioned without a people or city.
Could Abel have made provision for the Cain effect, the fratricidal envy of such an earthly man: Could Abel have shepherded his brother, acting as his keeper in a way?If the aim of Cain were to do well, he might have imitated or sought the help of his brother. The sorrow of Eve is not told, but she loses both sons in a single stroke, and Cain is not replaced until Seth is born..
The Lord does not punish Cain according to Justice, and when Cain worries that as a wanderer, anyone who sees him may kill him, God sets on him the “mark of Cain.” And who is it that Cain fears will kill him? This is why first man may not mean there are yet no others that we call men, but that Adam is the first of the line from which all later men living derive. One might say that these are those knowing good and Evil, except that the retribution for murder shows some sense of justice.
“Seven fold” is the vengeance for anyone who kills Cain, and the number recurs regarding Lamech, who slays a man and apparently claims the protection of 77 fold vengeance. That Lamech had two wives is mentioned, as though all others kept to an original monogamy. Strauss reads that Lamech “boasted to his wives of of his slaying of men, of his being superior to God as an avenger.” This is strange, but it is difficult to account for the reason that each thing appears. Lamech the father of Noah also lived 777 years (5: 31).
Cain, the wanderer, is the founder of the first city, which he names Enoch after his first son. It is not said where he finds his wife. The women are not mentioned , though they are mentioned in the book of Jubilees, because of the problem of incest at the origins. The alternative would be that the generations of Adam are not the only bodily humans on earth. This is the only mention of a pre-deluvian city. Romulus, the founder of Rome, was also the murderer of his brother, so that some deep connection is sought between the founders of cities and this crime. The founder must work alone, says Machiavelli, or perhaps the violence against nature requires a murderer. But it is not true that criminal founding is necessary. Hammurabi and Theseus are two who drew together disparate tribes or villages into a city, and our own Mayflower Compact demonstrates a rational founding, to be shown possible by the States in America (Federalist 1). The separating out of Abraham and Israel under Mosaic law is another example of a founding. Good orders too can sometimes be achieved only after tyranny has destroyed corruption, but not before, even as in the revelation. The descendants of Cain of the seventh generation are said to be also responsible for certain arts, as the lyre and the working of metals.
In the archetype exemplified by the image of Cain and Abel, one wonders if Abel might not have foreseen the envy of Cain, and made provision for the future crime. Joseph, envied by the entire family, deals much better with the danger of brothers, though that nearly kills him.
There is no direct mention of the descendants of Cain as the cause of the violence into which the world is to fall by the time of Noah, tenth from Adam. Seven generations proceeding from Cain are listed, without dates or ages, since the years are to be reckoned by the descendants of Seth. The names in the two lines are notoriously similar, and Sacks has found some order in the comparison. Unless the two lines intermarried, the lineage of Cain was wiped out in the flood.
Seth is named as the replacement for Abel, and Enosh his son is mentioned, and then it says: “At that time men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” The time when Seth had a grandson is the time of the beginning of men turning toward God, as the time of the Grandson of Cain, Enoch Cainson, was the time of the founding of the first city.
The fifth chapter repeats the generations of Seth in more detail. Seth is a son of Adam “in his own likeness, after his image,” the text reads, after repeating: When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God, male and female he created him.” Is it that the likeness of God is the male and female, while the image of God is man, and both? And why is it not repeated that God made man in his image and likeness? Attention is drawn to the meaning of these phrases, the question of their difference. A painting may be a likeness and not a symbol, and still also called an image, while a symbol is an image though not a likeness of the visible thing.
Does the writer not intend to imply that Cain is not after the image and likeness of Adam? Just prior to the flood, (6:3) the term of the life of man is set at 120 years. Is there a suggestion that Cain is illegitimate? Men begotten by men are created by the Lord. The messiah is called the “only begotten” son of God (John 1: 15), and through him men are given liberty to become sons of god engendered not by the flesh but by the spirit (John 1: 12 Note 6). What is begotten in baptism is the image of God in man. The image of God in man is nascent or unconscious, the inner child in the true sense, the true self. Knowing himself, man acquires the image.
Seth is born when Adam was 130 years old., and Adam lived 800 more years, till what would be the year of the world 930. Whether these are misprints, multiples of ten, dynasties or some genetic aging factor, the line is traced Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalel, Jared, Enoch, Methusaleh, Lamech, Noah. If one adds only the years each was born, the time from the creation to Noah is surprisingly short- 1156 years. Noah was 600 at the flood, making 1756, and then Abe is born 292 years after. Add 2 years before Shem had his son Arpachshad after the flood, so that Abraham is born in A. M. 2050. Similarly, the ten from Noah’s flood to the birth of Abraham is only three centuries. Our rough dates for Abraham and Moses are about 1900 and 1250 B.C. Abraham was nearly a century old before beginning to have his family, and another generation passes before the twelve tribes sojourn as slaves in Egypt, said to have been for four centuries. From what is called the “Six day” theory, taught by millennialist prior to Augustine, the days of the present age are 6000 years, followed by the millennium of the seventh days. Again roughly, the messiah came after four thousand years, and Hosea prophesied “after two days…third day…,and the are thought to refer to the 4th-7th thousands of years from Adam to the New Jerusalem. That is the six day theory.
The seventh of the ten from Adam to Noah is Enoch Sethson, The only one who who has any biographical record. There are various secret books of Enoch, and he is one possible author of Genesis, if written words or oral compositions could be carried through the flood. The reference in the letter of Jude to this book gives it for us a parascriptural status different from the authority in which the apocrypha are held. Our scholars date 1 Enoch from the first century B. C., and the astonishing thing is Hebrew apocalyptic teaching present to influence John and Jesus. Similarly, Jewish Zohar of the first century A. D. has teachings in common with Jesus, so that He and John the Baptist, John and James the apostles are thought to arise bout of something like the Essenes, wild teaching outside the pharisees and the Temple, with John in the wilderness.
Chapters 6-9: Noah
Instead of explaining how the world was led into corruption by the descendants of Cain, Genesis prefaces the story of Noah with the story of Nephilim, giants engendered when the “sons of God” had intercourse with the daughters of men. “These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.” He speaks as though everyone knew the predeluvian heroes, who are not to be mentioned or celebrated in this book. He cannot refer here to the post-deluvian Greek heroic age, though these two, such as Hercules and Achilles, are said to have had one mortal and one immortal parent. These are roughly contemporaneous with Moses, as Genesis is very ancient history. The perspective of Genesis 6 is very primitive, reminding of when Greeks would see centaurs in men on horseback. This seems an invention of poets, until one realizes that Theseus goes on foot, and the Greeks did not yet ride horses until the lessons of Aesclepius and Chiron the centaur. Something similar is occurring here, though not enough is said to decipher what he might have been describing.
In the book of Enoch (VI-VII) when these “sons of God” made an oath at Mt. Hermon to all together commit the sin of defiling themselves with the daughters of men, and did so, they also taught the women and men certain arts which contrast with the contemplative physics of Enoch, which is mostly astronomical and meteorological. Enoch is thought to have had something to do with the Pharisees adopting the solar calendar, and calculations pertaining abound too in Daniel, from the time of the Babylonian Exile. Enoch is similar to the Assyrian influenced books like Tobit, speaking of the “sons of God and of angels good and bad.” To the women…
… they taught … charms and enchantments and the cutting of roots and made them acquainted with plants.
These bore giants, who defile and devour everything including one another.
…And Azazel taught men to make swords and knives, and shields and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth) and the art of working them, and bracelets and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all coloring tinctures. 2. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjaza taught enchantments, and root cuttings.
Much blood was then shed on the earth, which cried out as it did from the blood of Abel, and the men too, “…the souls of men make their suit, saying, ‘Bring our cause to the Most High.” These men address God as Maker of heaven and earth, in terms familiar to us from Abraham and Melchizadek. They also call Him “King of Kings (Enoch IX),” which may have been used first of Cyrus (though there may be an earlier Babylonian precedent). Uriel is then sent to Noah with word that the flood is imminent. Azazel is bound,…
And on the day of judgement, he will be cast into the fire. 7. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the watchers have disclosed. and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel; to him ascribe all sin.
Apocalyptic prophesy is bound up with the prophesy of the flood, as the first and second coming of the messiah, if Christ is true. As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the son of man (Matthew 24:37-40), first in that they will be going about their business when destruction comes upon them apparently without warning. Enoch (13-17) records a speech of the Lord to Michael on the occasion of the flood, when he is told…
…destroy all wrong from the face of the earth, and let every evil work come to an end; and let the plant of righteousness and truth appear; and it shall prove a blessing: the works of righteousness and truth shall be planted in truth and joy for evermore.
17. And then shall the righteous escape
And shall live till they beget thousands of children…
…Then shall the whole earth be tilled in righteousness, and shall all be planted with trees and be full of blessing…
Vines and wine are foretold, and in Genesis, Noah keeps vineyards, drinks wine, and gets drunk. But our commentary moves ahead of its tale.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God.
God tells Noah:
I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms inside the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch…
The ark is 300 x 50 x 30 cubits tall, while the Ark of the covenant is [2 1/2 x 1 1/2x 1 1/2], and the Temple (20+20+10) x 20x 20. Josephus too writes of such a ship known to the locals around Mount Ararat, right where such a ship would be from such flood, near the highest peak. The similarities of detail and meaning- such as the dove out the window to check for other land- between the Noah story and Gilgamesh too indicate a common source in legend or in history. The Noah story preserved for Abraham and Moses may have been passed down from Noah through Shem, even while and independent and polytheist tradition is preserved through Ur and Gilgamesh. Excavation of the city of Ur found ten feet of clay deposited between two layers of habitation. below, pottery was made without the potter’s wheel, while above the clay is the more advanced civilization (Keller, p. 30-31). In Kish, a ways north of Ur, the deposit is only 18 inches, but the depositing of clay may not have been uniform. What is said is that there was indeed a flood, but that it wiped out only all men in the area of the Crescent. Man may have persisted in Africa and America, though it is not impossible that literally all other men except those in thew Ark died out as recently as the third millennium B.C.
Josephus on Noah (Antiquities, I. 4-6) is quite a marvel, demonstrating the extent of his bibliography, reaching to into Chaldea and Egypt for histories acknowledging the basic historical truth of the story of the flood. One sees here a sample of what was lost with the library at Alexandria. There was then part of the ship known in the mountains of Armenia around Ararat, and people would carry off relics of the bitumen as amulets. Josephus records that the offspring of Seth were “the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order.” They are said to have recorded their discoveries on two pillars, one of brick and one of stone, “upon Adam’s prediction that the world would be destroyed at one time by…fire, and at another…by water (Ibid., II.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses, ).
The symbolic meaning of the flood story is baptism. That is, the visible pattern of the story also is like the what baptism or rebirth is in the soul. Peter (I Peter 3:20-21) writes:
…When God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few persons- that is, eight- were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you.
As for the soul, so for the soul. The human world is cleansed by water, and a small but better part remains. The In his history of faith, the author of Hebrews (11: 7) writes:
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events yet unseen, took heed and constructed the ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.
The secret of eternal life is sought by Gilgamesh, who goes on a quest after the death of his companion leading him to the mountain where Utnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah, remains from the flood. He tells Gilgamesh “There is no permanence. Do we build a house to stand forever”? (IV, p. 106-107). Gilgamesh comments on how Utnapishtim appears to be a man just like Gilgamesh, so, he asks,
How was it that you came to enter the company opf the gods and to possess immortal life? Utnapishtim said to Gilgamesh, I will reveal to you a mystery, I will tell you a secret of the gods.
This is the end of Chapter IV, and then Chapter V is the story of the flood. It may be that baptism is the secret of eternal life or salvation, known to Noah and to Israel even before Jesus. He asks Nicodemus, Are you a teacher of all Israel, and do not understand this (John 3:10) ? So, with Justin Martyr, we consider salvation to be a possibility in the nature of the soul, universal and not a man-made custom, nor dependent upon any manmade orders. The mystery of the birth of divine life in the soul of man, the light that enlightens men,” is the image of God in man. The mystery is “Noahide,” or pertains to all men.
The third mention of the image of God in man is in giving a reason for the law against murder. As a teacher of politics, we would sometimes ask the class, “Why is murder wrong?” Everyone, of course, knows that murder is wrong, but the why eludes us. And if self preservation is the first principle of human action, as for example in the thought of Thomas Hobbes, murder is not by nature wrong. The best reasons given pertain equally to animals, including worms: “We did not give them life, and so have no right to take the life,” etc. We did not make it, so we do not own it, a very modern assumption. But from this it would follow that killing animals or plants might be murder, and more. When giving the first law, and setting the penalty of death for murder, the reason is: “for God made man in his own image.” The statement obviously distinguishes between killing and murder. The image of God in man is the basis of both the law regarding anger and the law regarding the erotic things. Jesus reduces the ten laws to a statement of two, as the ten divide neatly into laws about our relations to one another and to God. The image of God in man is also the basis of the inalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence. And amazingly, in Plato’s Republic and again in his Laws, the image of God in man is the basis in nature of all human law. In the best regime, the legislator will “…produce the image of man, taking hints from exactly that phenomenon inhuman beings which Homer too called “godlike” and the image of God,” (Theo-eides te kai theo-eikelov), stating “image” and “likeness,” as in Genesis 1:26). In the speech of Socrates too, the fundamental division is between heaven and earth, or the intelligible and visible, and intelligence and truth are said to be “begotten.” The child of the good is the offspring tokos of the good, born as if from a cave into the light of day. Eikos is related to icon, but likeness would be eidos in the sense of visible looks, while image has to do with having the same pattern and being hence a symbol of something higher imaged in the lower.
God sets the Rainbow as a sign of the new covenant between God and man. Whenever the bow is seen in the clouds, He will remember the covenant and his promise never to destroy the earth again by water.
Shem, Ham and Japheth come out of the ark with Noah to people the three parts of the world. The final story about Noah is about the origin of the curse of the Canaanites.
The genealogies of Genesis begin to come to life when one asks certain questions of the text. An example is that of the origin of the Hebrew language, named from Eber. The division of languages, described in Chapter 11, occurs around the time of the birth of Peleg, whose name means division (10:21). And who were those Chaldeans, from whom Abraham came forth (11:31)? Were these Shemites or Hammites? Hammites were the founders of many cities: Nimrod, the son of Cush and grandson of Ham: “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech and Akkad, all of them in the land of Shinar.” As a student in a recent class indicates, the curse is on Canaan and not Ham. To “uncover the nakedness of” will be repeated in the law of Moses. One sees that shame, first covered in the garden, has a reason beyond the natural appetites. When the Biblical perspective is criticized as excessive regarding moderation, things that pertain to the unnatural appetites are thought to be said of natural things, like eros or animal courage, sometimes because the Bible leaves many things unspoken. Genesis is remarkably restrained regarding the antediluvian Cainites and the cause for the world’s descent into violence.
The genealogies of Genesis are quite serious, containing nearly our only window into the lives of these humans of about 4000 years ago, or 2000 B. C. That anything at all remains is absolutely astonishing. The nations of the world all around a place just east of Shinar, or about the Mountain of Ararat, are identified, and an account given of the origins of three different branches of man. A genetic bottleneck may be detectable in genetic archaeology, if someone were in a position to look for this, about 24-2300 B.C. as has been found about 70,000 years ago.
The sons of Japheth are listed first, and we will collect what is said to identify each. [Note 7] Gomer “founded those whom the Greeks call Galatians, but were then called Gomerites” (I.vi). His sons are named: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarma. Magog “founded those…who are by the Greeks called Scythians.” Madai Medians, or Medes. Javan, is Ion, or “John.” The sons of Javan are also named. Josephus writes, “From Javan, Ionia and all the Grecians are derived, whose sons are also named: Elisha, Tarshish Kittim, Dodanim. Tubal: Tubalsk. Meshek: (Mosoch) Cappadocians…Mazaca, Moscow. and Tiras (Tire?).
Shem is the elder brother, though Japheth was described first. He is the father of all Semites,” including Eber (10: 23). Elam. Assur. Arpachshad, whose sons are Shelah, (whose son was Eber) Lud. Aram whose sons are Uz, Hal, Gether and Mash. The son of Eber is Peleg, named by Eber for the division of languages that resulted from the Tower of Babel, which is hence dated, to the third and fourth generation after the flood.
Thirteen offspring of Joktan, the brother of Peleg, are listed but not otherwise pursued. “Havilah” is the most significant. If a grandson of Shelah founded Havilah, we have a clue to the location of a third of the four rivers, Pishon (2:11). The territory of these Joktans “extended from Mesha in the direction of Separ to the hill country of the east.” That may be where Havilah and the Pishon are, increasing the possibility that Eden is in the north of the rivers, toward Ararat, rather than the South near Ur and the Gulf. (Hence, the Jubilee’s identification of Gihon with the Nile ( ) seems an error). The Gold of Egypt seems to have been imported, but it is not said from where. They seem to have acquired gold from plunder and from Numibia, on the east coast. There is, though, another Havilah, the son of Cush, whose territory is much closer to Egypt. Our hypothesis is that Egypt imported gold from one of these two places. The perspective of the author of Genesis is much more local.
Peleg and Eber are the source of the Hebrew language, preserving one line through Shem and Noah. The tradition too, and writings, may have been preserved.
The sons of Ham found many cities in the land around the Tigris and Euphrates. Who, then, are the Chaldeans? Josephus writes:
Shem the third son of Noah, had 5 sons, who inhabited the land that began at the Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean; for Elam left behind him the Elamites, the ancestors of the Persians. Ashur lived at the city Nineveh, and named his subjects Assyrians….Arphaxad named the Arpaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans. Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks call Syrians.
Hence, not only are the Persians and Arabs “Semites,” the Jews are Chaldeans! Ishmaelites too are Shemites, Hebrews, and Abrahimic. the offspring of Abraham. The descent and years born after the flood is Shem, Arphaxad (02), Shelah (b. 37), Eber (b. 67), Peleg (b. 101), Reu (b. 131), Serug (b. 163), Nahor (b. 193), Terah (b. 222), Abraham (b. 270). Abraham is born not much longer after the flood than we are from the Revolutionary war.
The sons of Ham are Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. The cities are founded by Nimrod in the third generation, Babel, Erech, and Accad in Sinar and, (perhaps contrary to Josephus) Nineveh in Syria. Ovid refers to Ninus, and of course the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe occurs in Nineveh at the tomb of Ninus. Augustine too writes of Ninus, who may then be identified with Nimrod. Later, the prophet Jonah postpones the destruction of Nineveh, to where the northern ten tribes were taken due to their apostasy.
Scripture has been cited to justify black slavery in the American South. But the race of Cain has died out, and the curse is not upon Ham, Cush, Egypt, and Put, but for some reason only on Canaan. The practices of Sodom are indicated. The curse targets very particular groups of four millennia ago, and it is not even clear that these any longer exist. Some are destroyed at Sodom and Gamorah.
The Catholic study Bible has a nice note here at 10:13. The text is:
Mizraim became the father of the Ludim, the Anamim, the Lehabim, the Naphtuhim, the Pathrusim, the Casluhim, and the Caphtorimfrom whom the Philistines sprang.
The commentary in the notes:
The Pathrushim: the people of upper (southern) Egypt cf Is.11:11; Jer. 44:1,Ez 29:14, 30:14 Caphtorim, Crete. For Caphtor as the place of the origin of the Philistines, cf. Deut 2:23 Amos 9:2 Jer 47:4.
That is the first scrap of any historical mention I have ever seen of the difference between the peoples of Northern and Southern Egypt and the origin of the people of Crete. The history of Egypt has begun for us with the joining of the two by Narmer, Mr. Scorpion, as recorded in the Steele of Narmer. The rest has been pre-history.
The philistines are then said to have come from Crete, while the difference between Greeks and Cretans would be that between Japhethites and Hammites.
Cannan became the father of Sidon, his first born, and Heth; also of the Jebusites,
The tower of Babel is intended also as a refuge in the event of another flood (Josephus, Ant., IV.2). This tower is prior to the stepped pyramid of the Olemec, Maya and Aztecs and the triangular pyramids of Egypt. But one expects a common source. The wheel was invented only once, and peoples otherwise quite capable of a wagon simply did not think of it. Nature too produces shoulder joints, but cannot otherwise fit two independent parts, as is needed to make a wheel. In pre-deluvian finds, there is no wheel.
The prophecy of Ezekiel refers to the nations of Genesis 10. After describing the restoration of Israel, Ezekiel is told to set his face “toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” The identification of Magog with Russia is not obvious, and needs to be demonstrated, because it is not the nation most obvious to the prophets themselves, to whom the utter parts of the north might mean the Assyrian, and the kings of the East, the Persian or even Babylonian. The Oxford note to Ezekiel 38 and 39 states: Since the foe from the north in Jeremiah (25.9) and Ezekiel (26.7) was Babylon, it is probable that the foe here described is a grandiose surrogate for Babylon…” The identification suggested (p. 1049):
…Gog, king of Magog, both unidentified, though the general location is to the north. Meshech, Assyrian “Mushku,” south of Gomer…Tubal, Assyrian “Tabal,” south of Beth-togarmah…Cush, Ethiopia, Put [with Cush, Ethiopia], Gomer, Assyrian, “Gimirrai,” Cimmerians in central Asia Minor (Gen. 10.2-3). Beth-togarmah, Assyrian “Tilgarimmu, east of the southernmost Halys River…
Tubal and Meshek are trading partners with Tyre (Ezekiel 27:13). They are elsewhere mentioned in the table of nations of Genesis 10. Magog, Tubal and Mechek are three of seven sons of Japheth, the son of Noah. The others are Gomer, Madai, Javan and Tiras, north of Israel and Mesopotamia. On the map printed in some Bibles, Javan is Greece; Gomer the area of the Ukraine, Tubal is placed south of the black sea, in Turkey, and, Tiras is the area of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania. They may easily have spread north from Ararat and around from there, to become the nations at the four corners of the world. The “Caucasian” Europeans are likely to be descendants of Japheth, rather than Shemites or Hammites, who would be the Semetic and African peoples respectively. Asian, Pacific island and American peoples are either unknown to Genesis, or derived from these. Scofield, (1909, p. 833) notes:
… That the “primary reference” in Ezekiel 38:2-3 “is…to the northern (European) powers, headed up by Russia, all agree. The whole passage should be read in connection with Zech. 12.1-4; 14.1-9; Mt. 24.14-30; Rev. 14.14-20; 19. 17-21. “Gog” is the prince of Magog, his land. The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification. Russia and the northern powers have been the latest persecutors of dispersed Israel…
Van Impe often states that a longitude line drawn north from Israel goes through the center of Moscow. He, Gog, is told that the Lord will “put hooks into your jaws,” as though he were the sea beast, and “I will bring you forth…Persia, Cush and Put are with them…Gomer (Cimmeria) and all his hordes; Bethtogarmah (Turkey?) from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes, many peoples are with you” (38:4-6). “In the latter years, you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land where people were gathered from many nations and now dwell securely” (38:8). Then, as Isaiah wrote: “In that day, the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
The destruction of Gog of Magog looks much like a description of the battle that is Armageddon in the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation. This has been done so that He might vindicate his holiness before their eyes, and has been long prophesied (38:16-17). There will indeed be a great earthquake in Israel, and worldwide, and “all the men that are upon the face of the earth shall quake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down…every man’s sword shall be against his brother…torrential rains and hailstones, fire and brimstone…I will give you to the birds of prey of every sort and to the wild beasts to be devoured” (38:20-39:8). For seven years, the people of Israel make fires of the weapons, which we do not believe are literally shields and bucklers and such. For seven years they will be burying the corpses in a cemetery of Gog. Ezekiel is told to summon the birds for a sacrificial feast (39:17), the same as that in Revelation 19. “You shall eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the princes of the earth.” There follows in Ezekiel the measuring of the temple.
Following Gabelein and Scofield, Van Impe discusses the nations (11: 59 And Counting, pp. 119-127). Following Josephus, he identifies Magog as Scythian, Meshek with Moscow, Tubal with Tubalsk, Rosh with Russia. There is no ancient memory of the Scythians remaining, prior to the Christian era. Bethtogarma is identified with Turkey, and Tarshish with Britain, which is neither certain nor impossible. The Oxford edition suggests Southern Spain, Ez. 10:9, “Uphaz,” a place unknown.
Chapter 11 is the coming forth of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans are Semites even though Hammites founded Ur and many of the surrounding cities. It is not said why Abram left Ur. Chapter 12, after God speaks to him, is his leaving of Haran when he is 75 years old to enter into Canaan. As Augustine indicates, Terah is then still alive, the text having gone back earlier than the death of Terah, reported at the conclusion of Chapter 11 (City of God, xvi .17-18). Augustine also writes that “Iscah” is Sarai, the daughter apparently of Haran. The city to which Abram and Terah emigrate is named after this brother of Abram who died in Ur. Sarah would then seem to be the niece of Abraham.
The account in Genesis is silent on the sin introduced into the world by Cain, and the reason for Abram leaving Ur. The first named women, following Adah, Zillah and Naamah, are Sarah and Milcah. Genesis is avoiding the question of sister marriage among the extreme ancients, and the question of the meaning of “first man,” describing only what is necessary to the measuring of the years from Adam to Noah and then from the flood to Abraham.
The first recorded speaking of God to Abraham is the command to leave Haran, and Abraham is told he will be made a great nation and a blessing. God tells Abram he will bless those who bless him, and curse those who curse him, “and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” (12:3) Augustine writes that this blessing of all nations, not only the Hebrew nations, through Abraham refers to the messiah.
Abram goes through Shecham, then stops briefly at the Oak of Mamre, which must have been one of the last trees of that sort in the area. “Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your descendants I will give this land (12:7).” Abraham builds an altar there, but moves on to the place between Bethel and Ai, There he builds another altar, and continues South into the desert. It is not said why, but the Canaanites were in the land.” He has with him Sarah, Lot, and some persons he acquired in Haran. So that the Egyptians do not kill him and take the beautiful Sarah, who is praised to Pharoah, Abraham says Sarah is his sister. Instead of being murdered, he becomes rich, and Pharoah is cursed, when “the Lord afflicted Pharoah and his house with great plagues because of Sarah.” Pharoah figures out the deception, and sends Abraham away, but with all the livestock and servants he has acquired. The story is about how Abram saved himself and Sarah from a bad fate became rich by a deception of Egypt.
The story of the first descent of Abraham into Egypt occurs under a Pharaoh that is not named. Sarah is nearly made a wife of the Pharaoh, because Abraham had said she was his sister, fearing they might kill him and take her if they knew she was his wife. A similar event occurs regarding Abimalech later (Chapter 20). There Abraham tells Abimalech that Sarah is the daughter of his father by a different mother. If true, Iscah the daughter of Haran is a different woman, contrary to Augustine ( ).
The word Pharaoh comes from the Hebrew Word for the house from which the Pharaoh governed, called the great house. One wonders if the word was used at all of their king of kings, who united the north and South of the river into a single nation.
Abraham returns from Egypt through the Negeb desert to the altar between Bethel and Al. Here he separates from Lot, who goes to settle at Sodom. Then the Lord speaks to Abraham in the third instance recorded in the text, after Lot has gone:
Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward, and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give to you and your descendants for ever, I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants can also be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
An altar is built at the oaks of Mamre, by Hebron. This is where the three appear to him, and near where the Tomb is bought at the death of Sarah, a place known to this day.
After Lot goes toward Sodom, there is a war between an alliance of Hammite cities and 5 Kings from Shinar- from whence Abraham has come. This may be the earliest historical account of any battle in a form beyond Chronicle. The Hammite cities are Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, each mentioned as “near Lasha” in the table of nations (Genesis 10:19). A fifth, Zoar or Bela, is added. These rebelled after 12 years vassalage to Cedorlaomer, king of Elam. The date is again about 1800-1900 B.C., and this is our only window into the neighborhood. Abraham has just left Egypt, so we can gage the relative strengths of Shinar, Egypt, and soon, Abraham, who does not need alliance from Egypt. This is apparently after Hammurabi conquered Elam (2117-2094), between the first and second Babylonian dynasties. In Egypt, it is between the Middle Kingdom dynasty of Amenemhet III and the Hyskos invasion, about 1800 B. C. As it turns out, Edom is East of Eden, the oldest source traced for the pre-deluvian invention of the wheel and potter’s wheel, from whence these seem to have been introduced into Kish, between about 4000 and 4500 B.C. Bronze and iron are pre-deluvian.
The Mysterious Melchizazek
Lot is captured by the Elamites, and Abraham enacts a heroic rescue, and in this we gain our first appraisal of the size of his household. He has 318 trained men born in his household, plus allies, and these go fetch Lot. When he returns, the grateful King of Sodom meets Abraham in the King’s valley. There Melchizedek, King of Salem- that is what later becomes Jeru-salem, “brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abraham. Here, we say, the bread and wine is first done near Mount Moriah, where Abraham will bring an end to human Sacrifice. This Melchizedek is thought potentially to be Shem, but to be in the direct line of tradition from Noah to Abraham, and the dates work or almost work. When the King of Sodom asks for the human portion of the booty, Abraham tactfully tells Sodom that he would not have him later say Sodom had made Abraham rich. By this, Abraham saves these men from becoming slaves to the Sodomites and entangled in their fate soon to come.
The name Elyon (Hebrew: עליון) occurs in combination with El, YHWH, Elohim and alone. It appears chiefly in poetic and later Biblical passages. The modern Hebrew adjective “`Elyon” means “supreme” (as in “Supreme Court”) or “Most High”. El Elyon has been traditionally translated into English as ‘God Most High’. The Phoenicians used what appears to be a similar name for God, one that the Greeks wrote as Έλιον. It is cognate to the Arabic `Aliyy.
Wikipedia: “The Names of God in Judaism.”
The name of Melchizadek is similar to Abimelech, with whom Abraham makes the oath at the well of Beer-sheba 21. [And there is another -alek].
One connection to Noah is wine, and bread and wine as a sacrament may go back even to Shem and Noah. Sacks, in his Commentary, writes:
Verse 2 of Psalm 76 reads: “In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling is in Zion. …Salem… is identified with Zion and consequently must be taken as an old form of Jerusalem.”
Malchi-zadek is therefore the king of (Jeru-) Salem. The role of Jerusalem as the high point in the war may also be reflected in the fact that the only other time in the Bible that five kings form an alliance is in the first attack on Jerusalem, which occurs in the tenth chapter of Jashua. At that time, the king of Jerusalem is not Malchi-zadek but Adoni-zadek.
Adonizek is king of Jerusalem then about 1325, while Melchizedek and Abraham are about 1850 BC. These are “Amorites (10:16),” allied with Hebron Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon as Joshua conquers the Holy land upon the return from the Egyptian exile begun here in the days of Abraham. So the Amorite name argues against Melchizadek being a descendant of Shem at Jerusalem, just East of Bethel and Ai. But the people of Melchizadek may also be distinct from some of the Amorites, and hence the name and the bread and wine may yet have been preserved from Noah. For us, the very interesting point would be if human sacrifice ends at Abraham and Isaac, while animal sacrifice replaces it and continues until its replacement with tyhe bread and wine, done first here at Jerusalem.
Note 1: “On the Interpretation of Genesis,” p. 17.
Note 2: The New American Bible, Reading Guide.
Note 3: There is no scriptural teaching of creation “out of nothing.” The closest is Maccabees 7:28 …God did not make them out of things that existed.” Hebrews 11: 1-3 “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.” Job 25:7-8.
Note 4: Of marriage, a friend would say, “I want my rib back.”
Note 5: In scenes 2 and 4 of Act III of King Lear, the king, now mad, divests himself of the clothing of convention. The law-formed character, applied to trellis the original nature, is shed like garment. As Job says, “naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked, I shall return (Job 1:21; John 3:4).”
Note 6: Misunderstanding the symbolic character of the Christian teaching of rebirth and the son of God, the greatest theoretical difference between Christianity and Islam may be in the rejection of the teaching that God begets or has a son. The beginning of clarification is to distinguish both animal begetting and the generation of gods. The Quran acknowledges the immaculate Conception.
Note 7: Authorities on the nations are Josephus and Jack Van Impe. The nations are the same as those involved in prophets and the end times.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford University Press, 1973, 1977.
The New American Bible. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.
The Quran. Translated by Dr. Syed Victor Ahamed.
The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas. Jean Pierre Isbouts. National Geographic. Washington, D.C., Undated.
The Timechart History of the World. Chippenham, England: Third Millennium Trust, 1997.
Anastaplo, George. Class at the Clearing in Wisconsin, 1990.
Augustine. The City of God.
Josephus, Antiquities. In Josephus, Complete Works. Translated by William Whiston, A. M. Grand Rapids: Kregal Publications, 1981.
Keller, Werner. The Bible As History. NY: William Morrow and Company, 1956.
Maimonides, Moses. Guide of the Perplexed. Translated by Shlomo Pines. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963.
Plato, Timaeus, Republic, Phaedrus, Phaedo…
Sacks, Robert. “The Lion and the Ass: A Commentary on the Book of Genesis” Interpretation, 1980, 8 (2-3) pp. 29-101.
Strauss, Leo. On the Interpretation of Genesis.
________. Athens and Jerusalem: Some Preliminary Reflections. In Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy. Edited by Thomas Pangle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
_____________. Progress or return? The Contemporary Crisis.
_____________. On the Mutual Influence of Theology and Philosophy.
Van Impe, Jack. 11:59 and Counting. Troy, Mi: Jack Van Impe Ministries, 1983, 1987.