When it comes to the biblical account of God creating Adam and his wife, Chavah (trans. “Eve” from the Greek and the Latin translations), have we been told everything about their accounts, or are there things about the accounts of their creation and fall that we have not been told that are there in the biblical record? There is some surprising things that we can learn.
The Creation of Adam
To begin, according to the biblical record,
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth. And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
From this passage, we can see that we have been created “in the image of God,” but when God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” it provokes the question, “Who was God speaking to here?” Have you ever asked yourself this question? Rabbinic Jews teach that He was speaking to the angels, but Christians teach that He was speaking to the other parts of the Triunity of God: “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit.” But who is right?
I would like to propose a third option here: God was speaking to the earth. Humanity was made from a combination of two sources: from God and from the earth. God was, in a sense, “the Father” in this role of creating this new being, and the earth, in a sense, was being “the mother.” Although I do not believe that the earth is a living being, there is some truth to the idea of the earth being like “a mother.” Just as a child is made from the DNA of the father and the mother, which each contributes to the making of a child, so as we will read in Genesis 2, Adam’s body was created from the earth – “the dust of the earth /ground (Heb. ‘adamah”) – and from God. We read,
And the LORD God formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his
nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7, JPS)
I found it very interesting to examine this verse in the Hebrew. It is much more picturesque than what we have in our English translations. For example, the word translated “formed” literally mean “molded, shaped, squeezed into shape.” The same picture we might have of a Potter molding, shaping, and squeezing the clay on his wheel into whatever he was making at the time. Also, God made ‘adam (a plural noun; trans. “man”) from the ‘adamah, or “red dirt” of the ground. I read that “red dirt” was the purest form of “dirt.” Then when God ‘breathed in his nostrils,” there is the image of “puffed cheeks” of someone “blowing into someone’s nostril’s or mouth, performing CPR. Finally, He “breathed into his nostrils” the nishmat chayyim (trans. “breath of life”), but what I found so interesting about this was that the word chayyim is actually in the plural, so literally it is “lives” – not “life.” Now does that mean that those who believe in reincarnation are right that we are born with many different “lives” inside of us? No, the “lives” that God “breathed into” ‘adam (“man”) are the different aspects of our existence: physical life, cognitive life, emotional life, spiritual life, social life, and even our financial life. So all of these different aspects were “breathed in” us, and then we read, ha’adam (“the man”) became l’nephesh chayah (“a living soul”). In looking at this account, it can’t be denied that God was much more involved in the creation of ‘adam (“man”) than he was with anything He had created prior to this creation, since they were all spoken into existence.
Since God created man from these two sources – the earth and God – then it is only logical that God was speaking to the earth when he said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” in this case.
Another interesting question we might ask here is “Why is the plural noun, ‘adam, used here? Isn’t there only a ‘single man’ being created by God?” What is given in Genesis 1:27 is a poetic presentation, specifically a form called “Hebrew parallelism.” You can even hear the poetry in the English. This same poetic use is used in many places of the Bible, such as Psalm 103:1,
Bless the LORD, O my soul, all my being, His holy name. (Psalm 103:1, JPS)
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
(Psalm 103:1, KJV)
Here I want to compare two English translations of this one verse: one being from the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) and the other is from the King James Version (KJV). In comparing these two translations, we can see that the first half of the verse is exactly the same in both, the differences are in the last half of the verse. In the first half of the verse – “Bless the LORD, O my soul” is being equated with “bless His holy name” in the second half of the verse. The word “bless” is implied in the second half of the verse in the JPS translation. “O my soul” is being equated with “all that is within me” in the KJV translation or “all my being” in the JPS translation. The differences here is really semantic – rather than one of content.
Adam – A Plural Being?
In much the same way, we can see the same type of poetic parallelism going in Genesis 1,
In the image of God He created him,
male and female created He them. (Genesis 1:27b)
The phrase “in the image of God” is being equated with “male and female” and “He” in the second line is equated with “He” in the third line, “created” in the second line is equated with “created” in the third line, and “him” in the second line is being equated with “them” in the third line. But I think this would make more sense for most people, if If we place these two parts side by side, so that the truth of what is being taught here can be readily seen. I think readers would find this rather astounding:
|In the image of God =||Male and female|
What this chart reveals is that “the image of God” is revealed as being “male and female.” This does not mean that God has a physical body and has both “male and female” genitalia. However, He is One Spirit who has both masculine and feminine traits and characteristics. For example, the Hebrew word for “Spirit” – Ruach – is, in fact, “feminine;” however, since God’s traits are dominantly “masculine,” God is referred to by the pronouns “He,” “His,” and “Him.” Consequently, He is One Spirit with a combination of masculine and feminine traits and qualities; thus, He makes ‘Adam (trans. “man”) “in His image and likeness,” so ‘Adam is created in flesh with both “masculine and feminine traits and qualities” but in only one body. This make Adam a completely unique being in the whole earth, just as God is completely unique Spirit Being in the whole created order. We can see the same thing being taught in Genesis 5,
This is the record of Adam’s line – When God created man (Heb. ‘adam), He
made him in the likeness of God; MALE AND FEMALE He created THEM. And
when they were created, He blessed them and called them Man (Heb. ‘Adam).
(Genesis 5:1-2, JPS, emphasis added)
Now I want to compare the JPS translation with that of the King James Version (KJV):
This is the book of the generations of Adam In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; MALE AND FEMALE created he THEM; and blessed them, and called THEIR NAME ADAM, in the day when THEY were created. (Genesis 5:1-2, KJV; emphasis added)
In the KJV of the English translation, we see more emphasis given to the plurality of Adam, that Adam was actually a “THEM” within a “HIM” – NOT just a “him.” Also, we see the use of the prepositional phrase “in the day” TWICE within the verse that is just translated as “when” in the JPS translation.
Now this idea that the original “‘Adam” was not created as a single male, but this unique human was created both “male and female” in one body. This may seem “weird” to many people since this is not taught to many people, but this is important for us to understand the creation of woman in the next chapter. Now I am not the only one who has seen this in the biblical text, or who even teaches this. For example, several years ago, I found an online article, called “Orthodox Rabbinical Interpretation of the Creation of ‘Adam and the Formation of Woman,” on the Chabad website. found January 21, 2002. In this article, it is written,
The wording of the Torah implies that Adam was first created as a combined male-female being, then (still on Day Six) he (they) was (were) physically separated as Adam and Chava [Eve], with the command and challenge of recombining spiritually, emotionally, and in some ways, physically – “and they shall become one flesh”.
Then in a commentary written by Mrs. Tsiporah Heller, an Orthodox Chasidic Jewish woman comments, wrote in her online article, “Women in Judaism: Obligation or Privilege,”
The Book of Genesis tells us that the inception of humankind begins when G-d creates Adam. The narrative then concludes, “…male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). The obvious question is, who’s “them?” The classical Torah commentators answer that the original Adam had both male and female qualities. Only later was this androgynous Adam separated into “them” – man and woman. You can ask, if G-d wanted two, why did he start with just one, especially when no other entity in the entire Creation story was separated from one into two. When G-d created elephants, He didn’t make one elephant, separate it into two and then create a species. He created a species and that species was elephant. Only human beings started with the creation of one Adam, one source for all future human individuality and uniqueness. And this singular source had qualities that were both male and female
Not only did I find these Orthodox Chasidic women commenting on the plurality of ‘Adam, but I was also attending a Torah study at the time in Phoenix, Arizona, called Tsur Israel Torah Congregation, and the study was called, “Study of the Seven Days of Creation and the Formation of ‘Adam, Genesis 1-2,” on September 16, 1993. In this study, it was taught,
“…male and female He created them (Heb. otam).” This shows that the word “’adam” is a PLURAL noun, representing a PLURAL human creation. This explains Genesis 1:26, where it says, ‘…and THEY shall dominate in the fish of the sea, and in the fowl of the heaven…” From the very beginning, Adam is a plural creation, encompassing male and female, both created at the same time in the image of G-d who Divine nature possesses both male and female attributes. In the Kabalah, five of the Sephirahs of G-d are in the male gender and five are in the female gender, including the Shechinah cloud, the divine presence of G-d, who dwelled behind the veil over the Mercy seat of the Ark in the Tent of Meeting and later, in the Temple of Solomon.”
When we read the actual Hebrew text, the evidence that ‘Adam was not “a singular being” as we imagine, but “a plural being,” “created both male and female.”
The Formation of Woman
Then in speaking about Genesis 2:21-25, the group was taught,
“And the L-RD G-d caused a deep sleep to fall upon man [Heb. ‘adam–plural noun], and he slept; and He [G-d] took one of his sides, and closed the place there with flesh instead. And the [curved] side, which the L-RD G-d had taken from the man [Heb. ‘adam–plural noun], made He a woman [Heb. ‘ishah—sing. noun], and brought her to the man [Heb. ‘adam].
“And the man [Heb. ‘adam] said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; and she shall be called ‘Woman’ [Heb. ‘ishah—sing. noun], because she was taken out of man [‘ish—sing. noun]. Therefore [or as a result] shall a man [Heb. ‘ish—sing. noun] leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave [be joined together] to his wife [Heb. ‘ishah—sing. noun], and they shall be one flesh [i.e., become ‘adam again]. And they were both naked, the man [Heb. ‘adam] and his wife [Heb. ‘ishah], and were not ashamed.”
In teaching about the formation of woman in our English translations, it says the God took “a rib” from ‘Adam to form the woman; however, the word that is translated “rib” is the Hebrew word tzalo [H6763], which is the same root word that is used in Exodus 26:20 for one of the “sides” of the tabernacle. So if the word is “side,” this would indicate that the man and the woman were created as equals – not one subordinate to the other. Also that the primary purpose of marriage is for the man and the woman to be a physical representation of God in the earth. It was ‘Adam who was created “in the image of God,” and since the man and woman were separated, the man is only half of the image of God, and the woman is the other half of the image of God, and it is only when we put the two halves together that we are able to reformulate “the image of God.”
This is why two men cannot formulate “the image of God,” nor can two women formulate “the image of God.” The original ‘Adam was created “male and female,” and only joining together one male and one female can we reformulate the original ‘Adam, who was made “in the image of God.” And God takes it personally when we pervert or distort His image. This is why any deviation of this formula is considered “an abomination,” which means “morally existing.”
The Fall of Adam & Chavah
Not only were not told this about their creation, but most people who have been told the story of Adam & Chavah (trans. “Eve”) have been told that their sin was eating the fruit from the forbidden tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And that they were driven from the Garden of Eden because of this one sin. But is this accurate, or were they driven out of the Garden of Eden for committing more than just this one sin?
According to the biblical record, we are told,
The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused 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. (Genesis 2:8-9)
Here we can see in this passage that God created Adam, the man and the woman, and He placed them in this garden with all of these wondrous fruits, plus two specific trees: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Then it says,
Then the Lord God commanded the man (Heb. Adam), [the man and the woman], saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it, you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Adam, the man and the woman, was given permission from God to eat from any tree in the Garden that they wanted, except for one, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The day that they eat from that tree, God says, “you will surely die.” Now I have heard many people wonder, “Why did God plant that one tree there in the garden? Was this a ‘set up’”? “Why even put that temptation there?”
The Sin of Adam & Chavah
Although Adam, the man and the woman, was created innocent, without sin, God wanted to develop Adam’s, the man and the woman’s, character and integrity within them. These qualities cannot just be created, but they must be formed through various trials and tests. Thus, the reason for the two trees. It is at this point, the serpent comes into the Garden, and introduces Adam, the man and the woman, to RELIGION. The serpent starts out by questioning the woman,
Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1b)
This is how “religion” begins by questioning what God has said. The woman then responds,
“From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” (Genesis 3:2-3)
Notice in her response, she has given a combination of what God said PLUS something that she had added to it, “or touch it.” This addition is a form of RELIGION. Here we can see humanity – i.e., the woman, adding to God’s word before their sin and fall. Consequently, can “religion” be a form of sin, if it happens before Adam, the man and the woman, have eaten from the forbidden tree? Yes, because we are told by the Jewish Rebbe, Yehoshua/Yeshua (Jesus) that “sin begins in the heart” (Matthew 15:18). Therefore, sin began before the man and the woman actually picked the fruit from the forbidden tree and ate its fruit. Religion happens when we elevate Human teaching to the same level as what God has said or even replace what He has said with our own teachings or “laws,” and here we can see it happen when the woman says, “or touch it….”
Thus, we can see the dangers of “religion.” It continually seeks any crack or crevice available to squeeze itself in and substitute itself for God’s word, and here we can see it happening BEFORE the traditional “Fall,” the sin of Adam, the man and the woman. Therefore, we cannot say it is the result of the Fall, since we see it in the woman BEFORE she has even taken from the “forbidden fruit.” The serpent then gives us the full form of RELIGION, the substitution of another idea for God’s Word:
You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)
Here we can see the woman begins to entertain this contradictory statement to what God has said. In the next verse, we can begin to see her desire build as she continues to view the fruit and consider what she has been told in the following passage:
When the woman saw that the tree was GOOD for food, and that it was a DELIGHT to the eyes, and that the tree was DESIREABLE to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she GAVE also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)
Here we can see her emotions build from seeing something as “good,” to “a delight,” to being physically “desirable,” and it is at this point when the woman “gave” the fruit to her husband who was standing there with her, listening to this conversation all this time. Here we can see RELIGION begins by “adding” human ideas and words to the words of God, then replaces God’s word, and it culminates in sin and idolatry. Idolatry is any time we place anything before God, even our own wants and needs!
In this passage we can see the serpent’s RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE was that humanity could do things their own way and make themselves “like God.” Adam, the first man and woman, buying into this RELIGION, mixed it with their own emotional feelings, and it led them to their demise.
In Matthew 15:18-20, the Rebbe Yeshua (Jesus) explains that sin originates in the heart, so therefore, the original sin of Adam, the first man and woman, was not eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but it began BEFORE that. So then what was the “original sin”? It was the desire to be independent from God, that is the original sin. Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s my life, I’ll do what I want!” This is the same sinful attitude that led to humanity’s fall and destruction. The eating of the forbidden fruit was only how they carried out that “original sin.” And if we really think about that action, Adam, the first man and woman, did not commit one sin – but four:
- IDOLATRY. They listened and obeyed someone other than God; this includes listening to both the serpent and their own emotional desires.
- COVETED. They desired something that did not belong to them, nor was it theirs to have.
- STEALING. They took something that did not belong to them. God had forbidden it to them.
- VIOLATED A DIETARY LAW. They ate something that God expressly told them not to eat.
Here we can see that it was not just the eating of the forbidden fruit that resulted in their fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was a picture of the Kingdom of God, and when they were expelled from it, it resulted in pain, sickness, disease, suffering and death coming upon them and the rest of us throughout history as well, not to mention they lost paradise for themselves and us.
And just like in the Garden, we must choose between two things: the Kingdom of God or RELIGION. The Kingdom of God is the narrow way that leads to God and life, and RELIGION (any one of them) is part of the broad way that leads to idolatry, sin, death and destruction.