Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Question for My Readers

Here is the question: "We meet Adam by name for the first time in Genesis 4:25. If Eve is called the "mother of all living" in Genesis 3:20, why is Adam never called the "father of all living"?

I am eager to read your thoughts on this.



Wow, I don't have a well developed theological response, but I am drawn immediately to Luke's genealogy of the Savior, which tracks the line of Jesus back to "Adam, the son of God" (Lk.3:38). Jesus is the savior of the fallen race, made in the image of God (the father).

Many (most?) religions associate creation with a transcendent "sky father" and our earthly life with the immanent "mother earth."

I'm really thinking out loud here - more impressions than a developed idea.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Luke was Greek, yet Jewishness is traced through the mother, not the father. That is why Matthew (written for a Jewish audience) writes the geneology of Jesus this way: "Matthan fathered Jacob; and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ." (Matt. 1:16)


I think what I'm getting at is that vocation seems to be traced through the father, as is property via the first born (in Colossians, Christ is both the pre-exisiting son, sharing in creation with the Father, and the "first born" from among the dead, inheriting and sharing the treasure of eternal life with mortals).

Adam has a vocation to share "the image of God", and the Biblical role for fathers is generally built around spiritual teaching and guidance.

Yet, as you point out, earthly life and identity (Jewishness - the chosen people) is bestowed through the mother.

Again, it seems present in the primitive wisdom associating spiritual identity with the Father (often "sky") and incarnation with the Mother (often "earth").

Biblically, male = spiritual vocation and female = incarnation seems to be the "norm", but God's love is such that exceptions are discovered and allowed. Moses confers inheritance rights on a family of women who have no surviving males. Timothy is taught and formed as a Christian by his grandmother and mother (his father, tradition holds, was pagan).

Back to Adam. He was given stewardship over other created things (vocation)and, as keeper and tiller, the stewardship of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (spiritual responsibility).

When Eve conceives for the first time, clearly stated as the product of intercourse with Adam (Gen. 4:1), she says, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD . The life bearing process, even as a symptom of the fall, is the creation of God and not of Adam, although Adam is part of the process.

Rambling on (sorry), another possible answer is via your comments on blood and sacrifice. It is the woman who suffers and sheds her blood for incarnational life (hence Eve's claim to the title "mother of all living,") whereas men's sacrifices are to yield spiritual life (Father Abraham - Jesus says that his true offspring are of God, who can "raise them from stones"; Paul shows that Abraham's numberless offspring are not those of human (maternal) descent, but those whom God has called by faith. John agrees - we must be "born again", not a second passage through the womb (shared by "all living", "nor of blood (maternal), nor of the will of the flesh (biology), or of the will of man (human father's desire), but of God .

Sigggghhh...sorry to ramble. Have to get on to other stuff. You really have me thinking and hopefully you and some of the other posters will bring some clarity where I am making fog.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Godd stuff there, Father! Lots to think about.

Jesus takes His flesh from his mother (at the Incarnation) but His vocation is that of His Father in Heaven. That's what the Fathers of the Church taught!

Paul speaks of sin coming through the first Adam and redemption through the second (perfect) Adam. What are the implications of this as we consider Eve and Mary?

Lvka said...

It's only decent to trace Jesus' lineage in the same way than we see it being done in the correspondent chapters of Genesis.

Eve means Life. The Holy Ghost is God's Holy, Life-Giving Spirit.

"The Father" --> "The Son" --> "birth".

"Adam" --> "Set" --> "begetting".

"The Father" --> "The Holy Spirit" --> "procession".

"Adam" --> "Eve" --> "taken from his side"

(i.e., from his left side, the one near the heart, which is a symbol of love and life). Love, because the man feels his heart empty without the woman he loves; life, because she bares his children, which are the fruit of their love.

The Son sits at the Father's right hand [that's why He's called "the Power of God"].

The Spirit at his left [that's why He's called "the Spirit Giver of Life"].

This doesn't mean that Adam and Set aren't alive or living; or that Eve is just a metaphor for one of Adam's attributes (i.e., that of life). They are three distinct and different Persons; but they are one: Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5-6, Mark 10:8, 1 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 5:31. This oneness is given by their sharing the same nature: "flesh of my flesh and bones of my bones", and by the bound of love that holds them together ("God is Love"); and by the fact that they share the same source: both Eve, as well as the "one flesh" that they become (i.e., their child), are taken from the innitial Adam.

One man is properly called Man ("Adam"), and One Divine Person is also properly called God (i.e., the Father); and yet "God created MAN in His own Image: MAN and WOMAN created he THEM". And: "I and the Father are One".

God's proper Name is the *I AM*.

Eve means *Life*.

There are two Trees in the Garden: one of Knowledge and one of Life*.

There are two Trees in the Garden: one of Knowledge* and one of Life.

The Law, which Sirach identifies with Wisdom*, is given for the purpose of showing to men the path of life ("behold, I lay down before you today two paths: one of life, and one of death: choose life" -- then the people said "Amen", and were sprinkled with blood: which, together with "spirit", is the symbol of life).

This Logos (Logic, Reason, Wisdom -- a Greek word, but kindred with the Latin Legis = Law -- do You see a pattern emerging here?) embodied Itself in man, because man was completely incapable of embodying the Law in himself.

When This One was about to die He said to His disciples: "Take eat, this is my Body" -- and 'body' [Greek: "soma"] means "dead body" throughout the LXX -- showing them His imminent end on the wood of death which became a Tree of [New] Life.

And pointing towards the cup He said: "This is my Blood, of the New Covenant" -- remembering the sprinkling done by Moses, and also showing them His Glorious Resurrection, which was about to follow His Life-Giving death, since blood is a perpetual leitmotive for life in the Scriptures, along with "spirit".

What the philosophical Greeks called Logos (Wisdom), the more-practical Latins called Legis (Law) and the pragmatical Jews Torah (Law or Teaching).


It says: "AN *UNUSUAL* IMAGE IN GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS", ... but it's ludicrous to call it thus, since the image of God in the human family (and the Sun) is a permanent leitmotive throughout the Patristical writings.

Alice C. Linsley said...

IVKA, you are indeed the great Mystificator! I'm always interested to read your comments.

P.S. I enjoyed your thoughts on number symbolism. Good insights there!

Jonathan said...

I know this is an old question, but what do you do with all the earlier references to "Adman" in the Hebrew? How is the Hebrew usage in Gen 4:25 different from that in Gen 1:26?

Fascinating blog, just discovered it. Thanks so much for all your hard work and research!

Jonathan said...

I meant your question, not the one I just asked. Sorry for being obtuse.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Gen. 1:26 refers to universal Man, not to a personality. Adam as personality isn't named until Gen. 2:20. This is the point in the narrative where he is to have a "fitting helper". In some translations he isn't named even here. In the Schocken Bible, for example, Gen 2:20 reads: "but for the human there could be found no helper corresponding to him."

You will find "Adam Kadmon" in Jewish mysticism. This refers to the primal universal Man who ascends to godhood, rather like the "Anthropos" of Gnosticism. This conception is later and alien to the Afro-Asiatic worldview of Genesis which regards Man in an order of creation with no possibility of ascending above that order by one's own strength.

I hope that I've shed some light on this. Its great to have you as a reader of Just Genesis!

DDeden said...

I greatly respect your work and appreciate what I learn here! But... I have such different interpretation... being a naturalist/biologist...

To me, creation through time = evolution (change), God is supernatural while we are natural, we can know (study) nature but can only believe in God (though we can know the story).

So, with hurried grace... my response to your question:

"We meet Adam by name for the first time in Genesis 4:25. If Eve is called the "mother of all living" in Genesis 3:20, why is Adam never called the "father of all living"? "

Because Ad/Ch'ad/men of Ad arrived from Darfur, Sudan via yemen/Chadramait/Hadramaut over the Dophar to the Mother of Life (Umma al'Hayt wadi) where they were sustained and built a civilization. Perhaps they were the unspoken "fathers of life"?

Alice Linsley said...

Thank you, DDEdan. I can't express to you how grateful I am that you engage me on these important questions. Most biologists ignore my work!

The truth is that evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology focus on different details and interpret these details differently. The result is different "findings." I won't be suprised when some day there emerges a dramatic clash between these two fields of Science.

I love your explanation! You are right in consideration of the connection to Darfur, Sudan and the Hadramaut.

It is also possible that the ancients from whom we received this knew more than we recognize about the durablility of the Mt-chromosome, and the loss of the original Y-Chromosome. The most recent male ancestor of all males today lived in Africa around 59,000years ago. The so-called "Mitochondrial Eve" is dated to about 143,000 years ago. She is considered the mother of modern humans.