Alice C. Linsley
I find it ironic that people insist on reading Genesis 1-3 as history and and yet ignore the historicity of Genesis 4-11. In this section we find data that is verified by the sciences, especially kinship analysis, DNA studies, migration studies, climate studies, archaeology and linguistics. Were we to pursue the picture of Abraham's ancestors presented in Genesis 4-11 we would better understand the Nilo-Saharan context of the Genesis 1-3 accounts. Only when we put this material in its proper cultural context will we be able to reconcile science and Scripture.
Genesis is first and foremost about Christ and the Edenic Promise (Gen. 3:15). The rulers listed in the Genesis king lists are Christ's historical ancestors, the people to whom God gave the promise that the Woman's Seed would crush the head of the serpent and restore paradise.
The first created people appeared on earth suddenly and unheralded about 3.6 million years ago in Africa. This is where the oldest human fossils have been found and this is the point of origin of the genetic types and of modern languages.
Genesis tells us that Abraham's ancestors came from Kush and that Eden spanned from two rivers in East Africa to the Tigris-Euphrates in Mesopotamia. So the biblical account of Adam and Eve as first parents must come from Africa. In fact, the remembrance of ancestral first parents has many parallels in African folklore.
Adam is derived from Ha-dam - the Blood, and is a very early term for human being. Eve is from Ha-Va - the Birther. Among archaic peoples blood was the primal element that represents humans, and the V represents a woman giving birth. The V is a variant of the solar symbol Y, indicating one who has been overshadowed by the Creator for a special purpose. The Angel Gabriel explained to Mary that she would be overshadowed and conceive. All these words are related: hay = “living being”(Hebrew); iya = mother (Hebrew); ka ayi = mother (Dravidian); aye = life (Hausa/Hahm), and eyi = gave birth (Hausa/Hahm).
The Biblical account of first parents was preserved by Abraham's ancestors, the founders of the Horite ruler-priest lines. They are the ancestral rulers from whom Jesus descended through his mother Mary. This explains why Eve gave birth and declared "Kaniti" - ruler!
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have gotten/gained (qa-nithi) a man with the help of the Lord." Genesis 4:1, The Hebrew Study Bible
The human knew Havva his wife, she became pregnant and bore Kayin. She said: Kaniti (Qanithi)/ I have gotten a man, as has YHWH. Genesis 4:1, The Schocken Bible, Vol. 1
Qany(ty) or Qan-itti comes from Nilo-Saharan languages like Oromo and ancient Egyptian. These languages share many phonemes with ancient Akkadian, the language of Nimrod's kingdom. The Akkadian itti, as in itti šarrim, means "with the king" or "for the king." It is attached to the names of royalty. Even today the Oromo of Ethiopia and Somalia attach itti to names: Kaartuumitti, Finfinneetti and Dimashqitti. That itti is associated with Nilotic rulers is evident in the name of the great Egyptian queen Nefertitti.
The Church Fathers read the Adam and Eve story as historical because Adam and Eve in biblical parlance are the original first parents. Now the question is "first parents" of all humans or of the people who gave us Genesis? (Likewise, universal flood or extensive regional flood?) This story belongs to those who gave us Genesis, and to understand it we must understand their cultural context, which was Nilo-Saharan.
Analysis of the king lists of Genesis 4 and 5 shows that Kain and Seth married the daughters of a ruler named Enoch (Anoch/Hanock), so the Bible itself makes it clear that there were other people. Enoch is an African word that means "one who ascends" or "one who is royal heir." This indicates that at the time of Kain and Seth there were already ruling houses or dynasties. They lived during the time of the 4th Dynasty, when Menkaure, Khafre and Khufu were building the Great Pyramids (c. 2601 – c. 2515 BC). This fits the chronology of the Genesis Kings.
Related reading: Questions Students Ask About Genesis; Answers to Questions about Adam and Eve; Are Adam and Eve Real?; The Biblical Meaning of Eve; St. John Chrysostom on Eve's Sin; Elder Joseph on Adam and Eve