Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Father of Adam and Eve


"Kenan was the son of Enosh. Enosh was the son of Seth. Seth was the son of Adam. 
Adam was the son of God." (Luke 3:38)

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

C. L. Crouch has made an fascinating observation about the relationship of humans to our Creator. He wrote, "The linguistic and cultural background of the words םלצ and תומד supports a reading of Gen. 1:26–7 as a statement of humanity’s divine parentage. As such it is intended to evoke the responsibilities of child to parent and of parent to child in the minds of its readers. Such an interpretation accommodates both the semantic range of the key terms םלצ and תומד and the sense that the statement is meant to be theologically significant." (From here.)

In Genesis, Adam's wife is called Hava (חוה) which is descriptive of her role as the birther (Gen. 3:20). Adam describes Eve as bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, suggesting that she and he have the same father, as did Sarah and Abraham. 

As Adam's half-sister, Eve would have produced Adam's heir, which is Cain, the first-born son. This may explain the royal affix -itti- in Genesis 4: I, where Eve claims to have acquired a man or a ruler with God's help. 

E. A. Speiser (Anchor Bible Commentary on Genesis, p. 30) believes that the Hebrew qaniti (Gen. 4:1) is in assonance with "Cain" (Qayin). However, the word that appears in Genesis 4:1 is Akkadian, not Hebrew. Iti or itti is an Akkadian affix that appears with rulers’ names, and in reference to deities. For example, itti šarrim means "with the king." Another example: itti-Bel-balatu means "with Bel there is life." 

Itti appears in royal names such as Nefertitti. Even today among the Oromo of the Horn of Africa the affix designates persons of high social standing: Kaartuumitti, Finfinneetti and Dimashqitti.

Abraham left his father's house, and as a sent-away son he was to establish a kingdom for himself away from Terah's proper heir Nahor. Abraham needed an heir and according to the early Hebrew marriage and ascendancy pattern the proper heir was the first-born son of the half-sister wife. That would be Isaac. 

The pattern of being sent away from the father is seen with Adam and his first-born Cain. Adam was to leave his father and mother and cleave to Eve (Gen. 2:24) that he might establish a line of descendants. His descendants include Hebrew ruler-priests, Ammonites, Canaanites, Edomites, Hittites, Kushites, Midianites, and Moabites.

Cain left his father's house and established a settlement which he named after his son Enoch. the words "Cain" and "Enoch" refer to rulers. Throughout the Bible Cain is the archetype of the earthly ruler. The name Enoch is related to the Ancient Egyptian anochi which is the royal first-person pronoun. 

Among the Igbo, anochie means “a replacer” or “to replace” and among the Ashante the word ano kyi means "Ano Junior." In these cases, we find the idea of succession, suggesting royal lineages. A Nigerian philologist friend reports that Anochie also means "direct heir to a throne." Therefore, the biblical name "Enoch" is associated with royal ascendancy. 

It appears that Cain's mother believed that she gave birth to a ruler. Indeed, Cain is the archetypal earthly ruler throughout the Bible. The Book of Jude warns those who might fall prey to false teachers that God punishes those who rebel against Him. He uses these examples: Cain the ruler, Balaam the prophet, and Korah the priest.

Circles represent the wives of Cain and Seth. 

Explanation of Diagram: The left side is Cain's line (Gen. 4) and the right side is Seth's line (Gen. 5). The analysis reveals the early Hebrew kinship feature of the cousin bride's naming prerogative. The cousin bride named her first-born son after her father. Kain's unnamed daughter married her cousin Enosh and named their first-born son Kenan/Kain after her father. Irad's unnamed daughter married her cousin Mahalalel and named their first-born sons Jared/Yared/Irad after her father. Lammech the Elder's daughter Naamah married Methuselah and named their first-born son Lamech. 

Adam, Eve, Cain, Seth and all their descendants listed in Genesis 4 and 5 are rulers, like their father God. If Adam and Eve were half-siblings and the first parents of the Hebrew clans, then God is their father. The idea of the Creator being Father to the first parents is found in the stories of many pre-literate societies.

Perhaps Adam and Eve lived in close communion with the Creator for eons before Satan tempted Eve. We tend to think of Adam and Eve as callow youth. Perhaps they did not age physically, but they matured experientially. Why couldn’t they have lived for eons before the fall?

This is a fascinating aspect of the meta-historical view of Adam and Eve. In this view, they are above time and ageless. The Bible presents at least 3 portraits of Adam and this is one of them. It is less about an event in history than it is about an understanding of God that is typically African and consistent with the early Hebrew beliefs.

The late Dr. Abraham Akrong, formerly at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, explains: "God in Africa is a relational being who is known through various levels of relationship with creation. In relationship to humanity, God is the great ancestor of the human race. Therefore, all over Africa God is portrayed more in terms of a parent than as sovereign."

Understanding the Hebrew perception of God as their Great Ancestor sheds light on the interaction of Jesus with the Jews who claimed both Abraham and God as father. They said to Jesus, "Abraham is our father." Jesus replied that if they were Abraham's children, they would do the works of Abraham. "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father." Then said they to him, "We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." Jesus replied, 'If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” (Jn. 8:39-42, KJV)


Alice C. Linsley said...

“The God described in the Bible is none other than the God who is already known in the framework of our traditional African religiosity,” Mr. Mbiti wrote in The Christian Century magazine in 1980.

“The missionaries who introduced the gospel to Africa in the past 200 years did not bring God to our continent. Instead, God brought them.”

Alice C. Linsley said...

The relationship of God and humans as parent and children also upholds the biblical assertion of human exceptionalism. It is another reason to affirm the biblical assertion that humans are a special creation.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26b). According to the Psalmist the human being “is fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).

According to the Scriptures, humans are a special creation, and our exceptionalism is evident in our uniqueness, creativity, rationality, and yearning for immortality.

Being a special creation sets humans apart from other creatures who may have common ancestry. This means that the claim that humans and apes emerged from a common ancestor is contrary to the assertion of the Bible.

It is inconsistent and illogical to claim the Bible as our first authority and also accept common ancestry of apes and humans.