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Abstract

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Appendixes


     

Part I: The Intrusion of Death

Chapter 9

The Trial Of Man: And The Price Of Failure

 

The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,
and he slept:
And He took one of the ribs
and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man
made He a woman,
and brought her to the man.

(Genesis 2:21,22)

Adam was first formed,
then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived,
but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

(1 Timothy 2:13,14)

 

     We come now to an analysis of the events in Eden. Brief as the record is, these events had tremendous consequences for the subsequent history of man. The biblical record is deceiving in its simplicity. It could be said that the words are for children: but the thoughts are for men.
    The first of these events is the physical separation of Eve out of Adam, signifying a profound difference between the origin of Adam and the origin of Eve. Anyone who tries to account for the origin of man in a naturalistic way while professing to have respect for the biblical record finds himself in difficulty at this point.

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     The unique formation of Eve played a part of crucial importance in making possible man's redemption. It is difficult to deal with this first event without anticipating some of the data to be examined later. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to speak briefly about certain aspects of this data because the separation of Eve out of Adam brought about a radical change in the functioning of Adam's body. And by reasoning backwards we soon discover that Adam's constitution at first must have been such that an evolutionary origin of his body is virtually out of the question.
     It is often argued by those who have addressed the problem of the origin of man that one ought at least to allow the evolution of his body. The uniqueness of our first parent would then lie in the possession of a soul or spirit which was created in the image of God. There are a number of Roman Catholic theologians who take this position and apparently have the formal approval of their superiors. * Not a few evangelical writers with a background in biology also adopt essentially the same position.

      But this form of solution to the conflict between evolutionary claims and the biblical account is not really satisfactory because it does not explain how Adam could have been so structured physiologically that Eve could be taken out of him in the literal sense that Genesis 2:21 implies. The King James Version reads: "[The Lord God] took one of his 'ribs' and closed up the flesh instead thereof," and the implication of a physical separation is reinforced by Adam's words in verse 23: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."
     Eve's body was clearly derived from Adam's body, and in this surgical process the two genders were separated and sexual dimorphism in man was initiated. In the original, the two sexes must therefore have in some way been fused. That is to say, Adam was at first androgynous, male and female in form and function, and in temperament.
    A compound of two chemical elements has properties that neither component has in itself. So the compound of maleness and femaleness was expressed in Adam in a form which neither a male nor a female can ever exhibit individually. Nor is it exhibited when maleness and femaleness (in some kind of aberrant form) occurs in a single individual. It was something unlike anything we know today.

* In the encyclical Humani: Generis, [1950, paragraph 361], of Pope Pius XII, such an alternative to the direct Creation of Adam's body was given official sanction. The doctrine of evolution is left an open question provided that speculation is confined to the development only of Adam's body.
The Hebrew word is not limited to the idea of a rib. (See further on this in Chapter 16).

     pg 2 of 16      

     It would therefore be a grave mistake to suppose that where, by accident of birth, both sexes find a measure of expression today in a particular individual that such an individual is approaching the original Adamic model. Such congenital departures from the normal are, in a manner of speaking, in violation of what is implied in Genesis 2:21-24, a fact which bears witness to the long-range effects of the Fall.
     Adam's body, as created, was made in the image of God in whom is neither maleness nor femaleness but something out of which maleness and femaleness could be separated in one of his creatures made in his image. In this respect it is perfectly in keeping with his Being that God can therefore act and speak of Himself in the role of Father (1 Chronicles 29:10; Isaiah 9:6; 64:8) and Mother (Isaiah 49:15; 66:13; and by implication Matthew 23:37) without confusion. This "something," this tertium quid, of which we can have no accurate picture because it is entirely beyond our present experience, made deity entirely self-sufficient. Such self-sufficiency is proper in God Himself, but in man such self-sufficiency appears to have been improper and was therefore not allowed to continue. Genesis 2:18 may well have a more profound significance than merely of being alone. I suggest that it is not a question of whether a man should be a bachelor or whether a woman should be a spinster but rather that neither a man nor a woman should be so self-sufficient as to feel no sense whatever of an incompleteness. We are in our relationships.
     In short, it is difficult if not impossible to view the formation of Eve out of Adam without being driven to the conclusion that in Adam both principles (maleness and femaleness) were resident in something analogous to what we call androgynous form. The biblical record has been so understood by both Jewish and Christian commentators alike, and classical tradition (as we shall see subsequently) reflected the same view though in sadly corrupted form.
     We hope to be able to show that a literal reading of this account can lead to some surprisingly fruitful lines of inquiry involving miracle, it is true, but miracle with an entirely intelligible objective. The rationale can be taken apart piece by piece, as it were, and examined in depth. And it will be found, if we take the text in complete seriousness, that a great deal of light is shed upon the constitution of Adam as created; on the purpose of the surgical operation involved in the formation of Eve; on the special significance of the "seed of the woman" as opposed to the seed of the man; on the differential effect of the poison from the forbidden fruit on Adam's body and on Eve's body; on the profound significance, in the course of time, of the Virgin Conception (the birth itself was surely natural enough) in relation to the vicarious death of the Lord Jesus Christ; and, in the present context, on the origin of death itself in human experience.

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     The sections of the biblical account with which we are here particularly concerned are as follows:

Genesis 2:18-25
     And the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help fit for him."
And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field: but for Adam there was not found an help fit for him.
     And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
     And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
     Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Romans 5:12-14
     Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. (For until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come).

1 Corinthians 15:21-22
     For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

     Now it is widely acknowledged that in the animal world below man, creatures which multiply asexually, in which there is no true maleness or femaleness, enjoy a potential immortality on this account. It is held that when, in the course of evolution, sexual dimorphism appeared, this potential immortality had to be surrendered. Comte du Nouy expressed it this way: (132)

     If several methods of asexual reproduction are known in plants and animals, it is evident that these processes reproduce indefinitely the same characters. The cell or organism separates into two individuals who live, grow, and in their turn, each separate into two others.
     They never die except accidentally. They go on untiringly doubling their numbers according to their specific rhythm, so that if it were not checked by a more general or direct phenomenon [predation, ACC], they would soon

132. du Nouy, Comte, Human Destiny, New York, Longmans Green, 1947, p.61.

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smother the earth under their mass.
     Asexual cells do not know death as individuals. They are immortal. All of a sudden, with sexual generation, we see the appearance of an entirely new and unforeseen phenomenon: the birth and death of the individual.

     There is some doubt, however, about this because as we have already noted it is not at all certain that fishes, for example, though they reproduce sexually, are actually subject to natural death and have thereby surrendered their potential immortality. Although some, like salmon for instance, do die simply as part of the consequence of sexual reproduction.
     However, we know from Genesis that Adam and Eve did not immediately surrender their immortality even though they were divided as to sex. Death was still only a threat in the event of their being disobedient. Thus Adam, as created, and then Adam and Eve as separated but unfallen, must have been differently constituted from other higher forms of life which shared their world.
     Even yet, in spite of the long continued inheritance of the effects of the forbidden fruit on our bodies we still cannot detect precisely where the critical differences lie between the workings of the human body and the workings of the bodies of primates like man, but it would be a mistake to assume that such fundamental differences do not exist. Adam and Eve as male and female were uniquely constituted by a surgical operation, which does not seem to have applied in the formation of any other species. It may well be that we simply do not have the appropriately designed tools of research to identify these differences, though differences do turn up in the laboratory where they were previously quite unexpected.
(133) Or it may be that we are not asking the right questions.
     At any rate, there are excellent reasons for the creation of Adam with both seeds housed in his own body, and for the subsequent housing of the female seed and reproductive organs (including the ovaries) in a body that was distinct from his own both in form and function though originally derived from it. These reasons bear directly on the events immediately subsequent to the eating of the forbidden fruit, for the mortogenic poison which entered Adam's body and Eve's body had a similar effect on both of them in depriving them of their potential immortality. But it appears to have had a significantly different effect upon their seed, upon what Auguste Weismann termed their germ plasm. It is the latter circumstance which formed such an essential starting point in the chain of events by which man's redemption was put into effect. For here we are dealing with the physiological background of the virgin conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was only thus that He

133. See in Notes at the end of this chapter (p.16).

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could be made after the power of "endless life" (Hebrews 7:16) by reason of which He could offer Himself vicariously in order that we might be reconciled to God (Colossians 1:22). And only thus by his bodily resurrection without corruption are we justified in God's sight (Acts 13:37-39).
     We rightly think of the goal of redemption as being a spiritual one, but manifestly three of the prerequisites of the Plan the virgin conception, vicarious death, and bodily resurrection without corruption are all "hard facts" within the realm of physiology. The saving of man's soul is not completed without also the saving of his body: and the very fact of the Incarnation, when God was manifested in the flesh, underscores the important role which the body plays in the concept of the whole person. Man is not a spirit only, but a body/spirit entity. Hence, as Redeemer, the Lord did not take upon Himself the nature of angels who are pure spirit, but was made for a little while lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Hebrews 2:9).

     Luther was very clear on this point. He says that the Saviour in order to suffer death, had to be incarnated, embodied, made man, for God (being pure spirit) cannot die, even as the angels cannot die as we understand death. Embodiment is a prerequisite to physical death and if we are to be saved by substitutional death, it must be substitutional physical death and this required incarnation. Luther's words as given in the Formula of Concord (Article VIII, Section 44) are: Non enim in sua natura Deus mori potest. Postquam autem Deus et homo unitus est in una persona, recte et vere dicitur: Deus mortuus est, quando videlicet ille homo moritur, qui cum Dea unum quiddam, seu una persona est. Translated literally this is: "For God is not able to die by his very nature. However, after God and man were united in one person, rightly and truly is it said: God has died, when it is clear that he died a man, who so to speak is one with God, at least is one person i.e., one with God."
    The part which the Lord's body played in the redemption of man is sometimes lost sight of. Consider the following verses:

Colossians 1:21, 22
     ". . . reconciled in the body of his flesh through death."
Hebrews 10:10
     ". . . sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ."
Hebrews 10:19
     ". . . boldness to enter into the holiest by . . . his flesh."
1 Peter 2:24
     "He bore our sins in his own body."
Colossians 2:9
     "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

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     The hope of bodily resurrection is not a sop to our materialism but an assurance of our real survival as persons. The Lord Jesus sacrificed his whole Person for us, body and spirit; this is why the Incarnation, the embodiment of God, was absolutely essential for man's redemption. The very first step towards this embodiment, the Incarnation, was the creation of Adam's body in such a form that Eve could be taken out of him as Genesis 2:21-23 reveals.
     The second event of tremendous consequence in Eden was the temptation of Eve, followed by the very different temptation of Adam. It was not Eve's failure but Adam's that resulted in the introduction of physical death into human experience. "By one man," not by one woman, nor even by one pair, death entered and passed by natural generation upon all men (Romans 5:12). As we shall see, the reasons for this unexpected situation lie in the internal structural differences between the man's body and the woman's. The language of both Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 is precise and is surely to be taken to mean exactly what it says.
     Consider, then, the circumstances surrounding this fatal test of Eve and of Adam in the Garden of Eden. The actual record as we have it in several contributing passages of Scripture is as follows:

Genesis 3:1-13
     Now the serpent had become more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman:
    "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" And the woman said unto the serpent: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." And the serpent said unto the woman: "Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

     And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
     And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

      And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him: "Where art thou?" And he said, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
     And He said: "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou

     pg.7 of 16     


eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" And the man said: "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat."
     And the Lord God said unto the woman: "What is this that thou hast done?" And the woman said: "The serpent beguiled me and I did eat."

1 Timothy 2:13-14
     For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
     And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression.

     I believe we should accept the fact that the forbidden fruit was a real fruit, even as the Tree of Life was a real tree with leaves having therapeutic value. That both trees may also be used symbolically to teach us spiritual truths is not in question. But in this study it is the actual trees in their physical character that we are examining. By gathering all the explicit and implicit information available from the biblical account we appear to have a situation in the temptation of Eve and of Adam in that order which was far more complex than the childish stealing of a forbidden fruit as traditionally presented.
     Consider the circumstances. Scripture, it seems to me, has gone out of its way to make it perfectly clear that Adam really was entirely alone in the world. First of all, it is apparent that although he was in a real sense complete in himself, God evidently considered that this kind of self-sufficiency was not a good thing. Perhaps even in a state of perfection Adam needed some fundamental human inter-dependence in order to develop his character. As a potential companion, God may have brought to him certain of the creatures which man has since domesticated and whose company he has learned to enjoy as pets. In his fallen state, man can now often find solace in the 'companionship' of a dog or a horse or even of a bird or a cat. In his unfallen state such creatures were inadequate companions. Certainly God knew this of course: but perhaps He wanted Adam to discover it for himself. To none of these creatures which came to him by divine impulse (Genesis 2:19,20) did Adam respond in such a way as to indicate their sufficiency as true companions or mates. His response was revealed by the names which he gave them. He did not assign his own name to any of them as a groom now assigns his name to his wife.
     So God performed an operation isolating part of Adam and constituting that part into a new whole which, when brought to him, he at once identified as the companion he had not found among the other animals. Accordingly, he named her "Woman," which is a translation of the Hebrew word Ishah - And Ishah is the feminine form of the word Ish which means man, the name by which he himself was called. Surely he must

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have loved her at once, for she was literally part of himself.
     Without sin, radiant in health, and beautiful as only God could make her in the full perfection and maturity of womanhood, she must have returned his love. In the truest possible sense they were verily made for each other. Each completed for the other the cup of happiness in their idyllic garden home. Without doubt, her presence became as essential to his own fulfillment as his presence was to hers. And thus, in their earthly paradise, Adam and Eve passed cloudless days (because sinless) in fellowship and open communion with God, * with neither fear nor shame, and with complete freedom to do whatever they willed and to eat whatever they desired of the fruits of the garden except one tree which was forbidden them.
     And then Satan put Eve to the test. Whether Satan used a serpent as an agent by controlling its behaviour from without, or whether he indwelt a serpent (as the legion of demons indwelt the Gadarene swine, Luke 8:32,33) or whether he assumed a serpent form, we cannot tell precisely from the record. Indeed, the word rendered serpent may not even mean a serpent at all. But one could well imagine such a creature reaching up into the forbidden tree in Eve's presence and there eating its fruit with complete confidence and manifest enjoyment and, to her amazement perhaps, with apparent impunity. Possibly the thought came to Eve that if other creatures could eat of the fruit with safety, why could not she? It is a common practice of country people in all ages to be guided in their choice of safe foods by observing what animals can safely eat. Why should the same thought not have occurred to Eve?
     Yet the serpent may well have actually spoken to Eve in some language clear to her understanding, as Balaam was spoken to by his ass (Numbers 22:27-32). Or was it that Eve was really speaking to herself? Perhaps when doubts arose in her mind, the Satan-inspired creature reassured her by deliberately returning to the tree sometime later and

* It has no historical value, but it is interesting that in an apocryphal book known only from an early Slavonic manuscript titled The Secrets of Enoch (Chapter XXXII, 3) the unknown author states that "Adam was five and a half hours in paradise"! The same view appears in several of the Adam Books. In the Book of Jubilees the life in Paradise is said to have lasted seven years: so also Syncellus taught. Josephus puts its duration as at least several days (cf. John Damascus, De. orth. fide, 11. 10; Augustine, De Civitas XX. 26; Gregory (Great), Dialogue, IV. 1). These authorities are followed by Pererius and Ussher. R. Anuni (Bereshith Rabba II), Irenaeus, Ephrem, Epiphanius, and some scholastics fix upon one day as its limit. Eusebius (Chronicles 1.16, 4, edited by Mai) said no one could tell anything about it! He was probably the most correct...
The Hebrew original nachash, which Driver suggests is onomatopoeic (= the word hiss) is of uncertain root but might possibly be related to the word for bronze, or even to a verbal root connected with divination.

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taking the fruit a second or a third time, until in her own mind she came to doubt that there were any fatal consequences involved. And yet, her intuition persisted in warning her that she should neither eat the fruit nor even touch it. To touch was to take. In the end she was deceived as the New Testament tells us (1 Timothy 2:14) and, having plucked the fruit from the tree, she tasted it and found it to be all she had anticipated, not only beautiful to look at but good to the taste and in some unexpected way enlightening to the mind . . . as some modern drugs are.
     But now a subtle change took place in her body, for she had unknowingly introduced a fatal poison. Even when she went back to Adam and invited him to share her experience, she still apparently had no real comprehension of what had happened to herself. And here we come to the crux of the story. For while Eve was, in one sense, as innocent as a child who has disobeyed but is not sure exactly in what way, Adam was not deceived at all. In a moment he realized that he was once again completely alone, but now it was an aloneness of a different kind, for he had lost his other self, his love, his sole human companion in the whole wide world. Part of him was missing.
     We know that he was alone in this sense, for Eve became (so the Hebrew) the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). There was no other woman who might have taken her place. She stood before him; yet she stood completely apart from him. They belonged to different kingdoms. Adam knew it at once, and in that moment he faced a trial surely more heart-rending than has ever been the lot of any man since who is called upon to surrender his dearest possession. For while many other men have made such a sacrifice for one reason or another (millions were forced to do so by the Nazis), Adam could never for all he knew expect to recover a helpmeet again. There was no other woman in the world...Nor was there any other man who, placed in similar circumstances, might have shared the burden of loss with him. For a little while he had been alone before in his undivided state as he came from the hand of his Creator but very probably without any awareness of loneliness as he now felt it in his divided self. He had to face the prospect of an aloneness made acute because of what he had experienced and what he had now lost. And for all he could see, this loss was for ever. Adam was still immortal: but for Eve a subtle change had already begun and she was, as God had said she would be, from that very day a dying creature. Here lay the gulf between them: a mortal creature could not be a proper companion to a still immortal one.
     Thus God, who overrules all human history, had allowed the first man to be brought into a position of trial, the severity of which is far beyond our true comprehension. Adam was faced with a choice that

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was quite literally a matter of life and death for him. And it had all been brought about by the eating of the fruit of a forbidden tree.
     In the Hebrew original, at verse 6, there is a small mark which indicates a pause after the words "and gave also unto her husband with her" and before the words "and he did eat." The little 'mark' in the Hebrew text at the word which is translated into English "with her," is called a Tiphkha. Every Hebrew sentence is given certain accents to guide the reader as to the appropriate emphasis, and some of these are called 'separation' marks. They are somewhat analogous to our comma, colon, and so forth. The strongest separation mark in a Hebrew sentence is called a Silluq. It marks the end of a sentence, and usually in translation also marks the end of a verse. The strongest separation mark within the sentence, and therefore standing for a pause by way of emphasis, is called a Tiphhha. It is this little mark that tells us there is to be a pause after the words "with her."
     It might be thought that this was hanging too much weight on so small a thread. But I think it is necessary to bear in mind that when a literary work is characterized by extreme simplicity and brevity, as Genesis is, and when the circumstances are of tremendous significance in human history, it is important to observe all the clues that the writer has given as to his intention.
    Adam was about to make a choice which was to affect profoundly all subsequent generations. If he joined Eve, he was settling once for all the question of whether mankind would retain the potential immortality which God had provided for. When he followed his wife and ate the fatal fruit, he, not she (as we shall show), introduced death into human experience. Death entered by one man and passed upon all men so that every one of us now lives out his whole life under the shadow of a sentence of death. This was the consequence of Adam's decision.
     There is no knowing what might have been the course of history had Eve been allowed to go out of the Garden alone, for ever separated from Adam. We know from Genesis 4:1 that Eve was not pregnant at this time since Adam did not "know" her until sometime later. Such a separation would therefore seem to bring an end to the human race in terms of further multiplication, unless we suppose that God might have allowed Adam to go with her into exile even though he had not disobeyed. Their children would still have been immortal in such a case, for the seed of the man was still uncorrupted and the seed of the woman had been protected against corruption. Though she herself would die, since she had fatally poisoned her own body, yet Adam and her children would still have retained their potential immortality for we know that the fatal poison is not transmitted through or in the woman's seed, and the seed of Adam still unfallen  

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would in such a circumstance have retained its purity also. But it seems most unlikely that God would have permitted Adam to leave the Garden, and the hypothesis has very little validity: but it is an interesting one to contemplate.
     Adam cannot perhaps have anticipated all the profound consequences of his action, but we should not underestimate the perceptive powers of the human mind untouched by any poison and perfect as God created it. As Rev. J. B. Heard rightly observed, even Aristotle was "but the rubbish of an Adam." *

     I cannot imagine Adam simply agreeing to follow Eve's unhappy choice, blithely and without thought. We know in fact that he was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). He must surely have known at least something of what the consequences would be. When he decided to eat the fruit, he must have done so only after pondering the matter deeply. It must have been an agonizing decision to make.
     He was faced with a choice, the choice of staying in the Garden and living for ever in complete and daily fellowship with God, in perfect health and sinless but without Eve. Or he could surrender his immortality and his innocence, and his sojourn in the Garden and his daily sense of the Lord's fellowship but preserve the companionship of his love, the woman whom God Himself had "given to be with him." And who can tell but that his own awareness of the reality of the situation may have communicated itself to Eve. Would she not appeal to him not to desert her? How could he contemplate a separation on such terms as these which would leave him in the sunshine of Eden and God's presence, while exiling her to the unknown world outside the Garden. I do not think we can really grasp the situation that Adam found himself in, because wherever we go we are likely to find people. Adam and Eve were entirely alone in the world.
     This, then, was the situation. Can one imagine what must have been Adam's thoughts as he contemplated the sending forth of his beautiful help meet out of the Garden into an entirely unknown and supposedly uninhabited world while he remained within the Garden? And can we imagine what Adam's thoughts would be as he looked into the future and saw his beloved lying somewhere "out there" dying alone and unattended, in her aged condition? There can be little doubt that he perceived at least something of what such a future could mean both for her and for himself.
     It does not, of course, lessen his disobedience to realize at what a cost obedience would seem to have been demanded of him. But it surely underscores the fact that those who thoughtlessly scoff at the

* Heard, J. B., The Tripartite Nature of Man, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1868, p.163.  

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idea of a temptation story so childishly linked to a forbidden fruit have, by their refusal to take the record seriously, entirely failed to see how acutely was Adam being tried, and how by a completely reasonable series of circumstances his trial had been allowed to come about. Surely this is why we are told that Adam was not deceived and why it is indicated by the punctuation that he only ate the fruit after deliberation, and why, when faced with his disobedience, he (not altogether without an element of tragic truth) reminded God that He had "given" the woman to be with him as his companion (Genesis 3:12).
     Thus it came about that, like Socrates, he deliberately poisoned himself. He made his choice and surrendered his immortality because he preferred the company of Eve to that of the Lord.
     I make no apology for the literalism which marks every aspect of my exegesis. I only regret that I have not the dramatic skill to paint a more accurate picture. After some forty years of study I am entirely convinced that the biblical account is a faithful record of what really happened. In so far as Archaeology has confirmed the biblical account of history, it has always favoured a literal interpretation over an allegorical one. Wherever archaeological confirmation is available, it consistently lends credence to the biblical record in its historical detail not merely in its general tenor or broad implications, though it has done this too! We do not have archeological confirmation yet of the events in Eden in the sense that we do have confirmation of later events, but we seem to be getting another kind of confirmation now, namely, confirmation from studies in anatomy and physiology and, in less direct ways, from psychology also.

     Let me restate as succinctly as I can, even at the risk of being tiresome, what I think was really involved. So much hinges upon what took place at the very beginning. God, in his creative wisdom, set the stage for the working out of man's redemption, the redemption of his body as well as his spirit, by first creating an Adam who was potentially immortal and who encompassed within himself both seeds, male and female, containing within a single organism the mechanism for the production of both spermatozoa and ova. We still have evidence in the human body to justify such an interpretation of the record, as will be amply demonstrated later.
     The Lord then separated Eve out of Adam and entrusted to her one of the two seeds and the related reproductive mechanism, fashioning her body in a special way to preserve that seed uncorrupted even if she should poison herself with the forbidden fruit. Her body was poisoned, like Adam's: but unlike Adam's seed, her seed (as we shall show) apparently remained untouched. Thus although Genesis 3:6 affirms that Eve was in the transgression first, her ingestion of the

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forbidden fruit was not responsible for introducing death to the human race. Adam's partaking of the forbidden fruit not only poisoned his own body but affected his seed also, and through his seed was transmitted to the human race our mortal condition. It was by one MAN that death entered and passed upon all men. It is when the seed of the woman is fertilized by the male seed that the fatal poison is transmitted to the next generation. Via the man's seed came death (1 Corinthians 15:21); via the seed of the woman was to come life. It is literally true that in Adam all men die, as it is true that in Christ, who was both the Second Adam and the seed of the woman, all shall be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
     Abraham Kuyper stated this succinctly and in such a way as to demonstrate clearly that he took this biblical record as sober history. He wrote: *

      Death in connection with man's eating of the tree of knowledge can be understood in a twofold way: either as a punishment that was threatened, or as a result that would follow therefrom. If death is fixed as the punishment of high treason this must be understood as a threat, for one does not die inevitably of high treason. But when I say, "Do not take of that Paris Green, for if you do you shall die," there is no question of punishment: all that is expressed is that this poison is fatal in its effect, and that one who takes the poison must die.
     In the last instance, I may, if one should, contrary to my warning take the poison nevertheless, make an attempt to counteract the deadly effect of the poison by the application of an antidote to make the patient vomit. Then I certainly spake fully in accordance with truth: "When you take the poison, you shall die," and I do not at all come into conflict with myself when afterwards I make an attempt to save the reckless one that took the poison. If this is clear, then it must also be admitted that the words: "If you eat of the tree of knowledge, you will surely die," are explained in their full implication when I understand them as implying nothing else than the declaration, the warning: "Know this, that when you permit yourself to be tempted to eat of that tree, you will see that death will be the result."

     Here, then, is how physical death originated for man. It was imposed upon him as a penalty for disobedience but it was a merciful imposition nevertheless. Man had to be tested, and he had to be tested in a context which was meaningful for him. The very simplicity of

* Kuyper, Abraham, De Gemeene Gratie, vol.1, p.209ff; translated by and quoted by Herman Hoekiema, The Triple Knowledge, Grand Rapids, Reformed Free PubIication Association, 1970, vol.1, p.136. It should be mentioned in fairness to Hoeksema that he expresses entire disagreement with Kuyper's interpretation of these events.

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the test itself bears the stamp of truth and of the genius of God. His act of disobedience and the poison which he introduced into his body together ruined human nature and made it unsafe for man to continue alive indefinitely: and thus the same poison was made the agent for the termination of his life. It was an act of judgment that was also an act of mercy.

     What kind of a poison could this have been?

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NOTES

133. (See p.5)    An illustration is the peripheral circulation which performs some very important functions in the regulation of man's body temperature and thus his viability. This peripheral circulation is found to be strikingly different in some of the most commonly used experimental animals, including those believed to be nearest to man in their biological make-up [R. H. Fox and O. G. Edholm, "Peripheral Circulation in Man," British Medical Bulletin, vol.19, 1963, p.112]. J. D. Hardy remarks particularly upon the differences between man and some species of monkey in the matter of body temperature regulation. In fact he concludes one of his reports by saying: "In summary, although the monkey was selected originally for this type of experimentation because it was hoped that its physiology in respect to temperature regulation might be nearer to man than that of the domestic cat or dog, it would seem that the monkey does not simulate man in its method of regulating body temperature" ["Control of Heat Loss and Heat Production in Physiological Temperature Regulation," Harvey Lecture Series, XLIX, New York, Academic Press, 1953-4, p.242-270]. See also the author's "Is Man An Animal?" in Evolution or Creation, vol.1, The Doorway Papers Series, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1976, p.208-320, which deals at some length with these questions.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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