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Abstract

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Appendixes


     

Part II: The Seed of the Woman

Chapter 16
 

And He Called Their Name Adam

 
Let us make man
in our image
and after our likeness
.
(Genesis 1:26)

For (in Christ) there is neither male nor female:
for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28)

In the resurrection
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but are as the angels of God in heaven.
(Matthew 22:30)
 


     Traditions of the original bisexual nature of the first man and of his subsequent reduction to two sexes by the formation of the first woman out of him, are ancient and widespread. Probably the best known of these traditions are those of the Greeks whose ideas on the subject have been familiar to Classical scholars for centuries. Yet Jewish and Christian commentaries had very early reached the same conclusion on the basis of the Genesis account.
     The Greeks seem to have derived much of their mythology from Egypt, and Egypt in turn had derived much of its mythology from Babylonia. In his Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginsberg notes that according to the German scholar, Jeremias (in a work available only in

     pg.1 of 13     


German titled Altes Testament im Lichte des Orients), the view that Adam was originally andrognynous was familiar to the Babylonians. * So far I have not been able to find any unequivocal evidence of such a tradition in the currently available Cuneiform literature, though Ginsberg's reputation as a scholar should be sufficient authority. However, the Society of Biblical Archaeology published a three volume work in 1873 which contains a useful collection of Cuneiform texts relevant to Bible history translated into English under the title Records of the Past,** but there is no indication even in this collection of any such tradition. Then in 1916, Barton published the first edition of his most useful work Archaeology of the Bible, but again I found no evidence of any strictly parallel account of the formation of Eve out of Adam. Nor, to my knowledge, has one been added in later editions.
     We now have Pritchard's authoritative Ancient Near Eastern Texts and a careful reading of the Sumerian 'Paradise Myth' reveals a brief incident towards the end of this poem which might possibly provide a link with Genesis 2:21 and Adam's so-called 'rib,' though it is certainly a tenuous one. We shall look into this more carefully subsequently.|
     Possibly the real source of Jeremias' reference is, however, the rather obvious parallel account that is to be found in the work of Berossus written about 260 B.C. Francois Lenormant observed that this ancient historian, whose works are known to us now only from quotations by other authors of antiquity, has a statement to the effect that the first man was created "with two heads, one that of a man and the other that of a woman, united in the same body with both sexes combined."
     From India we have traditions preserved in the Rig Veda which, however, have none of the sobriety of the biblical account though clearly pointing to a similar circumstance relating to the constitution of the first man. According to the Bundehesh, (chapter xv a work dedicated to the exposition of a complete cosmogony written in Pahlevi and known only from the period subsequent to the conquest of Persia by the Mussulmans), Ahuramazda completed his creative

* Ginsberg, Louis, Legends of the Jews, Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Association of America, 1955, vol.V, From Creation to Exodus, p.88, note 42.
** Records of the Past: English Translations of Assyrian and Egyptian Monuments, Society of Biblical Archaeology, London, Samuel Bagster,1873, in 3 volumes.
Barton, George, Archaeology of the Bible, Philadelphia, American Sunday School Union, 1916.
Pritchard, James B., Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Princeton, 1969, p.40, 41, lines 263-266.
Lenormant, Francois, The Beginnings of History, New York, Scribners, 1891, p.62.

     pg 2 of 13      

work by producing a certain Gayomard, "the typical man." Unfortunately, Gayomard was later put to death by an enemy of Ahuramazda but his seed germinated in the earth and there sprang up a plant rather like a rhubarb. In the centre of this plant was a stalk with a kind of stamen in the form of a man and a woman joined together. Ahuramazda divided them, endowed them with motion, and placed within each of them an intelligent soul. Thus were born the first pair from whom all human beings are descended.
     A rather similar view is reflected in the Cosmogony of Zatapatha Brahmana which is included in the Rig Veda, though it is generally considered to be very much later in origin perhaps the fourteenth century B.C. or even as late as the ninth century B.C. *
 It is apparently highly fanciful, yet it does bear witness to a very early tradition about the original androgynous nature of man.
     The same basic idea may also be found in early Chinese literature. According to Lord Arundell of Wardour, quoting L'Abbe Gainet, the Chinese cosmogony speaks of the creation of men in the following way: "God took some yellow earth and he made men of two sexes," which is generally interpreted to mean bisexual.
     Plato, of course, is unequivocal. In his Symposium (chapter XIV), he wrote: "Our nature of old was not the same as now. It was then one man-woman, whose form and name were common both to the male and to the female. Then said Jupiter, 'I will divide them into two parts'." Subsequently Plato remarks, "When their nature had been bisected, each half beheld with longing its other self." Plato elaborated his views in his work The Banquet by having one of his characters, Aristophanes, say: "In the beginning there were three sexes among men, not only the two which we still find at this time as male and female, but also a third which partook of the nature of each but which has now disappeared, leaving only the name Androgyn behind." Aristophanes' speech confuses the issue somewhat by proposing that there were three sexes among men from the beginning, yet the idea of androgynous man as the original type is clearly reflected in Plato's reference to Jupiter's decision. Lenormant believed that the whole idea, common to the Ionian School of Greek philosophers, had been borrowed from Asia in the first place.
     Empedocles (c. 495435 B.C.), a Greek philosopher of Agrigentum in Sicily, set forth a reconstruction of the history of plant and animal

* Lenormant, Francois, ibid., p.62.
Lord Arundell of Wardour, Tradition. Mythology and Law of Nations, London, Burns, Oates, 1872, p.134.

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life which foreshadowed the theory of Evolution to some extent. It is highly fanciful, but a propos of the present subject it is of interest. The Encyclopedia Britannica article on his works states his position as follows: *

     His most interesting views dealt with the origin of plants and animals, and with the physiology of man. As the elements combined through the work of love, there appeared quaint results heads without necks, arms without shoulders. Then as these structures met, there were heads and figures of double sexes. But most of these disappeared as suddenly as they arose; only in those rare cases where the several parts were adapted to each other did the complex structures last. Soon various influences reduced the creatures of double sex to a male and a female, and the world was replenished with organic life.

      The Romans, of course, were much influenced by the Greeks, and like the Greeks they seem to have held that a bisexual individual was a superior one. In his book, The Religion of Greece in Prehistoric Times, Axel Persson underscores how very ancient this idea was. The earliest deities were, like Cybele (the Mother of all other gods) hermaphroditic. According to their most ancient beliefs, Cybele generated the other deities by self-fertilization.
     Greek thinking on this whole matter influenced the Hellenized Jews, as it had influenced educated Romans. Philo Judaeus (born about 20 B.C.) was one so influenced. He was aristocratic, eloquent, and a well informed Pharisee who seems to have been particularly familiar with the works of Plato. Indeed, he attempted to reconcile the Mosaic system with Platonic philosophy and is usually credited with having first made popular among the Jews the concept of the Logos as intermediary between God who is pure spirit and the physical world of matter. He became one of the more notable intellectual opponents of the Christian faith and his works were a source of constant concern to the early Church Fathers as they sought to elaborate and construct a Christian world view.
     One of the much discussed issues in both Jewish and Christian circles was this question of the androgynous nature of Adam as first created. Philo, as shown in his Quaestiones (1:19), was well acquainted with rabbinic lore on this subject but he believed that the derivation of Eve out of Adam was not sober history but allegory. To this many of the Church Fathers took exception. In his Contra Celsus (4:38),

* Encyclopedia Britannica, 1958 edition, vol.8, p.400.
Persson, Axel, The Religion of Greece in Prehistoric Times, University of California Press, 1942, p.106.

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Origen observed that Jews as well as many Christians considered the account of the creation of Eve out of Adam to be allegory. But Louis Ginsberg, when noting this fact, is careful to underscore that, "in the earlier rabbinic literature now extant, no such allegorical tendencies are known. Nor was Philo able to give firm sources for his own views from rabbinical literature." *
     Actually, according to Ginsberg, Philo is himself contradictory and it is thus difficult to know precisely what he believed. He seems to have thought that the best explanation was that Genesis 1:27 ("male and female created He them") implied a bisexuality and Genesis 2:7 ("formed man of the dust of the ground") no sex at all.
     Justin Martyr who lived from 100165 A.D., in his Hortatory

* Ginsberg, Louis, Legends of the Jews, Philadelphia, Jewish Publications Association of America, 1955, vol.V, From Genesis to Exodus, p.89.
It is conceivable that Genesis 1:27, which seems to relate the maleness and femaleness of man as created with the image of God, is in fact telling us something about the nature of God Himself. Perhaps part of the 'image' of God in man is reflected in the compound of which we now observe only the two elements. As originally united in Adam, that compound of male/femaleness was an essential aspect of the divine image.
      Karl Barth entertained such a view. He held that the simplest exegesis of Genesis 1:27 would equate a maleness and femaleness compound in Adam with the image of God. The subsequent division of man into two sexes was for man's own good by making him no longer self-sufficient and in some real sense potentially asocial. An important aspect of the image is the unity in fellowship between men and women under ideal conditions and Barth makes much of the uniqueness of this fellowship of love in purity [Church Dogmatics, vol. III, chapter 1, translated by J. W. Edwards, et al, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1958, p.214. See also Paul L Jewett, Man as Male and Female, Grand Rapids, Eerdman's, 1975, p.43ff., and G. C. Berkouwer who says, "Barth is convinced that the text gives us a 'well-nigh definitive statement' of the content of the image," Man the Image of God, Grand Rapids, Eerdman's, 1975, p.72, footnote 16].
     There is another aspect of the male/female relationship in all higher forms of life. A. J. Thebaud suggested some years ago that one of the earliest concepts of the nature of God was hermaphroditic. "The principle of deity is always accompanied by a goddess, commonly called his wife but in reality his 'female energy' as we find in Hindustan, in the case of Siva in particular" [Gentilism: Religion Previous to Christianity, New York, D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 1876, p.254].
     The supposed 'wife figure' is taken in this view to be a symbol of the deity's creative principle or energy. Some early Egyptian statues show 'God' as a giant figure signifying strength and majesty, while his generative energy is represented by a female figure, often relatively small in size, placed beside him.
     Ideas of this kind tend to be discounted today. Our culture is fatally inoculated with the view that the new is better than the old, that novelty (even in ideas) is itself a virtue. Modern intelligence in such matters so far outstrips the intelligence of writers of only a century ago (let alone millennia ago) that such views can be quite safely ignored. Tradition was once held in very high regard, but it is now argued that this was due to lack of sophistication in former times.
     But little by little we have come to accord greater respect to the thoughts of earlier times and have discovered how often archaeological findings have vindicated these ancient traditions not just in a general way but almost always in a highly specific and detailed fashion. It could be that many of the traditions, and some of the symbols that were anciently shared by many nations about the original nature of man as a special creature of God and created in his image, reflect the truth of the matter in ways we did not suspect.

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Address to the Greeks (chapter 30) follows Philo almost literally in his explanation of the double account in Genesis, but I do not think for one moment that he shared his cynicism. Tertullian, who lived from 160 to 230 A.D., in his Adversus Hermogenem (chapter 26), and Hippolytus (died c.230 A.D.) both agree with the rabbinical view (Baraita 32 and Middoth, no.12) which held that the Bible gives first a general account and then a detailed one. That the rabbis truly believed Adam was originally hermaphroditic is clear enough from a number of sources, though they elaborated this simple truth along rather fanciful lines. Louis Ginsberg gives a number of references, * and leaves one with the impression that these are merely some out of many. 
      The Soncino Chumash, edited by A. Cohen, has a note on Genesis 1:27 by the famous rabbinical scholar Rashi (born 1040, died 1105 in the Rhineland) who wrote a commentary on the Pentateuch and was credited with "an encyclopedic knowledge of rabbinic literature," in which the rabbi says, "The Midrash explains that man as first created consisted of two halves, male and female, which were afterwards separated."
     One of the most famous rabbis of Medieval times and one of the most philosophical expounders of Judaism was a man named Moses ben Maimon (11351202 A.D.), who is more popularly known as Maimonides. He strongly supported the view that Adam was created as a man-and-woman being, having two faces turned in opposite directions, and that during a stupor the Creator separated his genuine feminine half (Hawah, Eve) from him in order to make of her a distinct and separate person.
     A century later, Nahmanides (12201250) in his commentary on Genesis 1:1-6:8 which has been recently translated by Jacob Newman, has this to say on Genesis 1:27, "[Adam and Eve] were created with two faces." Newman in a note (#144) interprets this to mean, "hermaphroditic."
     Now The Jerusalem Targum, which may have been begun as early as the second century B.C., amplified the text of Genesis 2:21 and said that "Eve was formed out of the third rib on the right side"! Whatever may be said of this kind of comment, it is surely quite clear that Hebrew scholars were interpreting the record very literally. They

* Louis Ginsberg's references: Midrash Bereshith Rabbah on Genesis, chapter 8, paragraph 1, and chapter 17, paragraph 6; Berakoth, chap.ter 61a, a Talmudic Tractate on Prayers and Benedictions; 'Erubin, chapter 18a, a Talmudic Tractate on the Sabbath; Midrash Weyikra Rabbah, chapter 14; Midrash Tanchuma hagidom Wahishan, Book III, p.32; Midrash Tehillim, chapter 139, p.529; Midrash Tanchuma Tazria, 2.
Cohen, A., The Soncino Chumash, London, Soncino Press, 1964, p.ix, 7.
Newman, Jacob, Commentary by Nahmanides, Leiden, Brill, 1960, p.xx.

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understood that a real cleavage by some kind of surgical operation divided Adam into complementary selves which, being thereafter "joined" in true marriage, were reconstituted as "one flesh." Modern Jewish scholars still either hold to this view or acknowledge it as by no means impossible; even those medically trained agree. Dr. Robert Greenblatt, in his little book Search the Scriptures, remarks in this connection: *

     Metaphorically we may assume that the original man, Adam, was hermaphroditic. Such an assumption is quite permissible, for it is twenty-one verses after reporting the creation of man that Genesis (2:18) tells us "and the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone: I will make a help meet for him."
In this history of human events is thus recorded man's earliest conception of the establishment of the sexes. Some of the most distinguished Hebrew writers, according to Hans Selye, interpret the first chapters of Genesis as describing Adam as being of both sexes.


     So now we may find it proper to trace back our ancestry until we arrive at a first father who carried in himself both seeds, and after the division had been effected, sinned and introduced into his body some disturbing agent which has upset the normal transmission of the chromosomal allotment assigned originally by God to each sex once they had been separated. Any such disturbance, arising from chromosomal anomaly, surely suggests that the potential for both sexes is still resident in suppressed form in each individual. Such is the stuff of inheritance in all of us, a fact which seems to point to a past when the potential was effectively resident in a single person, and then to some occasion when the potential was modified though not without leaving a vestige of itself to remind us that it is indeed a modification.

     The quote from the Jerusalem Targum above brings us to a consideration of the meaning of the original Hebrew word ( tsela'), rendered RIB in virtually all our English translations. The Jewish version of this Targum by members of the famous Ibn Tibbon family (of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, A.D.), and the version of Maimonides, both translate this word as side rather than rib. This is not surprising since the Septuagint translators employed the Greek word pleuran () which, if we are to be guided at all by

* Greenblatt, Robert, Search the Scriptures, Montreal, Lippincott, 1963, p.50.
Tibbon: see Robert Tuck, Age of the Great Patriarchs, London, Sunday School Union, no date, p.102.

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New Testament usage has only the meaning of side. It appears in John 19:34; 20:20, 25, 27; Acts 12:7. It is important to notice that this is the meaning attached to it in the New Testament Greek. Since the New Testament rests heavily for its usage of Greek words upon that already adopted by the seventy-two who gave us the Septuagint, one should assume, I think, that the latter's use of pleura for tsela' indicates how they also understood the word: i.e., as side rather than rib.
     Furthermore, the Hebrew word tsela' is only translated RIB in English versions in this one place. Its renderings elsewhere, as in the King James Version for instance, are such as the following: beam, chamber (twice), plank, corner (twice), side chamber (9 times), and side (19 times). The rendering side appears mainly in connection with descriptive details of the tabernacle in Exodus 25:12, 14; 26:27, 35; 27:7; 36:25, 31, 32; 37:3; 38:7; 2 Samuel 16:13; and Job 18:12. These are all the occurrences in which the word appears. In some of them it is so translated twice in a single verse. In the Latin Vulgate it is rendered side; as it is also in the Syriac version. It is therefore all the more surprising that so few modern English versions have adopted it in Genesis.
     The question is, What really is the best word to use? If we allow ourselves to be guided by the passages in which it is rendered side-chamber, we have possibly a closer approach to what may have been the intent of the original. The word is so rendered nine times in the following places: Ezekiel 41:5, 6 (twice), 7, 8, 9 (twice), 11, and 26. Ellicott in his Commentary is surely correct in saying that "Adam could hardly have felt the loss of one rib out of 24 actual bones with which the body is provided much less in view of the fact that the wound was completely healed after the operation." Whether he would have been aware of the disappearance of some internal organ such as a gonad or a fully developed ovary is a moot point. But he might very well have become aware of a new need, directed towards the woman.
     It is worth noting in passing that, according to Moulton and Milligan, the general extra-biblical meaning of the Greek word used in the Septuagint is side of a human being or lung or chest. But it is also noted that "an unusual use of the word is vessel, as found in one papyrus of the late third century A.D. in reference to some glass vessels." *

     Liddell and Scott in their Lexicon of Classical Greek give the meaning of pleuron as rib, equating it with Herodotus' use of the word, but as they point out, "mostly in the plural like the Latin costae, i.e.,

* Moulton, James H. and George Milligan, VocabuIary of the Greek Text: Illustrations from the Papyri and Other Non-Literate Sources, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1972, p.518.

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'side' of a man." They give a secondary meaning as "the membrane that lines the chest." A third meaning is as the side of a rectangle, and a fourth meaning as a page of a book. It has also, they observe, the sense of wife. This is interesting in that among the Arabs a cognate word of the Hebrew tsela' is used to signify a bosom friend, a person who is "at one's side." * None of these comments are decisive, but I think in general they certainly allow the choice of the word side rather than rib as a meaningful translation of the Hebrew of Genesis 2:21.

    Turning to the very oldest actual documents we have, i.e., cuneiform tablets, we find some curious indications that the Hebrew word tsela' had a more profound significance than merely the designation of one of Adam's ribs. One of the best authorities on Sumerian Cuneiform literature, Samuel Kramer, in his book From the Tablets of Sumer notes that the Sumerian word for rib is TI (pronounced TEE). Now this sound value associated with the word TI forms part of several names under rather interesting circumstances. Some of the earliest tablets tell us that the name of one of the gods was EN-KI. This name seems to be compounded from two words meaning Heaven (and) Earth, a circumstance which may reflect something about the supposed nature of the being who bore the name. There is little doubt from a study of Sumerian mythology that EN-KI was really the counterpart of original man, exalted to the status of a deity. We are told that EN-KI became sick, and the sickness affected eight parts of his body an observation which is probably intended to indicate only that the whole man was sick. The tablet which gives us the details of this event also spells out where the sickness afflicted him, although some of the words are not now decipherable. They do include his head, his arms and his chest. The ailment arose because of EN-KI's disobedience in eating a fruit which he had been expressly forbidden to eat and which is identified as a cassia plant, of which we have already spoken.
     Being a highly favoured creature of the gods, steps were at once taken to heal him, and for this purpose a goddess was specially created. Her name was NIN-TI, which is a compound of two words meaning "the lady of the rib." Kramer tells us that NIN-TI came to be known later as "the lady who makes live." Thus the same compound name, NIN-TI, acquired by association two different meanings. The first compound (NIN) kept its sound value and meaning, but TI came to be

* Skinner, John, Commentary on Genesis, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1930, 2nd edition, p.63.
Kramer, Samuel, From the Tables of Sumer, Indian Hills, Colorado, Falcon's Wing Press, 1956, p.172f.

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associated with both "the rib" and "the one who gives life." The student of Scripture will see at once that we have here what looks like a confused reflection of the grand truth set forth in Genesis 2:21 and 3:20 which shows Eve as first formed from a tsela' (translated more correctly, I think, as side), later to become "the mother of all living." If EN-KI is equated with Adam, then clearly the female NIN-TI, created to heal the only ailment from which a perfect Adam could be suffering (i.e., a sense of aloneness) would logically be equated with Eve.
     What Kramer did not note in either of the books in which he has made particular reference to this matter, * is the fact that the cuneiform sign or ideograph for TI sheds its own interesting light on the meaning of the word translated rib
. In Rene Labat's Manuel d'Epigraphie Akkadienne, the cuneiform sign for TI is written as at (a) in Fig. 6, in late Assyrian. But in the very earliest texts known this sign appeared as in (b), which is clearly the same pictograph in simplified form. However, it is known that these cuneiform signs were very early turned through 90 degrees for some reason, so that they were originally written in the upright position. The sign shown in (b) would therefore have been drawn at first as shown in (c); and there seems to be little doubt that it was once a simplified picture of a woman wearing a skirt.


     The word values which Labat attaches to the sign are various. They include rib or side member (of a vehicle or a boat); but the sign also forms part of the verb "to make alive." We know from later texts employing this sign how it was to be pronounced. The sign was not merely read as TI (as among the Sumerians) but by the Babylonians as TSILU, which is readily seen to be related to the Hebrew TSELU.
     The Babylonians adopted the earlier Sumerian ideographs and used them to signify the same objects as the Sumerians had, but they applied to them their own sound values which were usually (though

* Kramer, Samuel, From the Tablets of Sumer, Indian Hills, Colorado, Falcon's Wing Press, 1956, p.172 f., or The Sumerians, University of Chicago Press, 1965, p.149 f.
Labat, Rene, Manuel d'Epigraphie Akkadienne, Paris, Imprimerie Nationale de France, 1952, p.68, 69.

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not always) somewhat different. This is a widespread practice. The Japanese did precisely the same thing when they adopted the Chinese ideographs in order to put their own language into writing. Looking at the sign the Sumerians would read it as TI but the Babylonians and Assyrians would read it as TSILU. Each of them would immediately picture in their minds either a RIB (or a side, depending upon which is the correct interpretation) or LIFE-GIVING WOMAN, depending upon the context. The word used in the Hebrew of Genesis 2:21 (tsela') is certainly a cognate Semitic word with the Babylonian and Assyrian TSILU.
The reader may be misled here into supposing that I am supporting the view that the Sumerian language is earlier than Semitic languages such as Assyrian, Babylonian and Hebrew. It is at present true that the earliest records (tablets) are in Sumerian. But this is by no means absolute proof of any priority of the Sumerian language over Semitic. For reasons which have been elaborated elsewhere, * I am persuaded that the language of Noah and his family was not Sumerian but Semitic in form not necessarily Hebrew, though it might have been proto-Hebrew. One of the strongest arguments in favour of this assumption is that the names of his immediate descendants as set forth in Genesis 10 are clearly Semitic words which, for the most part, have recognizable meanings even in Hebrew as we know it today.

     It is clear that the names have not been translated or modified radically from their original form, since they are still preserved with comparatively little change in their descendants who are now found to constitute the nations of the world. Japheth, for example, is clearly recognizable in the Japetos of the Greeks whose ancestor he is, though the Greeks are certainly not Semitic people. These names have been carefully traced by the author in another work. The importance of this fact is that people do not give their children names which are entirely foreign to their own language. We do have a notable exception in the case of biblical names adopted in Christian families, but this is a special situation that did not apply on any wide scale in pre-Christian times. A Chinaman who happened to be a metalworker would not call his son Smithson, because Smith is an English word, not a Chinese one.
    People customarily give their children names that are meaningful in their own language, and the forms of such names provide a clue to

* Custance, Arthur, "The Confusion of Languages" Part V in Time and Eternity, vol.6 of the Doorway Papers Series, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1977. 
Custance, Arthur, "A Study of the Names in Genesis 10" Part II in Noah's Three Sons, vol.1 of the Doorway Papers Series, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1975.

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the language spoken by those who use them. When Noah and his family gave names to their children they were clearly speaking Hebrew or something akin to it: and if Noah was doing so, it is a fair assumption to say that Adam also spoke the same form of language since the confusion of languages was much later.
     From which I would conclude that the supposedly later form of the word tsela' is not in fact later at all, but the original. The form is only assumed to be earlier because historical accident has placed in our hands Sumerian tablets in which the word TI appears and these happen to be earlier than any tablets in which the word TSILU occurs. We do not have any tablets, yet, which truly come from the pre-Flood world, but it seems virtually certain that a society which had metallurgy and could construct an ark larger than any vessel till quite modern times must have had some method of keeping adequate records.
     It does not seem likely that we can filter from such indistinct leads very much in the way of concrete information of substantive value, but certainly there is a story here the details of which in the Scriptural account are clear enough. The biblical record is free of the exaggerations and absurdities which mar all the pagan traditions. It is sensible to view it as the original.
    I do not think it altogether unreasonable to assume that when Adam exclaimed, "This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh," he had an intuitive understanding of the fact (or was it revealed?) that Eve had been formed from something much more fundamental to himself and to his nature and constitution than merely one of his ribs. The supplementary statement made afterwards, "and they shall be one flesh," surely implies more than that Eve would in some mystical way merely make up for a missing rib especially in view of the fact that man does not have, and is unlikely ever to have had, an odd rib on one side.
     Adam was in no position to be able to understand in precisely what way he had been "divided" even if God had revealed to him the magnitude of the operation. But it seems rather certain that if Eve had merely been formed from one of his ribs and the wound had then been completely repaired, he would hardly have discerned in Eve a creature so complementary to himself in such a profound way. His sense of her complementarity was initially psychological not anatomical, though he felt it so concretely that he expressed it in anatomical language. And surely, the two becoming one flesh when truly married reinforces the concept of an original "unity."
     It is an interesting thing to note in the Sumerian account that the "Lady of the Rib" was formed in a way which was notable for the speed with which it all happened while not yet being actually instantaneous. The normal nine months gestation period is reduced in the  

     pg.12 of 13     


poem to a mere nine days: a day for a month. Perhaps this was a way of saying that this "Lady who makes alive" was not formed by the ordinary processes familiar in human generation nor yet by a process totally independent of it, but by some quite exceptional means of which not the least remarkable factor was the short time it took to complete the operation. But it was an operation; it did take time; it was not instantaneous creation but formation. * (Genesis 2:22).


     And so we can perhaps add to the evidence from physiology the confirming voice of tradition, confused as it is, as well as the considered opinion of the more famous Jewish commentators who evidently found the Genesis account leading them to a similar conclusion: Eve was literally formed out of the man because Adam as first created was truly androgynous. I believe he was androgynous not only physiologically speaking but in the very essence of his nature also: hormonally, he was truly male and female.
   There are other important reasons why such a truly androgynous constitution should have characterized the first man, and these have to do with the method by which God was to redeem the race that sprang quite literally from Adam's loins, of one, i.e., a single individual, not "of one blood" (Acts 17:26) as the King James Version has it. And this is the subject of the next chapter.

* The Hebrew word used is banah , meaning "to build."
It is widely agreed by scholars of evangelical as well as liberal persuasion that the word blood should be omitted as it is in a number of MSS. This is the procedure followed in the RV, RSV, Rotherham, Berkeley, and many others.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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