Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where DID Cain get his wife?

A plausible, but radical, alternative to standard Six Day Creation theory is what I call "Second Creation" theory. It will freak people out, but it elegantly harmonizes a lot of difficult details in Genesis. I want us all to break out our scripture sticks and give it the “pinata treatment.” Or, prop it up and see if it fits into the panorama of scripture. Let’s see how it holds up to scrutiny:

A few folks suppose that Genesis 1 says that in a six-day period, God created a world full of light and sky and fish and sea and animals, and…men and women. But at some point (in Genesis 2, either on Day Six, or maybe ages later) God separately and specially “formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils so he became a living being." Eve was taken and fashioned from Adam himself, so she too was a “living being.” As were their sons. Get it? Adam and Eve were not the first and only people created, rather they were the first of a CHOSEN RACE of people. All the other men were of God’s likeness, but not of the same God-breathed character, since they were not “inspired” in the same personal way, with God blowing up their noses. So, man began in Gen 1, but "humanity" began with Adam in Gen 2, when God breathed life into him.

This does several things. First, it asserts a literal creation and a literal Adam and Eve. But it also can accommodate a scientists' claim that the Earth is a zillion years old, and that some human remains appear 10x older than Adam. It also accounts for several problems in Genesis:

(1) Whom did Cain fear would kill him if he left the vicinity of Eden? (4:14)
(2) Where did Cain get his wife, or why was incest God’s design for the first generations? (4:17)
(3) How is it Cain was building a city when he had just a wife and one son? (4:17)
(4) In Gen 6:1-4, who exactly are the sons of God, the daughters of men, and the Nephilim ( “the "fallen") and what do they have to do with anything? (In this theory, the sons of God are Adam and the sons of Adam, also called "sons of God" in Gen 6:2, who went out from Eden and took the "daughters of men". Pretty slick.)

In this theory, Adam, Cain and his brothers were not the genetic fathers of every person on earth, they were the men from God who would rule and subdue the Earth and its inhabitants on His behalf. In Gen 4 we see the sons of Cain introducing agriculture, art, industry, and government into the earth. No wonder they might be called "the heroes of old, men of renown." This gives a great significance to the otherwise strange Ch 4 closing verse: "At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord" seems perhaps that Adams race, the sons of God also introduced the men of the earth to the One True God. This also gives an interesting slant on The Fall, very much in sync with Jesus’ teaching: perhaps the sons of God were “sent into the world not to judge the world, but that the world through them might be saved." But Adam chose the fruit of judgement instead of the tree of life.

In many respects it fits neatly into the whole Bible story line: A chosen but fallen race whose mission of subduing and ruling the world for God is always thwarted by their sin until Christ, the Last Adam (a half-breed God man, himself) comes to redeem their lives, to lead them in a reconquest of the Earth, to rule them in justice, and to share the fellowship of eternal life with them.

The Second Creation theory has never been in the main stream of thought so far as I know. So here is my question: Is this theory soundly debunked by the scriptures? I mentioned that Adam named the woman Eve because she was the mother of all living, but it was pointed out to me that “living” is defined in Gen 2 by having God blow up your nose. So that wouldn’t necessarily K.O. the Second Creation theory. Let’s get critical and see if it stands or falls.


Bethany said...

hmm... God blowing up Adam's nose is separate from Adam being a "living creature." Living is not the same as God blowing up your nose, there's a comma separating those phrases. eh, the theory isn't developed enough, but it works well with:

It's interesting we go to the text with our modern mindset looking for a material creation. You might be interested in this - my Old Testament professor has a theory reevaluating the meaning of the word "create." It's sort of like the "Second Creation" theory, I guess. At the point in history the OT was written, when they thought of the "creation" of the cosmos they only cared who was in charge, science wasn't important to them. In the ancient world, something existed if it had a purpose. For example, light existed materially before, but in Gen 1 God gives it a function: time. To the ancients it would now be "created."

Oh, and when "the sons of God" is used in ancient literature, 70% of the time it is referring to a documented practice of ancient kings (seen as part of God) having the "right to the first night" with all brides. So not really "slick" so much as "sick." But this makes sense because the example goes straight into talking about their wickedness.

scott said...

After we discussed this on Monday night, I'm really glad you decided to post it here for us to bash and critique. :-)

I need to give it some more thought, but on the surface (without looking more deeply into scriptures), it makes some degree of sense. Not sure I buy it completely yet, but I'm keeping an open mind. How's that?

Incest seems to be so taboo that we don't want to concede the possibility that it WAS part of God's plan for populating the world. I'm not sure why, at that point, it would be such a big deal. In this "Second Creation" theory, are you assuming God created LOADS of completely unrelated people right off the bat? And then when "life" was breathed into Adam and Eve, their kids went out and intermarried with those that were NOT part of this new "chosen race"? That seems rather odd.

Oh, and Bethany, unless I'm mistaken, there was no punctuation whatsoever in original Hebrew. So any comma was added later by "us." Unless I'm making that up in my head.

Joe B said...

Ummmm...why would we separate God breathing into someone from their becoming a living soul? Especially when they happen in the same sentence?

I think God breathing his life into the clay man is very significant, and very beautiful. It is still the difference between the living dead and the immortal.

In Hebrew it says that Adam became "Chay Nephesh", a living soul. I cannot hack thru even a little Hebrew, but go pick thru the Septuagint Greek version (paste the link.)§ion=0&it=kjv&oq=gen%25202&ot=lxx&nt=na&new=1&nb=ge&ng=2&ncc=2

Joe B said...

Sons of God, refers 70% of the time to "jus primae noctis"? I guess it would take years to investigate that. I'm ashamed to admit that I spent half a lifetime tonight just Googling it. I'll just say, it seems enormously unlikely. In fact, I cannot imagine even that "sons of god", in plural, has ever been used as a generic way to refer to kings.

For one thing, Genesis is, if nothing else, a monotheistic text. Any prof who would say otherwise is a nut. In a monotheistic context one simply cannot use the phrase "sons of god", in a story ABOUT GOD, to mean generic kings who went about doing the damsels. Besides, there is absolutely no suggestion in the text that there even ARE any kings.

An interesting link for those of you who want to dwell on the idea of jus primae noctis:
It's a transcript of a speech by some professor. Interesting.

Bethany said...

hmm, interesting that there isn't punctuation in Hebrew. Sheesh, I feel dumb, and now that I read the post again, I guess I'm confused about what Joe meant in the first place.

sons of god - I don't think it can be read as "sons of God, therefore, Adam." Kings makes much more sense, kings were seen as individuals who stood between the divine and human worlds. For example, the acts of Pharaoh were seen as divine. Who else would this god be other than a king?

Even if the Israelites were monotheistic, the cultures they were surrounded by were polytheistic. Inevitably, their language and terminology would be affected, so I don't see a problem referring to "sons of god."

Sorry if this is distracting from a discussion on "Second Creation." oops...

Big Doofus said...