36. We do not know certainly how the decline in Adam began, but we should not overlook one fact: The man (the woman side of humanity being as yet undeveloped), was placed in the garden "to dress and keep it" (2:15). Two duties, not one, were laid upon Adam. This second word is the same as used in 3:24, where the "Cherubim, and a flaming sword" are placed, "to keep the way of the tree of life." Lange's Commentary says, "Adam must watch and protect it [the Garden]. This is, in fact, a very significant addition, and seems to give a strong indication of danger as threatening man and Paradise from the side of an already existing power of evil."

37. That "power of evil" manifests itself a little later in the form of Satan. Did not Adam let him enter the garden? Verse 17 goes on to warn Adam as regards "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and it seems legitimate to infer that he was not only to refrain from eating of this tree, but also to protect this tree from being tampered with by others, as it was, later, when Satan induced Eve to partake of it, and then the youthful Eve gave of the fruit of it to Adam, who ate also.

38.  Overlooking some interesting points for the present, we pass on to Genesis 2:21. The last clause of this verse is literally translated by Dr. Harper, in his Method and Manual, as follows: "He took one from his sides, and closed the flesh instead of it," and the learned author of Genesis in Ellicott's Commentaries, Canon Payne-Smith, speaks of the woman as coming from the flank of man, “so curiously from ancient times rendered 'rib.'"

39. On the same point, Archdeacon Wilberforce has written interestingly to the following effect: "I do not profess to manipulate the Hebrew a single step in advance of the possibilities of any student who may possess the Englishman's Hebrew Concordance, [The same can be said of Young’s Analytical Concordance],[6] but the 'rib' seems to be a mistranslation. The Hebrew word translated 'rib' in both the Authorized and Revised versions, occurs forty-two times in the O. T., and in this instance alone is it translated 'rib.' In the majority of cases it is translated 'side' or 'sides,' in other places 'corners' or, 'chambers,' but never 'rib' or 'ribs,' except in these two verses describing the separation of Eve from Adam. In the Septuagint version, which was the Scripture quoted by our Lord, the word is pleura, which in Homer, Hesiod and Herodotus is used for 'side,' not 'rib,' and in the Greek of the N. T. is invariably translated 'side.' There is a word in the O. T. the true translation of which is 'rib' and nothing else, and it occurs in Daniel 7:5, but this is a totally different word from the word translated 'rib' in the passage before us." We could have said all this, in fewer words, not quoting Wilberforce, and others, but then, we might have been accused of straining a point, because of sex bias. Had God taken only a rib from Adam, the latter would not have exclaimed, "she is flesh of my flesh," but merely, "she is bone of my bone." Let us never forget, when we hear a rationalist ridiculing the "rib" story of "creation," that he is not in reality ridiculing the Bible, though he may think he is. He is holding up to contempt a stupid mistranslation.

40. The separation of Eve from Adam was, then, an exceptional instance within the human race of what is well known to take place in lower orders of life. Professor Agassiz, the naturalist, in describing gemmiparous or fissiparous reproduction, says: "A cleft or fission, at some part of the body, takes place, very slight at first, but constantly increasing in depth, so as to become a deep furrow. . . . At the same time the contained organs are divided and become double, and thus two individuals are formed of one, so similar to each other that it is impossible to say which is the parent and which is the offspring." Each human body retains still abundant traces of a dual nature, in almost every organ and part.

41. The Bible is not a treatise on science, but wherever rightly translated it is found not to contradict science. Nothing could be more unscientific than the representation that Eve was made from a single bone taken from Adam's body. We have already (par. 24, and Additional Notes thereon), commented on the possible original bisexual nature of the human being,—the androgynous, or hermaphrodite state, which persists, imperfectly, to the present time within the human family.

42. The idea that Eve was made out of one of Adam's ribs has its origin in rabbinical lore. One story says, "Eve was made out of a tail which originally belonged to Adam." Rav, the great head of the Babylonian rabbinical school, declared, "Eve was formed out of a second face, which originally belonged to Adam," and another rabbi declares, "Instead of a rib taken from Adam, a slave was given him to wait upon him." But Rabbi Joshua, in his commentary, has given the fable which has most pleased Christian commentators on the Bible. It is quite general for them to quote it in part, or give some of its many variations.

43. Rabbi Joshua says: "God deliberated from what member He would create woman, and He reasoned with Himself thus:  I must not create her from Adam's head, for she would be a proud person, and hold her head high. If I create her from the eye, then she will wish to pry into all things; if from the ear, she will wish to bear all things; if from the mouth, she will talk much; if from the heart, she will envy people; if from the hand, she will desire to take all things; if from the feet, she will be a gadabout. Therefore I will create her from the member which is hid, that is the rib, which is not even seen when man is naked." And this is the inane fable which lies at the basis of the idea that Eve must have been made out of Adam's rib, whereas the Bible says God took one of Adam's sides (or one part of Adam's being), out of which He "builded" her.

44. We pass on to Genesis 2:24. Here is something most interesting. God seems to interrupt the ancient history, as given by Moses, and steps forth, as it were, in His own person, to address humanity directly and impressively in the words, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife." Some have attributed these words to Adam, who was speaking in the previous verse, or to Moses, but Jesus Christ speaks of them as God's own language, in Matthew 19:4, 5, saying "Have ye not read, that He which made [no "them" in the original] at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife." Many commandments are promulgated in masculine terms, though meant equally for both sexes, but in this instance the case is different: One man and one woman stand before the Almighty, on the very occasion of their differentiation into two sexes, and God enunciates a law as lying between those two just formed, which indicates for all time the duty of husband to wife, not of wife to husband. And then, in the Hebrew original expression, "for this cause ought the man," the word for "man" is not the generic term meaning "man-kind," it is ish, "husband," corresponding to isha, "wife, in the expression "his wife" of this verse. When man and woman marry, there must be created a line of cleavage, on the part of one or both, between parent, or parents, and children. This Scriptural marriage law declares that the line of cleavage shall separate the husband from his parents rather than the wife from her parents. We will continue this subject in our next Lesson.


[6] Words enclosed in square brackets are invariably by the author of the Lessons.

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