March 12th, 2014

The dawn of humans: Adam and Eve

A comment of mine from the churchgoing thread:

I have never really understood the interpretation of the Adam and Eve story as having to do with sex primarily, or even really at all. Ever since reaching adulthood, I have seen at as a story of the differentiation of human consciousness and free will versus animal consciousness. Animals can’t sin, humans can. It’s about choice; eating the apple symbolized the dawning of human consciousness. That’s why you can’t go back to the Garden; the Garden is our pre-human state.

And although you can try, that effort is doomed. But it made for some nice music:

17 Responses to “The dawn of humans: Adam and Eve”

  1. VAITGuy Says:

    Love the comment, but not the song so much.
    :)

  2. DNW Says:

    Neo says,

    “A comment of mine from the churchgoing thread:

    I have never really understood the interpretation of the Adam and Eve story as having to do with sex primarily, or even really at all. Ever since reaching adulthood, I have seen at as a story of the differentiation of human consciousness and free will versus animal consciousness. Animals can’t sin, humans can. It’s about choice; eating the apple symbolized the dawning of human consciousness. That’s why you can’t go back to the Garden; the Garden is our pre-human state.”

    Well, within the framework of the myth then, some kind, or quality of consciousness, in any event.

    “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.”

    We are all aware of the various shades of meaning of the term “know” as used in the bible has, and it would be interesting to have some understanding of what connotations the Hebrew rendering of the phrase might have carried.

    So while the idea that the story is about mankind’s attaining of a level of (self-)consciousness sufficient to establish a break between an erstwhile entity that merely engaged in behavior and one that is capable of judging it morally, is certainly a respectable interpretive effort, the language seems to me to suggest something, a move, a bit more radical on the volitional side of the equation: ” … ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

    But of course, that assumes a possibility that the tropes displayed in the story are the result a coherent, underlying authorial recounting of an attempt to appropriate the status of god, by man. And that what we are seeing are not just accidental accretions which we are subsequently trying to forcibly retrofit into a pattern which will yield a deeper and consistent meaning.

    Perhaps some support can be derived from the supposition that that (ambition to be God, a god or god-like) is in fact a rather common motif in the Scriptures; since the Tower of Babel and fall of Lucifer seem to recount much the same theme: That which is not God, the “created”, seeking to overthrow God and take or join the place of the “Uncreated”.

    A logical absurdity, whatever else it might be.

    But not a psychological impulse unknown in some form or another to modern man. Even Atheists.

    “Deep in their heart of hearts, they fear that a sequel to St Augustine’s City of God is in the works, and
    it’s going to be written by an atheist … and it will speak of a brand new world and new opportunities, it will create a new ecumene of people united under something other than the folly of faith.

    I’m not so arrogant that I’d come in front of you all to tell you that I’ve come up with the grand idea that will be a religion-killer….

    Fortunately, our idea has been incubating for a few centuries, and has involved multitudes of our civilization’s greatest minds.

    It’s called science.

    Science is our weapon, our god-killer. It’s the greatest tool humanity has ever invented. …

    If I actually believed Jesus was coming to end the world, I’d be preparing by stocking up on timber and nails. They were pretty effective last time. ….

    I see the primeval primate hunting band grown large and strong. I see us so confident in our strength that we laugh at our enemies. I see a people thinking and planning, fierce and focused, learning and building new tools to conquer new worlds.

    You are not sheep. You, my brothers and sisters in atheism, are a fierce, coordinated hunting pack — men and women working together, and those other bastards have cause to fear us.

    So let’s do it: make them tremble as we demolish the city of god.”

    PZ Myers

  3. Mac Says:

    I missed that comment in the other thread, Neo, or I would have responded, as this is an idea I’ve entertained for probably about as long as you have. As a Christian, I believe in the Fall, and that *something* happened in the course of the development of the human race. We are not likely ever to grasp the whole picture in this life, but that separation from the animals seems plausible as a component..

    You might enjoy Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos, which is fundamentally about the Fall, conceived as a metaphysical and psychological event connected with language. It’s profound and, just as good, very funny.

    There is a line in one of W.S. Merwin’s poem about a time “when we were severed from the animals / with a wound that never heals.”

    DNW, do you have a source for that rather chilling PZ Myers quote? And yes, “ye shall be as Gods…well, actually, ye won’t” is a pretty consistent thread in Christian thought.

  4. Dave maj Says:

    I think it can be read as a cautionary tale against intellectual vanity. The fruit Adam and Eve ate came from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were seduced by the power that comes with knowledge, especially the power to declare what is right and wrong. Our modern intellectuals, in their militant secularism, have set themselves up as God, though with predictable results.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    Note, also, that after eating of the tree, Adam and Eve realized for the first time that they were naked, and made themselves garments.

    Animals are always naked. Only humans create clothing (they even create clothing for animals!). Even humans in tropical countries, who go about close to naked, usually wear some sort of small item of clothing or adornment to set themselves off as human. I believe this is an integral part of the Adam and Eve story, and a key to the whole animal vs. human thing.

    And see this for the meaning of “good and evil”–it probably means “knowledge” (i.e. good and evil is an inclusive phrase rather than a primarily moral one, as in good vs. evil, although it includes that).

  6. DNW Says:

    Mac Says:
    March 12th, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    … DNW, do you have a source for that rather chilling PZ Myers quote? And yes, “ye shall be as Gods…well, actually, ye won’t” is a pretty consistent thread in Christian thought.

    Yes, sorry, should have included the title at least.

    What I presented was a series of provocative excerpts taken from a lengthy speech he titled, “Sunday Sacrilege: Sacking the City of God”; delivered no doubt to some militant atheist convention.

    It’s a peculiar mix: the praise of science; calls for progressivist solidarity and values; and atheist howling.

    The first, concerning the value of science most people tend to agree with; the second, “progressive” social tastes do not follow as a logical entailment from the first (no matter the conceit of scant-beard progressivist dweebs); with, finally, the howls left as the only thing remarkable about the entire effort.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/04/15/sunday-sacrilege-sacking-the-city-of-god/

  7. Don Carlos Says:

    The video and its putative “music” make my skin crawl just as much as when Woodstock occurred. It is PC to respect the event, but in fact we have never recovered from this symbol of the appalling crash decline our standards (behavioral, hygienic, musical). A large bunch of pigs wallowing in mud.

  8. A possible and logically consistent explanation of the Genesis allegory. « The View from Britain Says:

    [...] The dawn of humans: Adam and Eve [...]

  9. DNW Says:

    ” neo-neocon Says:
    March 12th, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    DNW:

    Note, also, that after eating of the tree, Adam and Eve realized for the first time that they were naked, and made themselves garments.

    Animals are always naked. Only humans create clothing (they even create clothing for animals!). Even humans in tropical countries, who go about close to naked, usually wear some sort of small item of clothing or adornment to set themselves off as human. I believe this is an integral part of the Adam and Eve story, and a key to the whole animal vs. human thing.

    And see this for the meaning of “good and evil”–it probably means “knowledge” (i.e. good and evil is an inclusive phrase rather than a primarily moral one, as in good vs. evil, although it includes that).”

    Could be. Following your link I come to the heading “Judaism” and read:

    ” In Jewish tradition, the Tree of Knowledge and the eating of its fruit represents the beginning of the mixture of good and evil together. Before that time, the two were separate, and evil had only a nebulous existence in potentia. While free choice did exist before eating the fruit, evil existed as an entity separate from the human psyche, and it was not in human nature to desire it. Eating and internalizing the forbidden fruit changed this and thus was born the yeitzer hara, the Evil Inclination”

    Now this is very strange, and I wonder if it could be right. Because as near as I can tell it is virtually the same notion, or a very parallel one [unless you want to argue what "human nature" meant in those circumstances] to that found in the old Baltimore Catholic Catechism # 3. Albeit coming at, or formulating the problem from a somewhat different and ontological effects angle, rather than one of moral action.

    I find the term “in potentia” rather curious when presented as part of the conceptual vocabulary available to Jewish tradition in regard to this matter though, as it seems somewhat too Greek or even Christian to be a very early idea. But then I guess the Talmud is definitely post Hellenistic anyway.

    In any event, the Catholic catechism phrased it in terms of a loss of the “sanctifying” grace, which had been their presumptively “normal operating state”.

    Thus “original sin” is termed “original” in their offspring not as a repeat of some specific act, but in terms of the descendants’ origins.

    Hence, in the question and answer format designed for “children in the upper grades of elementary schools”:

    What has happened to us on account of the sin of Adam?
    On account of the sin of Adam, we, his descendants, come into the world deprived of sanctifying grace …

    What is this sin called in us?
    This sin in us is called original sin

    Why is this sin called original sin?
    This sin is called original because it comes down to us through our origin, or descent, from Adam”

    Make of that recitation what you will, it is clearly an intellectually comprehensible idea and both a much less mysterious and even more naturalistic concept than many seem to imagine.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “It’s about choice; eating the apple symbolized the dawning of human consciousness.”

    I would agree that the eating of the apple symbolizes the dawning of awareness (consciousness) of right and wrong but…and this is important, without the complementary ability to always discern rightly between the two. Thus, resulting in the road to hell being paved with good intentions…

    IMO, Genesis is an Allegory (noun: a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.) And like any good allegory, it can be interpreted, strictly by the clues it contains. IMO, that has yet to be done, as I am unaware of any logically consistent explanation for the profound questions that Genesis implies but that are not directly answered.

    Those profoundly important but unanswered questions give rise to much of the disbelief regarding whether there actually is a God, at least as the Judeo/Christian tradition presents him.

    Rather than get into a long explanation here, for any curious I’ve posted my thoughts on my blog. I must however, warn the reader that while it is unapologetically Christian in its bias, it is decidedly non-dogmatic in its assertions. No offense is intended but no apology is made for a sincere attempt at a deeper understanding. Nor am I asserting this to be ‘the truth’, merely and of necessity, a hypothesis.

    A possible and logically consistent explanation of the Genesis allegory

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    Jews do NOT believe in original sin.

    See this for a short discussion, but if you Google the topic “Judaism and original sin” you’ll find tons of links to information.

    Christianity has its roots in Judaism, but the two religions are very very different, and not just in a disagreement about Jesus.

    As for the Evil Impulse in Judaism, see this. It’s a complex concept, quite different from the usual idea of evil.

  12. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    regarding the first link provided in your comment above,

    “the dominant view [in Judaism] by far was that man sins because he is not a perfect being, and not, as Christianity teaches, because he is inherently sinful.”

    I’ve often wondered how, a perfect God can create an imperfection (mankind) as it would seem to me that perfection would only be able to create perfection (otherwise it would be imperfect).

    On the other hand, if man was originally created perfect and, Judaism asserts that there is no such thing as original sin (inheritable sin)… what the explanation is for man’s imperfection since Adam and Eve? It appears to me to be an insurmountable contradiction in logic. Perhaps that’s why Augustine invented the theory of original sin.

  13. DNW Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    March 12th, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    DNW:

    Jews do NOT believe in original sin.

    I was not intending to assert or to imply that they did – even assuming that there is a widely accepted Jewish dogma on the matter.

    In fact in the passage I quoted, something seemed somewhat amiss, as I noted, in that there could even be what looked like a substantive parallel. As I said regarding the formulation of Wiki entry you had linked to: “Now this is very strange, and I wonder if it could be right. ”

    “See this for a short discussion, but if you Google the topic “Judaism and original sin” you’ll find tons of links to information.

    Christianity has its roots in Judaism, but the two religions are very very different, and not just in a disagreement about Jesus.”

    I’m perfectly willing to stipulate that Judaism as it is overwhelmingly practiced and understood, has no doctrine of original sin. What one is to make of that Wiki passage purportedly describing the Judaic view of a change taking place in human nature as a result of the eating of the forbidden fruit, is another matter.

    “As for the Evil Impulse in Judaism, see this. It’s a complex concept, quite different from the usual idea of evil.”

    My studies in Judaism were 30 years ago but I remember nothing in particular regarding any specific theory of evil in Pre-Rabbinic Judaism. What conceptualization there was seemed to me to be highly social, in orientation …

    Purity on the other hand, seemed to be a somewhat formal ritualistic notion, not particularly directly connected to what seems in Christianity to be describable as a combination of Jesus’ sayings regarding purity as a spiritual congruence with the will of God, the Spirit, and some smaller measure of Aristotelian virtue ethics.

    In Christianity, as I take it, purity is seen as a substantive, actual good.

    But again, I do not insist and am just making off the cuff remarks.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    I didn’t mean to suggest you thought Jews believed in original sin. I just thought it was related, and an interesting point (and that many people aren’t aware of it).

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Man must have free will, or he isn’t man, he’s an automaton.

    Free will creates choice. Ergo, imperfection. It’s baked in the cake. I see no contradiction.

  16. Holmes Says:

    “Knowledge of good and evil” means that evil and good existed already, but humans, in their animal/pre-Fall state perhaps, were innocent in the struggle. When they received consciousness and the power to choose, they Fell from grace and from the innocent and total communion with God (God could walk directly with Adam. According to Christians, he would not do so again until he had taken Adam’s form in Jesus, the Son of Man.)

    But original sin? Yes. You can see the will of a human being exerted as early as 3 months old. Ye are gods from an early age.

  17. IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." Says:

    }}} It’s called science.

    Science is our weapon, our god-killer. It’s the greatest tool humanity has ever invented.

    PZM is, as usual for the type, a freaking moron.

    Science and Religion have NOTHING to say about one another — they deal with different spheres of thought entirely.

    Science deals with that which is provable, which can reasonably accurately be defined and measured by the senses. This is hardly the whole of human existence by any rational measure. The rest of it is the realm of Faith.

    The notion that Science can supplant religion is even more retarded than creationism, which presumes that the trappings of science make religion into science.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>








Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge