Adam and Eve Story of Paradise



Hermeneutics is a branch of philosophy which discusses about the meaning and the interpretation of a text. This method of interpretation has been expanded to the other fields of human expressions like paintings and other human sciences. Language is an institution which has a dynamic nature and its nature and its meaning evolves with time. There is a history behind the phrases which we use that gives a special meaning to our phrases. The environment, the culture, the psychology of the author, and the time which a story has been recorded have a lot to do with the under laying meaning of a story. Because of the very ancient nature of the Adam and Eve story most of these factors are missing from our analysis. So that makes our interpretation very speculative. The historical evidences which we can acknowledge regarding this story mostly comes from the Genesis in the Holy Bible and some Mesopotamian tablets which have been found from the ancient sites. Our new findings regarding the history of Man's culture and the origins of his civilizations are great help in deciphering this ancient story. If we put our own religious biases aside then we might portrait a plausible picture which would be in harmony with our logic and does not often our intelligence. If we are rejecting the Established Religions' explanations regarding the origins of the Genesis story, then we need to have a plausible answer for its origins and its motive.

Couple years ago I saw a documentary on PBS. Archeologist David Rohl started with the four rivers which have been described in the Genesis story. He also referred to an ancient Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets which is held by the Museum of the Orient in Istanbul, and few other ancient writings which have been discovered in Mesopotamia, he concluded that Paradise, Garden of Eden, was located at ten miles northwest of present Tabriz-Iran.

http://www.biblicalheritage.org/Archaeology/eden.htm

The Paradise Garden described in the Bible as the place where the headwaters of four rivers: the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Gihon, and the Pishon. Obviously, the Tigris and Euphrates are well-known rivers, but the other two have been real problems in the past. Rohl has identified them as the Araxes and Uizhun, which puts the headwaters of all four rivers in his Eden. Interestingly, the Uizhun, Rohl's equivalent to the Pishon which the Bibles identifies with gold, is known locally as the Golden River, and meanders between ancient gold mines and lodes of lapis lazuli.

Making his case even stronger, Rohl says that he has found the "Land of Nod" which the Bible describes as "East of Eden." Nod was Cain's place of exile after the murder of his brother Abel. Today the area is called "Noqdi."

But it doesn't end there because a few kilometers south of Rohl's Nod, at the head of a mountain pass, lays the sleepy town of Helabad. Formerly it was known as "Kheruabad," which means "settlement of the Kheru people." He believes that this could be a permutation of the Hebrew word keruvim that is translated as "Cherubs." These people were a tribe of fearsome warriors whose token was an eagle or falcon.

And if this isn't enough to get your attention yet, he has also found what he believes to be the biblical "Land of Cush." No, it's not located down in Egypt as scholars have declared for centuries. It's just north of the Adji Chay river valley and over the Kusheh Daugh - the Mountain of Kush. One of the four rivers described above winds through it.

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I do acknowledge the Genesis story in the Old Testament can not be resolved amicably to all the experts' likings. I sensed this confusion arises because the writers of the Old Testament themselves were confused people about the subject which they were writing about! All their knowledge about the same subject had come through word of mouth. And you can imagine the same story would have totally different twist and turns if it was told few thousand years later in the Mediterranean shores versus the cities in the Mesopotamia. So one can guess how accurate those stories might be! From the bits and pieces of information that we can put it together from various ancient sources we can make some educated guesses about the origins of those ancient stories which would be plausible to our common sense today.

It seems Adam and Eve story in Garden of Eden could be an actual and normal event, and not the Creation story of Adam and Eve as the first couple on the surface of the earth, but rather the first couple who founded a tribe which their decedents were remembering them.

Before the human's agriculture settlements, humans were mostly nomad people who were wondering on the surface of the earth looking for foods by gathering and hunting. Some humans were cave dwellers, but still the sources of their food were based on gathering and haunting. It seems very early humans learnt how to domesticate some animals like sheep, goats, and cows and move them around as herds. Herds were reliable source of food, and they could be moved around as they were looking for better pastures. At present time there are some nomad tribes who still are following this very ancient lifestyle. Every year at spring time they migrate to higher altitudes for a better pasture land and more temperate weather and at fall they move down to plains for warmer weather. Some of these nomad tribes in Iran have few hundred thousands people and they live under tents.

For the story of Adam and Eve it seems a nomad tribe found a good pasture land in Paradise as it was identified by David Rohl. The area had good temperate weather and volcanic soil was very fertile, there were year round flow of many streams. There were plenty of fruit trees for their consumption and their herds could be fed with abundance of vegetations. Apparently that tribe found it comfortable to settle in Paradise and they did not need to move around any longer, and they built huts from clay bricks, as a result they settled in permanent homes, which were much better shelter than the tents. Settling permanently in one place gave them the opportunity to learn about the secrets of the agriculture and farming. Because of farming they thrived even more. So compare to the uncertain life of nomads, of hunting and gathering food, the Paradise community was enjoying from abundance of food and comfortable and permanent homes.

Living in any community we need to apply some rules for the members of the community and our behaviors. Some of the basic rules which we must adopt in forming any communities are against killing each other and stealing from each other. Without these rules which control our own wild and free characters, no society can be formed. To maintain the community rules the community needs an arbitrator to pass on judgments against the violators. So I can imagine that the community in Paradise had adopted these basic rules to maintain the order.

Actually if we think rationally about the Genesis story without getting distracted by the myth, we can realize the Genesis story at its root is the first historic story which is establishing a ground rule against killing and stealing, and passing judgments for those crimes. And later on that story was modified and elaborated to become part of a religious story of the Creation in the Mesopotamia societies.

First let me prove that in Paradise community there were other members besides Adam, Eve, Abel, and Cain. By examining the following verses from the Genesis we can see after Cain killed his brother Abel, he was fearful for his life to be attacked by OTHERS. So according to the story at that point there were other people existed on the earth beside Adam, Eve, and Cain.

Genesis 4:14 Look! You are driving me off the land today and I must hide from your presence. I will be a homeless wanderer on the earth; whoever finds me will kill me." 4:15 But the Lord said to him, "All right then, if anyone kills Cain, Cain will be avenged seven times as much." Then the Lord put a special mark on Cain so that no one who found him would strike him down. 4:16 So Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

4:17 Cain had marital relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was building a city, and he named the city after his son Enoch.

This passage indicates God gave Cain security, but at this point only Adam, Eve, and Cain supposed to be on the surface of the earth, so God could simply tell to Adam and Eve: "Don't harm Cain." But God is issuing a more general proclamation for the safety of Cain. Also the existence of a woman whom Cain took her for his wife is another clear indication that there were other people on the surface of the earth at that time. Also, Cain builds a city. We might ask for whom!?

The other interesting term which is used in the story is the word "Homeless". Which in some sense, it is pointing to the notion of a permanent place.

So it is rational to think that Paradise community was fairly large community, and Cain had killed Abel who was a member of that community, and then Cain was fearful for his life that Abel's family and relatives would be seeking revenge against him. So Cain is accepting the verdict and he is going to exile, but he wants assurance that he would not be attacked by the others. In this scenario we can imagine that Adam and Eve was a young couple living in the Paradise community and they witnessed the Cain murder story and his trial and the verdict against him by the Arbitrator. Later on Adam and Eve told this story to their descendants.

In the same scenario I can also imagine that Adam and Eve stole some fruits from their neighbors. Then the Arbitrator asks Adam why he stole the fruits, Adam blamed his wife, Eve, for the crime, and he said something like this: "it was Eve’s fault, because she suggested stealing the fruits." But Eve had no defense, then she blamed it on the devil. Man had built a fear of snake; since snake would harm them so severely and so unexpectedly. Snake was a symbol of the devil. So, Eve blamed her crime on the devil. Then, according to the community rule for stealing, the Arbitrator kicked them out of the Paradise too.

Even today we see the arbitrator is the wisest elder man in a tribe. Actually in all villages in Iran an arbitrator is selected by the villagers or he gets appointed by the government. The title of the arbitrator is "Kad Khoda". In Farsi language in some words the letter "t" are interchangeable with letter "d". So I think the original title of the Arbitrator was "Kat Khoda". "Kat" is a Turkish word means "Village" and "Khoda" is a Persian word means "God". So "Kat Khoda" literally means "God of the Village". In this region the Turkish words are used for many naming, actually river Uizhun which David Rohl identified as the equivalent of the Bible's Pishon is a Turkish word means "Long". So I think in the Paradise community the title of the arbitrator was "Khoda" (God) who was an Old Wise Man. And that Old Wise Man (God) passed those Judgments against Cain for killing Abel and Against Adam and Eve for stealing fruits.

Adam and Eve settled in the Eastern side of the Paradise. And their family grew in numbers. Their descendants were remembering them as the founders of their tribe. Cain settled outside of the Paradise in land of Nod and Married to a woman from another tribe and had a son named Enoch. Adam and Eve told these true historic events to their descendants. Through many generations those stories were evolved and some smart story tellers used their imaginations and added and changed the story line which made them mystical, and gradually those historic events were evolved to become the Genesis Story of Creation.

I do acknowledge that there is no evidence to support this plausible conclusion. The only thing which is really in favor of this rationality is that this conclusion fits perfectly with all aspects of the story line. Also this rational is inline with our knowledge of the history of the human agricultural settlements. Besides, there are many serious problems with the existing Genesis story of Creation which is in contradiction with all of our scientific discoveries about the origins of Man and our civilizations. So under this situation the new explanation even though it might be interpreted as purely speculative and full of conjectures, but it does offer a plausible argument which puts the account of Adam and Eve story in a proper historic events.

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