The “garden in Eden” was clearly not made for man, but for God, the Elohim. In that long ago day, in chapter 2 of the beautiful Biblical Book of Genesis, God was clearly not alone. He and his emissaries had its exclusive use for themselves, but like all gardens, it needed tending. So up came the idea, that He would “engineer” a being in His image and likeness to do that tending, which originally wasn’t much (as long as the rules were followed!). God would willingly share ‘his garden’ with his son, his good steward, but only under strict conditions. Looks like those conditions were about violated on Day One, shortly thereafter and just about ever since! It seems a little problem came up…there was a snake in the grass of consciousness that crept up that “Tree of Knowing”…
Children of ADAM
[Part, the first]
In the Lord God’s Garden, He made a man to tend it;
Thy name shall be adama, (ancient Sumerian for “of the earth”)
for from the earth thou art made.
The Elohim were pleased for He made man in their image, “breathed life into his nostrils, and man became a living being.”
In the ‘image of the gods’ made He us, male and female made He us.
[“Let us make mankind in our image and likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”]
And of all the herbage made for food, he placed two special trees,
In the center of the garden, placed He two trees:
The ‘Tree of Life’ and the ‘Tree of Knowing’
[“The LORD God made to grow out of the ground all kinds of trees pleasant
To sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden,
And the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” –Genesis Ch2, vs8-9]
“And a river rose ‘out of Eden’ watering the garden, and from there it separated into four branches. The first is Phison, which circles Havilah where there is gold. And the second river is Gihon, which encircles the land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria; the fourth is the river Euphrates.”
And so the Lord God put the adama in the garden to tend and cultivate it.
“From every tree of the garden you may eat, but from the ‘Tree of Knowing’ you
Shall not eat, for the day you do so, you shall surely die.” And by the eastern gate of the garden, God put his Cherubim. The Cherubim placed his flaming sword before its Gate that none who pass shall return by the same gate. The “flaming sword” shall block thy way if thou should attempt to return…
And Adam, the man, ate freely of the garden’s fruit including the Tree of Life and lived well. And God brought forth all his creatures that were Good, just to see what the man would call them. And that by which the adama called them, by that name they were called. But for Adam, the only adama in this garden, there was no helper suitable for him to help tend the garden; the Lord thought it not good that the man he made tend His garden all alone; He willed to make him a helper like himself…
“The Lord God cast the man into a deep sleep; while he slept, He took one of his ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. From the rib, the Lord made a ‘woman’ which means ‘bone of they bone, flesh of they flesh’ (so the Lord God said)
For this reason, a man leaves his father and mother, and clings to his wife, so that the two are as one flesh.” So the two Garden tenders became man and wife, they saw they were naked but felt no shame…
Now, wound around that Tree of Knowledge (of Knowing) was a cunning little critter that inhabits gardens, a serpent. In the garden that man and now woman tended, he (the serpent) too tended but not of work, but of knowing. He tended to know everything in fact. In fact, even more than the “maker of the garden” did he claim to know. Or so he claimed…
For the sake of brevity, let us say the blame game came down in this order: “the cunning little critter, the snake” got most of it and the Lord forced him down out of the tree and “on his belly did he crawl… all the days of his life.” For he lied to the woman (Eve) and said that should she eat of the “Tree of Knowing” she would not die. Well as the Good Book says, you can’t get knowing all by yourself. In those days when somebody begat somebody else they were said to “to have known each other.” This narrator (who is not the Lord) takes that to mean that at the snake of sensations urging, the woman involved Adam, the man, in a little game of knowing or else they just both “ate of the fruit” but there’s no mention of any apples involved. Still, the price to pay for both the man and the woman was about the same. And, as for the rest of it, the man would do most of the answering for the act to the Lord God. It went about like this:
“When they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool part of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord among the trees of the garden” (and that’s not easy to do!)
But the Lord found them out; he called out to Adam, “Where art thou?”
Adam said as much, “I heard you coming; I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
The Lord said, “Who told you that you were naked? I see you’ve eaten of the tree I commanded you not to eat.”
Well, Adam pretty much blamed the woman, though it doesn’t look like he knew why. “..She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”
The Lord queried the woman, “Why did you do this?”
The woman: “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”
So we’re right back where we were and so on. The snake got his punishment and as for the first man and woman we know how that goes, besides assuring the snake that nobody would ever get along again: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.”
And obviously, since the woman had never had sex before, nor given birth to child, she’d be in for a painful surprise on child bearing… it wasn’t going to be easy living anymore. “Greatly shall your sorrow multiply on conception, in pain shall you bear children. And your desire shall be to do the will of your husband (and in great unreasonableness) shall he rule over you…”
But the most telling and vindictive poetry He reserved for Adam, who by the way we forgot to mention back in paragraph four named himself (and God accepted it!) Homo sapiens (which means “wise man”)… So whatever little garden tending Adam had been doing, it wasn’t work yet. Work was yet to come!
“Cursed be the ground because of you; in toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life; only thorns and thistles shall it sprout for you; you will eat the herbs of the field; by the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread, until thou return unto the soil; for out of it were you taken; dust thou art and unto dust shall you return.”
(!) [Pretty accurate as far as our science today is concerned, but what a revelation for the “wise guy”!]
But the account is clear, and the written record is not over! In all the translations it goes something like this (edited for brevity only!)
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” [Gen. ch3, vs. 21] (There’ll need it! It was the end of the Ice Age at least!)
“And he said (to somebody present not mentioned!)
“The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. And now perhaps he will put forth his hand and take also from the ‘Tree of Life’ and eat, and live forever!” [Gen. Ch3, vs. 22] (Exactly as from the ‘American Standard’ version, in King James there’s just a “lest he put forth” in there)…
Ummm, pretty serious…
So the Lord God (El-lo-him in Hebrew) put him out of the “Garden in Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”
It does seem he had to drive the man and the woman westward; “for at the east of the garden in Eden he placed the Cherubim, the “flaming sword” which turned every which way, to guard the way back to the ‘Tree of Life’.
And in the next chapter, we know they still had access to the ‘tree of knowing.’
For “the man new Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have given birth to a man-child with the help of the Lord.”
It was good to know that they didn’t get too far westward, and that they had the Lord God’s help on that first conception, for I have no doubt it was a tough one, because west of Eden where the “four rivers cross” at the head of today’s Persian Gulf (and of course two of those rivers are today dried river beds underground), west of there is pretty much the ancient land of Elam and its desert! So perhaps they were just outside the Gate of that original pristine Oasis. At least the Lord performed technical and midwife functions, as I can’t imagine she could of bore that boy by herself with only the help of an inept ex-garden tender named after the soil!
But the rest of that is another story, which I wouldn’t mind editing for brevity in a part two, as it is full of drama. In fact, except for Exodus and Kings, there just about more sex and drama in Genesis than you could ever get unless you go back to its original source documents in the Mesopotamian scriptures (commonly called “myths”) So go figure!
Your interpetation of Genesis is interesting. It kept me moving from one paragraph to the next, always a sign of good writing. There were two important trees.
1- The tree of knowledge of good and evil.
2- The tree of life.
The devil, or the serpent had a plan. There was a method to his madness. After inducing Adam and Eve to eat the fruit. He planned on taking them to the tree of life. After eating its fruit, they would indeed live forever, making God a liar. Genesis 3:22. This is why God posted the Cheurbs and the turning sword to the east of the garden to bar the couple's path to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24. Hope this has been of help in your scriptual studies.
I love how you bring up the subject of multiple gods. I totally believe that God had helpers. It makes a lot more sense. I also appreciate the humor of Adam calling himself intelligent (I mean, after all, he had the "knowing fruit" didn't he? I'm only disappointed that you limited the word "knowing" to sex. I think it means so much more than that. For example. In the beginning as you say, Adam and Eve saw nothing wrong with being naked, and yet after having eaten from the "tree of knowing" they hid because they were naked. It makes sense then, that the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" in addition to being a metaphor for sex, could very well have been the onset of conscience, which ironically enough, only the snake himself showed any sign of before--slithery old demon, yeck! --Charlie