1. For what purpose the Bible was created?
2. Glorification of the man
3. Revelation of St. Seraphim Sarovsky
4. St. Iriney against Origen
5. To bring up the man - means to create him
6. Eve: the puzzling history with a rib
1. For what purpose the Bible was created?
A lots of misunderstanding at Bible interpretation are generated by aspiration to see in it the formal summary of actual data about the world, like modern encyclopaedias. Other extreme - representation the Scriptures only as collection of the works of art without any relation to an objective reality, as the fictions, which appeal not to the mind, but to imagination and feeling.
The Bible actually is neither that and nor another. It is first of all the complex summary of concrete acts of Divine pedagogics, of the educational actions really performed for concrete people and through concrete people. Everything, that the Bible speaks, has frankly "tendentious", purposive character: to appeal for something, from something to warn. “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee” (Deut. 8:5). The most amazing fact is pedagogical efficiency of the Bible during various epochs, for the different nations, for people with huge distinctions of an mental outlook and spiritual age.
Conservatives of all days tried to see in this fact the evidence of immutability of the man. But this opinion contradicts the main educational goal of the Bible; its purpose is just in forcing the person to change constantly: first, in respect of correction; secondly, in respect of perfection and thirdly, in respect of increase and a growing. Universal value of the Bible for all epochs and peoples may serve as the indirect demonstration that the God really exists. Only the Creator of the world could foresee, that images, ideas, symbols which had quite concrete and limited sense for Bible authors and their addressees, will get new, deeper and universal meaning for people of the remote epochs. But this new meaning never can be absolutely torn off from initial sense - otherwise the link of epochs and generations would be broken off, and the Scriptures interpretation would become absolutely arbitrary. The primary sense of texts serves as a seed, a grain from which the live tree of new senses grows - as well as the mankind itself grows from a corporal and spiritual seed of its ancestors.
The very first words of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth ”- sharply distinguish the Bible tradition among cosmogonic myths of an antiquity. All these myths assume world creation from bodies of gods or from initial chaos which is eternal and exists in itself. The Bible changes at once all the picture. The God is One and creates the all: both primary chaos, light and darkness, the
sky and the earth and “all its hosts”. As they would tell now: both a matter, and spirit, both space, and time. All the crowd of gods of Egyptian, Babylon or Greek pantheon receives only fluent mention as sky and earth "hosts" (Gen. 2:1). Enumeration of elements, plants, animals, heavenly bodies pursues only one goal: to reject any basis for their deification. There are only the God creations, Who Only is worth of true worship. Modern interpreters find parallels in sequence of days of creation with the theory of the evolution, which has opened more recently - whence the ancient author could know all that besides Divine revelation? As to literal understanding of world creation “in six days”, it seems too naive even for that epoch when this text had originated. Most likely the matter was about six days during which the God was opening stages of cosmogony to Moses (such interpretation was offered by John Chrisostomos): “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud” (Ex. 24:16).
2. Glorification of the man
The most essential in Bible cosmogony, after glorification of the God, is glorification of the man. There is a God and there is a man as the purpose, result and a creation top - all the rest play only auxiliary role. Therefore the main attention is paid to creation of the man. Two separate stories obviously made by different authors and at various epochs are devoted to this topic. The first story (the God is named as Elohim) has more abstract, theological character and closes six day history of world creation. The second story (in which the God is called Yahweh Elohim ) is more detailed and is supplied by plenty of concrete features, logically not always connected one another, that impels to find out its origin in the extreme antiquity. Mythological narrations of such a kind may be considered with the big degree of probability as an echo of some real events. The man, according to the second story, is created from “earth ash”. Earth, dust, ash hebr. AFAR - a synonym of all the small, humble: e.g. “to dwell in dust” (Is. 26:19). It is quite admissible under this ÀFAR and ÀFAR ADAM, to understand a live being, a work of the earth, of the nature.
The well-known anthropologist, member of the Order of Jesus Tejar de Sharden, aspiring to co-ordinate the results of science with the doctrine about Creation, wrote:
“Insignificant morphological jump and at the same time an improbable shock of spheres of a life - it is all the paradox of the man... By an individualization itself inside itself the live element which before was sprayed and divided in a vague circle of perceptions and actions, has turned for the first time to the dot centre in which all representations and experience are connecting and fastening in a united whole the realising of its organisation.
What are the consequences of similar transformation? They are immense... Ðåôëåêòèðóþùåå the being owing to the concentration on itself suddenly begins capable to develop in new sphere. Actually this occurrence of the new world. Abstraction, the logic, the considered choice and an ingenuity, the mathematics, art, calculated perception of space and duration, alarms and dreams of love... All this activity of an internal life not that other, as excitation of again formed centre, inflammable in itself...
Outwardly - almost no change in organs. But inside - great revolution: the consciousness had begun to seethe and had burst in the area of supersensual relations and representations, and in compact simplicity of its abilities it has found ability to notice itself. And all this for the first time... It is absolutely impossible to evade here a problem of uncontinuity.
... Not trying to present unimaginable, we will remember only, that occurrence of the thought represents a threshold which should be crossed by one step”.
3. Revelation of St. Seraphim Sarovsky
Saint Seraphim Sarovsky in Russia taught, that before Adam has received the Godlike soul, he was “an animal being”:
“For example, many interpret, when the Bible speaks:“ the God has breathed the spirit of life into the face of Adam who was created by Him from earth dust”- that as if it meant, that in Adam before there was no soul and no human spirit, and there was as if only a flesh one, created from the earth dust. This interpretation is wrong, for the Lord the God has created Adam from earth dust in that composition as the apostle Paul confirms: “let be overperfect your spirit , soul and flesh in the Coming of the our Lord of Jesus Christ ”. And all these three parts of our nature have been created from earth dust”. (Conversation of Seraphim with N.A.Motovilov about the goal of a Christian life).
The similar thought was stated also by St. Theophan the Hermit: “There was an animal in the likeness to man, with soul of animal. Then the God has breathed His Spirit - and an animal became a man”. Certainly, similar statements should not be understood in the sense that some part of soul has Divine, uncreated nature, that the man is a certain mixture of the divine and animal natures. Such view would deprive of any sense the idea of creation: it would mean, that the main thing in the man - is not human; thus no real relations between the God and the man created by Him could arise . Therefore teachers of Church understand “breath of life”or as Divine Force (Energy, Spirit), or as human essence which is created by this Force. However the notion about the entirely created man was hardly perceived. Especially strong resistance met idea about his origin from “earth dust”, i.e. from the material essence.
The teaching of Saint Seraphim about creation of the man so much differs
from the common church tradition, that it cannot be considered in another way, as new Divine revelation. Not by chance it was given just in those years when the works of Darwin had been published. This new doctrine is the reliable basis for the coordination of the Bible tradition with the scientific facts, but only basis which should be still comprehended and developed to complete picture.
St. Seraphim taught that else before reception of “breath of a life from the God”, “Adam not has been created as the dead, but as active animal being, like others, living on the earth, animated God creations … which have a flesh and soul and the spirit, every according its kin”. Without explaining in detail, what is “earth dust” from which all three parts of our nature are created (as well as nature of animals), Saint underlines the main thing: Adam becomes the man only through action of the Holy Spirit, when he becomes “similar to the God in all”.
To hear similar words is for us not only strange, but perhaps terrible, for from this follows, that almost anybody from us yet did not become the man perfectly. Only consolation is, if to trust to Saint Seraphim, process of creation of the man is gradual recasting of our nature under the influence of Divine energies, process which is far from finish …
4. St. Iriney against Origen
Even the holy fathers divinity was not quite consistent in this question. Already in early Church were outlined two basic tendency of the thought about the man: of St. Iriney of Lyon, on the one hand, and of Origen - on another. Iriney persistently underlined absolute value of the matter, the ontological superiority of the man in comparison with angels, gradualness of growth of the man from lower condition to higher: “Incorporeal spirits never will be spiritual people” (Against heresies 5, 8, 2); “How could you become the god if you had not still became the man. How could you be perfect if you are hardly created”(4, 39, 2). According to Origen, the soul of each man “preexist” the body; the physical world itself arises as result of moral falling of spiritual beings; the corporal shell is necessary thing only temporarily, for correction and restoration of this soul in its initial perfection. Origen ideas, though had being partially condemned by church divinity, nevertheless had continued to make on it the deep influence; in mysticism outside of church these views completely dominate, meeting no resistance.
Continuing the tradition of Iriney, St. Gregory Palama sees decisive superiority of the man before angels - in his creative ability which, in turn, is connected with possession of material body: “We only among all creatures, besides clever and logic essence, have also the sensual. Namely the sensual, connected with Logos, creates the variety of sciences and arts and comprehensions; creates ability to cultivate fields, to build houses and in
general to create something from nonexistent (though not from full nothing, because only the God can do that). And all this is given only to people. And though nothing from this, that is created by the God, does not perish and does not arise itself, however, compared one with another, through us it receives other form. And the invisible word of mind not only subordinates to itself the movement of air and becomes the sensation of hearing, but can even be written and can be seen in a body and through a body; all this the God had given only to people, for belief carrying out corporal coming and emergence of upper Logos. Nothing similar and never happens at angels”.
But never died the spiritualistic tradition of Origen, which presently has been considerably amplified. As though being ashamed of a terrestrial, "bestial" origin of the man, mystics of various religions independently from each other created a fantastic image of cosmic incorporeal Adam dwelling in heavenly paradise. "Overthrow" of the first man upon the earth and his conclusion in “a body dungeon” is considered by them as punishment: “The earth for the man - an exile place, and his true home - sidereal space” (Andrew Thomas). The demonic origin of these views is obvious; false piety cannot be reconciled with thought, that Creator, as the nurse-maid, was "bothered" with some insignificant terrestrial baby. But in Christian heart this picture causes other feelings: we know after all, that Creator was not only "bothered" with the human baby, but Himself became such a baby: and this baby was born not in interstellar spaces, but in a shed for livestock ...
5. To bring up the man - means to create him
The task which we set: to reconstruct on the basis of myth the plausible scenario of the real events which have formed this myth. It is in advance clearly, that such scenario can have several variants. We will admit, that from a lot of tribes on the earth (the aggregate number of pre-adamits in neolithic epoch was by different estimations from 1 to 4 million) the Supreme God had chosen such one in which were the least deviations from His plan of evolution: speech can go first of all about quality of genetic fund. At last, in this tribe the baby was born who, from the point of view of Creator, was biologically faultless and was completely suitable for His purposes. The tribe, as well as everyone another, already has the language, the cultural habits, the methods of bringing up: all it began to influence the child from first days of his life, was penetrating into him literally “with milk of mother”. As the Creator purposed to have recast essentially the soul of this being, to give it the new impulse, the new trend of development the baby should be isolated, withdrawn in due time from
the usual environment, before than the skills hindering these changes would not fixed in his soul.
Thus Supreme God descends on the earth to be engaged in his bringing up. (He could appear in the look of Jesus Christ in His Divine nature or in the look of Trinity, as later to Abraham). Here the precious details begin reflected in language and myth. First of all, it was necessary to prepare for baby a warm and cosy place: for this purpose the best of all was fit a covered with soft moss some deepening in a rock into which the wind and a rain did not get approaches. The stone bottom of a cave should be warm and a microclimate in the nearest vicinity - be soft at any time of year: so that the baby could "take a walk" safely outside of his cradle. It is possible, for example, in a mountain hollow in which there are warm underground springs.
The matter with a nourishment was not so difficult: as example, to bring a sheep or a goat. The animals, as is known, sometimes accept human's cubs, and the mythology of mankind is full of similar stories. When time would come for child to eat the vegetative food, the animal was required "more wise": this role was fit for a careful snake who would show the child where useful fruits grow, and would teach it to distinguish the edible from the inedible.In the East till now exists belief, that the snake will never eat unusable food. We already, of course, know, what fatal role this snake will play subsequently; we know as well that the future descendants will compose the poetic legends about these first impressions of life of their Primogenitor. For example, the warm stone on which he has grown, will be represented either the father, or mother, or the anvil on which the Heavenly Smith had shaped their ancestor. Semites of Arabia will create a legend that the splinter of this stone, main treasure of Al-Ñaab, has been given to Adam by Allah Himself, and in the heart of this stone righteous people can make out the paradise pictures.
At this time The Creator teaches Adam to speak. Most likely, He does not impose upon him some ready vocabulary, but teaches him to use the numerous sounds invented by the baby itself - for a designation of various subjects and actions. He also has led to the man the animals and birds, “to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (Gen. 2:19). With Bible picture of creation of the man has something in common the epos of Narts; only when the smith symbolising the God-Creator, has subjected to tempering of baby Sasrykva born from a stone, the child received a specific human quality - ability to speak. The further transformation of this ancient legend can be seen in strange at first sight a plot of the German and slavic fairy tales: the wolf asks the smith to forge (!) on anvil the new, not so rough voice.
Eve: the puzzling history with a rib
Growing up, Adam has of course noticed that animals keep in pairs and has felt, that he want something. He was not lonely: he lived in Eden with the Creator as with the senior Friend to Whom he was similar outwardly and gradually learned to be similar Him internally. And nevertheless someone did not suffice: “but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:20). The creator has come to the aid of The favourite friend: “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:21-23).
What may this mean? By all signs, the man has all ribs on a place; there is a version, that the theme has arisen owing to linguistic "error" typical for any mythology. Because Abraham had origin from Ur of Haldea, shumers could play their role in transfer of an ancient legend. But in Shumer tongue the word TEE meant simultaneously both "woman" and "rib": term NINTEE could be understood and as “she giving life” and as “woman from the rib”. The first value has remained in hebr. EVE (HAVVA), but the second meaning has generated a legend about creation of the woman from the rib.
How indeed could Eve emerge?
The main sense of the Bible legend: to underline, that in Eve's nature there is nothing, that would distinguish it from Adam, except distinction of sexes - the Jewish language seals this thought in parallelism of words ISH: the man, ISHAH: the woman. Now we know, that full genetic identity is possible only at the one-egg twins; but at the same time the one-egg twins - always are same-gender. Therefore, we are compelled to assume, that a certain minimum of divine intervention had taken place. At the moment of conception of Adam and Eve there was performed a purposeful mutation: the chromosome defining a gender, at one of twins has been replaced from male's on the female one.
For those who are familiar with genetics: by doubling of zygote the fatherly Y-chromosome has been replaced with a mother X-chromosome, so Eve genom had became identical to Adam genom minus the Y-chromosome. In that case it would be possible to tell, Eve "is taken" from Adam in genetic sense. Danger of degeneration because of closely akin marriages did not threaten the first generations if in a genealogical tree of our ancestors all the recessive genes remained intact. Sequence of actions in the Gen. 2:20-22 allows to assume, that Eve has been led to Adam right after he had learned to speak, i.e. in the early childhood; in particular, therefore “they were nude
and were not ashamed” (2:25). Further they grow together under supervision of the Creator; by growing up they continue to keep the children's innocence.
Before Eve has been led to Adam, she was brought up in a native tribe and could enrich the young brother-groom with a patrimonial heritage of language and cultural skills. His task was first of all to transfer Eve the spiritual fire of the human person which only Adam one of all people had received directly from the God: thus, Adam from the first steps became the participant of the Divine creation of the person.
So had fulfilled the creation of man and woman, creation of Adam and Eve.