In The Beginning, Part 5
Male And Female
Let us continue in Genesis 2, for it leaves us with questions.
You notice in the first account of the creation of mankind that God refers to His creation in a generic manner, “male and female.” The creation of male and female has the Jewish scholars believing that this generic reference is because God created the first human to be both male and female as one being. The rabbis came up with the idea that Adam was created as an androgyne (an androgynous person, both sexes in one individual) by comparing the creation of humans in Genesis 1 with the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib in Genesis 2: whereas in Genesis 1 it says they were created together, in Genesis 2 Eve is created from Adam. So to resolve this, they posited that Adam was created both male and female in one body, and that in Genesis 2 God separated Eve and Adam into two beings. This is found in Bereshit Rabbah 8:1:
Said R’ Yirmiyah ben Elazar: In the hour when the Holy One created the first human, He created him [as] an androgyne/androginos, as it is said, “male and female He created them”. Said R’ Shmuel bar Nachmani: In the hour when the Holy One created the first human, He created [for] him a double-face, and sawed him and made him backs, a back here and a back here, as it is said, “Back (achor) and before (qedem) You formed me” [Psalm 139:5].
Some of the rabbis objected to this interpretation, since in Genesis 2 God takes one of Adam’s ribs to create Eve. Those who supported the androgyne position appealed to Exodus 26:20, where the same root word translated “rib” in Genesis 2 refers to one of the sides of the tabernacle; thus, God took one of Adam’s sides, or halves, to create Eve. This conversation is repeated in Vayikrah Rabbah 14:1:
Said Rav Shmuel bar Nachman: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first man, He created him as an androgynous being. Reish Lakish [said]: When it was created, dual faces [together] were created, and it was cut, and two were made. [One] back was male, [one] back was female.
The myth of the androgyne may not be as far-fetched as it appears on the surface. An extremely rare anomaly during developmental stages in some species of animals causes them to become “bilateral gynandromorphs”: half of their body structure is male and the other half is female. These animals appear as if someone cut a male and female organism in half and sewed them seamlessly together. These gynandromorphs differ from hermaphrodites because they contain both male and female body structure combined rather than just male and female sexual organs.
Remember that man was created in God’s image, which means that God, in all of His great power and might, is also gentle, loving, and kind. He is our father and also our mother, thus encompassing the nature of both male and female.
The name used in this passage, ha-adam, is a generic term for humankind which encompasses male and female, but as one human being. It is believed that they were connected side by side or even back to back, but the female side of man was not good for him. In another stream of Jewish thought, the story goes that the woman’s name was Lilith, and she did not like her husband. In fact, she hated him and despised him. Lilith is a sort of a forerunner for darkness and evil, but God saw that this was not good. God had to replace Lilith.
So God brought the animals for Adam to name but saw that they were not a suitable helper. Genesis 2:18-20 says,
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
Genesis 2:21-24 continues,
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
The woman was called Eve, but in Hebrew she is called Chavah, which means “to breathe, to live, to give life.” God separated the male and the female into two living beings, and only at marriage the two once again become one.
In the retold story of the creation of man it tells us this: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).
The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan contains a tradition that Adam was created with dust taken from the temple mount.
And the Lord God created man in two formations; and took dust from the place of the house of the sanctuary, and from the four winds of the world, and mixed from all the waters of the world, and created him red, black, and white; and breathed into his nostrils the inspiration of life, and there was in the body of Adam the inspiration of a speaking spirit, unto the illumination of the eyes and the hearing of the ears. (Pseudo-Jonathan on Genesis 2:7)
Again we see one more name for our Creator: the Potter. The Scriptures repeatedly refer to God as the Potter and man as the clay, as we see here in Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.”
This title is seen again in Jeremiah 18:3-6:
So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand, Israel.”
Paul tells the Corinthians this in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7:
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Messiah. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
And this brings us to another thought. If Adam and Eve were the first people created, and they had two children after leaving Eden (Cain and Abel), then why was Cain afraid of people killing him? Could this answer why there are two creation accounts of man?
Genesis 4:13-16 says,
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today You are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from Your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Who were these people that Cain was afraid of, and where did they come from if there was only Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel? I believe when we look at the first account of the creation of man, we see that they were made in God’s image, which is having an eternal soul; but in the second account, God not only made them in His image, but He breathed into them the breath of life. Even Chavah’s (Eve’s) name means “to breathe.” The breath of life in Hebrew is nishmat hayyim. This is important because we know that breath is also represented by the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of life. Here are just a couple examples.
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness..”
John 20:22, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
So, could the first creation account speak of the general populace of people? As Genesis 1:28 tells us, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” Then the second retold version would be the creation of Adam and Eve, who would be the family line in which the Patriarchs and the Messiah would come.
We will continue to take a closer look into this, but first:
The Garden of Eden
Genesis 2:8-14 tells us,
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
So was the Garden of Eden in Israel, with the Tree of Life planted in Jerusalem, the center? You may say, “But the Euphrates and Tigris rivers are by Baghdad in Iraq.” We must remember that we cannot look at our modern maps and think that this is how the land was back in the beginning. We also have to take into consideration the Flood and how much the landscape changed after that, so the flow of these rivers also could have changed. But we also must think about this: just how big was the garden of Eden, if every animal and every tree and shrub that was created was there? Besides all of those that exist today, there have been so many kinds of animals, vegetation, and trees that have become extinct, even like the dinosaurs. We know that Israel once owned Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. We will take a closer look as we go on.
We now see God as a gardener, planting a garden with fruit trees by four rivers in the east, a place called Eden. In the middle of the garden were two trees, specific trees which were called out from the other trees—one was the Tree of Life, and the other the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Let’s take a closer look at these two trees. The Tree of Life was just that—it brought life.
Proverbs 3:13-18 tells us this:
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
Proverbs 3:19-24 continues,
The Lord made the earth, using His wisdom. He set the sky in place, using His understanding. With His knowledge, He made springs flow into rivers and the clouds drop rain on the earth. My child, hold on to wisdom and good sense. Don’t let them out of your sight. They will give you life and beauty like a necklace around your neck. Then you will go your way in safety, and you will not get hurt. When you lie down, you won’t be afraid; when you lie down, you will sleep in peace.
We know that wisdom can only be the Word of God/Yeshua, as John 1:14 tells us, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, as we read in Ephesians 6:17, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
So is Proverbs saying that if we find wisdom, we will find the Tree of Life? Yes! Yeshua was in the middle of the garden just like He was in the wilderness, for we saw Him in the rock that followed the Israelites and gave them water, and in the manna that they ate, as we read in 1 Corinthians 10:3-4, “They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Messiah.”
Again in John 6:31-33,
“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Yeshua then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
So how about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? If the Tree of Life was God’s wisdom that brought life, we see that the Tree of Knowledge brought death to Adam and Eve. In Romans, Paul tells us exactly that about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Romans 7:7-12)
Genesis 3:1-6 tells us,
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
The Fruit of the Garden
So we have one more question: was the fruit that Eve ate really an apple? Let’s consider this. There are 613 commandments in the Torah. It is believed that the pomegranate has exactly 613 seeds. So could the pomegranate, which is also round and red, be the fruit Eve ate, being that it represents the commandments? The pomegranate is a traditional fruit eaten at the Biblical Feast of Weeks, otherwise known as Pentecost. It is the commemoration of the giving of the Torah and the Holy Spirit. The pomegranate was on the priestly vestments, as we read in Exodus 28:31-35,
You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment, so that it may not tear. On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.
Again the connection between pomegranates and death. Also, when you eat pomegranates with your hands it leaves a red blood stain. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
Again in Jeremiah 2:22, “’Although you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your iniquity is before Me,’ declares the Lord GOD.”
1 John 1:7 tells us (according to the Amplified Version),
But if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Yeshua His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].
Maybe the apple was the fruit on the Tree of Life, because the apple is eaten at the Biblical Feasts of Trumpets to represent the sweetness of life.
One thing we do know is that they took fig leaves to cover themselves. Genesis 3:7 says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Now, maybe the fig leaves were within arm’s length, or maybe they had just eaten those figs, but we see that after mentioning the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, now we see here fig leaves. This is very significant because figs are mentioned many times in the Bible. So what does this all represent?
The Story of the Fig Tree
We see that after the reign of King Solomon the kingdom was divided into two—the northern ten tribes and the southern two tribes, as 1 Kings 12:20-24 tells us,
And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only. When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives the people of Israel. Every man return to his home, for this thing is from Me.’” So they listened to the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord.
The house of Israel was referred to as an olive tree, and the house of Judah was referred to as a fig tree. We read in Scripture that both houses transgressed God laws and both fell into pagan practices. Jeremiah 24:1-10 gives us a hidden message:
After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, and the metal workers, and had brought them to Babylon, the Lord showed me this vision: behold, two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.” Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be My people and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. But thus says the Lord: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat Zedekiah the king of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they shall be utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.”
Did you catch the message? One basket was good and the other basket was bad, or should we say, evil. The baskets represent the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
In Matthew 21:18-20 Yeshua also has an encounter with a fig tree.
In the morning, as He was returning to the city, He became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, He went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”
So what is the meaning of all of this? The fig tree represented the tribe of Judah. The tree was full of leaves—you would think that was good. It showed that the tree was alive and healthy, which the tribe of Judah was. But the tree had no fruit on it (figs), so Yeshua cursed it because no matter how healthy the tree was, it wasn’t any good without fruit. It shows the lack of spirituality of the tribe of Judah.
John 15:1-4, 6 tells us,
I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. . . . If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
Matthew 21:43-44 continues, “Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
Of course, we know that in 70 AD the curse of the fig tree quickly came, and the tree that was cursed withered very quickly, for John the Baptist said that the axe was already laid to the root: “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). Other parables regarding the fig tree are in Luke 13:6-9 and Matthew 24:32-34.
So we see that eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil had quite the impact throughout the history of mankind, but God did not leave us in such a desperate state, for He tells the serpent in Genesis 3:14-15,
Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
And as we all know, the Savior, the Messiah Yeshua, came—and how did He die? On a tree! One more point. Genesis 3:21 tells us, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” For God to make garments of skins implies that God sacrificed sheep to do that, symbolizing once again that Yeshua the Lamb of God would be sacrificed. How do we know that it was sheep? Because as we read in Revelation 13:8, the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.