In investigating biblical history and our place in it, how far back can we go? We had already glimpsed at the family of Noah and the tent of Shem, but that still does not bring us to the ‘end’ of the backward track, that is to the beginning which in a manner of speaking is also the end (Revelation 22:13). The idea of looking at the past in order to go forward is very intriguing. Since we have been tracing the human race and the Word of YHVH back to Noah, let’s also take a closer look at Adam and Eve, keeping in mind that this journey is founded on the scriptural basis that, “the Kingdom of Elohim has been in every generation” (ref. Psalm 145:13), albeit in seed form (according to Yeshua’s parables of the Kingdom. See Mark 4:31). Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden also reminds us what we have lost and what is being redeemed. If Tish’a Be’av is a time of mourning the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem, should we not also mourn the loss of Eden? But if the answer is “no”, than we should ask ourselves why is it that we do not mourn the loss of Eden? Is it because it is being restored to us in some way? Eden and YHVH’s Kingdom are undoubtedly connected, with the difference being that Eden is the garden where the ‘trees of righteousness’ are growing, while the government/Kingdom is the expression of the fruit of those trees (see Romans 14: 17; Galatians 5: 22).
Obviously Elohim is sovereign over all His works, and even though His Kingdom is a spiritual one, He desires it to be made manifest “on earth as it is in heaven” (see Matthew 6:10) - through His created Man (male/female). Elohim assigned or delegated to Man to have dominion and rule over all living things (see Genesis 1:26, 28).
In Genesis 1:27 we read: “And Elohim created man in His own image, in the image of Elohim He created him; male and female He created them.” Created - bara - is used three times in this verse. In Hebrew “boreh” (creates) is used exclusively for Elohim. Boreh cannot be applied to man. Man can only discover and form things, or re-arrange them. In order to understand what is meant by man being created “in Elohim’s image and likeness”, we have to ask: What is Elohim’s image and likeness? Moses reminded Israel that when they were at Mount Horev: "YHVH spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form-- only a voice” (Deuteronomy 4:12 emphasis added). Yeshua further elaborates: "Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). According to Psalms 36:9 Elohim is Light and Life. Thus, if Man was created in the image and likeness of his Creator, we would have to conclude that he was created a spiritual entity, with the potential to develop into a full expression of a son of Elohim. He would also have had all the qualities and attributes of his Heavenly Creator/Father.
Scripture likens Adam to a natural seed (see 1 Corinthians 15: 38; 43) with a spiritual DNA, if you will, but first, as with all seeds, it has to have an outer shell to protect it until it is time for it to be sown, falling to the ground, and begin its growth process.
Elohim had already prepared the place (the earth) into which this special seed would be ‘sown’. As mentioned, this spiritual Man needed an outer casing for his protection. Additionally, this tangible external form was needed so that he would be able to relate to the physical world and all the other living entities that he was to name and have dominion over. YHVH Elohim, therefore, formed (yatzar) from the soil (aphar) of the earth an animal-like body into which He “blew,” or planted, man’s spiritual life (the ‘seed’s embryo’). Thus, the physical body became the outer shell in which this precious spiritual being was encased, destined to multiply until it would fill up the whole earth. To reiterate, the breath of life that was breathed into the formed body was this spiritual entity - Adam himself - entering the earthly substance and becoming a living being (nephesh chaya). Man (male and female) was/were now able to express in the created (tangible) world his/their spiritual essence through this body, as long as they walked in obedience to YHVH.
Along with the spirit that now entered a flesh body was also Elohim’s determining anointed word to humanity’s progenitors to “have dominion and rule over all living things”. In other words, they were to establish Elohim’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, bringing life and light to their domain as they were walking with Elohim, their Creator. Wow, what a wonderful world to be living in! And to make it even better, Elohim placed the pair in a special location, a garden which they were to tend, but to also enjoy and partake of its delightful plants and trees. Indeed, everything was pronounced by Elohim as “very good”! Yet in the midst of the lovely garden YHVH Elohim planted a tree that was not only “good” but also “evil”, and charged the man not to eat of its fruit.
The question we might ask at this point is: What happened to make this idyll environment collapse in one moment, after ‘only’ one act of disobedience - partaking of the fruit of the banned tree? Notwithstanding, the Creator did warn Man (before the woman was taken out from his side) that, such an act of disobedience will bring about death (ref. Gen. 2:17).
And so, at some point the woman (again, who ‘came into being’ after the warning had been issued to the man), had an encounter with a serpent. That creature questioned Elohim’s words regarding what He had said about eating the fruit of the trees in the garden, and especially the one “in the midst of the garden”. He not only voided the death warning connected to the latter, but also continued to falsify Elohim’s intention regarding this tree and its fruit (ref. Gen. 3:1b, 4): “it will make you wise, intelligent and you will be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.” That is, now you will be in a position of a king and a judge having the ability to know and especially determine what is good and what is evil (in your own eyes). The tested woman looked at the forbidden fruit of that tree, and it was indeed “pleasing to the sight and good for food”. But this of course did not end there, she partook and “also gave to her husband who was with her“(v. 6 emphasis added).
After eating the fruit man and woman’s eyes were opened (to see that they were naked). But did they really gain the ability to discern good and evil? Or was it that at this point they merely became aware of the ‘concept’, and hence acquired a propensity for judging? What’s more, seeing that their relationship with the Creator was now severed, they also lost the genuine Godly wisdom without which there can be no true judgment and discernment. This act not only spelled death to their relationship with Elohim, but became a killer of relationships ever since.
YHVH who is great in mercy, loving kindness and quick to forgive, gave Adam and Eve only one chance. This act of violation and its consequences, therefore, was not about Elohim’s characteristic of long suffering (or a seeming lack thereof). There is something more to this episode than meets the eye. I believe that Paul was privy to a mystery hidden in the Gospel of the Kingdom that he taught from the Torah of Moses and the Prophets (ref. Acts 28:23). In his letter to the believers in Rome and Corinth, the Apostle makes statements that allude to a plan of YHVH that this formed, earthy man would fall to temptation and disobedience (see Corinthians 15:42-44), subjecting the entire creation to futility and decay: “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of Elohim. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of Elohim” (Romans 8:19-21 emphasis added).
(To be continued).
*This idea is well illustrated by the biblical Hebrew word that denotes east – kedem. Kedem also means past, antiquity and that which was, AND that which is ahead of us. Another similar word is “achor” or “achar”, with some of its derivatives being “acharey”, “achoranit” or “achrit”, which like “kedem” means both back or backwards but also the “future end”, such as “acharit ha’yamin” – the latter days, or days to come (e.g. Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30; Isaiah 46:10 to cite but a few). In Job 23:8 both terms are used together: "Look, I go forward (kedem) but He is not there, and backward (achor), but I cannot perceive Him.” Interestingly, the garden of Eden is also mentioned in relationship to “kedem”, as it says in Genesis 2:8 “YHVH Elohim planted a garden eastward (mi-kedem) in Eden…” and in 3:24, after expelling Adam and Eve from the garden: “He placed the cherubim at the east (mi-kedem) of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword…”. Therefore on our path backward to the future we may call out with Jeremiah “Turn us back (hashiveynu) to You, O YHVH, and we will be restored (ve’nashuva); Renew our days as of old – ke’kedem” (Lamentations 5:21). Notice that “turn” and “restored” are both rooted in “shuv” that is, making “teshuva”.