1 Archaeology and the Fall of Man and the Loss of Paradise Genesis 3:1-24 Compiled By Dr. Gary M. Gulan, 1996 (Rev. 05,10) Introduction: Adam and Even had enjoyed the pleasures of the Garden of Eden for a very short time. Due to temptation from Satan, Eve disobeyed God and sinned. Then Adam willingly disobeyed and sinned. One of the results of their sin was expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Nothing in history has affected man in such a devastating way as the fall. The earth was cursed and all of mankind experienced the effects of sin. The original story of the Garden of Eden was, no doubt, told by Adam to Methuselah, and by Methuselah to Noah, and by Noah to his sons, and in the national cultures that followed it became variously and grossly modified Many Traditions From Around the World on the Fall of Man and Paradise Lost In the Persian Traditions: many documents were found stating that the first parents were innocent, virtuous, and happy, lived in a Garden, where there was a Tree of Immortality, until an evil spirit in the form of a serpent appeared. There were similar documents in Hindu Traditions, Greek Traditions, Chinese Traditions, Mongolian Traditions, and Tibetan Traditions A Biblical Theology of the Fall of Man and Loss of Paradise As we look at Genesis 3:1-24 we need to be reminded of a biblical theology of the fall of man and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1) (1.) There was a serpent (Heb. nahash ) which is the most common word for snake. 3 This Snake had access to the Garden of Eden. It is difficult to know if the snake was a special one-of-a-kind beast, or a snake that through the curse was changed forever from the way it was created. We are not sure either if the snake was indwelt by Satan, or the term is one of Satan s personages. (2.) The snake was cunning (Heb. arum ) meaning subtil or crafty. More than any other animal on earth. In Genesis 2:25, it states that Adam and Eve were naked (Heb. arummim )(Genesis 3:7). Their nakedness represented the fact that they were oblivious to evil, not knowing where the traps lay, whereas Satan did and would take advantage of their integrity. 4 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:15-17 (3.) The snake lied about the trees. God said only one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was not to be eaten of. Man was to eat from all other trees. Man was a fruit-a-tarian not a vegetarian. After the fall, man became a vegetarian as part of the curse. The Genesis Three man has the curse of being a vegetarian and vegetarianism celebrates man s fall and disobedience of God. And the LORD God said to the woman, What is this you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Genesis 3:13) (4.) The snake could talk, discuss things, and use words to deceive.
2 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5) (5.) The snake questioned what God said and lied about what would happen to Adam and Eve if they disobeyed God. This reveals Satan s involvement with the snake. The snake stated a four-fold line of deception by saying: they would not die, their eyes would be opened, they would be like God, and they would know good and evil. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3:6-7) Then the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. And the LORD God said to the woman, What is this you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Genesis 3:12-13) (6.) God gave the man one command that he was not to disobey. The woman was deceived into eating, but the man freely took and ate. (7.) The woman s steps toward disobeying God is a three-fold process which parallels 1 John 2:16-17, For all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. The thought of good for food parallels lust of flesh; pleasant to the eyes parallels the lust of the eyes; and desirable to make one wise parallels the pride of life. So the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. To the woman He said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you. Then to Adam He said, Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:14-19) (8.) All of the animal world was cursed and the snake was changed forever. (9.) The woman would die, would have multiplied sorrow in conception, pain in child birth, and she would desire her husband s position but he would rule over the woman. (10.) The man would die, the tree of life would be taken away, the ground was cursed, he would eat things of the ground the rest of his life, and he would work the rest of his life to maintain his life. Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24)
3 (11.) God drove man out of the Garden of Eden. (12.) God placed cherubim at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. (13.) God placed a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. 3. The Non-biblical Fall of Man and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden Stories of Archaeology in Mesopotamia The word Mesopotamia comes from the Greek which means, between two rivers. The garden of Eden more probably was in the area of Mesopotamia. The flood of Noah took place in 2457BC and Moses wrote about the Garden of Eden in BC, which was 1,011 years after the flood and approximately 3,267 years after the fall. 5 Many believe that neither the Tigris nor the Euphrates rivers mentioned in the Garden of Eden account could have survived the flood. However, they could have survived, but may not be exactly what they were before the flood. During the time of Eden the waters of these rivers started at the gulf and ran the other way. The Mesopotamian River Valley of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers contains sediments and deposits two miles deep showing a major change since the flood. However, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers mentioned by Moses did exist in Moses time and still exist in our time. It would stand to reason that God wanted us to know approximately where the Garden of Eden was without us necessarily finding its actual existence. - Nineveh Temptation Seal A seal was found in Nineveh depicting a man and a woman seated on either side of a fruit tree, to the left of the woman stands a serpent. 6 - Tepe Gawra Temptation Seal (dated approximately 3,000bc) Between , E. A. Speiser excavated a seal at Tepe Gawra in Mesopotamia portraying a tree in the center, a woman on the left plucking fruit, a man on the right, and a serpent standing erect behind the woman. Tepe Gawra is four miles northeast of Khorsabad and Nineveh is fourteen miles from Khorsabad. 7 - The Gilgamesh Epic Though these 12 Mesopotamian clay tablets of the Gilgamesh Epic talk of the flood, there are a few lines that talk about Gilgamesh finding the secret to eternal life from Utnapishtim. He learns that there is a plant that looks like a box-thorn, it prickles like a dogrose. If one possesses the plant, one would be as a youth again. He was able to obtain a sprig of this plant from an underwater source and heads back to his home in Uruk. On his way home, while resting, a snake comes along and seizes the plant, thus depriving him of the tree of life. He weeps at the loss of eternal life and the prospect of death. 8 - The Story of Adapa The story is found on four fragments, three from the famous library of Nineveh and the fourth from the Amerna Tablets of Egypt. Adapa is the Babylonian Adam who was living in an Edenic state. The story mentions the food of life and the temptation. However, Adapa angers the gods for a crime he committed through the deception of a serpent and lost eternal life and access to Eden. 9 - The Story of Lilith In the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet XII, 4,000BC) the story of Lilith, and the serpent was found. Several Assyrian, Sumerian, and Babylonian legends (3,000bc-2,000bc) were found describing Lilith. There have been several Babylonian terra-cotta reliefs found (2000bc) which archaeologists believe represent Lilith. Lilith has many legends attached to her, but most of them describe Lilith as Adam s first wife, who became evil because she would not submit to her husband. She did not want to
4 be on the bottom during sexual relations. Through her insubordination became the serpent in the Garden of Eden who begiled Eve who was Adam s second created wife. This caused Adam to sin which resulted in Adam and Eve s expulsion from the garden. 10 The term lullabye may have come from the Jewish tradition of Lilith found written in children s historical nursery rhymes where the word Lilith-Abi is found and means Lilith-bye or Lilith begone. In Jewish tradition Lilith was a personage thought to steal children in the night. To guard against Lilith Jewish mothers would hang four amulets on nursery walls with the inscription Lilith- Abi ( Lilith begone ) and sing songs titled Lilith-Abi. Thus it could be possible from this Jewish tradition that the English origin of the lullaby originated. 11 Just as the concept of lullabies can be found in every human culture and have very ancient origins, so it is with the personage of Lilith. She has been associated with fairies, seductresses, sorcerers, night creatures, sexual vampires, dominatrixs, witches, and others. Lilith represents or symbolizes the dark side of life and thus to think of Lilith the spirit of fear is created. 12 In Hebrew legend (some believe about 700bc), Lilith was Adam s first wife. She refused to have sex with him because she did not want to be beneath him. She left him and was cursed to give birth to one hundred demon children a day who were then killed. She was said to take her revenge for this curse by stealing or killing human children. The legend says she was a screech owl or night creature. An alternative Hebrew legend in the tradition of Jewish mysticism ( ad) and Kabbalah tradition ( ad) also states, Lilith was Adam s first wife who was created at the same time as Adam. She left Adam after she refused to become subservient to Adam and would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with archangel Samael. Other Jewish folklores see Lilith as a sexual vampire or demon who came to men at night and caused wet dreams. 13 Conclusion: 1. These legends and oral traditions are interesting to me because they occurred before God revealed His truth to Moses who in turn wrote down the historical details he received from God. 2. Though these legends and oral traditions were embellished and perverted over time, they show man s interest in the history that took place. 3. God revealed His truth to Moses and Moses recorded it in order to correct both legends and oral traditions and to instruct man in what actually happened in history. References: 1 Halley s Bible Handbook, Henry Halley, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965, p Halley s Bible Handbook, Henry Halley, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965, p Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Harris, Archer, Waltke, Chicago: Moody, 1980, Vol. II, p The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, Wheaton: Victor, 1985, p The author of this article has developed a chart of Bible dates and a Chronology of the Bible. 6 Genesis and Archaeology, Howard Vos, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 23; The Monuments and the Old Testament, L. M. Price, O. R. Sellers, and E. Leslie Carlson, Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1958, p. 116; Halley s Bible Handbook, Henry Halley, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965, p Genesis and Archaeology, Howard Vos, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 24; Archaeology in Bible Lands, Howard Vos, Chicago: Moody, 1977, p. 109; Archaeology and Bible History, Joseph Free, Wheaton: Scripture Press, 1976, p. 34
5 8 The Archaeology of the Bible, James Hoffmeier, Oxford: Wilkinson House, 2008, p. 35; The Stones Cry Out, Randall Price, Eugene: Harvest House, 1997, p Archaeology and the Old Testament, Merrill Unger, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, pp ; The Archaeology of the Bible, James Hoffmeier, Oxford: Wilkinson House, 2008, p. 35; Genesis and Archaeology, Howard Vos, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, pp ; Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, James Pritchard, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955, p. 102; Halley s Bible Handbook, Henry Halley, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965, pp This author also compiled a report on the story of Lilith which is on his web site