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View Poll Results: Were Adam & Eve created (before the fall) as physically mortal or immortal beings?
Mortal 15 75.00%
Immortal 5 25.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-15-2012, 11:09 PM
 
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There are 2 Creative Accounts in the beginning of Genesis. A look at the first account, which comprises 1:1-2:4a, has no mention of a tree of life, or a tree of good and evil - so at least to the writer of the 1st Creative Account, they were mortal through and through. Most scholars attribute this first Account to the Priestly Writer.
God said:
Let us make humankind, in our image, according to your likeness!
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the heavens, animals, all the earth, and all crawling things that crawl about upon the earth!

So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God did he create it,
male and female he created them.
God blessed them,

God said to them:
Bear fruit and be many and fill the earth and subdue it!
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the heavens, and all living things that crawl about upon the earth!

God said:
Here, I give you
all plants that bear seeds that are upon the face of all the earth,
and all trees in which there is tree fruit that bears seeds,
for you shall they be, for eating;
and also for all the living things of the earth, for all the fowl of the heavens, for all that crawls about upon the earth in which there is living being -
all green plants for eating.
It was so.
(Genesis 1:26-30, SB)
As others have pointed out, they were commanded to go forth and be fruitful - hardly an act of immortals. They are also commanded to have dominion over various things, and to be vegetarians - an interesting detail overlooked by many.

This is the 1st Creative Story. The chapter division in the traditional Bible (a chapter division that does not exist in the original Hebrew) is deceptive and gives the wrong impression. According to the Documentary Hypothesis, the Priestly Writer's Account ends at 2:4a, and then the Yahwist's Account begins at 2:4b and goes on through the end of chapter 3.

I guess it depends on which Creative Account one favors as being preeminent to interpretation, unless one embarks on the ill-advised task of mixing the two Accounts into one big contradictory mishmash story.

Now, when one examines the 2nd Creative Account, there is an entirely different picture of humanity's beginning and purpose - (when the man is created alone, Yahweh could hardly have had in mind a command to "be fruitful and multiply" yet). It is this Account (containing the Garden, the trees, the serpent) that most people appeal to when discussing Creation.
I have, at least, offered the view of the 1st Creative Account.
Which would be "NO".
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank4YAHWEH View Post
Following is a great well thought out study explaining in depth Scripturally that Adam and Eve were created mortal beings and not as immortal beings:

Were Adam and Eve Immortal?
It's too bad that the "great well thought out" study in the link relies so heavily on material not found in the Genesis account, and even references later non-Jewish material (the New Testament). That is only a "well thought out" study in view of a Christian's later understanding and interpretation of the story - NOT of what Genesis actually says.

A true "well thought out" study can be found in Claus Westermann's commentary on Genesis, for one example. As a well-known and well-respected biblical scholar (as opposed to a weblink written by someone named Ben Browder who, despite being a man himself, condems his own words when he says we should rely on what the Bible says, rather than on what men say; one can only assume that by "men" he means "men other than himself"), he offers what has become one of the finest commentaries on Genesis of the past century, according to most familiar with the subject.
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:02 AM
 
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God had promised them if they don't come near that forbidden tree[ the symbol of sins (eat from it )] they will remain mortal
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:18 AM
 
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Adam and Eve are the symbolical beginning of the Jewish people...the blood line of jewish kings...Joseph Jesus father was the last...Jesus was actually since he was Josephs blood son...We all come from a common primate ancestor...Humans, Chimpanzees,Gorillas, Orantangs....Lucy is our real adam and eve..........
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:11 AM
 
Location: Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalAngel2009 View Post
The reason Adam and Eve fell was the fact that they refused the gift of God's Divine Love... which would have made them immortal. But, alas, all is not lost... because they did learn about it and they received it and are Celestial Angels.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nezlie View Post
Before the serpent gave them knowledge, they did not even realize that they were naked. They were in the garden moving around just like all the other creatures in their nakedness, but completely unaware of their sexuality. Asexual means non-sexual. That means they were not "getting it on." It was not until they ate from the fruit that they realized they were naked and then sewed fig leaves and aprons to cover themselves. At that point, they became sexual beings... through their awareness. That is the allegory.
This is all totally silly and pointless.

Why don't you read the original story of the Fall of Man?

Part of the reason none of you can make any sense of Adam & Eve is because you either failed or refused to read the very first story of the Fall of Man ever written.

In that story, which the Hebrews obtained from the Sumerians via other groups, Enlil did not want Humans to have any knowledge or to be trained in any arts or disciplines. Enki the serpent god who created Humans loved his creations and wanted to teach them.

Even though Enlil forbade his half-brother Enki the serpent god whose emblem and symbol was the caduceus (the medical symbol -- two snakes entwined around the Tree of Life) to teach Humans, but Enki the serpent god ignored his half-brother and gave humans knowledge and taught them arts anyway.

Enlil then became angry at what Enki the serpent god had done, and expelled Humans from the E.din (the Garden of Eden).

And Humans were mortal, although they did have long life spans.

According to the Sumerians the first Human lived 55,800 years (Base 10), or 930 years (Base 60) or 1110100010 years (Base 2 -- Binary). The Sumerians attribute the long life span of humans to the fact that humans were half whatever was roaming the Earth and half of whatever the Annunaki were.

Anyway, the first 15 Chapters of Genesis can best be understood by reading the original versions of those stories written 1,000s of years earlier, instead of the adulterated abbreviated redacted revisions copied by the Hebrews. That's also true for the Book of Job which was written by the Sumerians 3,000 years before Abrahm was ever born.

Basically what you all are doing is reading the Cliff's Notes to Richard III, but you don't understand the story because you either haven't read or refuse to read the original history of Richard III.

Immortally...

Mircea
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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Mircea brings up a good point - the mythological and etiological aspects of the 2nd Creative Account. The Ancient Near East had various myths and tales concerning basic aspects of human existence (it's mortality, it's need to work, it's painful childbirthing) and animal existence (it's "leg"less state, it's animosity towards humans) - and these are adapted in the Genesis account. These shared tales were passed from person to person, family to family, people to people, land to land - and they evolved in the telling.
The 1st Creative Account probably contains the most mythological references (and an active demythologization of various elements), but the 2nd Account contains some as well.

In addition to the account Mircea lists, consider the Epic of Gilgamesh which concerns a 2/3rd god - 1/3rd human character named Gilgamesh who, after the death of his friend Enkidu, searches for the secret of immortality. In the end, he learns that humans are mortal and there is no getting around this. On the way, he attains a plant that will restore one's youth (better than nothing, right?), but this plant is stolen by a sneaky snake, who eats it and immediately sheds his skin; it is this story that some ancients used to explain the old idea that snakes lived forever by shedding their skins. It has obvious parallels to the Genesis account in which a serpent "tricks" or "steals" immortality from mankind.
As a side-note: I would not be so quick to dismiss some of the poster's comments concerning the tree and sexuality - here, again, one finds parallels to the Gilgamesh story and Enkidu's "awakening" to human consciousness through the avenue of sexuality. The J writer was surely aware of all of these concepts when penning his tale.

The above parallels concerning the Tree of Life are interesting, but this assumes that the Tree of Life was an original component of the Genesis Account. This is not entirely agreed upon - for various reasons. The reference to the Tree of Life first occurs in 2:9, and Ephraim Speiser, in the Anchor Bible, sums up scholarly thoughts concerning it's secondary nature:
It need only be remarked in passing that the Hebrew for "the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and bad" is extremely awkward syntactically, especially in a writer who is otherwise a matchless stylist [the Yahwist, or J Source]. Moreover, vs. 17 has nothing to say about the tree of life, and speaks only of the tree of knowledge. There is much in favor of the critical conjecture that the original text had only "and in the midst of the garden the tree of knowledge".
(Genesis: A New Translation With Introduction and Commentary , p. 20, New York: Doubleday, 1962)
Claus Westermann, in his "mini" commentary (as opposed to his immense commentary), hints that the entire final section is secondary.
The final section, verses 21-24, is not a unity: the explusion from the garden, for example, is narrated twice, in verses 23 and 24. Often in ancient narratives many threads come together in the final section, because the oral antecedents of a narrative had many variants. Several of the variants would be assimilated into the written form, and frequently the loose ends would be tied up at the conclusion. So it is here. Verses 22 and 24 belong to an independent motif, that of the tree of life, which is already introduced into the narrative at the beginning (Gen. 2:9). It is an entirely different story, which is appended here to chapter 3. It tells of a traveler who goes on a journey in search of the fruit of the tree of life. A variant is found in the Gilgamesh epic, where Gilgamesh, stricken by his friends' death with a horror of death, set off in search of "the plant of life" that will protect him from death. This motif is clearly recognizable in God's reflection in verse 22, which the narrator uses to link the two narratives (v. 22a and 22b): "lest he take from the tree of life, eat and live forever!" To prevent this (v. 24 follows v. 22), God has the tree of life guarded by cherubim, mythical guardian figures, probably conceived as hybrid creatures (human and animal), and by a flickering flaming sword, a weapon conceived as an independent being, also a mythical image. The narrative of the tree of life includes clearly mythical touches, which, however, are totally lacking in the narrative of the man's disobedience and expulsion from God's garden.
(Genesis, pp. 27-28, Trans. David E. Green, from the Dutch Genesis: Een Praktische bijhelverklaring, New York, London: T&T Clark International, 1987)
[See further down in the post for a translation of the verses in question.]
So it might appear that the entire tree of life motif is secondary to the 2nd Creative Account. So what does this mean for our current reading of the Genesis story (that mankind sins, is kicked out of the garden AND forbidden from accessing the Tree of Life - and thus are mortal)? It helps remove that aspect from the story, and paints a picture that is more coherent. The Tree of Life introduces an aspect of confusion into the story, which is why this thread exists heh heh! It opens up the possibility of several questions:
1 - Was the Tree of Life a tree which gave eternal life to humans?
2- Did the humans have to partake of the fruit of the Tree from time to time, and thus keep living by doing so?
3- Did the humans just have to eat from the Tree once to gain immortality?

Each question has then resulted in subquestions and interpretations:
1- Was the Tree of Life a tree which gave eternal life to humans?
a- Was God's original purpose for mankind to live forever in the Garden, innocent of knowledge?
b- Does the Christian doctrine of Original Sin gain any credence from this? Did mankind descend into a lower state, once they had transgressed God's command?
c- Does a furture restoration of God's original purpose for mankind include immortality? Access to the Tree of Life again? Will such a tree by physical again? Where will it reside?
2- Did the humans have to partake of the fruit of the Tree from time to time, and thus keep living by doing so?
a- Is this how their explusion from the Garden had force? By denying them further access to the Tree?
b- Had they eaten from the Tree prior to the "transgression"?
c- How long had they existed in the Garden, if immortality is granted to them prior to their transgression?
3- Did the humans just have to eat from the Tree once to gain immortality?
a- If so, why didn't they do so? Did they not know the value of it (until they had eaten from that other tree of knowledge)?
b- Did God prevent them from eating from the tree prior to the trangression - if so, when would they have been allowed to eat? On the point of death? On the point of successfully proving to God that they were worthy, in some manner?
Many questions ensue, depending on how one interprets the Tree of Life. An additional factor is added when the supremacy or omnipotence of God appears to be threatened once the humans have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge. Westermann pointed out the seemingly secondary nature of this portion of the text. One thing to note - the famous plural "us" presents monotheists with a crux (perhaps another indication that the small section is secondary to the J Source?)
(21) Now YHWH, God, made Adam and his wife coats of skins and clothed them.

(22) YHWH, God, said:
Here, the human has become like one of us, in knowing good and evil.
So-now, lest he send forth his hand
and take also from the Tree of Life
and eat
and live throughout the ages...!

(23) So YHWH, God, sent him away from the garden of Eden, to work the soil from which he had been taken.

(24) He drove the human out
and cause to dwell, eastward of the garden of Eden,
the winged-sphinxes and the flashing, ever-turning sword to watch over the way to the Tree of Life.

(Genesis 3:22-24, SB)
It appears that the Tree of Life only becomes an issue once the humans have transgressed, and it can be noticed that the expulsion is, indeed, narrated twice - adding to the secondary nature of the Tree. The strange construction of "LORD God" (originally "Yahweh 'Elohim" or "Yahweh God") appears to be the editor's manner of linking the 1st Creative Account (which uses 'Elohim exclusively) with the Yahwist's 2nd Creative Account (who elsewhere is fond of using Yahweh): thus the strange "Yahweh 'Elohim". He exhibits a strange kind of weakness in the face of the knowledge gained by humans - for it appears that the only thing separating them from Him is now immortality. He has unwittingly created rivals to himself, and must now take care of the problem.

In the end, the entire issue is a cloudy one - and the Tree of Life truly appears to be secondary to the main account in Genesis 2-3: the story is fine without it, I think. Only later exegetes would place additional emphasis on the Tree mankind's "Fall" and include it in their visions of the future "Paradise" for the believers of God. They saw, in the story, an original state that included immortality, and the rest of human history is an attempt to "get back" to this state. The "Fall" has forever informed religious ideas of how humanity relates to God. In his "mini-commentary" on Genesis, Westermann sums up why this view of the story is damaging to the actual story, and I agree with him whole-heartedly:
The narrative of "Paradise and Fall" continues to have significance for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam even today; it is also familiar almost throughout the world: everyone knows Adam and Eve. Is is based on traditions about the creation of the human race common to all of humanity.

In contrast to this universal significance stands a limited, dogmatic interpretation, which finds here the basis for the doctrine of "original sin", caused by the "Fall".....[this interpretation] is not an exposition of Genesis 2-3. The Primal History [Genesis 1-11] portrays human existence as created existence in a sequential narrative that attempts to explain the juxtaposition of positive and negative in humanity, the potential and limitations of creatureliness. It does not speak of a "Fall". Neither, in the Bible, is sin something that can be inherited.
The real tragedy in associating Genesis 2-3 with a doctrine of fall or original sin is that once we grasp this doctrine, we think we grasp the narrative, or what it intends to convey; we no longer need to hear it. The interpretation given here seeks to make just one things clear: we must listen to this narrative if we are to understand it.

The real question informing the narrative is: Why are those created by God limited by death, pain, toil, and sin? We ask this question because we are affected by the contrast. The narrative does not provide a precise or objective answer.

(ibid, p. 28)
Anyways, I hope that help informs opinions concerning whether humanity was created immortal or not. I say this in the context of the narrative, and not in the context of whether I think the account is true or not. The Primal (or Primeval) History is one of the most fascinating parts of the Bible, and it contains some of the most famous stories (Creation, the Garden of Eden, the Serpent and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, the Sons of God coming into the Sons of Man, Noah's Flood), and most of these stories have, in one way or another, precedents in other culture's tales. Perhaps the existence of these stories throughout various cultures shows how important the questions are that are being asked. It appears to be a common human interest to question why things are the way they are.

From the Taanach Stand - Tier 2 (a cult stand from Taanach in Northern Ancient Israel), two ibexes eating from the Tree of Life - a possible Asherah motif (compare the "wooden" Asherah items forbidden in the Bible):
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:38 PM
 
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Neither, for they are fictional.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:50 AM
 
Location: TN
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I believe that God created Adam and Eve just like us, with the same mortal bodies, but it is God’s power that could sustain them indefinitely. After the fall, God removed his sustaining power from them and the earth and that is what allows us to die. How else can we explain people with new immortal bodies living on the new earth forever or people with new bodies burning in hell forever and not burning up? God will sustain them eternally in the after life, just like he could and would have in this life.

Hebrews 1:3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Let's try to stay on topic. I notice your post had absolutely nothing at all to say concerning whether the first humans were mortal or immortal.
Has anybody in this thread asked what the source material (The Torah) has to say on the matter of Adom and Chava (Adam and Eve)? Not translations of translations, but the original in the original language? Sorry if I sound like a jerk, but in the scientific world, I would think a scientist wouldn't get so many pages into a thread and still only discuss the later discussions but ignore the original source. Especially when you have people at this site who still have full access to the original document in its original tongue.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Victoria, BC.
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Can't vote on this, as I believe Adam and Eve were fictional characters.
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