THE FIRST BOOK OF
Adam and Eve
The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan.PRESENT day controversy that rages around the authenticity of the Scriptures and how human life began on this planet must pause to consider the Adam and Eve story. Where does it come from? What does it mean?
The familiar version in Genesis is not the source of this fundamental legend, it is not a spontaneous, Heaven-born account that sprang into place in the Old Testament. It is simply a version, unexcelled perhaps, but a version of a myth or belief or account handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation of mankind-through the incoherent, unrecorded ages of man it came--like an inextinguishable ray of light that ties the time when human life began, with the time when the human mind could express itself and the human hand could write.
This is the most ancient story in the world--it has survived because it embodies the basic fact of human life. A fact that has not changed one iota; amid all the superficial changes of civilization's vivid array, this fact remains: the conflict of Good and Evil; the fight between Man and the Devil; the eternal struggle of human nature against sin,
That the Adam and Eve story pervaded the thoughts of ancient writers is seen in the large number of versions that exist, or whose existence may be traced, through the writings of Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Abyssinians, Hebrews, and other ancient peoples. As a lawyer might say who examines so much apparently unrelated evidence--there must be something back of it.
The version which we give here is the work of unknown Egyptians (the lack of historical allusion makes it impossible to date the writing). Parts of this version are found in the Talmud, the Koran, and elsewhere, showing what a vital rôle it played in the original literature of human wisdom. The Egyptian author first wrote in Arabic (which may be taken as the original manuscript) and that found its way farther south and was translated into Ethiopic. For the present English translation we are indebted to Dr. S. C. Malan, Vicar of Broadwindsor, who worked from the Ethiopic edition edited by Dr. E. Trumpp, Professor at the University of Munich. Dr. Trumpp had the advantage of the Arabic original, which makes our bridge over the gap of many centuries a direct one.
The reading of these books is an adventure. You will find the mind of man fed by the passions, hopes, fears of new and strange
earthly existence rioting, unrestrained, in the zest of self-expression. You roam in the realms of mythology where swiftly the aspects of nature assume manifold personalities, and the amorphous instinct of sin takes on the grotesqueries of a visible devil.
From such imaginative surroundings you find yourself suddenly staring at commonplace unvarnished events of family life--and such a family as "the first earthly family" was! They had all the troubles, all the petty disagreements, and the taking sides with one another, and the bother moving, and "staying with the baby," that in the total mark family life to-day. You will see it when you peep beneath the overlaying glamour of tradition.
One critic has said of this writing:
"The treasures of Tut-ank-Amen's Tomb were no more precious to the Egyptologist than are these literary treasures to the world of scholarship."
In general, this account begins where the Genesis story of Adam and Eve leaves off. Thus the two can not well be compared; here we have a new chapter--a sort of sequel to the other. Here is the story of the twin sisters of Cain and Abel, and it is notable that here the blame for the first murder is placed squarely at the door of a difference over Woman.
The plan of these books is as follows:--
Book I. The careers of Adam and Eve, from the day they left Eden; their dwelling in the Cave of Treasures; their trials and temptations; Satan's manifold apparitions to them. The birth of Cain, of Abel, and of their twin sisters; Cain's love for his own twin sister, Luluwa, whom Adam and Eve wished to join to Abel; the details of Cain's murder of his brother; and Adam's sorrow and death.
Book IL The history of the patriarchs who lived before the Flood; the dwelling of the children of Seth on the Holy Mountain--Mount Hermon--until they were lured by Henun and by the daughters of Cain, to come' down from the mountain. Cain's death, when slain by Lamech the blind; and the lives of other patriarchs until the birth of Noah.
The crystal sea. God commands Adam, expelled from Eden, to dwell in the Cave of Treasures.ON the third day, God planted the garden in the east of the earth, on the border of the world eastward, beyond which, towards the sun-rising, one finds nothing but water, that encompasses the whole world, and reaches unto the borders of heaven.
2 And to the north of the garden there is a sea of wafer, clear and pure to the taste, like unto nothing else; so that, through the clearness thereof, one may
look into the depths of the earth.
3 And when a man washes himself in it, becomes clean of the cleanness thereof, and white of its whiteness--even if he were dark.
4 And God created that sea of His own good pleasure, for He knew what would come of the man He should make; so that after he had left the garden, on account of his transgression, men should be born in the earth, from among whom righteous ones should die, whose souls God would raise at the last day; when they should return to their flesh; should bathe in the water of that sea, and all of them repent of their sins.
5 But when God made Adam go out of the garden, He did not place him on the border of it northward, lest he should draw near to the sea of water, and he and Eve wash themselves in it, be cleansed from their sins, forget the transgression they had committed, and he no longer reminded of it in the thought of their punishment.
6 Then, again, as to the southern side of the garden, God was not pleased to let Adam dwell there; because, when the wind blew from the north, it would bring him, on that southern side, the delicious smell of the trees of the garden.
7 Wherefore God did not put Adam there, lest he should smell the sweet smell of those trees forget his transgression, and find consolation for what he had done, take delight in the smell of the trees, and not be cleansed from his transgression.
8 Again, also, because God is merciful and of great pity, and governs all things in a way He alone knows--He made our father Adam dwell in the western border of the garden, because on that side the earth is very broad.
9 And God commanded him to dwell there in a cave in a rock--the Cave of Treasures below the garden.
Adam and Eve faint upon leaving the Garden. God sends His word to encourage them.BUT when our father Adam, and Eve, went out of the garden, they trod the ground on their feet, not knowing they were treading.
2 And when they came to the opening of the gate of the garden, and saw the broad earth spread before them, covered with stones large and small, and with sand, they feared and trembled, and fell on their faces, from the fear that came upon them; and they were as dead.
3 Because--whereas they had hitherto been in the garden-land, beautifully planted with all manner of trees--they now saw themselves, in a strange land, which they knew not, and had never seen.
4 And because at that time they were filled with the grace of a bright nature, and they had not hearts turned towards earthly things.
5 Therefore had God pity on them; and when He saw them fallen before the gate of the garden, He sent His Word unto father Adam and Eve, and raised them from their fallen state.
Concerning the promise of the great five days and a half.GOD said to Adam, "I have ordained on this earth days and years, and thou and thy seed shall dwell and walk in it, until the days and years are fulfilled; when I shall send the
Word that created thee, and against which thou hast transgressed, the Word that made thee come out of the garden and that raised thee when thou wast fallen. 2 Yea, the Word that will again save thee when the five days and a half are fulfilled."
3 But when Adam heard these words from God, and of the great five days and a half, he did not understand the meaning of them.
4 For Adam was thinking that there would be but five days and a half for him, to the end of the world.
5 And Adam wept, and prayed God to explain it to him.
6 Then God in His mercy for Adam who was made after His own image and similitude, explained to him, that these were 5,000 and 500 years; and how One would then come and save him and his seed.
7 But God had before that made this covenant with our father, Adam, in the same terms, ere he came out of the garden, when he was by the tree whereof Eve took the fruit and gave it him to eat.
8 Inasmuch as when our father Adam came out of the garden, he passed by that tree, and saw how God had then changed the appearance of it into another form, and how it withered.
9 And as Adam went to it he feared, trembled and fell down; but God in His mercy lifted him up, and then made this covenant with him.
10 And, again, when Adam was by the gate of the garden, and saw the cherub with a sword of flashing fire in his hand, and the cherub grew angry and frowned at him, both Adam and Eve became afraid of him, and thought he meant to put them to death. So they fell on their faces, and trembled with fear.
11 But he had pity on them, and showed them mercy; and turning from them went up to heaven, and prayed unto the Lord, and said:--
12 "Lord, Thou didst send me to watch at the gate of the garden, with a sword of fire.
13 "But when Thy servants, Adam and Eve, saw me, they fell on their faces, and were as dead. O my Lord, what shall we do to Thy servants?"
14 Then God had pity on them, and showed them mercy, and sent His Angel to keep the garden.
15 And the Word of the Lord came unto Adam and Eve, and raised them up.
16 And the Lord said to Adam, "I told thee that at the end of five days and a half, I will send my Word and save thee.
17 "Strengthen thy heart, therefore, and abide in the Cave of Treasures, of which I have before spoken to thee."
18 And when Adam heard this Word from God, he was comforted with that which God had told him. For He had told him how He would save him.
Adam laments the changed conditions. Adam and Eve enter the Cave of Treasures.BUT Adam and Eve wept for having come out of the garden, their first abode.
2 And, indeed, when Adam looked at his flesh, that was altered, he wept bitterly, he and Eve, over what they had done. And they walked and went gently down into the Cave of Treasures.
3 And as they came to it Adam wept over himself and said to Eve, "Look at this cave that is to be our prison in this world, and a place of punishment!
4 "What is it compared with the garden? What is its narrowness compared with the space of the other?
5 "What is this rock, by the side of those groves? What is the gloom of this cavern, compared with the light of the garden?
6 "What is this overhanging ledge of rock to shelter us, compared with the mercy of the Lord that overshadowed us?
7 "What is the soil of this cave compared with the garden-land? This earth, strewed with stones; and that, planted with delicious fruit-trees?"
8 And Adam said to Eve, "Look at thine eyes, and at mine, which afore beheld angels in heaven, praising; and they, too, without ceasing.
9 "But now we do not see as we did: our eyes have become of flesh; they cannot see in like manner as they saw before."
10 Adam said again to Eve, "What is our body to-day, compared to what it was in former days, when we dwelt in the garden?"
11 After this Adam did not like to enter the cave, under the overhanging rock; nor would he ever have entered it.
12 But he bowed to God's orders; and said to himself, "Unless I enter the cave, I shall again be a transgressor."
In which Eve makes a noble and emotionable intercession, taking the blame on herself.THEN Adam and Eve entered the cave, and stood praying, in their own tongue, unknown to us, but which they knew well.
2 And as they prayed, Adam raised his eyes, and saw the rock and the roof of the cave that covered him overhead, so that he could see neither heaven, nor God's creatures. So he wept and smote heavily upon his breast, until he dropped, and was as dead.
3 And Eve sat weeping; for she believed he was dead.
4 Then she arose, spread her hands towards God, suing Him for mercy and pity, and said, "O God, forgive me my sin, the sin which I committed, and remember it not against me.
5 "For I alone caused Thy servant to fall from the garden into this lost estate; from light into this darkness; and from the abode of joy into this prison.
6 "O God, look upon this Thy servant thus fallen, and raise him from his death, that he may weep and repent of his transgression which he committed through me.
7 "Take not away his soul this once; but let him live that he may stand after the measure of his repentance, and do Thy will, as before his death.
8 "But if Thou do not raise him up, then, O God, take away my own soul, that I be like him; and leave me not in this dungeon, one and alone; for I could not stand alone in this world, but with him only.
9 "For Thou, O God, didst cause a slumber to come upon him, and didst take a bone from his side, and didst restore the flesh in the place of it, by Thy divine power.
10 "And Thou didst take me, the bone, and make me a woman, bright like him, with heart, reason, and speech; and in flesh, like unto his own; and Thou didst make me after the likeness of his countenance, by Thy mercy and power.
11 "O Lord, I and he are one and Thou, O God, art our Creator, Thou are He who made us both in one day.
12 "Therefore, O God, give
him life, that he may be with me in this strange land, while we dwell in it on account of our transgression.
13 "But if Thou wilt not give him life, then take me, even me, like him; that we both may die the same day."
14 And Eve wept bitterly, and fell upon our father Adam; from her great sorrow.
God's admonition to Adam and Eve in which he points out how and why they sinned.BUT God looked upon them; for they had killed themselves through great grief.
2 But He would raise them and comfort them.
3 He, therefore, sent His Word unto them; that they should stand and be raised forthwith.
4 And the Lord said unto Adam and Eve, "You transgressed of your own free will, until you came out of the garden in which I had placed you.
5 "Of your own free will have you transgressed through your desire for divinity, greatness, and an exalted state, such as I have; so that I deprived you of the bright nature in which you then were, and I made you come out of the garden to this land, rough and full of trouble.
6 "If only you had not transgressed My commandment and had kept My law, and had not eaten of the fruit of the tree, near which I told you not to come! And there were fruit trees in the garden better than that one.
7 "But the wicked Satan who continued not in his first estate, nor kept his faith; in whom was no good intent towards Me, and who though I had created him, yet set Me at naught, and sought the Godhead, so that I hurled him down from heaven,--he it is who made the tree appear pleasant in your eyes, until you ate of it, by hearkening to him.
8 "Thus have you transgressed My commandment, and therefore have I brought upon you all these sorrows.
9 "For I am God the Creator, who, when I created My creatures, did not intend to destroy them. But after they had sorely roused My anger, I punished them with grievous plagues, until they repent.
10 "But, if on the contrary, they still continue hardened in their transgression, they shall be under a curse for ever."
The beasts are reconciled.WHEN Adam and Eve heard these words from God, they wept and sobbed yet more; but they strengthened their hearts in God, because they now felt that the Lord was to them like a father and a mother; and for this very reason, they wept before Him, and sought mercy from Him.
2 Then God had pity on them, and said: "O Adam, I have made My covenant with thee, and I will not turn from it; neither will I let thee return to the garden, until My covenant of the great five days and a half is fulfilled."
3 Then Adam said unto God, "O Lord, Thou didst create us, and make us fit to be in the garden; and before I transgressed, Thou madest all beasts come to me, that I should name them.
4 "Thy grace was then on me; and I named every one according to Thy mind; and Thou madest them all subject unto me.
5 "But now, O Lord God, that I have transgressed Thy commandment,
all beasts will rise against me and will devour me, and Eve Thy handmaid; and will cut off our life from the face of the earth.
6 "I therefore beseech Thee, O God, that, since Thou hast made us come out of the garden, and hast made us be in a strange land, Thou wilt not let the beasts hurt us."
7 When the Lord heard these words from Adam, He had pity on him, and felt that he had truly said that the beasts of the field would rise and devour him and Eve, because He, the Lord, was angry with them two on account of their transgression.
8 Then God commanded the beasts, and the birds, and all that moves upon the earth, to come to Adam and to be familiar with him, and not to trouble him and Eve; nor yet any of the good and righteous among their posterity.
9 Then the beasts did obeisance to Adam, according to the commandment of God; except the serpent, against which God was wroth. It did not come to Adam, with the beasts.
The "Bright Nature" of man is taken away.THEN Adam wept and said, "O God, when we dwelt in the garden, and our hearts were lifted up, we saw the angels that sang praises in heaven, but now we do not see as we were used to do; nay, when we entered the cave, all creation became hidden from us."
2 Then God the Lord said unto Adam, "When thou wast under subjection to Me, thou hadst a bright nature within thee, and for that reason couldst thou see things afar off. But after thy transgression thy bright nature was withdrawn from thee; and it was not left to thee to see things afar off, but only near at hand; after the ability of the flesh; for it is brutish."
3 When Adam and Eve had heard these words from God, they went their way; praising and worshipping Him with a sorrowful heart.
4 And God ceased to commune with them.
Water from the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve near drowning.THEN Adam and Eve came out of the Cave of Treasures, and drew near to the garden gate, and there they stood to look at it, and wept for having come away from it.
2 And Adam and Eve went from before the gate of the garden to the southern side of it, and found there the water that watered the garden, from the root of the Tree of Life, and that parted itself from thence into four rivers over the earth.
3 Then they came and drew near to that water, and looked at it; and saw that it was the water that came forth from under the root of the Tree of Life in the garden.
4 And Adam wept and wailed, and smote upon his breast, for being severed from the garden; and said to Eve:--
5 "Why hast thou brought upon me, upon thyself, and upon our seed, so many of these plagues and punishments?"
6 And Eve said unto him, "What is it thou hast seen, to weep and to speak to me in this wise?"
7 And he said to Eve, "Seest thou not this water that was with us in the garden, that watered the trees of the garden, and flowed out thence?
8 "And we, when we were in
the garden, did not care about it; but since we came to this strange land, we love it, and turn it to use for our body."
9 But when Eve heard these words from him, she wept; and from the soreness of their weeping, they fell into that water; and would have put an end to themselves in it, so as never again to return and behold the creation; for when they looked upon the work of creation, they felt they must put an end to themselves.
Their bodies need water after they leave the Garden.THEN God, merciful and gracious, looked upon them thus lying in the water, and nigh unto death, and sent an angel, who brought them out of the water, and laid them on the seashore as dead.
2 Then the angel went up to God, was welcome, and said, "O God, Thy creatures have breathed their last."
3 Then God sent His Word unto Adam and Eve, who raised them from their death.
4 And Adam said, after he was raised, "O God, while we were in the garden we did not require, or care for this water; but since we came to this land we cannot do without it."
5 Then God said to Adam, "While thou wast under My command and wast a bright angel, thou knewest not this water.
6 "But after that thou hast transgressed My commandment, thou canst not do without water, wherein to wash thy body and make it grow; for it is now like that of beasts, and is in want of water."
7 When Adam and Eve heard these words from God, they wept a bitter cry; and Adam entreated God to let him return into the garden, and look at it a second time.
8 But God said unto Adam, "I have made thee a promise; when that promise is fulfilled, I will bring thee back into the garden, thee and thy righteous seed."
9 And God ceased to commune with Adam.