A Conversation for The Legend of the First Man - Adam

If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 1

Doctor Smith

There are indeed verses of the Genesis story that refer to Adam (which, incidentally, is one of the Hebrew words for 'man') in the plural, meaning that the word could be translated as 'men.' However, there are also verses which refer to Adam in the singular, making it clear that Adam was also an individual. I do not think that one can say that the only conclusion to make is that the word is a plural concept. Sometimes it is and sometimes it clearly isn't.


If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 2

EmirTR

Isn't that a similar problem with Elohim? (A hebrew plural word for god - literally, thus, gods) I don't think we can postulate that ancient hebrew religion was thus polytheistic - because it was definitely not! The writers just got a bit confused with words, maybe, they even often mess up the difference between god and angels - still today a complicated matter, I believe: What exactly IS an angel? Part of the devine existence or a magic holy being itself or what?
I think because it is ancient myths we should not ponder every word - stories are stories, and nobody believes in Adam and Eve anyway, provided he/she is older than 3 or maybe 4. Actually, the whole staff is only used to conceal the fact, that we have animal ancestors and are thus by no mean different do, well, slugs or whatever. smiley - smiley


If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 3

a daft geordie

Sorry to show my ignorance - but where does Elohim appear in the Bible, and in what context? Also how does this, and any other bits, show that early Judaism was not monotheistic? I have read reseasonable accounts which show monotheistic predecessors to Judaism developed in Crete and Egypt in about 2000-3000 BC.
I would always appreciate a source of more info.
Oh ... and I nearly forgot, where were there confusions over angels, and how did they arise?


If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 4

Doctor Smith

Elohim is used throughout the Old Testament as one of the names for God. Genesis 1 uses it quite a bit. For the most part, any time you see the word 'God' in the OT, it is probably a translation of Elohim. It is the plural form of the Hebrew word for a generic god -- therefore, the gods of, say, Babylon could be referred to as "elohim." However, since the adjectives and other words used in conjunction with Elohim (when it is used for Jehovah) are always singular, there really is no reason to say that Elohim is indicative of polytheism.

Some people choose to see the use of Elohim as an early concept of the Trinity. While Moses did not really understand the three-person God as we do (not that we really understand it, either), some say that the use of the plural was his way of recognizing God's nature. I don't particularly believe this, though. I think that the use of the plural was probably just a way to emphasize God's greatness. The OT writers were, in my opinion, pointing out that their God is greater than any of the pagan gods.

As for angels, anyone who claims to know everything about them is lying. The OT word that we tranlate as angel literally means 'messenger.' Their primary function throughout the Bible is to deliver some message from God to man. There are also seraphim (which means 'burning ones'). Take a look at Isaiah 6 for a reference to them. Finally, there are also cherubim, but I'm not quite sure what they are.


If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 5

stragbasher

Aren't the cherubim the little fat babies that the PTBs here at the guide chose to adorn my homepage with while celebrating their 'christmas' festival? Or is that just a convenient modern inerpretation?

I'm sure I read something somewhere about early Judaism being polytheistic - JHVH just got to be top dog later on and the subsequent rewrite of 'history' led to the linguistic confusion. How did the devil come about anyway?


Disagree by all means...

Post 6

Dazinho

...but check your facts first.

In response to EmirTR:

What you say is not quite correct. Elohim is a plural term for Gods, but it is a Canaanite word and not a Hebrew word. Elohim is the plural term for the word El or Eloh, meaning ‘lofty one’. The Elohim were the early Gods of Canaan, but the term was hijacked and used as an alternative for the name Jehovah (Jehovah, of course, being the bastardised version of the tetragrammaton YHWH).

For the Canaanites, the predecessor of Jehovah / Yahweh was El Elyon. His consort was Asherah / Ashtoreth. Their principal son was Baal, although there were others. 1 Samuel 7:4 states ‘the children of Israel did put away Baal and Ashtoreth, and served the Lord only’. This is read as being an oath of allegiance to one God, El Elyon / Jehovah, and a doing away with of God’s family. But the time of Samuel the judge is fairly late, around 1060BC, far after the times of Abraham and even Moses. To even describe how the consort and son of God have been dropped from worship, even in that dismissive, one line statement, is still an indication that they were acknowledged up until that point.
Further evidence exists of their acknowledgement. Jerusalem, for example, is named after one of Baal’s brothers, Shalem (meaning peace) – Yuru-shalem.

I don’t think you can take a stand and say that the early Hebrew religion was definitely not polytheistic. Certainly its later aspect was monotheistic, but the evidence from the formative years is just too obtuse for us to be certain beyond a reasonable doubt. We need to look at the religion of the Hebrews, in fact most of the western religions, almost as a living entity. It’s constantly expanding, it grows and changes as new people join and the old guard die off. It will, of necessity, absorb things it can make use of and shed things that are outmoded.

I think then, that a body of the Hebrew mythology must have been ‘appropriated’ from Canaanite literature. Certainly it would appear that early Hebrews recognised that El Elyon, or El Shaddai as he is referred to in some early bibles, was only one of a number of Gods:

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” – Genesis 1:26

“Behold, the man is become as one of us” – Genesis 3:22

“Jehovah takes his stand at the council of El, to deliver judgement among the Elohim” – Psalm 82, opening

“You too are Gods, sons of El Elyon, all of you” – Psalm 82, verse 6

Considering that the Bible stands only alongside a Will Smith album as the greatest work of plagiarism of all time, perhaps we should not be surprised that there is no actual Hebrew mythology, and that what we read in Genesis is nothing more than the work of the Sumerians handed down through the Canaanites. Again, I direct you to our forum for these matters at the Freedom From Faith Foundation. You will meet like-minded individuals with whom you would empathise, and individuals with whom you can debate unto your hearts desire.

I think your choice of words – ‘just got a bit confused with words’ – trivialises the matter far too much, bearing in mind the events we are discussing here are eventually subscribed to by the Roman Catholic Church, fiddled about with, and churned out as dogma. You’re talking about probably the most powerful and certainly the most corrupt organisation on the face of this planet for the last 2000 years. Consider the atrocities they have rained on humanity during that time, in the name of ‘The Bible’. Using phrases like ‘just got a bit confused with words’ is letting them off the hook, and in the most grotesque way imaginable.

Can you imagine the RC PR guy trying to get out of it? “Look chaps, I know we changed Jesus to something he never intended to be 300 years after his death, including moving the date of his birthday arbitrarily to a date we fancied a bit more. I know we invented the Holy Ghost out of thin air. I know we cannibalised our God out of one of your old ones and forgot to tippex all the references to him out of the Old Testament when we censored it, and then persecuted you for saying your Gods existed at all. I know we’ve made it our mission throughout history to degrade women in every way known to man, and then made up new ways to do it when we ran out of old ones (did you know the church used to kill midwives for trying to relieve the pain of childbirth?) I know we took all our power from one misreported statement supposedly from Jesus, and then backed it up with a document that we now admit we faked (although we won’t give up the powers we assumed from the faked document). I know we’ve threatened, persecuted, maimed or just plain killed everyone that didn’t agree with us. But look, we’re sorry, lets let bygones be bygones.” Sorry, it doesn’t wash with me. Again, I direct you to the Freedom From Faith Foundation for an explanation of the above comments. Just follow the link from my page.

But seeing as you have brought up one of my favourite topics, namely words that have been (purposely?) mistranslated. I’d like to take this opportunity to throw out just a few of my favourite mistranslations from the Bible. It’s like a game – see if you can guess which character from the Bible these words refer to!

Nazarene; refers to a native of a town that, according to Roman records, possibly first sprang up around 200AD. A corruption of Nasorean, a religious / political party popular around the time of Jesus’ life. The town of Nazareth is not mentioned in the Talmud.

Almah; Hebrew word meaning young woman. Mistranslated as ‘virgin’, the Hebrew word for which is ‘bethulah’.

Naggar; translated by the Greeks with their word ho tekton. Although it could be used to represent the term carpenter, it does not refer to a mere woodworker. It means a man of skills and learning, a scholar, a master of the craft.

From the nativity scene; the words in the original sentence read ‘there was no “topos” in the “kataluma”’ – literally, no “place” in the “room”.



Disagree by all means...

Post 7

Dazinho

In response to Doctor Smith;

The point I am making concerning Genesis 5:2 is that, at that point in time, God created an unspecified number of people and called them Adam, which as has been pointed out is a collective or plural term. At that point in time, there must be more than one, because one is then taken from the group and turned into Eve.

Later in the Bible, Adam is, as you point out, now just one person. It’s a glaring inconsistency on its own, but once it’s in the Bible there are thousands of others for it to snuggle up against. Therefore when the Bible mentions Adam and then uses the term ‘them’ we have to take the conclusion there is more than one at that point. Otherwise the correct translation would be ‘him’. For the writers / translators / editors / censors to start using the term in singular fashion is not grammatically correct, and personally I think it’s suspicious – but that’s just me.

In simple terms, think of a sports reporter typing up the report of a football match. He starts off about how well the team is playing, then he describes how team scored a fantastic solo goal. It doesn’t make sense.

The Fox Mulder in me would point to a cover up being carried out by the censors of the Bible. For elucidation, please visit us at the Freedom From Faith Foundation, in and particular cast your eye over my entries on The Council of Nicea, and also some of the later sections of the Alchemy entry.


If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 8

Shim

It's funny that so many people here are talking with such authority about eternal truths because they "think they once read something somewhere".

Until you've actually studied the subject to some depth, I would be obliged if you would stop making such insane claims about early Judaism being polytheistic and biblical rewrites.

Just to keep you well educated though, and so you can tell somebody you read something else somewhere, if the word elohim is pluaral, you may wish to try and explain to me what Exodus 7:1 means when it says:-

"And the LORD said unto Moses, “See, I have made
thee a god (Elohim) to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy
brother shall be thy prophet.” (KJV)

I guess it's just another printer's error.

Oh well, silly me.

smiley - fish


Disagree by all means...

Post 9

Shim

Absolute arse.

I mean, how on earth do you "prove" that Judaism evolved out of idol worship because the Shalem was the name of an idol and that Yerushalayim ("city of peace") must have been named after it?

This is the opposite crime of the previous poster. Here we have a person who starts with a conclusion and then studies copiously in order to fit all their "facts" into this.

So much for the scientific method.

smiley - fish


Let's take it slowly...

Post 10

Dazinho

Shim, this is in answer to your first posting, just in case you didn't pick it up in the above entry. I'll reply to your second posting once I've stopped gasping in wonderment at the scientific method employed in your riposte. I imagine Einstein, for example, used terms like absolute arse to debunk all the theories he came across too.

Elohim, the word, was stolen by the Hebrews. It wasn't their word to begin with. It belonged to the Canaanites. The Canaanites and the Hebrews are different people - the Canaanites came first. They used to it to refer to a family of Gods, if you like, headed by El Elyon. It's no different from the way we have hijacked the word bastard. Whereas before it meant someone of dubious lineage, now it refers to someone who cuts you up on the motorway, literally in Kenneth Noyes' case.

The word elohim was used interchangably - but incorrectly - with Jehovah, as you yourself have proved by helpfully quoting that passage from the Bible. If Elohim is the name of the Hebrew God, then who the smeg is Jehovah? And if Jehovah is the Hebrew One God, why has he told Moses he has made him into a God in Pharaoh's eyes?


Let's take it slowly...

Post 11

Shim

I'll wager Einstein used worse.

Elohim is not a proper noun. It is merely a noun. Only the tetragrammon is a proper noun. All other names of God are descriptions of various aspects of Him as he relates to us.

I do not intend to try and tell you why the different names of God are used at different times because we both know that would be a waste of time.

I merely wished to communicate my feelings towards your "research" and your "enlightenment". I'm sure you feel exactly the same way towards me and my other poor deluded friends who still fall for such nonsense in this modern, better educated world.

I love being a biggot. It gives one such a wonderful sense of purpose.

smiley - fish


Disagree by all means...

Post 12

Dazinho

Shim, you're a treasure.

Nobody said anything about idol worship. Shalem was just one of many gods. For an explanation, please refer to a book such as 'Genesis of The Grail Kings' by Laurence Gardner, page 24 or, even better, Mythologies of The Ancient World, by C.H. Gordon. It's page 201 you want in there, just in case you think the book title and author alone is too vague. I'd hate you to think I'm just quoting from something I think I read once.

I'm not trying to prove that Judaism evolved from idol worship. Nowhere above does it say that. In fact, if you actually read it, I think you'll see that I'm trying to say Judaism didn't really evolve from anywhere. Most of the stories in the Old Testament were old before that book was even written. I’m saying that it appears – although I cannot prove it – but it appears that a large part of Hebrew mythology was present already on this planet before the Hebrews appeared.

Take the great flood for example. There are more than 500 deluge legends known to man. In a survey of 86 conducted by specialist researcher Dr Richard Andree, he concluded that 62 were independent of the Hebrew and Mespotamian legends. If you want to check the references, please see ‘Fingerprints of The Gods’, by Graham Hancock. It’s on page 193, in the bottom three paragraphs and goes on for several pages after that. The cover is a pleasing combination of gold and blue, and it’s quite a heavy book. Again, I wouldn’t want you to think it’s just something I thought I might have read. All these books have full bibliographies, might I add. The Sumerians, who were present on the planet long before the Hebrews, have their own flood legend. It’s written by a man called Gilgamesh, and refers to the deeds of an earlier king called Utnapishtim. These appear on tablets that date back as far as the beginning of the third millennium BC. But apart from their own flood legend, they too tell of legends of other great floods, befalling such men as Zisudra, Xisuthros, and Atrahasis. Sorry Shim, that’s on page 189. In case we need a recap, we’re using this as an example of how the Hebrews appear to have adopted old stories for their own ends.

Another good one is the birth of Jesus. Again, you can refer to my entry on the Council of Nicea for a more fully fledged argument, but for now please consider these figures from history, all born before Jesus:

Gautama Buddha: Born of the virgin Maya around 600BC.

Dionysus: Greek God, born of a virgin in a stable, turned water into wine.

Quirrnus: An early Roman saviour, born of a virgin.

Attis: Born of the virgin Nama in Phyrgia around 200BC.

Indra: Born of a virgin in Tibet around 700BC.

Adonis: Babylonian God, born of the virgin Ishtar

Krishna: Hindu deity, born of the virgin Devaki around 1200BC.

Zoroaster: Born of a virgin sometime between 1500BC and 1200BC.

Mithra: Born of a virgin on December 25 around 600BC.


The popular Cult of Mithra (or Mithras) was indeed an embarrassment to the early church. Its roots are probably in Syria and it is believed to be an offshoot of the Persian cult of Zoroaster. It seems to have been introduced into the Roman Empire around 67BC. Born in a stable to a virgin, birthday celebrated on December 25th, died and reborn, Passover celebrated around Easter, whose rites of worship involved the ingestion of food and drink that were symbolic of eating the flesh of Mithra, and all this 600 years before the birth of Christ. Also included were rites of baptism, the belief in immortality, resurrection, a judgement at the end between Heaven and Hell, and a saviour who died and was resurrected to act as a mediator between man and God.

Which book shall we quote from? The Hiram Key, by Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas. It’s on pages 44 and 45 and its in quite large text, nicely spaced.


I have to stress that these are not my conclusions. I was raised a good Christian boy, mother and sisters all in the Church choir, me and my father in the Scouts (him as leader, obviously) doing our duty to God and the Queen. I’ve played Joseph in the school play more times than Jo Guest’s got her norks out. But apart from a Christian upbringing, my parents also gave me a sense of independence, to ask questions rather than blindly assume that what I’m told is always right, and it’s something I’m trying to pass on to my twelve year old daughter. She’s never heard of the Sumerians whilst doing history at school, yet we have more first hand evidence – in terms of documents left behind by them – than we do from the Egyptians, for example. Yet she knows, ‘for a fact’, that the pyramids were the tombs of their kings, because she’s been told so at school. I’m fairly intelligent, so when I read what’s in these books that I’ve quoted above – and, importantly, cross-checked it myself – I found myself having to have a radical rethink about all the things I trusted in whilst I was growing up. Some people find this adjustment easier to make than others, but it’s no less shocking. Some people just can’t, or won’t, accept differing viewpoints from their own.

I’m reminded of an incidence when the Church sent someone to debate with Darwin, publicly, his theory of evolution. The debate took place inside a packed public chamber, and right from the off the representative of the Church decided to go for sarcasm, and vitriol. He asked Darwin if he was descended from apes on his mother’s or father’s side. Darwin won the argument without even having to open his mouth, because his opponent had no real argument at all, just sarcasm and mild bad language.


Let's take it slowly...

Post 13

Dazinho

Sorry. I was under the impression that YHWH was actually a sentence of sorts, meaning 'I am that I am'.

And, confusingly, I respect your right to be a bigot. "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend unto death your right to say it".

Finally for now, because I'm tired and I'm suprised my PC has lasted this long with so few crashes, I do believe in this nonsense. I'm extremely religious, and very passionate about it, which brings me occasionally into conflict with the fine minds at the FFFF. I'm there just to debunk the popular mythology, whilst practicing my particular brand of hermeticism in peace and quiet.

It's been a good rant tonight Shim, I've enjoyed it! Do, please, come over to the FFFF. You will find all the debates that you desire.


Disagree by all means...

Post 14

Doctor Smith

Perhaps you answer this in one of your (or the FFFF's) articles, but who censored the Bible and when? I ask with particular reference to the Old Testament. It would have been rather difficult for the Church to censor the Dead Sea Scrolls...

As for the debate on Hebrew mono/polytheism, I suppose that one could say that the Jews were polytheistic at times. Take a look at the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and you'll see that the entire reason for the Babylonian exile was because of the fact that the Jews had turned from God to idolatry. However, I don't think that anyone can deny that Judaism was intended to be centered around Jehovah alone.


If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 15

Doctor Smith

I looked up 'cherub' in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, and they pointed out that cherubim in the Bible are pretty bizarre creatures. They have wings, either two or four legs, and they sometimes have four faces. For the most part, they show up in visions of God, and there were statues of cherubim adorning the Temple in Jerusalem. Their basic purpose was to help complement the glory of God. I think it's safe to say that the fat little child with wings that we call a cherub today is "just a convenient modern interpretation."


Purely my own opinion

Post 16

Abi

Do you think it is wise to quote from the Hiram Key? Its arguments are at best shakey and hugely subjective, particularly about Rosslyn Chapel which I was involved in professionally a few years ago. Purely my own opinion mind but I have yet to read a book of that ilk without be completely convinced on finishing it and dismissing it a week later!!!!



If I might be allowed to disagree...

Post 17

a daft geordie

I would like to disagree with that.

If someone thinks they are aware of something that may be relevant, I think they should mention it so that people more educated on that matter can verify it, and in doing so widen the discussion and educate everyone in the process. In fact, as an example, the discussion here about 'Elohim', although actually not proof in itself to the argument, I found the follow up interesting.

Dictating that people should have a say because they aren't well educated in a certain area restricts there sphere of learning, and is most unfair. As a result of a lack of knowledge, if an argument is found to be flawed a person is knocked back. Having poor arguments dismissed is an important part of the learning proces.

Besides, as we become more and more educated, we should see just how truly ignorant we were before, and so be aware of just how ignorant we still must be now. Few people can claim to know everything about a subject, but this may not mean that people do not have worthwhile ideas. Anyone who has a thought should have a chance to air it, and should do, though stay humble and be prepared to be knocked back.


Purely my own opinion

Post 18

stragbasher

Shim said (to me, I assume) that 'It's funny that so many people here are talking with such authority about eternal truths because they "think they once read something somewhere". '

Sorry old pal, but:

1. I didn't talk with any authority. I asked a couple of questions, and you have yet to explain how an all powerful, unique, being came to be plagued by the devil.

2. I dispute the phrase "eternal truths" when used with reference to the bible. If it's true you can prove it, and pointing at the bible as proof doesn't prove anything to anybody with more than two braincells to rub together.

3. I did indeed say "I think I once read something somewhere", because I did. And guess what? A number of helpful souls have responded to my indirect request for clarification by providing me with a list of references. Now if you could just do the same for these "eternal truths" of yours I could go away happy and try to educate myself.

4. Given what appears to be your impassioned defence of the Christian faith, and your failure to explain why I had to put up with little fat winged babies over christmas, am I to presume that H2G2 is a christian organisation and not a secular global community? Or are we going to start celebrating Mohammed's Birthday (and Mithras'), Diwali, Beltane, Yom Kippur, the Feast of Bob etc?

Finally, I may be insane, but the Dead Sea Scrolls definitely give the impression that a) the Old Testament existed in several forms, and b) the New Testament has very little to do with the teachings of the man history knows as Jesus.

No, I don't have the references handy. I travel too much to carry a bookshelf with me, but I'm sure the FFFF can provide you with a booklist as long as your arm.


Purely my own opinion

Post 19

Doctor Smith

Okay, everybody needs to stop bickering. Proponents for both Christianity and atheism are starting to get insulting and sarcastic, and that's no way to conduct a decent argument. All it does is close people's minds and make them dig in their heels. I for one refuse to debate someone who automatically assumes that I'm wrong before I even open my mouth. If someone has a point to make, then by all means make it, but if you can't do so in a respectful manner, then please don't bother. This is not a reprimand against anyone in particular or against any viewpoint in particular since both sides have been doing it.


Purely my own opinion

Post 20

Dazinho

Dr. Smith; My entry on the Council Of Nicea is the one in which I outline my thoughts on how the Bible has been censored. It might be in a bit of a state because the editors are trying to chop it around a bit prior to approval. Basically, because we have the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi library, we can deduce that some tampering has gone on. The same or similar documents exist amongst in differing forms from those allowed to the masses.

Also, an unreserved apology to all those whom I might have offended. The good doctor makes an excellent point. When outsiders see us bickering like this, we do not add to the credibility of the study of religion/history. The FFFF was formed with the intention of providing a forum for intelligent debate without mudslinging, and since we technically exists within the virtual walls of the FFFF by continuing this forum, we should try to abide by their principles.


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