Saturday, 1 June 2013

Lilith: The First Woman?

Starting off with the two accounts of creation, taken from the King James Bible.

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (KJV Gen 1:26-28)

"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (KJV Gen 2:21-23)

Genesis 2:4-25 is referred to as a summary of the creation work of Chapter 1. But if that is the case, why are there inconsistencies between the two versions of the same events?

Reading the first version (Gen 1:26-28) the terms "and let them", "male and female created he them", "God blessed them", and "God said unto them" indicate that man and woman were created at the same time.

Yet, reading the second version (Gen 2:21-23) it is indicated that Adam was created first, and later the woman is created from the rib of Adam. If you want to find the creation of Adam, in Genesis 2, you have to go back to Gen 2:7:

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (KJV Gen 2:7)

And in verses 15, 16, 17, and 18 the fact that Adam is alone is further evident:

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." (KJV Gen 2:15-18)

God takes the man, puts him into the garden of Eden, commands the man, and then says it is not good that the man should be alone.

Using nothing more than the Bible, it appears that Genesis 1 is the creation of a man and woman together. Yet the account in Genesis 2 is man created first, and later a woman is created.

That is not really a great case for the existence of Lilith, the first wife of Adam. But what Adam says in Genesis 2:23 infers that the woman created in Genesis 2 is not the first woman: "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:"

The word 'now' is totally out of place if Eve is the first woman. It just does not fit into an original creation. If Eve was indeed the first woman then "This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:" would be more fitting. With the inclusion of the word 'now' it appears that Adam is saying there was a woman before who was not of his bones, or flesh. This idea also ties into the wording of Genesis 1 and 2.

In Genesis 1 the woman is referred to as a female. She is not called a woman, as she is in Genesis 2. This would suggest that God created mankind, as a male and female in Chapter 1, yet in Chapter 2 a male is created and then, later, a woman is created.

On the surface it is not a big deal. But looking at the definition of the two words adds more significance. Female (Hebrew: neqebah) means nothing other than female. Whereas Woman (Hebrew: ishshah) means female, wife, and woman.

This ties in with the 'legend' of Lilith, as in Genesis 1 they are referred to as male and female, yet in Genesis 2 they are referred to as man and wife. How does that tie in to the 'legend' of Lilith?

Briefly, the 'legend' of Lilith is that Adam and Lilith were created as equals, Lilith refused to be the subservient of Adam and left the garden of Eden, then because Adam was lonely Eve was created.

The two creation accounts fit the legend. But further evidence is found in Genesis 2:18:

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." (KJV Genesis 2:18)

How would Adam know what loneliness is unless he had experienced companionship, or at the very least another person, before Eve was created?

It could be argued that Adam could feel alone because of all the animals having a female counterpart, yet he did not. And according to Genesis 2:19 Adam was created before the animals. Whereas in Genesis 1 the animals are created before man. So unless God has a wife that is never mentioned why would God worry about Adam being alone when he himself is without a partner? The only reason God would worry about Adam being alone is if Adam had a partner/wife/woman before being alone.

It is like the tree of knowledge. Adam knows nothing of evil until he disobeys God and eats the fruit of the tree. Adam would not know loneliness because he has never known anything different.

Still, not the greatest argument that Lilith was the first woman before Eve but it does possibly suggest why there are inconsistencies between the two versions of creation.

1 comment:

  1. Lilith is featured on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. She is in the section called Forbidden Fruit. It is on Wikipedia.


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