Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Orgins of Adam and the Garden of Eden

I previously traced, to my own satisfaction, the real sources of modern day belief in angles, sin, Eve and the rib, Noah's ark and the holy spirit. Next: Adam and the Garden of Eden.

The stories in Genesis, including Adam and Eve, are adaptations of earlier Sumerian and other myths the Jews picked up while mixing with other cultures.
The Bible's similarities with Egyptian, Greek and Babylonian mythology are too close to be a coincidence. The writers weren’t isolated from other cultures and they didn’t get their ideas by sitting on some mountaintop meditating with God; they borrowed ideas from their neighbor's creation myths. The technical term is ... syncretism. - usbible

Syncretism is the joining and the reconciliation of similar stories or beliefs that are at odds.  Some ingredients are kept, some are tossed, some are changed. One major ingredient for the Garden of Eden story was the Sumerian Eden. According to the unnamed author at USbible, it was located in Dilmun, which is modern day Bahrain.
... Eden contained the Tigris and Euphrates rivers associated with Sumeria. The word Eden was derived from an old Babylonian name for Mesopotamia, Gan-Eden, the garden of the Middle East. Because those great two rivers watered the rich plains between them, the word Mesopotamia means between the waters. - usbible

Checking against a scholarly source... Chadwick's "The Growth of Literature", a "key work for all scholars and students of comparative literature", the words, "gan eden" mean  garden of delight.

According to this source, Eden was a widespread name in Aramaean lands, and given that the House of Eden (beth eden) means either the Kingdom of Damascus, or the Syrian people, the Garden of Eden was probably a place one of these peoples considered their ancestral home, such as a Syrian kingdom on the upper Euphrates river near Carchemish.

The Sumerian story contains other elements of the later Genesis story as well:  the lady of the rib, poison plants in the garden associated with knowledge (knowing in the biblical sense meant sex).
Enki, the Sumerian water-God and God of wisdom, impregnates Ninhursag, his half-sister. Enki desires a son, but receives a daughter. He them impregnates his daughter, who in turn gives him a daughter. Ninhursag decides to put an end to this immoral procession by sowing eight poisonous plants in the garden. Enki eats of all eight plants and becomes deathly ill. One of Enki's sick organs is the rib. Nin-ti is created to heal Enki. Nin-ti means "she who makes live." It is approximately what Eve means. Nin-ti can also be translated as "the lady of the rib." "Ti" means rib and "to make live."

A weird and twisted yarn, probably passed on both as early pornography and as a morality lesson.

Omega was the Ninhursag's symbol long before the creation of the Greek alphabet.It is important also to realize that "Ninhursag" is Mother Earth, the fertility goddess, whose symbol was used by the Greeks as the last letter of their alphabet: Omega, which is a stylized womb.

Now you see why the story of the first man coming from dust or earth is not so strange. The earth was a womb. Seeds were planted in the garden, and the earth mother gave birth to plants. Likewise, sperm was called a man's seed. It did not escape the ancients that this seed, planted in a woman by a man (perhaps even in a garden), resulted in new human life.

When you hear someone say, "We have lost our connection to the earth" this is the deeper historical truth to that saying:

Adam comes to us from the Abrahamic religions which, from that common source, in order of appearance are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Adam is the first man in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

But get this... Adam means "dust" or "earth" in Hebrew. The Hebrew word for earth is "adama" according to
The word "Adam," as the proper name for the first man can be misleading. It comes from ha-adam in Hebrew, which translates to "the man"—Hebrew has no capital letters. The word adam is extracted from adamah, meaning country, earth, ground, husband, earth, or land. This suggests the context in Genesis 3:19, when God says "you are dust, and to dust you shall return." The name represents the material from which he was made. He wasn't an actual person.

Likewise, "Eve" is translated from the Hebrew chavvaòh, for lifegiver, as in "the mother of all living." Its root, Chaya, means "serpent" in Aramaic. Eve and serpent are taken to be synonymous. ...

I don't understand why, these three major world religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do not recognize that they have a common source, and also refuse to look back any further in history than that common source. If they did look, they would find that their religions all adapted stories from polytheistic bull god worshipers, planet god worshipers, fire god worshipers, and so on.

While I will never convince a zealot from any of the three religions, it is a somewhat testable hypothesis that the stories written down, on the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, resulted from syncretism of Pagan polytheistic myth into  monotheism.

Final thought: Neither Adam nor Eve should have belly buttons, as neither were born from a womb.


oliver stieber said...

I'm not sure, but you may like to do a comparative analysis between Hinduism is to Buddhism and the old testament is to the new testament.

Given that Buddhism came about about 500bc ish and I'm sure that there was a bit of cross culture going on.

If you view the old testament in a dualism way and Buddhism in a 'The kingdom of god is within' way.... it make a nice foundation for a movement for social change and uprising.

pyrodin said...

I wonder sometimes, if we were originally some sort genetic engineering project, made in the image of god, gods are made by cutting a piece of them off, the greek god and chimeras of animal and human, sounds like cloning, genetic experiments...."Eating of the fruit of knowledge" is probably a gene therapy pill that makes you smarter, the actual "gods" being aliens or maybe us from the future, Stargate comes to mind, lol, but its probably just my overactive imagination.....should write a fictional story about it....

I wish I had known about the way religions inter-mesh when I was younger instead of slowly finding out on my own...It's good that you help put it out there for people to find, thanx Xeno..


Cheng said...

As my old cockney mucker would say:

"Would you 'Adam and Eve' it?"

Xeno said...

I was wondering about Buddhism as I worked on this. How and when could there have been cross pollination?

Xeno said...

Thanks for the pearltrees tip. I joined up. Looks interesting.

Mirlen101 said...

I think xeno's right about the sex thing . It's pretty clear that it was the knowledge of sex ,that was what started the whole expulsion thing. I mean they covered themselves in disgrace ! Xeno why did you leave out Lilith ?
On the other hand what HopeF said would have to be addressed in full if one is to fully research this . Sounds like Xeno has ;-) I was aware of the issue but hadn't worked on that angle yet , others have obviously . So far I'm with Xeno on this though . He stated it well .
But there are some stories that do seem to go back to a factual source . The flood seems to be based on fact but changed through time and religious source . Saying they didn't borrow might be splitting hairs . But maybe we shouldn't say borrowed ? Derived ? To be more fair .

Mirlen101 said...

As far as Buddhism cross pollination . Some say Jesus and Buddha were one in the same .I mean have you ever seen Jesus and Buddha in the same place at the same time ! ? ;-) And the Qur'an , mentions Jesus a couple dozen times .

Mirlen101 said...

Pearltrees is an excellent site for research and stumbling across cool sites , info. I just started the religious album ( pearltree ) You can team-up on it if you like , you just press the "team up" button . It gives you direct access to that pearltree so you can add directly into it and edit it . Or you can create your own from scratch . Let me know if you create a new religious research pearltree , so I can keep track or join yours ;-0 All up to you of course ;-)But I think you'll find mine interesting once it gets going ;-)
Tip > You can type in any query into the Pearltree search engine upper left . To search in others pearls ( links ) or within your own pearltree ( bookmarks )

Mirlen101 said...

Just noticed your team up request . Request granted . Glad to have you on board ! Feel free to add links ( pearls ) to the "Religious Dissection Comparative study of religions" or edit it .or any other pearltree you want to team up on ;-) ( I trust your judgement .)If you have any questions feel free to ask . I'll gladly help out.

Leah McClellan said...

Interesting post! I studied stuff like this in college, and while not a lot is fresh in my mind right now to add to the discussion, I do know that "creation myths" can be found all around the world, and though some are similar with common sources (as pointed out here) some are not. Zeus and Leda and a big egg come to mind. There's one in Africa about the human race being born out of a log..I forget the details. Mircea Eliade is an author who did a lot of work in this area. In case you're interested :)

Yes, too bad the three big religions you mentioned don't seem to discuss openly their common ancestry so much. Probably scholars and others are quite aware of it just like some people are well aware of the origins of the Christmas tree and eggs and bunnies at Easter etc, but it's just not relevant to their beliefs, I suppose.

Mirlen101 said...

Thanks for the tip " Mircea Eliade" I'll check that out ! I think as far as creation myths legends etc.. It is natural for mankind to wonder " Where did we come from ? " It is also natural for people to make things up ;-) Or even try to explain it to themselves or others through symbolism , representations and story . Other stories are based on actual events . One thing is clear is when people try to repeat what they saw or heard it becomes distorted . Even if they know what they saw . They put in their preconceptions and opinions and misunderstandings . No one is an accurate witness . This has been proven in criminal research . Witnesses are unreliable . Let alone a story passed down through centuries . A story passed from one person to the other in a circle often comes out the other side unrecognizable to the original story teller ;-) People general don't want the mixed up origins about their spiritual beliefs. Changing the story is considered an assault to their soul ! Whether it is true or not . Religion doesn't leave much room for an open mind ( as far as religious beliefs ) Once one believes something they resist changing that belief , religious or otherwise .

Mirlen101 said...

From what I understand about Mircea Eliade writings is . He felt that religion was a truth of human kinds existence . That religion is human kinds search for " why are we here ? " "what is life ?"etc.. Religion not only being the answer but being the only truth by it's very nature . That myth some how always comes from some primordial reality . That the answer to all questions is the primordial root of myths . Religious experience from the original source . Where the origins of myth came from ;-/ I can understand where he's coming from just not interested in where he's going ;-) It does bring up some interesting notions though . But I think he way over reached . Not really the angle I was going for . He basically puts religion and myth above all other thought . In fact implies it is the only thought that matters . This implies an atheist or an agnostic are an unimportant misguided ball of fluff ! And that the religious are in tune with some sort of primordial , supernatural supremacy ! Tapping into the knowledge of the universe ! Wow what an extra special , highly functioning people we are surrounded by ;-) Who knew ? Apparently Mircea Eliade ! Who by association has arisen as the enlightened one ;-) Not that the core of what he was saying didn't have merit . I just think he grabbed the ball ran with it and didn't know when to stop to make the touch down ! ;-)