The History of Adam (Genesis 2:5 – Genesis 5:2): The Consequences of Sin
Genesis 3:14-15 – The Cursing of the Serpent
“And Jehovah God proceeded to say to the serpent: “Because you have done this thing, you are the cursed one out of all the domestic animals and out of all the wild beasts of the field. Upon your belly you will go, and dust is what you will eat all the days of your life. 15 And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel”.
What is interesting about verse 15 is that throughout the rest of the Bible only fathers are said to have seed. It is therefore understood that the phrase “her seed” referring to the woman, is alluding to the fact that Jesus (the seed) would have an earthly mother but not an earthly father.
The serpent [Satan] bruising the seed [Jesus] in the heel is understood to refer to Jesus being put to death on the stake, but it only being a temporary pain as he was resurrected 3 days later rather like the irritation of a bruise in the heel for which the pain fades after a few days. The reference of the seed [Jesus] bruising the serpent [Satan] in the head, alludes to the final elimination of Satan the Devil.
There would be no more mention of a “seed” until Abram [Abraham] in Genesis 12.
Genesis 3:16-19 – The Immediate Consequences for Adam and Eve
“ 16 To the woman he said: “I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.”
17 And to Adam he said: “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. 18 And thorns and thistles it will grow for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return”.
At first sight, these verses could be taken as God punishing Eve and Adam. However, they could just as easily be understood as the consequences of their actions. In other words, because of their disobedience, now they had become imperfect and life would no longer be the same. God’s blessing would no longer be on them, which protected them from pain. Imperfections would affect the relationship between men and women, particularly in marriage. Additionally, they would no longer be provided with a beautiful garden to live in full of fruit, rather, they would have to work hard to make enough food to provide for themselves.
God also confirmed that they would return to the dust from which they were created, in other words, they would die.
God’s Original Purpose for Man
The only mention of death God made to Adam and Eve was in regard to eating of the tree of knowledge of good and bad. They had to have known what death was, otherwise, the command would have been meaningless. Doubtless, they had observed animals, birds, and plants dying and decomposing back to the dust. Genesis 1:28 recorded that God said to them “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” They, therefore, could have reasonably expected to continue to live on in the Garden of Eden, without death, provided they obeyed that single, simple, command.
In sinning, Adam and Eve gave up being able to live forever in a garden-like earth.
Genesis 3:20-24 – Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
“After this Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she had to become the mother of everyone living. 21 And Jehovah God proceeded to make long garments of skin for Adam and for his wife and to clothe them. 22 And Jehovah God went on to say: “Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take [fruit] also from the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite,—” 23 With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eʹden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. 24 And so he drove the man out and posted at the east of the garden of Eʹden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning itself continually to guard the way to the tree of life”.
In Hebrew, Eve is “chavvah”[i] which means “life, life-giver”, which is appropriate “because she had to become the mother of everyone living”. In Genesis 3:7, the account tells us that after taking the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve realized they were naked and made loin coverings out of fig leaves. Here God showed that despite the disobedience he still cared for them, as he provided them with proper long garments of skin (possibly leather) from dead animals to cover them. These garments would also serve to keep them warm, as perhaps the climate outside the garden may not have been so pleasant. They were now expelled from the garden so that they could no longer eat from the tree of life and thereby continue to live on for a long duration into the indefinite future.
The tree of life
The wording of Genesis 3:22 seems to indicate that up till this time they had not yet taken and eaten the fruit from the tree of life. If they had already eaten from the tree of life, then God’s next action in expelling them from the Garden of Eden would have been pointless. The main reason God put Adam and Eve outside the Garden with a guard to stop them re-entering the garden was to stop them from taking the fruit “also from the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite”. In saying “also” (Hebrew “gam”) God meant their eating from the tree of life in addition to the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad that they had already eaten. In addition, while Adam and Eve would take nearly a thousand years to die, the indication is that eating of the fruit of the tree of life would enable them to live to time indefinite, not forever, not being immortal, but still living a very, very long time, by implication, far longer than the nearly one thousand years before they died without eating from the tree of life.
The land outside the garden needed cultivation, and therefore hard work, to enable them to obtain food and continue to live. To ensure they could not return into the garden, the account tells us that at the entrance in the east of the garden there were at least two cherubs stationed there and a flaming, turning blade of a sword to stop them from re-entering the garden or attempting to eat from the tree of life.
Other Scriptures mentioning a Tree of Life (Outside Genesis 1-3)
- Proverbs 3:18 – Talking about wisdom and discernment “It is a tree of life to those taking hold of it, and those keeping fast hold of it are to be called happy”.
- Proverbs 11:30 – “The fruitage of the righteous one is a tree of life, and he that is winning souls is wise”.
- Proverbs 13:12 – “Expectation postponed is making the heart sick, but the thing desired is a tree of life when it does come”.
- Proverbs 15:4 – “The calmness of the tongue is a tree of life, but distortion in it means a breaking down in the spirit”.
- Revelation 2:7 – To the congregation of Ephesus “Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations: To him that conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’”
Who were these cherubs who were stationed at the entrance of the Garden to block re-entry to Adam and Eve and their offspring? The next mention of a cherub is in Exodus 25:17 in relation to two cherubs that were carved and placed atop of the Ark of the Covenant. They are described here as having two wings. Later, when King Solomon made the Temple in Jerusalem, he put two cherubs of oil-tree wood 10 cubits high in the innermost room of the house. (1 Kings 6:23-35). The other book of the Hebrew Bible to mention cherubs, which it does abundantly, is Ezekiel, for example in Ezekiel 10:1-22. Here they are described as having 4 faces, 4 wings and the likeness of human hands under their wings (v21). The 4 faces were described as the face of a cherub, the second, the face of a man, the third, the face of a lion, and the fourth, the face of an eagle.
Are there any traces of the memory of these Cherubs elsewhere?
The Hebrew word for Cherub is “kerub”, plural “kerubim”.[ii] In Akkadian there is a very similar word “karabu” meaning “to bless”, or “karibu” meaning “one who blesses” which are phonetically similar to cherub, cherubim. “Karibu” is a name for the “lamassu”, a Sumerian protective deity, depicted in Assyrian times as a hybrid of a human, bird and either a bull or a lion and having bird wings. Interestingly, images of these karibu \ lamassu flanked the gates (entrances) into many cities (places of safety) to protect them. There are Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian versions.
From the ruins of these ancient empires, examples of them have been taken and can be found in the Louvre, Berlin Museum and British Museum, among others. The picture below is from the Louvre and shows human-headed winged bulls from Sargon II’s palace in Dur-Sharrukin, modern Khorsabad. The British Museum has human-headed winged lions from Nimrud.
@Copyright 2019 Author
There are also other similar images such as bas-reliefs at Nimroud, (Assyrian ruins, but now in the British Museum), which show “a god” with wings and a type of flaming sword in each hand.
The latter picture is more like the Bible description of cherubs, but regardless the Assyrians clearly had memories of powerful creatures, different to mankind that were protectors or guardians.
Genesis 4:1-2a – The First Children are Born
“Now Adam had intercourse with Eve his wife and she became pregnant. In time she gave birth to Cain and said: “I have produced a man with the aid of Jehovah.” 2 Later she again gave birth, to his brother Abel.”
The Hebrew word used, translated as “intercourse” is “yada”[iii] meaning “to know”, but to know in a carnal (sexual) way, as it is followed by the accusative marker “et” which can be seen in this interlinear Bible[iv].
The name Cain, “qayin”[v] in Hebrew is a play on words in Hebrew with “acquire”, (translated above as produced)” which is “qanah”[vi]. However, the name “Hehbel” (English – Abel) is solely a proper name.
Genesis 4:2a-7 – Cain and Abel as Adults
“And Abel came to be a herder of sheep, but Cain became a cultivator of the ground. 3 And it came about at the expiration of some time that Cain proceeded to bring some fruits of the ground as an offering to Jehovah. 4 But as for Abel, he too brought some firstlings of his flock, even their fatty pieces. Now while Jehovah was looking with favor upon Abel and his offering, 5 he did not look with any favor upon Cain and upon his offering. And Cain grew hot with great anger, and his countenance began to fall. 6 At this Jehovah said to Cain: “Why are you hot with anger and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you turn to doing good, will there not be an exaltation? But if you do not turn to doing good, there is sin crouching at the entrance, and for you is its craving; and will you, for your part, get the mastery over it?””
Abel became a herder of sheep or possibly sheep and goats, as the Hebrew word used here can refer to a mixed flock. This was one of the two ‘career’ choices available. The other career choice was to cultivate the ground which appears to have been chosen by Cain using his firstborn status (or was assigned to him by Adam).
Sometime later, the Hebrew text reads literally “in the course of time”, they both came to offer a sacrifice of their labors to God., Cain brought some fruit of the ground, but nothing special, whereas Abel brought the best, the firstlings, and the best pieces of the firstlings. While the account does not give a reason, it is not hard to discern why Jehovah looked with favor upon Abel and his offering, as it was the best Abel could give, showing he appreciated life regardless of the situation mankind was now in. On the other hand, Cain did not appear to put any effort into his choice of the offering. If you are a parent and your two children offered you a gift, would you not appreciate the one that had the most effort put into it, whatever that gift was, rather than the one that showed signs of being hastily thrown together without any feeling or care?
Cain was visibly upset. The account tells us “Cain grew hot with great anger and his countenance began to fall”. Jehovah was loving as he told Cain why he had treated without favor, so he could rectify it. What would happen? The following verses tell us what happened next.
Genesis 4:8-16 – The first murder
“After that Cain said to Abel his brother: [“Let us go over into the field.”] So it came about that while they were in the field Cain proceeded to assault Abel his brother and kill him. 9 Later on Jehovah said to Cain: “Where is Abel your brother?” and he said: “I do not know. Am I my brother’s guardian?” 10 At this he said: “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed in banishment from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood at your hand. 12 When you cultivate the ground, it will not give you back its power. A wanderer and a fugitive you will become in the earth.” 13 At this Cain said to Jehovah: “My punishment for error is too great to carry. 14 Here you are actually driving me this day from off the surface of the ground, and from your face I shall be concealed; and I must become a wanderer and fugitive on the earth, and it is certain that anyone finding me will kill me.” 15 At this Jehovah said to him: “For that reason anyone killing Cain must suffer vengeance seven times.”
And so Jehovah set up a sign for Cain in order that no one finding him should strike him.
16 With that Cain went away from the face of Jehovah and took up residence in the land of Fugitiveness to the east of Eʹden.”
The Westminster Leningrad Codex reads “And Cain talked with Abel his brother and it came to pass when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”
It also reads in Genesis 4:15b, 16 that “And Yahweh set (or placed) on Cain a mark lest anyone finding him should kill him”. “And Cain went out from the presence of Yahweh and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden”.
Despite Cain taking the life of his brother, God chose not to demand his life in return, but he did not escape any punishment. It seems that the area around Eden where they were living was still relatively easily cultivated, but that was not to be the case where Cain was to be banished to, further to the east of the Garden of Eden away from Adam and Eve and his younger brothers and sisters.
Genesis 4:17-18 – Cain’s Wife
“Afterward Cain had intercourse with his wife and she became pregnant and gave birth to Eʹnoch. Then he engaged in building a city and called the city’s name by the name of his son Eʹnoch. 18 Later there was born to Eʹnoch, Iʹrad. And Iʹrad became father to Me·huʹja·el, and Me·huʹja·el became father to Me·thuʹsha·el, and Me·thuʹsha·el became father to Laʹmech.”
We cannot pass this verse without addressing a frequently raised question.
Where did Cain get his wife?
- Genesis 3:20 – “Eve … had to become the mother of everyone living”
- Genesis 1:28 – God said to Adam and Eve “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth”
- Genesis 4:3 – Cain made his sacrifice “at the expiration of some time”
- Genesis 4:14 – There were already other children of Adam and Eve, possibly even grand-children, or even great-grand-children. Cain was concerned that “anyone finding me will kill me”. He did not even say “one of my brothers finding me will kill me”.
- Genesis 4:15 – Why would Jehovah put a mark on Cain to warn those finding him, not to kill him, if there were no other living relatives other than Adam and Eve that would see that mark?
- Genesis 5:4 – “Meanwhile he [Adam] became father to sons and daughters”.
Conclusion: Cain’s wife therefore must have been one of his female relatives likely a sister or niece.
Was this breaking God’s law? No, there was no law against marriage to a sibling until the time of Moses, some 700 years after the flood, by which time man was far from perfection after the passage of around 2,400 years in total from Adam. Today, the imperfection is such that it is not wise to marry even a 1st cousin, even where it is allowed by law, certainly not a brother or sister, otherwise, the children of such a union have a high risk of being born with serious physical and mental defects being present.
Genesis 4:19-24 – Cain’s Offspring
“And Laʹmech proceeded to take two wives for himself. The name of the first was Aʹdah and the name of the second was Zilʹlah. 20 In time Aʹdah gave birth to Jaʹbal. He proved to be the founder of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 And the name of his brother was Juʹbal. He proved to be the founder of all those who handle the harp and the pipe. 22 As for Zilʹlah, she too gave birth to Tuʹbal-cain, the forger of every sort of tool of copper and iron. And the sister of Tuʹbal-cain was Naʹa·mah. 23 Consequently Laʹmech composed these words for his wives Aʹdah and Zilʹlah:
“Hear my voice, you wives of Laʹmech;
Give ear to my saying:
A man I have killed for wounding me,
Yes, a young man for giving me a blow.
24 If seven times Cain is to be avenged,
Then Laʹmech seventy times and seven.”
Lamech, the great-great-great-grandchild of Cain, proved to be a rebel and took two wives for himself. He also became a murderer like his ancestor Cain. One son of Lamech, Jabal, became the first to make tents and move around with the livestock. Jabal’s brother, Jubal, made a harp (lyre) and pipe to make music, while their half-brother Tubal-cain became a forger of copper and iron. We might call this a list of pioneers and inventors of different skills.
Genesis 4:25-26 – Seth
“And Adam proceeded to have intercourse again with his wife and so she gave birth to a son and called his name Seth, because, as she said: “God has appointed another seed in place of Abel, because Cain killed him.” 26 And to Seth also there was born a son and he proceeded to call his name Eʹnosh. At that time a start was made of calling on the name of Jehovah”.
After a brief history of Cain, Adam’s firstborn son, the account returns to Adam and Eve, and that Seth was born after Abel’s death. Also, it was at this time that with Seth and his son that a return to the worship of Jehovah was made.
Genesis 5:1-2 – Colophon, “toledot”, Family History[vii]
The Colophon of Genesis 5:1-2 describing the history of Adam which we have considered above concludes this second section of Genesis.
The Writer or Owner: “This is the book of Adam’s history”. The owner or writer of this section was Adam
The description: “Male and female he created them. After that he [God] blessed them and called their name Man in the day of their being created”.
When: “in the day of God’s creating Adam, he made him in the likeness of God” showing man was made perfect in God’s likeness before they sinned.