Sermon 15-10-4 (Original Sin, Gen. 2, Mark 10)

 Reading

Gen. 2: 18 to 24:

[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. [19] And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. [20] And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. [21] 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; [22] And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. [23] 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. [24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Is this contempt for women? It certainly appears like that. God created the animals in an attempt to make a help meet for the adam, that’s what it says in verse 18, the adam and there is no capitalisation in Hebrew. But because none of the animals were good enough for adam (Verse 20, no article), that’s why God created the woman.

Now the adam (Verse 20 at the beginning it says the) gave names to all the cattle and also he named the woman, ishah, because she was taken out of man, ish. This is the first occurrence of the word ish in the Hebrew Bible. Wherever it says man previously, the Hebrew text says adam, or most of the time ‘the adam’. Adam is not necessarily a name. It can mean man, men in general including women, mankind, sometimes it even stands for females alone, e.g.: Numb. 31: 26 (all men and boys had been killed in verse 17). Human being might be the best general English translation.

But the adam (verse 23, man in general, maybe mankind) named her ishah, the word ish occurs only afterwards in the same sentence. Man was named after woman! So why would the woman be called ishah, if she was not named after the man? The word is related to the word for fire or flame, esh. Now the vowels have been inserted into the Hebrew text between 600 and 1000 AD. Up to then they were verbally transmitted. The ah – ending to the word simply indicates that it stands for a female. So the words ishah and ish may just indicate the burning desire for each other.

This also fits well together with the expression ‘help meet’. This is actually a pretty good translation. The word for meet indicates the side which faces the other, so they meet, and fit nicely into each other..

Was the joy they reached in ‘meeting’ the reason for the Name of God, the one we are not to use in vain? There is a chapter called ‘The Name of the LORD’ in ‘Greetings from Paradise’. It is the exclamation of joy in which the name of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netan… ends. The adam named all the animals and the woman, God did not! Did the adam give God this name in a fit of such joy?

Before I expand on that, let me just say something about the last verse in the reading. This must be one of the oldest verses in the Bible, because there is no case reported in the scripture in which a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves unto his woman (ishah, there is no special word for wife in Hebrew and the possessive pronoun ‘his’ is just a little appendix). Always the woman left her family and lived with the man, often never to see her parents again, as for example Rebeccah and the women of Jacob.

Did you know that God already had created women in:

Gen. 1: 27: So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

or rather:

So God created the adam in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

This is the original creation of the adam, the mankind including women. Now isn’t it surprising that the only thing worth mentioning is that they are male and female? Not the upright stance, not the forward facing eyes to judge distance, not the opposable thumb to grab tools, not the big brain, not language? Being male and female was the only thing that mattered in the image of God! Mankind lived in the Garden of Eden! Eden means sexual pleasure. When Sarah heard that she still shall get pregnant at ninety years of age, she said:

Gen. 18: 12: … After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

The Hebrew word for pleasure is eden.

Both the Hebrew words male and female in Gen. 1: 27 are reminiscent of the genitals. The word for female means a tight little hollow. It’s male counterpart has developed into the modern word for a fitting in which a jewel is set. The word for male means to permeate, it can mean to remember, the idea being that the person is permeated by the thought being remembered.

Now the genitals were just given for joy! Reproduction God commanded mankind in the next verse:

Gen. 1: 28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, ….

This is the very similar to what God already had commanded the previous creatures in:

Gen. 1: 22: And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

The Hebrew words for replenish (the earth) and fill (the waters) are the same. Nowhere is it mentioned that the animals are male and female. In other words in verses 22 and 28 God installed reproduction, but in verse 27 he installed sexual pleasure, which was not yet known to be connected to reproduction and it was God’s intention to keep this knowledge from mankind.

The acquisition of this knowledge is the Original Sin. The story is in Gen. 3. The Original Sin was to eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God was really upset about it:

Gen. 3: 13: And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this [that] thou hast done?

And God’s punishment for the woman was:

Gen. 3: 16: … I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and (or in) thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband (ish, man), and he shall rule over thee.

Never again shall a woman be able to engage in this most pleasurable of all human activities without the sorrow of thinking of pregnancy and childbirth. What a punishment! If she doesn’t want to get pregnant, why doesn’t she just avoid sex? Because God said that the man shall rule over her. She shall not be able to control herself. That is what this verse means. It does not mean at all that a woman should obey the commands of a man against her will. It means God commanded her to have sex, she can’t help it, it is as if the man rules over her!

This Knowledge made men want to control their women, because from then on they wanted to know who their children were. Before it was not known that men have anything to do with getting children. ‘To know a woman’ as in Gen. 4: 1 does not mean sex directly. The sex act is expressed as ‘to go in’ or ’to come into a woman’, e.g.: Gen. 6: 4 or Gen. 38: 16. To know a woman means to put a head dress on her and to castrate another couple of guys and to tell them, ‘Now you watch out that nobody touches this woman, while I’m out!’ Then the man KNEW that her child was his child.

This Knowledge was the origin of Good and Evil. Imagine men and women mingling with each other without knowing that sex makes women pregnant. Why would a woman expect a man to stay with her after sex? Why would a man expect a woman not to have sex with anybody else? This was Paradise! After the Knowledge was known there suddenly was Good and Evil. That’s why it is called the Original Sin. For a happy life free from depression we must forget this knowledge or at least we must manage what we know without letting it interfere with pleasure. All through the ages this was difficult, but today with contraception and safe sex, the door to paradise is reopened. Will we go through?

Forgetting this knowledge is part of what Jesus also said in:

Mark 10: 14 & 15: … Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

We got to be like little children, we got to forget the Original Sin or, to put it in the words of the Black Eyed Peas, ‘Let’s get retarded, let’s disconnect from all intellect.’

In Mark 10: 2 to 16 Jesus spoke against ‘adultery’. The Ancient Greek word is Moicheia and the Thayers Lexicon says, it refers to women drawing away a man to eat of things sacrificed to idols. It does not directly refer to sex or at least sex was not the sin, idol worship was.

In the Quran it says in 4: 3, ‘And if ye fear that ye will not be able to do justice with the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice then one or what your right hand possesses.’ This is often seen as a restriction on how many women a Moslem is allowed to marry. However Muhammad said these words after he had badly lost a battle fighting against the Quraysh. There were many orphans and many widows. There was no veterans affairs department in Medina so Muhammad provided for these women by getting them married so that they would be taken care of by men. The number four is not a restriction at all. It is an encouragement, ‘marry two or three or four’, marry more if you can, not if you like, if you can, marry as many ‘that your right hand possesses.’ So marry as many as you can afford to provide for. It is not a limit. As a matter of fact the women to be married here were war widows. The men who would marry them would marry them on top of the women to whom they were married already. Muhammad himself married twenty women in his life. This is how Muhammad took care of widows of war. These men did a social deed. Marriage in Ancient society was not primarily about sex at all. The reason for one man having several women in a warrior society was that warriors more frequently die prematurely than women. If there were only one on one marriages, quite a number of women would have to go without a man and there would be fewer children in the tribe and therefore less military power. Women were practically always pregnant. You don’t dump a pregnant woman. Look after her, feed her. Sex goes without saying.

And a woman should not leave, because, since the Original Sin, we know that men make them pregnant and we want to know who made a woman pregnant, who is the father of her child. Submitting sex to these questions is the Original Sin!!!