The “First” Family

The climax of Creation is when God creates man and woman (Genesis 1:27). Both are created at the same time and as equals and in the same manner as the other species (meaning multiple men and women) with the only difference being that they were created in God’s own image. This is in contrast to the idea that Adam and Eve were the first humans on earth. Another set of verses that shows that Adam and Eve weren’t alone follow the murder of Cain (Genesis 4:14-16) when Cain is banished and fears the “other people” will kill him. You can also read a little further and find that while he was banished Cain got married and began to build a city (Genesis 4:17). Who did Cain marry and who was he building a city with? The Bible does not mention Adam and Eve having another child until Seth (Genesis 4:25). Seth was another son and not once is a daughter mentioned.. The argument could be used that no daughters were mentioned because the emphasis seems to be on males but, even with that logic if Adam had a daughter for Cain to mate with he couldn’t. Not because its incest but, because he was banished to the land of Nod (Gen 4:16) to begin with. So there had to be other people there.

So what is the point of the story? Why tell such an elaborate tale? Some scholars believe the story of Adam and Eve is a continuation of the creation account and is to be taken literally and some believe it to be a completely different creation account entirely. My belief is that this is another allegorical lesson just like the creation account. It is intended to teach about our Creator’s greatest gifts to us: Reason and Free-will. The account of the first family is highly symbolic and is contrary to Augustine’s invention of the curse of Original Sin. The lesson being taught is about man’s moral weaknesses and self-serving nature. From the very beginning we learn that our very nature causes us to think and act inwardly. This will never give anyone a sense of purpose, it carries no reward and never will.

All of us are created with both darkness and light. The serpent is emblematic of our dark side. The “conversation” between Eve and the serpent symbolizes our internal struggle between doing what is right (light) and wrong (dark). The struggle portrayed in this account is one we all experience on a daily basis. We are all born with the desire to please ourselves. This leads to selfishness and greed. Both of which are the vices that cause almost every conflict. Eve decided for herself to eat the “forbidden fruit”. She made the decision because she wanted to be like God. She wanted what was not her’s to have for her own purposes. So she was acting selfish and out of self-serving greed. We have to learn to accept who we are and what we have been given and not seek what belongs to others or that which was not meant for us. This enables us to focus on being kind to others and helping those who are less fortunate. The “banishment” from the garden symbolizes that selfishness and self-centeredness will always lead to an undesirable outcome and it is often the opposite of what you had intended.

The tragedy of Cain and Abel is a critical lesson. It shows us the worst kind of evil. It shows us our absolute darkest ability. There is nothing worse than taking another person’s life. There is a high value placed on human life – remember that we were created in the “image of God” and therefore murder is an action against God and ALL of mankind. Cain was jealous of Abel and jealousy is totally an act of thinking inwardly. Jealousy is a feeling in which you place yourself above others as though you have an entitlement greater than those around you. When we let the evil within us control us we can become capable of the most vile actions and murder, by far, is worst action of all. Why God did not decide to strike Cain down the instant he committed this horrific act is an example of the need for all of us to forgive, which is the most selfless of all actions. So in one lesson we see our worst and our greatest abilities. Thus from the very beginning of the Bible we see the struggle between darkness and light, good and evil, right and wrong. The reason for this constant struggle is the great enigma and the search for the answer is the true quest for light.

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light

2 thoughts on “The “First” Family

  1. Quite an intuitive and symbolic read of Genesis. I suggest if you haven’t already, to read “The Lost World of Genesis One” by John H. Walton. It is on my (quite long) list of things to read. And it seems quite a few people these days are suggesting that Adam and Eve were not the first humans, but the first humans made in the image of God. It is quite a refreshing outlook on the first book of the Hebrew Scriptures.


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