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Brilliant Ancient Problem Solving

October 28, 2010

Chris Brady over at Targuman has been posting on some of the problems in interpreting Genesis “They saw that they were naked” and sexy? and Genesis of Evil. In his second post Genesis of Evil he points to an interesting interpretive problem.

Most of you probably know the story. God puts Adam and Eve in the garden and tells them to eat the fruit of every tree except one, and adds if they do eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that “surely they will die that very day.” However, the serpent says to Eve, ““You will not die;  for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Now here’s the problem: Adam and Eve do not die the day they eat the fruit, so the serpent was telling the truth, and apparently, God lied!

Chris is not the first reader to notice this problem. A long time ago the author of Jubilees noticed several problems inherent in the story of Genesis. He was a good reader whomever he was, and actually had a brilliant resolution to the problem of Adam and Eve not dying on “that very day” built on Ps 90:4 and the ancient belief that one day is like a thousand years to God in heaven.

Adam died. . . and he lacked seventy years of one thousand years [that is, he died at the age of 930]. One thousand years are as a single day in the testimony of heaven; therefore it was written concerning the tree of knowledge, “On the day that you eat of it? you will die.” Jubilees 4:29-30

So there you go, because Adam did not live to a thousand years, Adam died on that very day in “God-time”!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2010 9:33 am

    I like it, there’s an answer to everything eh!

  2. October 28, 2010 10:44 am

    Not sure if you noticed my post on Paul and Jubilees…that was completely sparked by your mention of it at Targuman…but I couldn’t help but realize as I started to read Jubilees that I was hearing the same voice I hear when Christians defend inerrancy.

    It made me realize that this game of making everything “work” together in disparate texts has been going on for a very long time, and 20th/21st century Christians aren’t doing anything new when they come up with ingenious, elaborate explanations for unresolved conflicts within Scripture and Tradition.

    It made me laugh when I thought about it.

    • October 28, 2010 10:57 am

      Yeah, terri I saw it. I commented at Targuman, you wrote article, James put up a link to it, and I found your article. What a tangled web!

      Anyways, yes Christians are not doing anything new. If you’re still reading Jubilees, and interested, I have a couple more articles here, one on its possible relation to Paul and cicumcision

      Or you could just search.

      I like how Moses writes down what is already written on the heavenly tablets. I know some fundamentalists that would probably REALLY like if that was how their Bible started!

  3. October 28, 2010 11:09 am

    Future AiG release on Jubilees’ novel application of the day-age theory:

    AiG stands firmly on the authority of Scripture. From our study of the Bible, we are persuaded that when Adam died, he lacked seventy years of one thousand normal-length years, about 6000 years ago, and that he had his first son, Seth, when he was 130 normal-length years old, about 5,870 years ago. Many Christians who profess to believe that the Bible is God’s Word do not accept the straightforward interpretation of Genesis and accept a shorter life-span (and sometimes evolution also)…

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