RE: I didn't think Adam had the capacity for error until Eve was created...

From: Jim Armstrong (
Date: Wed Jan 22 2003 - 00:07:35 EST

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    Mea culpa. Sarcasm comes a little too easy to me and you are diminished
    by my response.

    For that I apologize.

    I didn't find much else to resonate with here.

    Yes, I see where you are coming from, I think. But it seems to me that
    interpreting Biblical teachings through non-canonical works is
    essentially a contradiction. Most (all?) writings like the Gospels of
    Thomas and Philip were eliminated precisely because they were not
    consonant with the core consensus of the voices of the canon. It's not
    inappropriate to read them for context of the times and understanding of
    various groups' beliefs, but the Gospels of Thomas and Philip in
    particular were passed over when making the several canonical cuts
    [Gospel of Thomas specifically excluded by Origen, for example, and the
    Gospel of Philip doesn't seem to have been in the running]. So, why
    would one look to them for clarification and subtle meanings of passages
    in the canon itself. I'm not even talking about inspiration here, just
    logic. Case in point: "Then on page 227, "Man and God are each only a
    half finished, incomplete form." While this may be part of your
    personal theology - and you are certainly entitled to it - the
    remarkably anthropocentric idea of God being incomplete without man
    isn't going to win any points with any of the canon compilation crews,
    nor I venture in our own time with many participants in this particular


    Still, it was an interesting tour!




    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On
    Behalf Of
    Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 6:03 PM
    Subject: I didn't think Adam had the capacity for error until Eve was


    I made this statement:

    You are saying that Adam demonstrated the capacity for error before the
    Fall? I didn't think he had it until Eve was created.

    And got these derisive responses:

    If Adam didn't have the capacity for error until after Eve was created
    his rid,[sic] this means that God took the one perfect part of him to
    create woman!

    Everything makes sense to me now!


    So He accidentally marred Adam in the process of creating Eve? Oh yes,
    there is that missing rib! I never made the link between a missing rib
    and capacity for error!

    I admire your dry sense of humor! JimA


    Where did I ever get such a sense of humor?

    Perhaps from Gershom Scholem, author of the Messianic Idea in Judaism.
    In the preface, Scholem is called the "master builder of historical
    studies of the Kabbalah." What does that have to do with Genesis and the
    fall? For that we look to Adolphe Franke:
    From Adolph Franke's The Kabbalah, the religious philosophy of the
    "In the Mishna (Haggiga Sec.2) we find this remarkable passage: "The
    story of Genesis (the Creation) is not to be explained to two men, the
    story of the Merkaba (Heavenly Chariot) not even to one, unless he be
    wise and can deduce wisdom of his own accord."

    "If we are to believe Maimonides, - who, although a stranger to the
    Kabbalah, could not deny its existence - the first half, entitled the
    "Story of Genesis," taught the science of nature, and the second half,
    called the "Story of the Chariot," contained a treatise on theology.
    This opinion was accepted by all the Kabbalists.

    So, the concensus among scholars of Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah is
    that Genesis is allegorical since they're not allowed to reveal its real
    meaning. That is how they study it. So, what do they say?

    "The soul of all mankind was originally contained within Adam. Now its
    sparks were scattered throughout the terrestrial universe, and the
    continued existence of sin has ever more increased their dispersion.
    They are in exile and must be led home and restored to their primordial
    spiritual structure, which is at the same time, the structure of Adam
    and the structure of the Messiah." p.187 Scholem

    Then on page 227, "Man and God are each only a half finished, incomplete
    form. Man without God is really not man, adam, a sublime and spiritual
    being, but only dam, blood, a biological entity. He is lacking the a or
    alef, which is God, alufo shel olam, the master of the world. Only when
    the alef and dam, God and man, get together, the two form a real unity,
    and only then does man deserve to be called Adam. But how is such unity,
    ahdut, to be accomplished? By kisuf which means the constant striving
    for union with God. If man casts off all earthly or material elements
    and ascends through all the worlds and becomes one with God to the
    degree of losing the feeling of separate existence, then will he be
    rightly called adam, Man." Scholem

    Again from Adolphe Franke: "The first, says the Zohar text, is the
    Ancient, seen face to face. It is the supreme head, the source of all
    light, the principle of all wisdom, and can be defined only as unity.
    From this absolute unity, distinct from the various forms and from all
    relative unity, issue two parallel principles, opposite in appearance
    but inseparable in reality. One male or active is called Wisdom; the
    other passive or female, is designated by a word customarily translated
    as intelligence." p. 96

    So, if the structure of God is perfect unity including the male and
    female principles, then the structure of the Son of God must also
    contain male and female principles. The Jewish Messiah is said to share
    the structure of Adam before he had the feeling of separate existence
    from God, when dam was Adam and there was perfect unity.

    If Jesus is messiah in the Kabbalistic sense, and why shouldn't He be?
    Then somewhere in Christian texts there must be allegorical reference to
    the perfect unity of Jesus including male and female.

    I found these fascinating references to the messiah in Nag Hammadi
    texts, for example, the Gospel of Philip:
    "When Eve was still in Adam, death did not exist. When she was separated
    from him, death came into being. If he enters again and attains his
    former self, death will be no more."

    We do accept that Jesus conquered death, do we not? To do so, he must
    attain his former self, and forsake multiplicity for unity (with God/as

    The Gospel of Thomas:
    "They said to him, shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom? Jesus
    said to them,"...when you make the male and female one and the same, so
    that the male not be male nor the female female."

    Jesus said to her, "I am he who exists from the undivided."

    Jesus said,"I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that
    she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman
    who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven."

    1 Corinthians: 15-22: As in Adam all men die, so in Christ all will be
    brought to life."

    This is what I had originally written that provoked the one line

    You are saying that Adam demonstrated the capacity for error before the
    Fall? I didn't think he had it until Eve was created.

    Now you know why I didn't think Adam demonstrated the capacity for error
    until Eve was created. Because it was at that point that he was
    'separated,' no longer enjoyed unity and was susceptible to desire which
    was not an issue when MALE AND FEMALE WERE ONE. When male and female
    were one, there was nothing to desire as everything was contained in one
    unity and perfection. With the creation of Eve, Adam was no longer
    complete in himself and neither was Eve. The first desire, now that
    desire could rise from the incompleteness and separateness of Adam and
    Eve, was to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They
    did this together but as 'separated' beings.

    Now you not only understand what I was trying to say, but what the
    Kabbalists and the Gnostics also said which prompted it.

    Using non-canonical works seems to lead to my being misunderstood. I
    mean to give you good information and I find that there is a thread from
    the allegories in Genesis to gershom scholem and adolphe franke's
    interpretation of the Kabbalah to the coptic nag hammadi texts that
    suggests my remark that "I didn't think Adam had demonstrated the
    capacity for error until Eve was created," is absolutely appropriate, in
    line with all of these texts, their philosophies and the Biblical
    scholars who study them and no laughing matter at all. What I might
    point out is that in each derisive response the writer addressed the
    surface meaning of the allegory, the "rib," - the one meant for the
    common people.


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