The Old Testament commences with one of its most interesting myths, that of the Creation and Fall of Man. The story is to be found in the first three chapters of Genesis, the substance of which is as follows:
After God created the "Heavens" and the "Earth," he said: "Let there be light, and there was light," and after calling the light Day, and the darkness Night, the first day's work was ended.
God then made the "Firmament," which completed the second day's work.
Then God caused the dry land to appear, which he called "Earth," and the waters he called "Seas." After this the earth was made to bring forth grass, trees, &c., which completed the third day's work.
The next things God created were the "Sun,"[1:1] "Moon" and "Stars," and after he had set them in the Firmament, the fourth day's work was ended.[2:1]
After these, God created great "whales," and other creatures which inhabit the water, also "winged fowls." This brought the fifth day to a close.
The work of creation was finally completed on the sixth day,[2:2] when God made "beasts" of every kind, "cattle," "creeping things," and lastly "man," whom he created "male and female," in his own image.[2:3]
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh[2:4] day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day, from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."
After this information, which concludes at the third verse of Genesis ii., strange though it may appear, another account of the Creation commences, which is altogether different from the one we have just related. This account commences thus:
"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day (not days) that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens."
It then goes on to say that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,"[2:5] which appears to be the first thing he made. After planting a garden eastward in Eden,[2:6] the Lord God put the man therein, "and out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life,[2:7] also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of [Pg 3]Knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads." These four rivers were called, first Pison, second Gihon, third Hiddekel, and the fourth Euphrates.[3:1]
After the "Lord God" had made the "Tree of Life," and the "Tree of Knowledge," he said unto the man:
"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Then the Lord God, thinking that it would not be well for man to live alone, formed—out of the ground—"every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them, and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof."
After Adam had given names to "all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to every beast of the field," "the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he (the Lord God) took one of his (Adam's) ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof."
"And of the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto Adam." "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed."
After this everything is supposed to have gone harmoniously, until a serpent appeared before the woman[3:2]—who was afterwards called Eve—and said to her:
"Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
The woman, answering the serpent, said:
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, lest ye die."
Whereupon the serpent said to her:
"Ye shall not surely die" (which, according to the narrative, was the truth).
He then told her that, upon eating the fruit, their eyes would be opened, and that they would be as gods, knowing good from evil.
The woman then looked upon the tree, and as the fruit was tempting, "she took of the fruit, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband, and he did eat." The result was not death (as the Lord God had told them), but, as the serpent had said, "the eyes of both were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
Towards evening (i. e., "in the cool of the day"), Adam and his wife "heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden," and being afraid, they hid themselves among the trees of the garden. The Lord God not finding Adam and his wife, said: "Where art thou?" Adam answering, said: "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."
The "Lord God" then told Adam that he had eaten of the tree which he had commanded him not to eat, whereupon Adam said: "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat."
When the "Lord God" spoke to the woman concerning her transgression, she blamed the serpent, which she said "beguiled" her. This sealed the serpent's fate, for the "Lord God" cursed him and said:
"Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life."[4:1]
Unto the woman the "Lord God" said:
"I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
Unto Adam he said:
"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
The "Lord God" then made coats of skin for Adam and his wife, with which he clothed them, after which he said:
"Behold, the man is become as one of us,[5:1] to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" (he must be sent forth from Eden).
"So he (the Lord God) drove out the man (and the woman); and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life."
Thus ends the narrative.
Before proceeding to show from whence this legend, or legends, had their origin, we will notice a feature which is very prominent in the narrative, and which cannot escape the eye of an observing reader, i. e., the two different and contradictory accounts of the creation.
The first of these commences at the first verse of chapter first, and ends at the third verse of chapter second. The second account commences at the fourth verse of chapter second, and continues to the end of the chapter.
In speaking of these contradictory accounts of the Creation, Dean Stanley says:
"It is now clear to diligent students of the Bible, that the first and second chapters of Genesis contain two narratives of the Creation, side by side, differing from each other in most every particular of time and place and order."[5:2]
Bishop Colenso, in his very learned work on the Pentateuch, speaking on this subject, says:
"The following are the most noticeable points of difference between the two cosmogonies:
"1. In the first, the earth emerges from the waters and is, therefore, saturated with moisture.[5:3] In the second, the 'whole face of the ground' requires to be moistened.[5:4]
"2. In the first, the birds and the beasts are created before man.[6:1] In the second, man is created before the birds and the beasts.[6:2]
"3. In the first, 'all fowls that fly' are made out of the waters.[6:3] In the second 'the fowls of the air' are made out of the ground.[6:4]
"4. In the first, man is created in the image of God.[6:5] In the second, man is made of the dust of the ground, and merely animated with the breath of life; and it is only after his eating the forbidden fruit that 'the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil.'[6:6]
"5. In the first, man is made lord of the whole earth.[6:7] In the second, he is merely placed in the garden of Eden, 'to dress it and to keep it.'[6:8]
"6. In the first, the man and the woman are created together, as the closing and completing work of the whole creation,—created also, as is evidently implied, in the same kind of way, to be the complement of one another, and, thus created, they are blessed together.[6:9]
"In the second, the beasts and birds are created between the man and the woman. First, the man is made of the dust of the ground; he is placed by himself in the garden, charged with a solemn command, and threatened with a curse if he breaks it; then the beasts and birds are made, and the man gives names to them, and, lastly, after all this, the woman is made out of one of his ribs, but merely as a helpmate for the man.[6:10]
"The fact is, that the second account of the Creation,[6:11] together with the story of the Fall,[6:12] is manifestly composed by a different writer altogether from him who wrote the first.[6:13]
"This is suggested at once by the circumstance that, throughout the first narrative, the Creator is always spoken of by the name Elohim (God), whereas, throughout the second account, as well as the story of the Fall, he is always called Jehovah Elohim (Lord God), except when the writer seems to abstain, for some reason, from placing the name Jehovah in the mouth of the serpent.[6:14] This accounts naturally for the above contradictions. It would appear that, for some reason, the productions of two pens have been here united, without any reference to their inconsistencies."[6:15]
Dr. Kalisch, who does his utmost to maintain—as far as his knowledge of the truth will allow—the general historical veracity of this narrative, after speaking of the first account of the Creation, says:
"But now the narrative seems not only to pause, but to go backward. The grand and powerful climax seems at once broken off, and a languid repetition appears to follow. Another cosmogony is introduced, which, to complete the perplexity, is, in many important features, in direct contradiction to the former.
"It would be dishonesty to conceal these difficulties. It would be weak mindedness and cowardice. It would be flight instead of combat. It would be an ignoble retreat, instead of victory. We confess there is an apparent dissonance."[6:16]
Dr. Knappert says:[7:1]
"The account of the Creation from the hand of the Priestly author is utterly different from the other narrative, beginning at the fourth verse of Genesis ii. Here we are told that God created Heaven and Earth in six days, and rested on the seventh day, obviously with a view to bring out the holiness of the Sabbath in a strong light."
Now that we have seen there are two different and contradictory accounts of the Creation, to be found in the first two chapters of Genesis, we will endeavor to learn if there is sufficient reason to believe they are copies of more ancient legends.
We have seen that, according to the first account, God divided the work of creation into six days. This idea agrees with that of the ancient Persians.
The Zend-Avesta—the sacred writings of the Parsees—states that the Supreme being Ahuramazdâ (Ormuzd), created the universe and man in six successive periods of time, in the following order: First, the Heavens; second, the Waters; third, the Earth; fourth, the Trees and Plants; fifth, Animals; and sixth, Man. After the Creator had finished his work, he rested.[7:2]
The Avesta account of the Creation is limited to this announcement, but we find a more detailed history of the origin of the human species in the book entitled Bundehesh, dedicated to the exposition of a complete cosmogony. This book states that Ahuramazdâ created the first man and women joined together at the back. After dividing them, he endowed them with motion and activity, placed within them an intelligent soul, and bade them "to be humble of heart; to observe the law; to be pure in their thoughts, pure in their speech, pure in their actions." Thus were born Mashya and Mashyâna, the pair from which all human beings are descended.[7:3]
The idea brought out in this story of the first human pair having originally formed a single androgynous being with two faces, separated later into two personalities by the Creator, is to be found in the Genesis account (v. 2). "Male and female created he them, and blessed them, and named their name Adam." Jewish tradition in the Targum and Talmud, as well as among learned rabbis, allege that Adam was created man and woman at the same time, having two faces turned in two opposite directions, and that the Creator separated the feminine half from him, in order to make of her a distinct person.[7:4]
The ancient Etruscan legend, according to Delitzsch, is almost the same as the Persian. They relate that God created the world in six thousand years. In the first thousand he created the Heaven and Earth; in the second, the Firmament; in the third, the Waters of the Earth; in the fourth, the Sun, Moon and Stars; in the fifth, the Animals belonging to air, water and land; and in the sixth, Man alone.[8:1]
Dr. Delitzsch, who maintains to the utmost the historical truth of the Scripture story in Genesis, yet says:
"Whence comes the surprising agreement of the Etruscan and Persian legends with this section? How comes it that the Babylonian cosmogony in Berosus, and the Phœnician in Sanchoniathon, in spite of their fantastical oddity, come in contact with it in remarkable details?"
After showing some of the similarities in the legends of these different nations, he continues:
"These are only instances of that which they have in common. For such an account outside of Israel, we must, however, conclude, that the author of Genesis i. has no vision before him, but a tradition."[8:2]
Von Bohlen tells us that the old Chaldæan cosmogony is also the same.[8:3]
To continue the Persian legend; we will now show that according to it, after the Creation man was tempted, and fell. Kalisch[8:4] and Bishop Colenso[8:5] tell us of the Persian legend that the first couple lived originally in purity and innocence. Perpetual happiness was promised them by the Creator if they persevered in their virtue. But an evil demon came to them in the form of a serpent, sent by Ahriman, the prince of devils, and gave them fruit of a wonderful tree, which imparted immortality. Evil inclinations then entered their hearts, and all their moral excellence was destroyed. Consequently they fell, and forfeited the eternal happiness for which they were destined. They killed beasts, and clothed themselves in their skins. The evil demon obtained still more perfect power over their minds, and called forth envy, hatred, discord, and rebellion, which raged in the bosom of the families.
Since the above was written, Mr. George Smith, of the British Museum, has discovered cuneiform inscriptions, which show conclusively that the Babylonians had this legend of the Creation and Fall of Man, some 1,500 years or more before the Hebrews heard of it.[9:1] The cuneiform inscriptions relating to the Babylonian legend of the Creation and Fall of Man, which have been discovered by English archæologists, are not, however, complete. The portions which relate to the Tree and Serpent have not been found, but Babylonian gem engravings show that these incidents were evidently a part of the original legend.[9:2]The Tree of Life in the Genesis account appears to correspond with the sacred grove of Anu, which was guarded by a sword turning to all the four points of the compass.[9:3] A representation of this Sacred Tree, with "attendant cherubim," copied from an Assyrian cylinder, may be seen in Mr. George Smith's "Chaldean Account of Genesis."[9:4] Figure No. 1, which we have taken from the same work,[9:5] shows the tree of knowledge, fruit, and the serpent. Mr. Smith says of it:
"One striking and important specimen of early type in the British Museum collection, has two figures sitting one on each side of a tree, holding out their hands to the fruit, while at the back of one (the woman) is scratched a serpent. We know well that in these early sculptures none of these figures were chance devices, but all represented events, or supposed events, and figures in their legends; thus it is evident that a form of the story of the Fall, similar to that of Genesis, was known in early times in Babylonia."[9:5]
This illustration might be used to illustrate the narrative of Genesis, and as Friedrich Delitzsch has remarked (G. Smith's Chaldäische Genesis) is capable of no other explanation.
M. Renan does not hesitate to join forces with the ancient commentators, in seeking to recover a trace of the same tradition among the Phenicians in the fragments of Sanchoniathon, translated into Greek by Philo of Byblos. In fact, it is there said, in speaking of the first human pair, and of Æon, which seems to be the translation of Havvâh (in Phenician Havâth) and stands in her relation to the other members of the pair, that this personage "has found out how to obtain nourishment from the fruits of the tree."
The idea of the Edenic happiness of the first human beings constitutes one of the universal traditions. Among the Egyptians, the terrestrial reign of the god Râ, who inaugurated the existence of the world and of human life, was a golden age to which they continually looked back with regret and envy. Its "like has never been seen since."
The ancient Greeks boasted of their "Golden Age," when sorrow and trouble were not known. Hesiod, an ancient Grecian poet, describes it thus:
"Men lived like Gods, without vices or passions, vexation or toil. In happy companionship with divine beings, they passed their days in tranquillity and joy, living together in perfect equality, united by mutual confidence and love. The earth was more beautiful than now, and spontaneously yielded an abundant variety of fruits. Human beings and animals spoke the same language and conversed with each other. Men were considered mere boys at a hundred years old. They had none of the infirmities of age to trouble them, and when they passed to regions of superior life, it was in a gentle slumber."
In the course of time, however, all the sorrows and troubles came to man. They were caused by inquisitiveness. The story is as follows: Epimetheus received a gift from Zeus (God), in the form of a beautiful woman (Pandora).
"She brought with her a vase, the lid of which was (by the command of God), to remain closed. The curiosity of her husband, however, tempted him to open it, and suddenly there escaped from it troubles, weariness and illness from which mankind was never afterwards free. All that remained was hope."[10:1]
Among the Thibetans, the paradisiacal condition was more complete and spiritual. The desire to eat of a certain sweet herb deprived men of their spiritual life. There arose a sense of shame, and the need to clothe themselves. Necessity compelled them to agriculture; the virtues disappeared, and murder, adultery and other vices, stepped into their place.[10:2]
The idea that the Fall of the human race is connected with agriculture is found to be also often represented in the legends of the East African negroes, especially in the Calabar legend of the Creation, which presents many interesting points of comparison with the biblical story of the Fall. The first human pair are called by a bell at meal-times to Abasi (the Calabar God), in heaven; and in place of the forbidden tree of Genesis are put agriculture and propagation, which Abasi strictly denies to the first pair. The Fall is denoted by the transgression of both these commands, especially through the use of implements of tillage, to which the woman is tempted by a female friend who is given to her. From that moment man fell and became mortal, so that, as the Bible story has it, he can eat bread only in the sweat of his face. There agriculture is a curse, a fall from a more perfect stage to a lower and imperfect one.[11:1]
Dr. Kalisch, writing of the Garden of Eden, says:
"The Paradise is no exclusive feature of the early history of the Hebrews. Most of the ancient nations have similar narratives about a happy abode, which care does not approach, and which re-echoes with the sounds of the purest bliss."[11:2]
The Persians supposed that a region of bliss and delight called Heden, more beautiful than all the rest of the world, traversed by a mighty river, was the original abode of the first men, before they were tempted by the evil spirit in the form of a serpent, to partake of the fruit of the forbidden tree Hôm.[11:3]
Dr. Delitzsch, writing of the Persian legend, observes:
"Innumerable attendants of the Holy One keep watch against the attempts of Ahriman, over the tree Hôm, which contains in itself the power of the resurrection."[11:4]
The ancient Greeks had a tradition concerning the "Islands of the Blessed," the "Elysium," on the borders of the earth, abounding in every charm of life, and the "Garden of the Hesperides," the Paradise, in which grew a tree bearing the golden apples of Immortality. It was guarded by three nymphs, and a Serpent, or Dragon, the ever-watchful Ladon. It was one of the labors of Hercules to gather some of these apples of life. When he arrived there he found the garden protected by a Dragon. Ancient medallions represent a tree with a serpent twined around it. Hercules has gathered an apple, and near him stand the three nymphs, called Hesperides.[11:5] This is simply a parallel of the Eden myth.
The Rev. Mr. Faber, speaking of Hercules, says:
"On the Sphere he is represented in the act of contending with the Serpent, the head of which is placed under his foot; and this Serpent, we are told, is that which guarded the tree with golden fruit in the midst of the garden of the Hesperides. But the garden of the Hesperides was none other than the garden of Paradise; consequently the serpent of that garden, the head of which is crushed beneath the heel of Hercules, and which itself is described as encircling with its folds the trunk of the mysterious tree, must necessarily be a transcript of that Serpent whose form was assumed by the tempter of our first parents. We may observe the same ancient tradition in the Phœnician fable representing Ophion or Ophioneus."[12:1]
And Professor Fergusson says:
"Hercules' adventures in the garden of the Hesperides, is the Pagan form of the myth that most resembles the precious Serpent-guarded fruit of the Garden of Eden, though the moral of the fable is so widely different."[12:2]
The ancient Egyptians also had the legend of the "Tree of Life." It is mentioned in their sacred books that Osiris ordered the names of some souls to be written on this "Tree of Life," the fruit of which made those who ate it to become as gods.[12:3]
Among the most ancient traditions of the Hindoos, is that of the "Tree of Life"—called Sôma in Sanskrit—the juice of which imparted immortality. This most wonderful tree was guarded by spirits.[12:4]
Still more striking is the Hindoo legend of the "Elysium" or "Paradise," which is as follows:
"In the sacred mountain Meru, which is perpetually clothed in the golden rays of the Sun, and whose lofty summit reaches into heaven, no sinful man can exist. It is guarded by a dreadful dragon. It is adorned with many celestial plants and trees, and is watered by four rivers, which thence separate and flow to the four chief directions."[12:5]
The Hindoos, like the philosophers of the Ionic school (Thales, for instance), held water to be the first existing and all-pervading principle, at the same time allowing the co-operation and influence of an immaterial intelligence in the work of creation.[12:6] A Vedic poet, meditating on the Creation, uses the following expressions:
"Nothing that is was then, even what is not, did not exist then." "There was no space, no life, and lastly there was no time, no difference between day and night, no solar torch by which morning might have been told from evening." "Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled in gloom profound, as ocean without light."[12:7]
The Hindoo legend approaches very nearly to that preserved in the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, it is said that Siva, as the Supreme Being, desired to tempt Brahmá (who had taken human form, and was called Swayambhura—son of the self-existent), and for this object he dropped from heaven a blossom of the sacred fig tree.
Swayambhura, instigated by his wife, Satarupa, endeavors to obtain this blossom, thinking its possession will render him immortal and divine; but when he has succeeded in doing so, he is cursed by Siva, and doomed to misery and degradation.[13:1] The sacred Indian fig is endowed by the Brahmins and the Buddhists with mysterious significance, as the "Tree of Knowledge" or "Intelligence."[13:2]
There is no Hindoo legend of the Creation similar to the Persian and Hebrew accounts, and Ceylon was never believed to have been the Paradise or home of our first parents, although such stories are in circulation.[13:3] The Hindoo religion states—as we have already seen—Mount Meru to be the Paradise, out of which went four rivers.
We have noticed that the "Gardens of Paradise" are said to have been guarded by Dragons, and that, according to the Genesis account, it was Cherubim that protected Eden. This apparent difference in the legends is owing to the fact that we have come in our modern times to speak of Cherub as though it were an other name for an Angel. But the Cherub of the writer of Genesis, the Cherub of Assyria, the Cherub of Babylon, the Cherub of the entire Orient, at the time the Eden story was written, was not at all an Angel, but an animal, and a mythological one at that. The Cherub had, in some cases, the body of a lion, with the head of an other animal, or a man, and the wings of a bird. In Ezekiel they have the body of a man, whose head, besides a human countenance, has also that of a Lion, an Ox and an Eagle. They are provided with four wings, and the whole body is spangled with innumerable eyes. In Assyria and Babylon they appear as winged bulls with human faces, and are placed at the gateways of palaces and temples as guardian genii who watch over the dwelling, as the Cherubim in Genesis watch the "Tree of Life."
Most Jewish writers and Christian Fathers conceived the Cherubim as Angels. Most theologians also considered them as Angels, until Michaelis showed them to be a mythological animal, a poetical creation.[13:4]
We see then, that our Cherub is simply a Dragon.
To continue our inquiry regarding the prevalence of the Eden-myth among nations of antiquity.
The Chinese have their Age of Virtue, when nature furnished abundant food, and man lived peacefully, surrounded by all the beasts. In their sacred books there is a story concerning a mysterious garden, where grew a tree bearing "apples of immortality," guarded by a winged serpent, called a Dragon. They describe a primitive age of the world, when the earth yielded abundance of delicious fruits without cultivation, and the seasons were untroubled by wind and storms. There was no calamity, sickness, or death. Men were then good without effort; for the human heart was in harmony with the peacefulness and beauty of nature.
The "Golden Age" of the past is much dwelt upon by their ancient commentators. One of them says:
"All places were then equally the native county of every man. Flocks wandered in the fields without any guide; birds filled the air with their melodious voices; and the fruits grew of their own accord. Men lived pleasantly with the animals, and all creatures were members of the same family. Ignorant of evil, man lived in simplicity and perfect innocence."
Another commentator says:
"In the first age of perfect purity, all was in harmony, and the passions did not occasion the slightest murmur. Man, united to sovereign reason within, conformed his outward actions to sovereign justice. Far from all duplicity and falsehood, his soul received marvelous felicity from heaven, and the purest delights from earth."
"A delicious garden refreshed with zephyrs, and planted with odoriferous trees, was situated in the middle of a mountain, which was the avenue of heaven. The waters that moistened it flowed from a source called the 'Fountain of Immortality'. He who drinks of it never dies. Thence flowed four rivers. A Golden River, betwixt the South and East, a Red River, between the North and East, the River of the Lamb between the North and West."
The animal Kaiming guards the entrance.
Partly by an undue thirst for knowledge, and partly by increasing sensuality, and the seduction of woman, man fell. Then passion and lust ruled in the human mind, and war with the animals began. In one of the Chinese sacred volumes, called the Chi-King, it is said that:
"All was subject to man at first, but a woman threw us into slavery. The wise husband raised up a bulwark of walls, but the woman, by an ambitious desire of knowledge, demolished them. Our misery did not come from heaven, but from a woman. She lost the human race. Ah, unhappy Poo See! thou kindled the fire that consumes us, and which is every day augmenting. Our misery has lasted many ages. The world is lost. Vice overflows all things like a mortal poison."[15:1]
Thus we see that the Chinese are no strangers to the doctrine of original sin. It is their invariable belief that man is a fallen being; admitted by them from time immemorial.
The inhabitants of Madagascar had a legend similar to the Eden story, which is related as follows:
"The first man was created of the dust of the earth, and was placed in a garden, where he was subject to none of the ills which now affect mortality; he was also free from all bodily appetites, and though surrounded by delicious fruit and limpid streams yet felt no desire to taste of the fruit or to quaff the water. The Creator had, moreover, strictly forbid him either to eat or to drink. The great enemy, however, came to him, and painted to him, in glowing colors, the sweetness of the apple, and the lusciousness of the date, and the succulence of the orange."
After resisting the temptations for a while, he at last ate of the fruit, and consequently fell.[15:2]
A legend of the Creation, similar to the Hebrew, was found by Mr. Ellis among the Tahitians, and appeared in his "Polynesian Researches." It is as follows:
After Taarao had formed the world, he created man out of aræa, red earth, which was also the food of man until bread was made. Taarao one day called for the man by name. When he came, he caused him to fall asleep, and while he slept, he took out one of his ivi, or bones, and with it made a woman, whom he gave to the man as his wife, and they became the progenitors of mankind. The woman's name was Ivi, which signifies a bone.[15:3]
The prose Edda, of the ancient Scandinavians, speaks of the "Golden Age" when all was pure and harmonious. This age lasted until the arrival of woman out of Jotunheim—the region of the giants, a sort of "land of Nod"—who corrupted it.[15:4]
In the annals of the Mexicans, the first woman, whose name was translated by the old Spanish writers, "the woman of our flesh," is always represented as accompanied by a great male serpent, who seems to be talking to her. Some writers believe this to be the tempter speaking to the primeval mother, and others that it is intended to represent the father of the human race. This Mexican Eve is represented on their monuments as the mother of twins.[15:5]
Mr. Franklin, in his "Buddhists and Jeynes," says:
"A striking instance is recorded by the very intelligent traveler (Wilson), regarding a representation of the Fall of our first parents, sculptured in the magnificent temple of Ipsambul, in Nubia. He says that a very exact representation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is to be seen in that cave, and that the serpent climbing round the tree is especially delineated, and the whole subject of the tempting of our first parents most accurately exhibited."[16:1]
Nearly the same thing was found by Colonel Coombs in the South of India. Colonel Tod, in his "Hist. Rajapoutana," says:
"A drawing, brought by Colonel Coombs from a sculptured column in a cave-temple in the South of India, represents the first pair at the foot of the ambrosial tree, and a serpent entwined among the heavily-laden boughs, presenting to them some of the fruit from his mouth. The tempter appears to be at that part of his discourse, when
'——his words, replete with guile,Into her heart too easy entrance won:Fixed on the fruit she gazed.'
"This is a curious subject to be engraved on an ancient Pagan temple."[16:2]
So the Colonel thought, no doubt, but it is not so very curious after all. It is the same myth which we have found—with but such small variations only as time and circumstances may be expected to produce—among different nations, in both the Old and New Worlds.
Fig. No. 2, taken from the work of Montfaucon,[16:3] represents one of these ancient Pagan sculptures. Can any one doubt that it is allusive to the myth of which we have been treating in this chapter?
That man was originally created a perfect being, and is now only a fallen and broken remnant of what he once was, we have seen to be a piece of mythology, not only unfounded in fact, but, beyond intelligent question, proved untrue. What, then, is the significance of the exposure of this myth? What does its loss as a scientific fact, and as a portion of Christian dogma, imply? It implies that with it—although many Christian divines who admit this to be a legend, do not, or do not profess, to see it—must fall the whole Orthodox scheme, for upon this MYTH the theology of Christendom is built. The doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures, the Fall of man, his total depravity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the devil, hell, in fact, the entire theology of the Christian church, falls to pieces with the historical inaccuracy of this story, for upon it is it built; 'tis the foundation of the whole structure.[17:1]
According to Christian dogma, the Incarnation of Christ Jesus had become necessary, merely because he had to redeem the evil introduced into the world by the Fall of man. These two dogmas cannot be separated from each other. If there was no Fall, there is no need of an atonement, and no Redeemer is required. Those, then, who consent in recognizing in Christ Jesus a God and Redeemer, and who, notwithstanding, cannot resolve upon admitting the story of the Fall of man to be historical, should exculpate themselves from the reproach of inconsistency. There are a great number, however, in this position at the present day.
Although, as we have said, many Christian divines do not, or do not profess to, see the force of the above argument, there are many who do; and they, regardless of their scientific learning, cling to these old myths, professing to believe them, well knowing what must follow with their fall. The following, though written some years ago, will serve to illustrate this style of reasoning.
The Bishop of Manchester (England) writing in the "Manchester Examiner and Times," said:
"The very foundation of our faith, the very basis of our hopes, the very nearest and dearest of our consolations are taken from us, when one line of that sacred volume, on which we base everything, is declared to be untruthful and untrustworthy."
The "English Churchman," speaking of clergymen who have "doubts," said, that any who are not throughly persuaded "that the Scriptures cannot in any particular be untrue," should leave the Church.
The Rev. E. Garbett, M. A., in a sermon preached before the University of Oxford, speaking of the "historical truth" of the Bible, said:
"It is the clear teaching of those doctrinal formularies, to which we of the Church of England have expressed our solemn assent, and no honest interpretation of her language can get rid of it."
"In all consistent reason, we must accept the whole of the inspired autographs, or reject the whole."
Dr. Baylee, Principal of a theological university—St. Aiden's College—at Birkenhead, England, and author of a "Manual," called Baylee's "Verbal Inspiration," written "chiefly for the youths of St. Aiden's College," makes use of the following words, in that work:
"The whole Bible, as a revelation, is a declaration of the mind of God towards his creatures on all the subjects of which the Bible treats."
"The Bible is God's word, in the same sense as if he had made use of no human agent, but had Himself spoken it."
"The Bible cannot be less than verbally inspired. Every word, every syllable, every letter, is just what it would be, had God spoken from heaven without any human intervention."
"Every scientific statement is infallibly correct, all its history and narrations of every kind, are without any inaccuracy."[18:1]
A whole volume might be filled with such quotations, not only from religious works and journals published in England, but from those published in the United States of America.[18:2]
[1:1]The idea that the sun, moon and stars were set in the firmament was entertained by most nations of antiquity, but, as strange as it may appear, Pythagoras, the Grecian philosopher, who flourished from 540 to 510 B. C.—as well as other Grecian philosophers—taught that the sun was placed in the centre of the universe, with the planets roving round it in a circle, thus making day and night. (See Knight's Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 59, and note.) The Buddhists anciently taught that the universe is composed of limitless systems or worlds, called sakwalas.
They are scattered throughout space, and each sakwala has a sun and moon. (See Hardy: Buddhist Legends, pp. 80 and 87.)
[2:1]Origen, a Christian Father who flourished about A. D. 230, says: "What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second, and third days, in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon and stars?" (Quoted in Mysteries of Adoni, p. 176.)
[2:2]"The geologist reckons not by days or by years; the whole six thousand years, which were until lately looked on as the sum of the world's age, are to him but as a unit of measurement in the long succession of past ages." (Sir John Lubbock.)
"It is now certain that the vast epochs of time demanded by scientific observation are incompatible both with the six thousand years of the Mosaic chronology, and the six days of the Mosaic creation." (Dean Stanley.)
[2:3]"Let us make man in our own likeness," was said by Ormuzd, the Persian God of Gods, to his WORD. (See Bunsen's Angel Messiah, p. 104.)
[2:4]The number SEVEN was sacred among almost every nation of antiquity. (See ch. ii.)
[2:5]According to Grecian Mythology, the God Prometheus created men, in the image of the gods, out of clay (see Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 26; and Goldzhier: Hebrew Myths, p. 373), and the God Hephaistos was commanded by Zeus to mold of clay the figure of a maiden, into which Athênê, the dawn-goddess, breathed the breath of life. This is Pandora—the gift of all the gods—who is presented to Epimetheus. (See Cox: Aryan Myths, vol. ii., p. 208.)
[2:6]"What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise, in Eden, like a husbandman." (Origen: quoted in Mysteries of Adoni, p. 176.) "There is no way of preserving the literal sense of the first chapter of Genesis, without impiety, and attributing things to God unworthy of him." (St. Augustine.)
[2:7]"The records about the 'Tree of Life' are the sublimest proofs of the unity and continuity of tradition, and of its Eastern origin. The earliest records of the most ancient Oriental tradition refer to a 'Tree of Life,' which was guarded by spirits. The juice of the fruit of this sacred tree, like the tree itself, was called Sôma in Sanscrit, and Haôma in Zend; it was revered as the life preserving essence." (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 414)
[3:1]"According to the Persian account of Paradise, four great rivers came from Mount Alborj; two are in the North, and two go towards the South. The river Arduisir nourishes the Tree of Immortality, the Holy Hom." (Stiefelhagen: quoted in Mysteries of Adoni p. 149.)
"According to the Chinese myth, the waters of the Garden of Paradise issue from the fountain of immortality, which divides itself into four rivers." (Ibid., p. 150, and Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i., p. 210.) The Hindoos call their Mount Meru the Paradise, out of which went fourrivers. (Anacalypsis, vol. i., p. 357.)
[3:2]According to Persian legend, Arimanes, the Evil Spirit, by eating a certain kind of fruit, transformed himself into a serpent, and went gliding about on the earth to tempt human beings. His Devs entered the bodies of men and produced all manner of diseases. They entered into their minds, and incited them to sensuality, falsehood, slander and revenge. Into every department of the world they introduced discord and death.
[4:1]Inasmuch as the physical construction of the serpent never could admit of its moving in any other way, and inasmuch as it does not eat dust, does not the narrator of this myth reflect unpleasantly upon the wisdom of such a God as Jehovah is claimed to be, as well as upon the ineffectualness of his first curse?
[5:1]"Our writer unmistakably recognizes the existence of many gods; for he makes Yahweh say: 'See, the man has become as ONE OF US, knowing good and evil;' and so he evidently implies the existence of other similar beings, to whom he attributes immortality and insight into the difference between good and evil. Yahweh, then, was, in his eyes, the god of gods, indeed, but not the only god." (Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 51.)
[5:2]In his memorial sermon, preached in Westminster Abbey, after the funeral of Sir Charles Lyell. He further said in this address:—
"It is well known that when the science of geology first arose, it was involved in endless schemes of attempted reconciliation with the letter of Scripture. There was, there are perhaps still, two modes of reconciliation of Scripture and science, which have been each in their day attempted, and each have totally and deservedly failed. One is the endeavor to wrest the words of the Bible from their natural meaning, and force it to speak the language of science." After speaking of the earliest known example, which was the interpolation of the word "not" in Leviticus xi. 6, he continues: "This is the earliest instance of the falsification of Scripture to meet the demands of science; and it has been followed in later times by the various efforts which have been made to twist the earlier chapters of the book of Genesis into apparentagreement with the last results of geology—representing days not to be days, morning and evening not to be morning and evening, the deluge not to be the deluge, and the ark not to be the ark."
[5:3]Gen. i. 9, 10.
[5:4]Gen. ii. 6.
[6:1]Gen. i. 20, 24, 26.
[6:2]Gen. ii. 7, 9.
[6:3]Gen. i. 20.
[6:4]Gen. ii. 19.
[6:5]Gen. i. 27.
[6:6]Gen. ii. 7: iii. 22.
[6:7]Gen. i. 28.
[6:8]Gen. ii. 8, 15.
[6:9]Gen. i. 28.
[6:10]Gen. ii. 7, 8, 15, 22.
[6:11]Gen. ii. 4-25.
[6:13]Gen. i. 1-ii. 8.
[6:14]Gen. iii. 1, 3, 5.
[6:15]The Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. pp. 171-173.
[6:16]Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 59.
[7:1]The Relig. of Israel, p. 186.
[7:2]Von Bohlen: Intro. to Gen. vol. ii. p. 4.
[7:3]Lenormant: Beginning of Hist. vol. i. p. 6.
[7:4]See Ibid. p. 64; and Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 31.
[8:1]"The Etruscans believed in a creation of six thousand years, and in the successive production of different beings, the last of which was man." (Dunlap: Spirit Hist. p. 357.)
[8:2]Quoted by Bishop Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 115.
[8:3]Intro. to Genesis, vol. ii. p. 4.
[8:4]Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 63.
[8:5]The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 158.
[9:1]See Chapter xi.
[9:2]Mr. Smith says, "Whatever the primitive account may have been from which the earlier part of the Book of Genesis was copied, it is evident that the brief narration given in the Pentateuch omits a number of incidents and explanations—for instance, as to the origin of evil, the fall of the angels, the wickedness of the serpent, &c. Such points as these are included in the cuneiform narrative." (Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 13, 14.)
[9:3]Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 88.
[9:4]Ibid. p. 89.
[9:5]Ibid. p. 91.
[10:1]Murray's Mythology, p. 208.
[10:2]Kalisch's Com. vol. i. p. 64.
[11:1]Goldziher: Hebrew Mythology, p. 87.
[11:2]Com. on the Old Test. vol. i. p. 70.
[11:4]Ibid. "The fruit, and sap of this 'Tree of Life' begat immortality." (Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 240.)
[11:5]See Montfaucon: L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 211, and Pl. cxxxiii.
[12:1]Faber: Origin Pagan Idolatry, vol. i. p. 443; in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 237.
[12:2]Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 13.
[12:3]Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 159.
[12:4]See Bunsen's Keys of St. Peter, p. 414.
[12:5]Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 153.
[12:6]Buckley: Cities of the Ancient World, p. 148.
[12:7]Müller: Hist. Sanskrit Literature, p. 559.
[13:1]See Wake: Phallism in Ancient Religions, pp. 46, 47; and Maurice: Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. p. 408.
[13:2]Hardwick: Christ and Other Masters, p. 215.
[13:3]See Jacolliot's "Bible in India," which John Fisk calls a "very discreditable performance," and "a disgraceful piece of charlatanry" (Myths, &c. p. 205). This writer also states that according to Hindoo legend, the first man and woman were called "Adima and Heva," which is certainly not the case. The "bridge of Adima" which he speaks of as connecting the island of Ceylon with the mainland, is called "Rama's bridge;" and the "Adam's footprints" are called "Buddha's footprints." The Portuguese, who called the mountain Pico d' Adama (Adam's Peak), evidently invented these other names. (See Maurice's Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. pp. 301, 362, and vol. ii. p. 242).
[13:4]See Smith's Bible Dic. Art. "Cherubim," and Lenormant's Beginning of History, ch. iii.
[15:1]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 206-210, The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. pp. 152, 153, and Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 38.
[15:2]Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 31.
[15:3]Quoted by Müller: The Science of Relig., p. 302.
[15:4]See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 409.
[15:5]See Baring Gould's Legends of the Patriarchs; Squire's Serpent Symbol, p. 161, and Wake's Phallism in Ancient Religions, p. 41.
[16:1]Quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 403.
[16:2]Tod's Hist. Raj., p. 581, quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 404.
[16:3]L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i.
[17:1]Sir William Jones, the first president of the Royal Asiatic Society, saw this when he said: "Either the first eleven chapters of Genesis, all due allowance being made for a figurative Eastern style, are true, or the whole fabric of our religion is false." (In Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 225.) And so also did the learned Thomas Maurice, for he says: "If the Mosaic History be indeed a fable, the whole fabric of the national religion is false, since the main pillar of Christianity rests upon that important original promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent." (Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. p. 20.)
[18:1]The above extracts are quoted by Bishop Colenso, in The Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. pp. 10-12, from which we take them.
[18:2]"Cosmogony" is the title of a volume lately written by Prof. Thomas Mitchell, and published by the American News Co., in which the author attacks all the modern scientists in regard to the geological antiquity of the world, evolution, atheism, pantheism, &c. He believes—and rightly too—that, "if the account of Creation in Genesis falls, Christ and the apostles follow: if the book of Genesis is erroneous, so also are the Gospels."