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Origin Insights from Genesis 1-5

February 1, 2009

by Don Johnson

There are a few pieces of the puzzle from Gen 1-5.

1. The God-given name of both the man and the woman was Adam, which means human.
2. God nowhere tells the man to have dominion over the woman.
3. The woman is formed from a side of Adam, this is the same term as used for a side of the tabernacle, it does not need to be a tiny rib.
4. The term ish/man is not used for Adam until the word ishah is also used.

We are so used to reading the story of Adam being the man and Eve the woman but this is not what the story actually says.

Because of English use of exclusive man and inclusive man in many translations in a mishmosh in Gen 1-5, it can be challenging to see what is going on. So I translate Adam as human, ish as man and ishah as woman.

Gen 2 is a story of 2 lacks and how God solved them. The first lack is the land does not have a human to tend it. God solves that by forming the human from dirt. The second lack is that the human by itself is not good, which I understand to mean, not functioning (yet) in the way God intends. God solves this second lack by forming the woman/ishah from the human/Adam, what was left was the man/ish.

There is also a play on words going on. A suffix of “ah” is a normal Hebrew way of making a word feminine.

Adam is formed from adamah. The human is formed from (mother) earth.

Ishah is formed from Adam, leaving ish. Ishah is a female form of ish.

The origins stories in Gen 1 are about God separating things, this idea continues in Gen 2 with 2 more separations, but the last 2 also allows joining. When married, the 2 become 1; when dead, the human becomes dirt.

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