Our interpretation of the vision of Adam that emerges in Genesis tends to be that of a Neanderthal or cave man. That interpretation is primarily based on this statement from scriptures: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.” (Genesis 1:25).
To assume that this statement raises the issue of mental underdevelopment is unsupportable by evidence from scriptures. The cerebral cortex of Adam was well developed. Without it he couldn’t have named and classified all the animals. There is an estimated 8.7m species of animals plus or minus 1.3m. There are 1,258 genuses, 156 families, 29 orders and 5,937 recognised living species of mammals.
The cerebral cortex is responsible for consciousness. It also plays a key role in memory, attention, perception, awareness, thought, language – all attributes displayed by Adam. If Adam named all the animals then the picture that emerges is that of man with prodigious intellectual capacity. And going by biblical evidence he was culturally literate.
The first piece of statement attributed to him was at the sighting of Eve – the bone poetry: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Apart from the poetised delivery, the statement would prove transcendent in nature. He might have waxed lyrical on account of her beauty but the statement went beyond the physical.
We can reasonably assume Eve was a vision since all beautiful women derive their genetic code from her. Eve was not just historical Eve, she was also mitochondrial Eve and science acknowledges the existence of such. And so since the days of Adam men have been waxing lyrical at the sight of a beautiful woman.
We are not told that Adam was informed that Eve was a product of his genetic sequence, yet he somehow knew. He named her “woman” because she was taken out of man. That was deductive transcendence. The narration is that Adam recognised Eve as a sociological fit and he immediately went for her, marrying her.
He had a strong sense of self. He could not understand the notion of shame because shame is a sin phenomenon. It comes about from the exercise of the faculty of self-judgment and the fear of being found out. And so the true picture of Adam that emerges from scripture is that of fiercely intelligent man, a polymath as well as a confident, culturally literate, spiritual, responsible and progressive individual who let his wife be.
Perhaps he had no consciousness of nakedness because his spirit man (the real man) was clothed with his body. Which is more of a measure of his spiritual state rather than sociological status. In the New Testament, Paul would call the body a tent for the spirit man. (2 Corinthians 5:1). Adam’s body was a biological textile, a wearable piece of technology with sensory and feedback mechanism. It was designed to be immortal, which is not such a far-fetched notion since the mind and the spirit survive mortality. We know this from the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in the afterlife.
The Rich Man retained his memory. He had full consciousness of his past life, remembered he had brothers. He sought to warn them of the danger of pernicious existence and the possibility of perdition. After the fall, the body lost most of its capabilities and became biodegradable. But even at that it remains a most complex piece of technology, both in its mechanical componentry and neural wiring.
Now, the Bible says Eve was a match for Adam. She is described as complementary, suitable and adaptive to him. This is found in the creative iteration recorded in Genesis 1:20 AMP: “But for Adam there was not found a helper meet, suitable, adapted and complementary for him.” This provides us a new vision of Eve. She must have been an intellectual and cultural fit. Or she couldn’t be complementary to Adam. This negates the notion of disdain of cultural fit in matrimonial pairing.
God presented to Adam his cultural fit, not a cultural misfit. It’s why Adam and Eve could relate well to each other. They were not just a spiritual match, they were a cultural and sociological match. Eve complemented him –completed him. The idea that spirituality negates cultural/sociological fit when it comes to marriage is unsupportable from scripture.
A lack of cultural fit destroys the love of delight in marriage. Without phileo couples can’t be friends. Phileo is the love of the soul. It is bent towards natural tastes and preferences. It embodies cultures and beliefs. It’s about the friendship towards people like you, people with the same interests and social graces. Friendship matters in marriage. It does not make sense to marry someone you can’t relate to, someone you don’t share interests with or that you have to force yourself into amity with. Someone against your natural tastes and inclinations. It’s unbelievable that a lack of common interest between two parties is deemed a measure of spirituality.
The notion that God will impose someone on you to marry is absolutely unscriptural. It violates the notion of freewill. Without freewill God cannot hold you accountable for your actions. It also violates the concept of personal responsibility. Adam tried to repudiate responsibility by claiming God gave Eve to him and God didn’t buy it. Apart from the fact that it was edited narration or events, it was a terrible attempt to escape personal responsibility.
You have to make a personal judgment call on the person you want to marry. Your pastor shouldn’t choose a wife for you. That violates the concept of personal and moral responsibility. Adam exhibited transcendent qualities. He was a spiritual being who fellowshipped with God. Yet that spirituality did not negate his social and cultural appreciation of Eve. His spirituality engendered romance, it didn’t kill romance. Spirituality does not negate romance. Neither does spirituality negate attraction.
A marriage becomes imbued with friendship and happiness when the two parties are a cultural fit. The alternative is two strangers living in the same house fulfilling dutiful obligations. The Bible says Eve was complementary, adaptive and suitable to Adam. Complementariness tells us the two were soul mates. That they were an emotional, intellectual and cultural fit. Adaptiveness relates to the desire for oneness by a couple, amidst social and economic dynamics. Suitability relates to the ability of a couple to socialise and function as husband and wife. It is the vision of a couple being able to go out together, and being introduced by one another without fear or shame. Complementariness, adaptability and suitability. These are the three matrimonial test tools from Genesis. The choice of marriage partner is invariably a cultural and social phenomenon.
We continue the series next week.
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org