I had to take the car in today and having to spend a day in Boston I went to the Museum of Fine Arts and walked around a bit. One of the paintings caught my eye and brought to mind a question that probably can't be answered but I know that there are people here who know the bible better than I do.
portrays Adam and Eve being thrown out of Eden and it also portrays there being trees and animals already outside of the garden. I see a wolf and a vulture and a dear. My question is that I always thought that Eden was the entire planet, or at least that's how they used to talk about it in Sunday school, and if it wasn't the whole planet then who was on the outside looking in? Satan and his group? Are there any legends on this?
According to the standard account, the first five books of the Old Testament were partly compiled using older writings and the seven day creation account and Garden of Eden story originate in two distinct sources. The shift from one source to another comes around Gen. 2.4. The beginning of the Eden story is really a distinct creation account. God, after creating Adam, plants a garden "eastward in Eden" (2.8), creates the animals, and assigns Adam to tend the garden.
There is a long tradition of Christian commentary on/interpretation of the stories, which I'd distinguish from legendary elaboration, although the two might influence each other. The text of the Eden account does not identify the snake as Satan. Nor does it identify the forbidden fruit as an apple. Wikipedia's page "Forbidden fruit" explains its possible origin in a Latin play on words. It also reminds me of the legend that men have an Adam's apple because a piece of the fruit lodged in his throat.
There is also a very robust Jewish tradition of legendary elaboration of Bible stories. This is the source of the legend of Lilith, Adam's first wife. Wikipedia has a page on this, which dates it to the 8th-10th centuries AD.
Wikipedia also has a page "Adam in Islam" with information about Islamic Adam traditions.
Satan is much more prominent in the New Testament than the Old. He is mentioned several times in the Old Testament but he is not depicted as the ruler of hell and demons there and is not mentioned in Genesis. The later conception may have entered Judaism under the influence of Zoroastrianism. There are some passages in the Old Testament which may refer to demonic figures but demons don't play a role in most of its stories. (The story I can think of involving a demon is in Tobit, which is from the Apocrypha and not part of the Jewish canon of scripture.)
The tradition of the pre-mundane revolt of Satan does not appear in the Bible. Christians later read it into various Biblical passages, including Is. 14.12ff (which is the source of the name Lucifer). A tradition that some angels became disobedient at the time of the flood is referred to in a couple of places in the New Testament. This is pre-Christian in origin and connected to the interpretation of Gen. 6.1-2,4.
Luke Blanchard Johnson is right!
All of his citations are right on the money. I will expand a bit on his notations.
The stories at the beginning of Genesis were not historical, but mythic. What they do is tell how our current circumstance came into being. The story of Adam and Eve is more about how sin came into the world than to tell us how humanity came into the world.
As to Satan, he is part of God's highly court in Job. What I learned in seminary is that God, in the Old Testament, was responsible for both evil and good. Satan is the adversary that acts to test the resolve of Job. He does what he does to Job under God's mandate.
The concept of Satan we know of and we are taught in Sunday School came into Judeo-Christian from the time that the kingdom of Judah was in exile in Babylon. It is the influence of Babylonian thought that created the idea of Satan as the ruler of hell. It was the Zoroastrian influence in Babylon that caused Satan to be so prominent in the New Testament.
They skipped a lot in Sunday school.
It's funny that the thought never stuck me until I saw the painting, that for A and E to leave Eden there would have had to have been the rest of the world to go to and I wondered what was in that world? I wish I had asked back then, or that it had occurred to me to ask.
Then again I probably would have just gotten into trouble.
Not only did Cain get exiled to Nod but he found a wife there! So there were other people outside from Eden. I guess that God created more people than we give Him credit for!
Also Cain was afraid that someone would kill him out of revenge for Abel so God put His Mark on him. But who was Cain afraid of? Adam and Eve? Wouldn't God simply tell them not to hurt Cain? For whose benefit did God put a mark on Cain for?
Lot of wholes in that history, myself I always wondered about Cain and Eve and since she was the only woman if she could have been his wife, but if he wandered into someplace called Nod maybe it was simply ages and ages after he left Eden and by then Adam and Eve had produced a couple of generations, but that still leads the troubling -by the non-incest moral codes that we live with by today- questions.
Funny when I was young none of this was brought up and we were taught -or at least it was heavily implied- that the Bible was a direct history written down by god himself, not a collection of tales gathered over centuries by men.
Man that all looks confusing. I've heard of the Nephilim before, I think one of them and some people survived the flood by him swimming and them climbing on his back.
PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:
And I had to go to dictionary.com to figure out how 'pseudepigrapha' was pronounced :)