Genesis Chapter 2: Metaphorically Speaking
“And the LORD God (a) formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (b) (Gen 2:7).
a) “And the LORD God”
In Genesis 1, the name ‘Elohim’ the Creator God is used. Now, at the beginning of this early portion of chapter 2, our attention is drawn to the divine name YHWH. This is the first time this name is disclosed.
The mysterious name ‘YHWH’ came to be regarded by the Jews as too sacred to be spoken (c. 300 BC). The vowel sounds, e, o, a, from the Greek ‘adonay’, ‘lord’. were later added to YHWH to read YaHWeH. These added vowel sounds are generally present in any translation 1
In basic translation of the Hebrew the vowels, a, e, i, o, u, are added to the consonants. These added vowels help to make up any Hebrew word, thus building them up to make them pronounceable [i]. This means in essence any translator can add individual vowel sounds to Hebrew consonants to make up words to add the meaning to suit their theological perspective. 2
This should alert us that the translator’s choice of vowels makes the English text uncertain. The original translators were predominately male and working from a patriarchal perspective. 3 Further, we cannot discount a misogynist bias.
In my writing, I bring to the fore some of these ambiguities in the hope of providing an alternate reading. To do this I simply use Strong’s concordance and make different choices of the available meanings. Anyone that can read can do this extra research. I will show how the Hebrew scriptures can just as easily be translated from a matriarchal perspective as they are patriarchal [ii].
My understanding of YWJH, the wonderful name of God is as follows: In the beginning, the unpronounceable, ineffable name YWJH required further revelation. ‘And Moses said unto God, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them”? “Who shall I say sent me?” Here Moses received, ‘I Am’ (to be, become, come-to-pass, exist. Heb. ‘eh yeh’ Strong’s #1961): “this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” This may be translated as future tense, ‘I Will Be What I Will Be’ (Ex 3: 14).
And God said unto Moses, “I AM THAT I AM”: and God said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you”. (Exod. 3: 13–15).
The revelation given to Moses suggests God does not want to hide or have secrets from us. It is just that at that particular time it was all that could be given. It would take the whole of history to unravel the mysteries of God shown in one name. God’s name at that time was unchangeable, it still is. Further progressive revelations enacted on the human stage would bring greater understanding until the set time had come for the fullest revelation in Christ.
To understand better how to pronounce the unpronounceable name of God see here video by Richard Rohr, demonstrating the way the Jews express this unpronounceable name.
Finally, Mary received the name ‘Jesus’ (Joshua), a usual name amongst the Jews. ‘He shall be called Jesus for he will save … ‘. Finally, this Jesus, the man/God lived and died in faithful obedience to the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. Then the name YWJH finally came into its full revelation and became the ‘name above every name’: Lord Jesus Christ. This name has been given to us to use. was conferred upon Him when He was resurrected from the dead by the action of God the Everlasting Father. Jesus returned to the Throne room of God, in the Kingdom of God in heaven until he comes again.
When God came in the flesh, our understanding of God changed through Jesus’ life and teachings. Once all was accomplished through the death of that sinless human and of His resurrection from the dead everything changed. The name above all names could finally be bestowed upon Jesus. Death was conquered. ‘O Death where is your sting, O Grave where is your victory’. Now we have been given that name above all names to call upon and do mighty deeds in that name. Believe in it.
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours (1 Corinthians 1:2). 4
Long before Moses however, the indescribable, inexpressible, unutterable, unspeakable, ineffable name begins to express itself in ways that were able to reach Sarai and Abram. When we read of Sarai and Abram being called to go to a land they did not know and they obeyed they also received the gift of faith. This faith and growing relationship with one God had begun. The creation has always revealed God’s eternal power.
For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. (Rom 1:19 – 20)
God continued to reveal Godself through expressible names though the prophets. Isaiah, no doubt in rapturous wonderment, expressed:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
So limited are we in our humanity, the name would never have been understood or pronounceable had not God come in the flesh. In these last days, the unpronounceable name has been fully revealed: ‘Jesus is our Prince of Peace’.
‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility’ (Eph. 2:14).
‘Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, ‘that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil 2: 9-11).
Now the unnameable incomprehensible name is easily pronounced and understood not by the thinking mind but rather by the spirit of our mind. In the deep recesses of our very being, God has reached down to humanity and, indeed, we have tasted the goodness of the Lord and the powers of the coming age (Heb 6:5).
Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good… if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Pet 2: 23) etc.
I hope we meet up again over the next reading, when I continue to show Adam was not ‘created’ first, as the patriarchs teach, but rather he was ‘formed’ first. There, I will comment on the man who was ‘formed first’ according to the Apostle Paul’s standard of interpretation: the First man (the natural) and the Second man (the spiritual).
I will also show that woman was not ‘second in creation’. That also is an invention which leads nowhere spiritually, but rather, when interpreted metaphorically, it shows the woman was ‘built’ and not ‘created second’ to the man. Nor was the woman ‘formed’ like the human-made of clay, but rather just as she began so she is being ‘built up’ to this day.
Don’t miss it!!!!
Next reading: Gen 2-7 (b)
“And the LORD God (a) formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (b) (Gen 2:7).
P.S: A word in season to them that are weary… “You’re just now turning a corner” : )
Heaps of blessings and good things ahead,
[i] The Hebrew Alphabet and the Power of the Vowels. The Hebrews were the first to incorporate vowels in their written text (not to be confused with the vowel pointing of the medieval Masoretes), and by doing this the previously esoteric art of writing and reading became available to the masses. The seemingly casual command to ‘write’ something on doors or foreheads included the invention of a writing system that could be learned by everybody. A very big deal and resulting in the most powerful tool of data preservation up to this common age.
Hebrew theology is by far the most influential ever, and this is in part due to the Hebrew invention of vowel notation. This power (this theology) contrasted others by use of the vowel notation, using symbols that were already used and until then only represented consonants: the letters ו (waw), י (yod) and ה (heh), and to give an example: the word דודis either the word dod, meaning beloved (and the ו is a vowel), or it is the word dud, meaning jar (and the ו is again a vowel), or it is the word dawid, which is the name David (and the ו is a consonant). These letters became markers for both the Hebrew identity and the Hebrew religion, including the various names for God.
One of these names is the famous Tetragrammaton יהוה ( YHWH) which actually exists only of vowels, and is utterly exceptional in many ways, including the fact that it cannot be pronounced. The word אל (El) was the name of the prominent Canaanite god, whose name was either derived of or became the common word for god in general. The plural of this word is אלים; elim, gods. With the addition of the letter ה, creating the word אלהים, the Hebrews not only stated essential monotheism (by naming a single God after the plural word “gods”) but also marked their God as theirs: Elohim is the singular pantheon of the vowel-people.
Something similar occurred when the name of patriarch Abram (אברם) was expanded with the heh into Abraham אברהם, and the name of matriarch Sarai (שׂרי) was expanded with the heh to Sarah (שׂרה).
Since the formation of the alphabet is such a feat and also because in those days nothing at all was without meaning, many people expect that the arrangement of the letters have meaning. Why was the aleph made the first letter? Why beth second? These are intriguing questions and (try a Google search for “Hebrew alphabet meaning”) many project the most complicated (if not far-fetched) spiritual journeys upon the alphabet. But before such an attempt is made, the following should be taken into consideration: Hold these thoughts (before reading meaning in the Hebrew Alphabet as follows…)
The alphabet was compiled long before the Torah was written. The monotheistic idea had hardly surfaced (Abraham was a monotheist but no mark on history remains), and monotheistic theology did not exist. Although the Bible recognizes the Hebrew alphabet (see psalm 119), there is no Biblical indication that the formation of the alphabet was inspired by God or that any possible meaning is truthful.
The fact that the alphabet is used in the Bible does not per definition mean that it co-holds the status of infallibility. It is very well possible that the alphabet grew slowly; that letters really are nothing but abstract notations that received their name afterwards because they resembled familiar items. It is evenly well possible that the letters existed but without an arrangement. They may very well have existed like marbles in a bag. Perhaps the existence of the various letters was agreed upon long before any formal order. There may even have been more than one order commonly accepted, and only one form survived.
The Book of Lamentations, for instance, features a few acrostic poems that follow more than one order of letters. Perhaps the alphabet is not simply an abstract order, but an already spoken word that was discovered to be the mother of all words; a magic word that held all letters and only once. Perhaps it’s a name. Perhaps an incantation… We simply don’t know why the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were arranged like this. Any meaning that is ‘found’ is conjecture and says more about the enthusiasm of the explorer than about the alphabet. God is typically not in the habit of hiding information.
The alphabet is like a painter’s pallet and any arrangement of paints before they are arranged into a painting may be cute to know but is fully irrelevant to the actual painting. The saying ‘to worship the ground someone walks on’ may indicate veneration in English, it certainly does not in the Biblical arena. The Bible is clear about it: any information you need is openly addressed in the narrative surface of the Bible. Any phenomenon that emerges at manipulating the letters or words beyond their function in the story, is either contrary to the narrative and surely hasn’t been put there by God, or it conforms to the narrative and you could have learned it from simply reading Scriptures at much less trouble.
In a text as large as the Bible anything can be found if one wants it bad enough, especially if there are no limitations in methods and mechanisms used. ‘Finding’ something in the Bible is no proof that it actually exists, especially within the Bible’s intended message.
[ii] This alternate reading to the mainstream in which I show how the Hebrew scriptures can just as easily be translated matriarchal as they are patriarchal is shown in my commentary on the first three chapters of Genesis followed by my rendering of the matrilines of Israel’s early Mothers, particularly Sarah. There, I show that the matriarchal society was instituted in Genesis and that Israel and other tribes of that era were uniform in this.
They were matriarchal in their early formation and it can be traced in other books of the OT. The depiction of a patriarchal society, of the husband/father as head of the house, of sons as firstborn and superior in inheritance laws, of women leaving their family and joining her baal, her overlord, subject to abuse at his will, as a foreigner in her husband’s household, producing children at his will, used as fodder for his tribal wars, cannot be verified by scripture.
Furthermore, considering the overall plan of God, that is, redeemed humanity, those that make up the body and ultimately, the bride of Christ. Such a society can, in no way, shape, or form, ‘fit’ patriarchal imaging: the church as the bride of Christ, as the body of Christ, without gender, nevertheless, a woman having a womb (grace), giving birth to spiritual children. Further proof of this image shows there is not one example of a woman in the Hebrew scriptures who left her maternal kinship group, her maternal clan, her maternal tribe, and maternal mother’s house and crossed borders and tribal boundaries to marry another Israelite, let alone a foreigner. If you wonder about Sarah read my paper of the same name (due out in December 2020). Even those women who were political envoys did not join their husband’s household but maintained their own.
It is claimed and believed that all scripture plainly declares Israel was a patriarchal society. This is absurd. A patriarchal society does not and can never mirror the NT teachings of the Apostle Paul regarding the wonderful image of Jesus leaving his family in Glory, coming to seek a bride on her home turf, winning her and having betrothed her to Himself, who has promised to return to live with her, and her close kin and friends of the bride on her home turf, albeit new heaven and earth.
There is no patriarchal bridegroom carrying off his bride to the father’s house to join his family. The true image of Christ and His bride has been marred by the patriarchal representation of the man as head of society and house. It is as if we are all in a dream. I want to shout here “wake up”! No metaphorical visual representation of Christ and His bride can emerge out of this OT patriarchal image. We have been duped!
The way this has been accomplished is in the translation of certain keywords which I point out in all my writings. They act as shibboleths; Those work by employing a custom, principle, and belief that distinguishes a particular group of people (men) as deemed special by God. Thus it becomes standard for everyone to believe it. So ingrained is it and so encultured are we by its practice in society and especially in church society, we no longer question it. The final outcome of this is, in the NT the words of the Apostle Paul concerning women have been perverted to fit that false patriarchal image. To be very blunt here, we have been had! NT
But the prophet Isaiah received an inkling of what was ahead (Isa 52: 14) …‘Just as many were astonished at you, (Just as many were ruined, devastated, ravaged, made desolate, together with you) So His (your) visage (supernatural vision, what is seen) was marred (corrupted) more than any man (ish ‘man, male’), And His (your) form (his outline drawn, marked out,) more than the sons of men; (beyond human likeness: mortal). RBW paraphrase: Reading the Bible as a Woman paraphrased by Patricia with reference to Strong’s Concordance.
Once we wake up out of our trance, we can see the way forward. Indeed, the scriptures alert us to the way in which patriarchy began to make its inroads in early Genesis. We can then follow this thread to see how it continued to grow. My series, now being released in chronological order, The Mothers and the Kenites (published November 2020) and Commentary in the Book of Judges (published early 2021) is a clear example. Watch this space: published in early 2021.
Eve had already been given the pattern of Jesus’ coming and His return. Hence the command to her of an endogamous marriage relationship“. ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”’ (Gen 2: 24). The reason mentioned there is Christ coming to join us the first time and betrothing us to Himself, his second coming will be the marriage supper of the Lamb and His bride, those ‘called out ones’, those blood washed obedient people that make up the body of Christ.
The endogamous marriage relationship portrays the society where the bride remains with her people. Patriarchy does not portray this. The endogamous marriage relationship portrays the women owning the land (inheriting the earth). The early chapters of Genesis portray such a society, the practice of the building of the mother’s house to formulate it. Israel was and is to this day a matriarchal society. You are a Jew if your mother is. What God has ordained cannot be erased. As proof, up to today, the infant male of a Jewish mother is circumcised as a testimony of his belonging.
No such insignia in the flesh is required for any baby girl, Jewish or otherwise. The Scriptures show all foreign women who believed were readily accepted into Israelite society. Not so foreign men! The female’s very anatomy displays externally through the visible portions of the vulva. The separated labia show the sign of a cut in her flesh at her creation: signifying she is already marked with a sign, accepted by Her Maker without any need for the physical representation of the covenant between God and Abraham. God then shows off such marvelous and wonderful creative handiwork in fruit and flower. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labia.
The woman was warned of an impending war against her and patriarchy was and is that enemy. ‘To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain, you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” ‘(Genesis 3: 16). In later readings, we are alerted to this monstrous modification in Israel’s early society, the people have chosen to image God’s plan for the ages. As a result of sin working initially in the garden, through Adam, the man’s ego, pride and downright slander and malicious intent, and ultimately, visible through the human race fallen from grace.
To interpret the scriptures in this way, I always approach the presented text on the page with wariness. I engage in what is known as a ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ where my own translation work on the women of the bible is concerned. I do this in an attempt to combat this negative effect that the patriarchal translation of the scriptures has brought upon woman in particular. Although it benefits the male of the species initially it also turns out to be their adversary.
I draw the reader’s attention to take special interest regarding women’s faith, to take note of the way in which they keep the vision of the Coming One alive. Note the women’s courageous actions to save Israel from extinction. Their leading position in early Israelite society is revealed through their land ownership and the toponomy, such as towns and regions named after them. Only those of the Mother’s close kin are known as ‘bone of bone and flesh of flesh’. These close kinship groups lead to the growth of larger clans and finally tribes, all of which individually and at a microcosm level, the scriptures show relate to their individual mothers.
The gender issue is also considered where clearly women are ruled out of the mainstream of Israelite society due to misogynist biased translation and commentary. Finally, I show how this leads to (false) Christian doctrines, built on fabricated premises and rest upon shaky patriarchal foundation stones to which the following scripture allude. The Freedom Papers ‘If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. his eyes are watching closely; they examine the sons of men (Ps 11: 3).
Adding vowels to the Hebrew consonants is precarious. For example, women readers have been duped by the bible translators when it comes to the translation of some of the bible women’s names. This is brought out by a woman Rabbi, Shoni Labowitz. Working on the original Hebrew Rabbi Labowitz chose to insert different vowels than those of the male translators. In this way, Labowitz paints for us an entirely different picture. It allows a new reading of some of the most well known and loved women of the Hebrew Bible.
Leah: The meaning of the root letters for Leah’s name, lamed, aleph, and hey, rather than ‘tired and heavy’, can also be translated ‘to labour in vain’ or, ‘one who perseveres against the odds’. Rather than viewing Leah as a sad figure overshadowed by her younger sister, Rachel, ‘whom Jacob loved’ we have a role model for women, one who prevailed against the odds. Jael, “Mountain Goat” root letters; ayin, lamed, hey. In different formations could also mean ‘to go up’ or, ‘accomplish’ Deborah: Bee. root letters, daled, beit, and resh. In different formations can mean, to arrange, speak, motivate and litigate’.
Access Shoni Labowitz’s book on Amazon book HERE
- Patriarchy: “the dominant ideology of patriarchy” a society or community organized on patriarchal lines. This endemic oppressive binary system, which set up and now maintains with rigour the ‘gender divide’ that pits half of the human race against the other.
The seeds of this insidious weed once planted into the minds and hearts of the Athenian Greek population through their social organisation of democracy which began 500 BCE where eventually the son would be brought into the line of succession to the office of his father. It has never abated.
Human slavery has shown us one of the greatest abuses and injustices inflicted on the human race. The Bible, when it talks about slavery is categorically not condoning such things at all. Nevertheless, slavery is a part of the history of the human race and cannot be denied.
In the Old Covenant, God warned His people about treating slaves justly and kindly, telling them to remember what it was like to be mistreated when they themselves were enslaved in Egypt. Nevertheless, peoples who were subjected to slavery in the past or present ancestors of those inhumanely treated do not find any comfort in these words. The title ‘Lord’ has always been used by the conquerors whatever their mission or language and many today do not accept this use of ‘lord’ for Jesus and I concur.