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The Bible:
Genesis 3

Jewish Writers


According to Josephus in the Garden of Eden “At that epoch all the creatures spoke a common tongue” (Jewish Antiquities, I .41). This seems to be taken from the Book of Jubilees (3:28, Also Philo, De opif.mudi 55:156). As far as Adam and Eve’s punishment is concerned, Josephus says, “God said, ‘Nay, I had decreed for you to live a life of bliss, unmolested by all ill, with no care to fret your souls; all things that contribute to enjoyment and pleasure were, through my providence, to spring up for you spontaneously, without toil or distress of yours; blessed with these gifts, old age would not soon have overtaken you and your life would have been long” (JA. I:46). Josephus does not say that they will live forever, but for a long time, maybe because only God can live forever.

Book of Jubilees

The Book of Jubilees states, “In the first week Adam was created and also the rib, his wife. And in the second week he showed her to him. And therefore the commandment was given to observe seven days, for a male, but for a female twice seven days in their impurity. And after forty days were completed for Adam in the land where he was created, we brought him into the garden of Eden so that he might work it and guard it. And on the eightieth day his wife was also brought in….And during the first week of the first Jubilee Adam and his wife had been in the garden of Eden for seven years tilling and guarding it” (Book of Jubilees 3:8-13).

“On the day when Adam went out from the garden of Eden….the mouth of all the beasts and cattle and birds and whatever walked or moved was stopped from speaking because all of them used to speak with one another with one speech and one language. The language that the animals spoke seems to be Hebrew, the “tongue of creation” (Book of Jubilees 12:26).

Adam was the first to be buried in the earth. The Book of Jubilees records, “And he (Adam) was the first who was buried in the earth. And he lacked seventy years from one thousand years, for a thousand years are like one day in the testimony of heaven and therefore it was written concerning the tree of knowledge, ‘In the day you eat from it you will die.’ Therefore he did not complete the years of this day because he died in it” (Book of Jubilees, 4:29-30, also 11QJub 2).

Concerning Noah’s flood, it states, “And because of him (Enoch) none of the water of the Flood came upon the whole land of Eden, for he was put there for a sign and so that he might bear witness against all the children of men so that he might relate all of the deeds of the generations until the day of judgment” (Book of Jubilees, 4:24). The Book of Jubilees goes on to say, “And all of the water stayed upon the surface of the earth five months, one hundred and fifty days. And the ark went and rested on the top of Lubar, one of the mountains of Ararat. And in the fourth month the springs of the deep were closed and the floodgates of heaven were held shut. And on the new moon of the seventh month, all of the mouths of the deeps of the earth were opened. And the water began to go down into the depths below” (Book of Jubilees, 5:27-29).


Why did not Adam and Eve immediately die? Philo reasons, “Surely that death is of two kinds; the one being the death of the man, the other the peculiar death of the soul-now the death of the man is the separation of his soul from his body, but the death of the soul is the destruction of virtue and the admission of vice; and consequently God calls that not merely ‘to die’ but ‘to die the death;’ showing that he is speaking not of common death, but of that peculiar and especial death which is the death of the soul, buried in its passions and in all kinds of evil’ (Allegorical Interpretation I. 105-106). Philo concludes, “When, therefore, God says, ‘to die the death,’ you must remark that he is speaking of that death which is inflicted as punishment, and not of that which exists by the original ordinance of nature. The natural death is that one by which the soul is separated from the body” (Allegorical Interpretation I. 107).

Genesis Rabbah

“but a snake produces offspring only after seven years, and an adder in seventy years” (GR p.216).

1.B “When the Holy One, blessed be he, said to him, ‘Upon your belly you shall go,’ the ministering angels came down and cut off his hands and feet. His roar went forth from one end of the world to the other” (GR, p.217).
5.B “I made you walk upright like a man, but you did not want it: “Upon your belly you shall go’” (GR, p.218).
5.D. “You wanted to kill man and marry his wife” (IBID).
3.B. “Said R. Hilpai, ‘It is not any sort of dirt, but the snake digs down until it reaches rock or virgin soil, and he takes up the sinews of the earth and eats” (GR, p.217).

2.A. ‘“And you ate of the tree” (Gen3:17). [The reference to eating of the tree, not the fruit,] supports the view of R. Abba of Acre, that it was an etrog-tree [which produces wood that can be eaten]” (GR, 222).

7.A. “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
7.B. R. Simeon b. Yohai said, “This is evidence in the Torah for the resurrection of the dead. What it says is not, ‘For you are dust and to dust you will go,’ but rather ‘you shall return’ [Freedman, p.169 n.8: which he interprets ‘you shall go to the dust yet shall return , at the resurrection’]” (GR, 225).


“The Talmud teaches the pre-existence of souls. ‘In the seventh heaven, Araboth, are stored the spirits and souls which have still to be created’ (Chag. 12b), i.e. the unborn souls which have yet to be united to bodies. There was a common belief that the Messianic era will not dawn until all these unborn souls have had their term of existence on earth. ‘The son of David (i.e. the Messiah) will not come until all the souls in the Guph come to an end’ (Jeb. 62a), the Guph being the celestial store-house where these souls await their time to inhabit a human body” (Everyman’s Talmud by A. Cohen, New York: Schocken, 1975, p.78).

“The soul is the spiritual force within man which raises him above an animal existence, inspires him with ideals, and propts him to choose the good and reject the evil” (IBID). The soul was seen as pure. In Rabbinic literature every human being has two urges or impulses, one good and the other evil (Ber. 61a). If the evil impulse dominates the person is called wicked. If the good impulse dominates than the person is called righteous. While man is born with an evil impulse, the good impulse does not manifest itself until the age of thirteen, the age of accountability, when a boy becomes responsible for his actions (IBID. p. 89). Others saw the evil impulse as a natural instinct that was misused since God only creates good. The Torah was the antidote for the evil impulse. Man was not bound to sin but could choose to do right or wrong. According to Josephus the Pharisees championed free will (Antiq. XCIII. I.3). There was no attempt to solve the problem of God’s foreknowledge and man’s free will. “Every thing is forseen (by God), yet freedom of choice is given” (Aborth III.19; IBID. p.94).

The doctrine of original sin, that man inherits sin and guilt, was foreign to Rabbis. “He may be burdened by the consequences of the wrongdoings of his forefathers; but no Rabbi of the Talmudic age would admit that any human being committed a wrong for which he or she was not personally responsible. Such an admission would have been at variance with the dogma of free will. Many utterances can be adduced from the Talmud to prove that man is sinless by nature” (IBID. p.96).