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Old 03-29-2007, 08:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

I'm kinda of looking for a Judeo-Christian response to this question. Check out this quote:

"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them." - Genesis 3:21

"Therefore this is the literal meaning of the text; but if we look to the real meaning, then the garment of skins is a figurative expression for the natural skin, that is to say, our body; for God, when first of all he made the intellect, called it Adam; after that he created the outward sense, to which he gave the name of Life. In the third place, he of necessity also made a body, calling that by a figurative expression, a garment of skins; for it was fitting that the intellect and the outward sense should be clothed in a body as in a garment of skins; that the creature itself might first of all appear worthy of divine virtue; since by what power can the formation of the human body be put together more excellently, and in a more becoming manner, than by God? on which account he did put it together, and at the same time he clothed it; when some prepare articles of human clothing and others put them on; but this natural clothing, contemporary with the man himself, namely, the body, belonged to the same Being both to make and to clothe the man in after it was made." - Philo Judaeus

Source: Questions, and Solutions to Those Questions, Which Arise in Genesis.

What do you think of the idea that instead of God providing animal skins in this passage, that God was actually giving Adam and Eve the clothes of corrupted flesh?
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Old 03-29-2007, 08:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

Dondi--you have my attention...looking forward to some thoughtful responses. I'm thinking about this one.

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Old 03-29-2007, 10:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

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Originally Posted by Dondi View Post
What do you think of the idea that instead of God providing animal skins in this passage, that God was actually giving Adam and Eve the clothes of corrupted flesh?
How about flesh period? That Adam and Eve were not as we are? That it wasn't till the fall that they became as we know humans? I mean if it all ain't metaphor...
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

maybe the first blood sacrifice to cover sins.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

to cover their sin, god had to spill blood.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

lol hence the killing of animals to cover them....? Sorry I thought thats what I said
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Old 03-30-2007, 03:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

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lol hence the killing of animals to cover them....? Sorry I thought thats what I said
nah, you were saying something else and getting the thread off track again.
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

Hi Dondi –

"Therefore this is the literal meaning of the text; but if we look to the real meaning, then the garment of skins is a figurative expression for the natural skin, that is to say, our body;"

Clement of Alexandria, St Augustine, St. Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nyssa, St Gregory the Great, the Venerable Bede, Hugh of St. Victor ... even to the great Scholastics of the High Middle Ages, Peter Lombard, Blessed Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas, the literal view of the Hexaemeron prevailed over the speculative.

Even so, that the Fathers appear undecided or deliberately ambiguous on certain scriptural issues, the duration of the creational day for example, is not so much a measure of uncertainty but audience. St Basil the Great, the author of that first Hexæmeron, delivered his homilies to an audience of ordinary folk, and prefaced his second book thus, "In the few words which have occupied us this morning we have found such a depth of thought that we despair of penetrating further." He was well aware of sowing confusion and doubt in the heart of the believer, and to believe in something it is not necessary to understand it.

The first, and inarguable thesis of the JudeoChristian Tradition is that man was created a body. Two texts (among a host of others) support this thesis –

"... fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth ..." (1:28)

"And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul." (2:7)

In both cases there are references of seed and fruit as food, so in both Genesis 1 and 2 it would seem man is created a physical being in a physical world.

I might also add that without a body, its 'instrument of presence' – the disembodied intellect as such is not present 'in' the world – the pure intellect (angel) can witness, but it can not and will not participate, except under the most unusual circumstances.

"for God, when first of all he made the intellect, called it Adam; after that he created the outward sense, to which he gave the name of Life. In the third place, he of necessity also made a body, calling that by a figurative expression, a garment of skins;"

Now one could tackle Philo Judaeus, but I'd have to read further. There is an implication that the intellect is Adam, not the whole person, and this would seem to indicate an overt Platonic style of thought, and not JudeoChristian, the implication being that the body is a contingent mode of being of the intellect Adam, which in essence does not require a body ... and I would have to explore Philo's thinking a lot further before accepting that premise.

Origen (2nd c.) fell somewhat under the same error in speculating (he never offered it as anything other than a speculation) the pre-existence of the human soul, outside and above the body, as it were. He did not, as is so often asserted, infer metempsychosis or reincarnation by so doing). This was a fundamental error that was corrected by St Maximus (6th c.) when the latter 'Christianised' Platonism and in so doing solved some of the intractable problems that Plato himself was obliged to acknowledge (if every thing has its 'idea' which is its perfection, then Plato acknowledged there must be a 'perfect disease', which contradicted his idea of 'the good').

"for it was fitting that the intellect and the outward sense should be clothed in a body as in a garment of skins; that the creature itself might first of all appear worthy of divine virtue; since by what power can the formation of the human body be put together more excellently, and in a more becoming manner, than by God? on which account he did put it together, and at the same time he clothed it; when some prepare articles of human clothing and others put them on; but this natural clothing, contemporary with the man himself, namely, the body, belonged to the same Being both to make and to clothe the man in after it was made." (my emphasis)

Here Philo seems to head off any erroneous reading of the text, by asserting that the body was made 'contemporary with' or at the same time as the intellect, so if I have read this extract right, he in fact did not stray off course.

However, I might add that reading your link, Philo does seem to indicate two men, the physical, "so that the temperament of his nature was combined of what was corruptible and of what was incorruptible. But the other man, he who is only so in form, is found to be unalloyed without any mixture proceeding from an invisible, simple, and transparent nature."
(my emphasis)

So again Philo seems to signify 'man' as being something non-material, that is combined with the material ... so what is the difference between human and angel, and why? In short, I think Philo is thinking more along Hellenic dualist rather than Hebraic holistic lines, and falling into their speculative error.

But again ... I would have to read further.

Finally, I might add that intellection is not a quality that belongs to human nature alone, as angels also have powers of intellection. So the intellect does not 'belong to' nor define the human as such, and one is not human because one has an intellect. So the intellect is a meta-human quality and is not in that sense Adamic, whereas all humanity shares in the Primordial Adamic nature, and thus the Fall. In the Latin tradition this participation in Adam's wounded nature is active, Adam sinned and man sins (thus ontologically the first sin resides in Adam and man participates in that); in the Orthodox this participation is passive, man suffers the consequence of Adam's sin, but is not guilty of it. The two views are quite distinct, but even Orthodox commentators have admitted that there are certain flaws within the Orthodox reading – why does God punish those who are not guilty? We do not punish the wife and family of a criminal, even though they do suffer as a consequence ... but this is a digression.

Frithjof Schuon referred to the intellective (as opposed to 'intellectual' which is a profanity) capacity as something 'naturally supernatural, or supernaturally natural' in man.

Thomas
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Old 03-30-2007, 04:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

Thanks Thomas, for that long dissertion.

I was thinking along the lines of the kind of body Adam and Eve might have had prior to the fall would be in similar fashion as Jesus had after His resurrection, that is, a "spiritual body" as indicated in I Corinthians 15:

"It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." - I Corinthians 15:44

If this were the case, then this spiritual body, incorrupted body would be somewhat materialistic, yet have spiritual qualities also, in the same fashion that Jesus presented Himself to his disciples in John 20 and Luke 24. It wouldn't be an etheral spirit, but a spiritual body, pure in form, not subject to pain, sickness, or disease.

It would explain why the curse would have been such detrimental effects, namely the woman would have great pain and difficulty in bearing children and the man suffering fatigue in tending the garden as they converted to the present corruptable form, the natural flow of corruption by sin.

Stretching even further, supposing that God had foreknowledge of such things, there is the consideration there was process of growth in the evolutionary chain of humans leading up to Homo Sapiens until God was satified with the finished product as a temporary "house" for humans after the fall to occupy until all things could be renewed by Christ. thus provided this garment to Adam and Eve. It would resolve the dilemma that many "old earth" creationists have in wondering how one can imagine the uniqueness of Man made in God's image, yet still accept the evolutionary evidences that seem to plague the creation model.

I've only begun to contemplate the possibilities, and I'm sure there are other implications to consider.

Another idea rolling in my head. Since the Garden of Eden was centrally located, where the four rivers meet in the Middle East, certainly if was limited in scope in relation to the rest of the world. One wonders of the condition or state of the rest of the world, whether or not it was subjected to the same favorable conditions as in the Garden. Seems to me that due to the Fall, Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden and barred entrance by the two Cherubim with the flaming swords. Being outside, the conditions of the outside world matched Adam and Eve's own physical condition.

Fast forward to the Rev. 21-22, that City of New Jerusalem coming down of heaven, which has specific dimensions of equal length, width, and height. (12,000 furlongs cubed = 1,400 miles cubed = 2,200 km cubed). Such as structure would also be limited in scope in relation to the rest of the world, yet Christ would reign from there 1,000 years. There would be no incorrutable thing in the city:

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." - Rev. 22:14-15

Here we have two classes of people: they that do his commandments, who are granted access into the City. And those who are "without" that are similarly barred from the City.

Could this be indeed the dimensions of the original Garden?

Hmmm...Still thinking this one through, but it do present mind-boggling possabilities.
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Old 03-30-2007, 04:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve

according to the midrash, adam was originally a 600ft hermaphrodite covered in spikes - so in this context, first splitting him in two (at the rib) and then making him vulnerable (giving him a soft human skin) makes perfect sense....!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faithfulservant
lol hence the killing of animals to cover them....?
not at all - the midrash suggests it was a "substance that came forth from the skin", ie something like wool or fur - the skin sort of grew out over their previous "exoskeleton" or what-have-you. from a certain point of view this is extremely similar to the evolutionary idea that first came scales, then they turned into feathers, then they flattened into fur, which then fell off revealing the skin beneath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas
"And G!D Formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul." (2:7)

In both cases there are references of seed and fruit as food, so in both Genesis 1 and 2 it would seem man is created a physical being in a physical world.
surely we are not to understand that the fishes and animals do not breathe the "breath of life"? do they not "live"? are they too not "physical beings"? if so, then we must examine why particularly man is singled out as being a "living soul" - the answer as usual is that there's a misunderstanding going on here. rashi clarifies as follows:

Quote:
"Cattle and beasts were also called living souls, but this one of man is the most alive of them all, because he was additionally given intelligence and speech."
be very, very careful when interpreting the ma'aseh bereishit - it is not to be taken literally, particularly in translation. moreover, philo is not what i'd call terribly reliable here, as he is far too concerned with reconciling judaism with aristotelian rationality.

Quote:
Finally, I might add that intellection is not a quality that belongs to human nature alone, as angels also have powers of intellection. So the intellect does not 'belong to' nor define the human as such, and one is not human because one has an intellect.
and we find that actually the quality that humans have that angels do not have is *free-will* - the knowledge of good and evil and the consequent choice between them.

b'shalom

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