I am utterly delighted to announce that the Challenge, the Puzzle I posed yesterday… was solved by none other than Paulfg of Just me being curious.
I had given the hint that it seemed that Adam would have immediately “known” only two things upon opening his eyes… regardless of whether he yet had any “language” with which to characterize or articulate such knowledge. But Paul, in his solution, shows us that there is a third as well… Here is the question, and Paul’s response…
Question: Before anything else happens in the Garden, before there is even speech, just consider this question, “What did Adam… what COULD Adam… know in those first moments when he opened his eyes?”
Thought it might have to have some boring “criteria” 🙂
I sit here imagining. And imagining. Stripping back as much of the “stuff” we all accumulate as I can. And repeat. And repeat. And keep repeating. Until all I ma left with is this:
Wow… takes my breath away, Gentle Reader. Never seen anyone do this “on demand” this way… And in recognizing the truth of Paul’s response I added that he has shown me that my hint of “two” truths is inadequate… clearly, there are “three”.
The Truths I had in mind, when Adam opened his eyes and beheld the Face of God in the First Instant of Human Time, were the realizations:
“I am.” and “You are.”
But Paul is absolutely right… there is also… “WE are.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So what, eh? Why is any of this important? Is this just a little game of silly buggers, the sort of thing the Apostle Paul in Corinth called “futile speculations” trying to show off our own wisdom and sophistication? Just so much (blech!) “philosophical stuff”?
Erm, no. No, it’s not.
In fact, just as I’ve been typing this I was struck with an intriguing thought.
What can we KNOW, ASSUREDLY about Adam? Well, simply that… he “wasn’t”, then God fashioned him, then Adam “was”. As God breathed life into/onto him, he became “man”.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. [Genesis 1:26-31]
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. [Genesis 2:7-9]
What has just struck me in all this was that God “created” through “Word(s)” Some imagery portrays creation through God “speaking”. Some others have posed a creation scenario wherein God “sings”. I love all of that. All things were created through Jesus, the Word of God… and He upholds all things by the word of His power. This is, indeed, a great “mystery”. I have no idea HOW any of this happens, I simply believe THAT it happens (present, as well as past tense), because Scripture says so.
But the thought that struck me was that, as Paulfg so rightly points out, Adam may not have had any command of language at birth. The first “voice” he could have heard was that of God. Now, I fully realize that we cannot say that God did not infuse tremendous knowledge, including language, into Adam upon his awakening… but simply we cannot declare this to be so, as Scripture never addresses this.
(We seldom consider the question… we simply assume all kinds of knowledge for Adam, based on our own human experience. But unlike us, Adam was a bit “feral”. Nature only, no nurture at all but for God Himself. No family, no culture, no language, no “accent”, no “school” or “peer groups”. None of those wondrous background elements that so go without saying in our own lives, who provide information, knowledge, and personality development. We can’t assume any of that.)
Was everything Silent, as he opened his eyes? It may be that birds were singing, frogs croaking, crickets chirping and such… but Adam’s creation was in the “Uttermost West” (as one author puts it), and all the Garden stuff was “east” of this birth site. Or… was there perhaps music? Did the very universe “hum” in this time, as the Music of the Celestial Spheres played out? Did God hum an incredible melody, as His penultimate creation drew his first breaths? Who can say? But wondrous to consider, is it not?
Nonetheless, the point here is that… language and descriptors or not… Adam’s very first realization has to have been simply that he, Adam, WAS… he existed… he was aware and a person. And, looking upon God, comes the immediate recognition that “God is”… that… “You Are”. And with that, as Paul points out, a “new” concept, a “new word” comes into being…. “WE”… that WE ARE. “Relationship” is now a reality in human existence and experience.
Here is the critical truth, the point of this entire exercise.
Even before man is completely formed into the Image of God… before the creation of Eve… (“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”)… even before God completes the creation of Man/Woman fully in His/Their Image, Adam’s consciousness recognizes Self, Other, and Relationship.
He may not have known anything else yet… Clearly he didn’t realize much ABOUT God yet… he was simple, naked, unaffected by subtleties. He knew nothing of needs, yet. Did he know fear? Unlikely… we learn fear from negative experiences in our history, and Adam has had none yet.
So… there’s the foundation course of stones in the human experience. The ultimate “knowledge” of solo man… “I am”, “God is (You are)”, and “We are”.
So… here’s the next question, the next layer, the next challenge.
“What does Adam then FEEL?” What does he need?
We have to infer this from God’s actions that follow the birth.
Again, Gentle Reader, trust me… this truly has a point. We’re not just batting philosophical baseballs into the firmament. See what you think.
More to come… Grace to thee — The Little Monk