Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
IDOLATRY-9/ Making Adam by Consultations
Today we’ll focus on the creation of Adam
according to the miraculous Chapter One of Genesis
Adam was created, Moses says, as the last creature
In the long series of creatures made during the Six Days
We’ve already seen that the story of the Six Days as told by Moses
is supported by our science, something unexpected
from a text written 3500 years ago.
So first he establishes his credibility,
And then he adds his moral message about CREATION
Telling us that there is a CREATOR,
Whose Name is the JUDGE ELHM,
Who created the Six Day while sitting on
the Throne of Absolute Justice with no Mercy,
that He ruled the Earth during the Six Days by iron fist,
acting by measure for measure,
consulting no one, ruling awesomely alone
In fact, presenting a moral message
without establishing credibility first,
would lead to rejection: people would say
that the message is just an imaginary story
But if you establish credibility first,
When we stand in awe regarding
Moses’ exact count of the history of Earth,
Then there is a chance that we would be impressed
And accept also Moses’ moral message
Now as we move in Genesis to the story of creating Adam
Moses follows the same logic:
he first tells us a story about Adam that is fully supported by science,
something unexpected from a text written 3500 years ago
And then, having established his credibility in our eyes
he also adds his moral message about Adam: like
Who created us, How, and for What purpose
So, what does Moses tell about creating Adam?
But first, to appreciate what he is saying,
let’s see what other people in his time
told about the creation of Man.
We know in details what people told about Man, in Moses’ time
You can read about it in the internet or in fascinating books
Like Karen Armstrong’s book about the History of God
In short –
The Egyptians, among whom Moses grew up, said
that the first Man was born from the eye of the Sun-god Ra.
Ra, who ruled the Earth after a bloody struggle with other gods,
used to send out one of his eyes to execute various missions.
Once, the eye refused to return, so Ra sent out his two sons to fetch it.
The eye cried so much, that from its tears Man was born – the first Pharaoh
Now, we can imagine how much passion and awe
the story incited in the hearts of the ancient Egyptians.
They paraded in the streets for its glory, chanting hymns and praising their god.
We can imagine how the Egyptian philosophers saw deep meaning to the story.
But one thing we are also sure –
the story has nothing to do with science,
nor does it tell us anything about how we are made.
The story is a mere myth.
The Babylonians in Moses time also told a mythical story about the first Man.
Man was created by a Warrior-god named Marduk.
It is said that Marduk is born at sunrise, and die at sunset.
Once in a while Marduk disintegrates completely then resuscitates itself
Once upon a time, Marduk disintegrated, and from its remains Man was made.
Again, we may sympathize with the story, clap our hands to it,
but it has nothing to do with science,
nor does it contribute to our understanding
how our bodies are built and what for.
The Greek living in Moses’ time also told similar myths.
Man was created by a Titan-god named Prometheus
Having lost the war between the Titans and the Olympians gods,
Prometheus was released and then created the first Man.
But Zeus did not approve it, and took away the fire from Man.
Prometheus then brought Man a torch with fire taken from the sun
Thereby saving Man’s life.
This story has prompted the Olympic games and the famous torch,
Yet it does not have any relation to science
Nor does it tell anything about how Man is built and what for.
Now, let’s see what Moses tell about the creation of Adam
Man creation according to Moses
Moses says, that in the middle of the Sixth Day, our Day,
ELHM paused and conducted a crucial judgment.
The Earth stood on a crossroad. Would it progress to the Sabbath, or not?
ELHM decided to let CREATION proceed forwards
And He declared that “it was good.”
He cleared out the creatures which were not good anymore
Since they would not be able to live by Adam’s side
And He announced His Plan to make Adam
in a special way, never done before.
Instead of commanding: ” Let there be Adam!”
He said Sa in plural “Let Us Make Adam in Our Form and Our Image”
Amazingly, here G-d, as a BUILDER, sounds like a CEO of a company,
who assembles his board, or councilors, to discuss a new project: a humanoid.
In a modern company,
the CEO would first set up the purpose of making the robot,
the parameters for the robot’s actions,
how much Free Choice it would have,
how smart it would be, what should it do, and what should it not d
Then the CEO would ask each councilor in the room
to contribute his skills to the project.
One councilor would provide the best materials,
the other his scientific skills,
the other his artistic talent,
to make the robot smart, efficient and beautiful.
Moses describes the creation of Adam in a similar fashion.
Thus, when ELHM spoke in plural, He assembled His Councilors
and to each one He said:
“Let Us make Adam in our Form and Our Image”
This way, each councilor would contribut a dimension,
a layer in Adam’s body and soul
Who are ELHM’s councilors?
The Midrash says: He consulted with
whoever was listening, or
whoever was in the “room”, or
whoever is mentioned in Chapter One.
Starting the consultation on the Sixth Day
ELHM consulted the councilors mentioned
earlier or after
in the chapter
ELHM consulted YHVH and made Adam
We’ve already discussed
the first consultation with the Attribute of MERCY, YHVH,
whose Name appears in the text as an Acronym,
at the very end of the Chapter, at the junction
between the Sixth Day and the Sabbath.
ELHM “looked ahead” in the Chapter and said to YHVH:
“Let Us Make and Adam in Our Image and Our Form”.
This was a major gift to Adam
Since the advent of the Merciful YHVH in the Heavenly Court
sweeten our verdicts and offer us the option
to repent, ask forgiveness, and start all over again.
But is has also set up the goal for history- becoming Very Good
So that we would enter the next Day, the Sabbath,
This consultation has also enriched our lives,
Endowing it with holiness and joy
but it came with a price:
For by speaking in plural,
ELHM opened the door for idolaters
To think we have more than One Creator
that YHVH and ELHM are two gods
Thus, whenever ELHM gives,
He also asks something in return, measure for measure.
After setting the goals for Adam’s life, the direction where Man goes,
ELHM turned “back” to the Chapter
To provide the best materials for Adam’s body
ELKM consulted the Six Days and made Adam
Turning to the Six Days, ELHM said to each Day:
“Let Us Make Adam in Our Form and Our Image.”
Each Day agreed, and ELHM consulted it and made a layer in Adam accordingly.
Each Day provided a dimension in Adam’s body and soul
In other words-
He consulted each Day as a BUILDER Who Consults His Plan
and built a layer in Adam accordingly.
He consulted the First Day and made Adam. Adam is made of stuff that stars are made of.
He Consulted the Second Day’s Water and made another layer in Adam. Our body constitutes mostly of waters.
He Consulted the Third Day’s Vegetation and made another layer in Adam; giving our eyes the ability to perform photosynthesis and to our blood vessels to brunch out like trees.
He Consulted the Fourth Day’s Luminaries and made another layer in Adam accordingly. This is why we have in us a biologic clock that knows days from nights , something crucial for our nervous system
He Consulted the Fifth Days’ fish, birds and crocodiles , and made another layer in Adam
He Consulted the Sixth Days’ Cattle, Beasts and Crawling creatures and made another layer in Adam.
Adam is therefore the summary of everything created before him.
Is the story supported by science?
You can see the story playing out
in the way the human embryo develops in the mother’s womb.
We all start as a single cell, that divides and grows into multi-cellular ball,
then evolves into phases that resemble Fish, Bird, Lizard and so on.
The scientists say: Onto-genesis repeats Phyllo-genesis.
Hence, Moses’ story is fully supported by our science
Something you can’t say about any of the myths of his time,
Thereby establishing Moses’ credibility.
Now, Moses adds something that Science can’t say:
that Man was born to withstand the IDOLATRY trial
By speaking to the councilors in plural,
ELHM made each councilor a potential idol.
For people would regard it as a Partner with ELHM.
As if ELHM, by the consultation,
rendered each councilor a magical status in Man’s eyes
So much, that Man would be tempted to worship it
As it turns out,
Moses actually predicts here the path that
Man would take in history
Along with the IDOLATRY trial
Has this prediction of IDOLATRY in history came true?
Indeed, Man’s history has followed the path dictated here by Moses
After the expulsion from Eden, G-d keeps calling :
“Adam! Where are you? Come to me! “
Adam hears that call, yet G-d is hiding from our eyes
Adam, living in the Sixth Day,
Hears G-d’s calling, and he looks for Him in the creatures around him,
Made with him on the Sixth Day.
Adam sees the animals created close to him, the cattle, beast and “snakes”
And they seem to him so powerful, so magical, so fascinating
that he is tempted to worship then, as his CREATOR
He worships the Cattle, holy cow, as the Egyptians did
He worships powerful beasts, as al ancient civilizations did
And he worships the snakes and Dragons, as the Greeks and Chinese did
And he worships even the Fly, as the Philistines did
But soon Adam becomes wiser and he realizes
that those creatures are in fact not so powerful.
But since he keeps hearing G-d calling him
“Adam , where are you? Come to me!”
he searches for God deeper in Nature,
In creatures made on the Fifth Day
Adam is now impressed by Great Fish, Birds and Crocodiles,
So much, that he worships them as if they are his creator
Indeed, the ancient Egyptians depicted their gods
With faces of fish, birds, and crocodiles;
And so did other ancient civilizations
But soon Man becomes wiser and he realizes
that those creatures are not so powerful.
Yet, hearing God calling him,
Adam seeks G-d now in creatures made deeper in Nature,
made on the Forth Day, namely
The Luminaries, the Sun and the Moon and the Stars,
and he worships them
as the Babylonians did
when they introduced Astrology
But soon Man discovers the fallacy of these celestial idols
and he looks for G-d deeper in Nature
in creatures made on the Third day, Vegetation,
and he worships them, as the Canaanites did
who worshiped gods of fertility, the Baal and Ashtoreth,
with sacred prostitution
Other people looks even deeply in Nature,
into the Waters that covered Earth on the Second Day
And they worship the Sea, like the Greeks who worshipped Poseidon
Man is still hearing G-d’s call
Adam, where are you? Come to me!
And we tend to look deeper in Nature,
to the primordial elements of the Universe
thinking that our origin lies there!
But soon, We hope,
Man will recognize the true God of Israel
Who, according to the Bible,
Created the world
Created the Six Days,
Since Moses is credible about his story of creating Adam,
Verified by observing each embryo,
And by observing the course of history along the path of IDOLATRY
He seems to be also credible about his moral message
That Adam is born to withstand the challenge of IDOLATRY
Now, with who else did ELHM consult in the making of Adam?
Why did ELHM consult the Six Days to make Adam?
By consulting the Six Days
Adam became the summary of Nature
A member of Nature
So that Adam could rule over Nature
As a King Who Consults.
This consultation gave Adam the ability to
identify and sympathize with each creature
and feel its needs , and lead it forwards
A king, says Moses (Deuteronomy) should be elected
Only from among his future subjects, as it is said
“From among your brothers, you should elect a king.”
The King can’t be an alien