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Adam and Eve

Translated by Kênya Parsons

Is the story of Adam and Eve real?

Initially, let’s analyze the biblical Genesis, starting with Cain’s speech, after being reprehended by the Lord regarding the fratricide committed.

4, 14. ... and whoever finds me will kill me. 15. ... Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16. Cain ... lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17. Cain lay with his wife. She... gave birth to Enoc. Cain was then building a city...

For what reason would Cain fear to be killed far from Eden if, aside from himself, only Adam and Eve inhabited the Earth? The only possible explanation to support the hypothesis of Adam and Eve being the first couple is to suppose that they had other children and, for an unknown reason, these children had previously moved to distant regions where Cain was heading to. By the way, such hypothesis is used by brethren of other beliefs trying to justify literal interpretations of the Bible. In my point of view, the fact that the book Genesis does not mention Adam and Eve’s other children makes this argument weak. If those supposed children used to please God or, on the contrary, if they did not, the reason for them to move far from Eden had to be written in the biblical text, which is definitely not the case.

The lack of acknowledgment of Adam and Eve’s other children in the biblical text could be justified by the fact that they were brothers or sisters who begun other races, therefore, not important for the Jewish tradition. However, careful reading of the text contests this explanation. Even if the tradition had omitted the destiny of Adam and Eve’s other children, it would not put meaningless words into the Lord’s mouth.  When Cain showed concern of being killed by “whoever finds” him, proving not to know who he would find in his way, the Lord assured him that he would not be killed by any one “who found him”. Based on Cain’s speech and the Lord’s answer, it is obvious that Cain could find somebody who he was not acquainted with at the distant lands to where he was going. This discards the hypothesis that this unfamiliar person could be his brother or sister.

Aside from this argument, the text also brings interesting information which adds to the same interpretation. It says that Cain built a city to live with his wife and son. Well, if he was to live only with his wife and child, a house would suffice. If Cain built a city, it is because there would have been a lot of people living in that region and, being the most evolved among them, he became the leader who organized everyone in a civilized way.

The Adamic Race and the Advent of Civilization

In The Spirit’s Book, we learn:

50. Did the human race begin with one man only?

“No; he whom you call Adam was neither the first nor the only man who peopled the earth.”

51. Is it possible to know at what period Adam lived?

“About the period which you assign to him; that is to say, about 4000 years before Christ.”

In accordance with the teaching of the spirits, the perception of time in the spiritual world is different from ours, as incarnated beings. Current archaeological researches confirm that civilization flourished approximately at that time. Therefore, if we understand Adam and Eve as mythical characters, they can truthfully represent the arrival of the first civilizations in our planet. 
Item 38, Chapter XI of the book Genesis – The Miracles and the Predictions according to Spiritism deals with the Adamic race and it points to the same conclusion. There Allan Kardec says:

“38. –The Adamic race, according to the teaching of the spirits, is due to one of these great immigrations, where one of these great colonies of spirits came from another sphere, which has given birth to the race symbolized in the person of Adam, and for this reason named Adamic. When they arrived, the Earth had been peopled from time immemorial, as America had been when Europeans reached its shores.”

“The Adamic race, more advanced than those which had preceded it upon the Earth, is indeed the most intelligent. It is that race which has pushed all other races forward.  Genesis shows us it from its debut to be industrious, apt in all the arts and sciences, without having passed through an intellectual infancy…”

Hence, one can observe that Kardec interprets Adam as an allegory, which represents the arrival in our orb of a colony of spirits who came from a more evolved world.  They improved upon the construction of cities, the culture of land, the production of metals and the progress in arts and sciences, conquests that, in sum, define what we understand as Civilization.

Starting on item 43 of the same chapter of Genesis, Kardec deals with the “Doctrine of the Fallen Angels and the Loss of Paradise”

“...At the time then when a world has reached one of its transformation crises which mark the stages of its ascent in the hierarchy, changes of a marked character take place among its incarnated and disincarnated inhabitants, causing extensive emigrations and immigrations (no. 34 and 35). Those who, notwithstanding their intelligence and knowledge, have continued in evil their revolt against God and his laws would be henceforth obstacles in the path of further moral progress, a permanent source of trouble, disturbing the tranquility and well-being of the virtuous. For this reason are they sent forth into less advanced worlds – worlds in which they can utilize their intelligence and the results of their acquired knowledge in furthering the advancement of those among whom they are called to live, at the same time expiating in a series of laborious existences, by hard work, their past faults and their willful obstinacy.”

Kardec’s explanation is clear and it does not require further explanations.

Entrance to the Human Kingdom

Analyzing the Myth of the Lost Paradise, one can notice that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has an evident meaning. How would one know what is right or wrong without having a mature conscience? The message behind the myth should be interpreted.

Souls that were incarnate in hominid bodies in Eden lived in naiveness. By lacking a mature conscience, that is, being unable to distinguish right from wrong, they were not responsible for their acts, not being, therefore, submitted to expiations. When those souls proved the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that is, when their conscience became mature and they became Spirits, they were banished from the Eden of naiveness and became responsible for their acts, hence submitting themselves to the Law of Causality.

I understand this interpretation of the myth of Adam and Eve as consistent with the teaching that we can obtain from the Codification. After all, as I mentioned before, the information that we obtain from Genesis, item 38, is that the colony of spirits represented by the Adam myth would have been responsible for the advent of what we now call Civilization.

In Carlos Torres Pastorino´s A Sabedoria do Evangelho (The Wisdom of the Gospel), we find the confirmation of the interpretation presented in this study for what we make his words the closing remarks of this brief study about Adam and Eve. In his comments about the genealogy of Jesus, as per described in the Gospel according to Lucas, the scholar says:

“Let’s move on to Lucas. He gives us 76 generations from Adam to Heli. Let us remember that the word Adam (from the Hebrew ADAM) simply means the common noun MAN. It is not a proper noun.

Therefore, Lucas tells us that, as soon as the creature leaves the animal kingdom for the human kingdom, reaching the human phase (adamic), …”

  • Kardec, Allan. Genesis, The Miracles and the Predictions according to Spiritism. 1st Ed. Spiritist Alliance for Books, 2003.
  • _____, ____. The Spirit’s Book. 6o Ed. FEB, Rio de Janeiro, 1996.
  • Pastorino, Carlos Torres. A Sabedoria do Evangelho. Vol. I. Sabedoria, 1967.
  • The Holy Bible. New International Version®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society.

(Articled originally published at the Revista Internacional de Espiritismo -Spiritism International Magazine - October 2004)
Source: The Spiritist Messenger, 14th Year, Number 73, April 2006