Adam’s Rib, by Wayne Simpson

I see it’s been far too long since I last posted. School started. And my new novel has been taking up every spare minute. So today I’m just going to share an article. One that fascinated me. I love it when Bible researchers can shed new light on something for me, refining how I understand God’s word and the principles it contains. This is a powerful, eye-opening discovery.

ADAM’S RIB

by Wayne Simpson

The study of the Bible is often fraught with preconceptions, not only in our own minds but also in the minds of scholars, teachers and theologions who teach us and write the reference material that we rely on. Concepts can be so entrenched and cherished that no one even thinks to question them. Many such notions have been around for centuries or
millenia and they seem to be a part of the very foundation on which we base our beliefs. Sometimes they do not stand up to close scrutiny. Unfortunately, such ideas can conceal the most sublime insights into the scriptures.

One such notion is the matter of Adam’s rib in the second chapter of Genesis. Everybody knows the familiar Bible story about how God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. The smallest children are taught this story in Sunday schools across the land. Though many scholars find reasons not to take it literally, it is accepted as truth by millions of Christians. There is more here than meets the eye. I will show how it has been widely misunderstood and how that has caused us to miss some very dynamic teaching. Examine the account:

… for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Gen. 2:20-24

This is really a strange picture if you think about it. Why didn’t God just make woman from the ground as He had made Adam. He apparently made male and female of all the animals from the ground. And why a rib, instead of a finger or a toe, or an ear. The story seems to smack of early Mesopotamian and Greek literature. Ea, the god of wisdom was said to
be the ear of Ninurta. Athena, goddess of wisdom, sprang from the forehead of Zeus, and Aphrodite, goddess of love was said to have come from the sea foam that collected around the severed male organ of the god Uranus (JPS Torah Commentary, Genesis p. 22).

In actuality, something far more meaningful is being expressed in this biblical account than making a new person out of a small piece of the body of another. If we look closely at the Hebrew word for rib we will learn of something quite surprising. The word translated rib in Genesis 2 is tsela. This word is used in a number of other places in the Bible and its meaning is shown to be quite different than what we have imagined. The only other
place in the Bible where the english word rib occurs is in Daniel 7:5, translated from an altogether different Hebrew word. One Bible translation dares to break with the use of the traditional word rib. The Stone edition of the Chumash renders the verse this way:

” …and He took one of his sides and He filled in the flesh in its place.”

Right away you can see that what God took from Adam was a lot more than a small bone. But can this reading be justified? Let us examine other places in the Bible where this Hebrew word is used. We find that it is rendered side in a number of places.

Look at Exodus 25:12. In referring to the rings of gold on the Ark of the Covenant it says “Two rings shall be on one side (tselo – a variant of tsela) and two rings on the other side”. Later in verse 14 it refers to the two “sides” (tselot- the plural form). Exodus 37:3-5 shows this same description of the Ark.

In Exodus 27:7 it refers to “the two sides (tselot) of the altar” upon which staves and rings were attached “to bear it”. Notice that it refers to only two of the altars four sides – the two major sides as opposed to the front and rear. Similar usage occurs in Ex. 38:7. Then in Exodus 26:20, the Hebrew word ul-tsela is used, meaning “and for the side” of the tabernacle. This is the same Hebrew word with two initial letters that have the meaning “and for”. In verse 26 we read of one side (tsela) of the tabernacle and the second side (tsela) of the tabernacle. In verse 35 we see mentioned a table on the south side (tsela) of the tabernacle, referring this time not just to the outer skin of the tabernacle but to its south half. Identical usage occurs in Ex. 36:25,31.

Notice that in each of these accounts there is nothing resembling a rib or pillar like structural member. It refers to an entire side, essentially half, of a structure. This is very different from the notion of Adam’s rib, but let us continue.

In I kings 6:34 we see a description of folding doors consisting of two sides or panels (tsalim – the masculine plural form). These two panels were identical, each comprising half of the assembly. These were part of Solomons temple. At that time this Hebrew word for side began to be used in connection with associated components of the sides of the temple. Chambers or side compartments (tselot) were built along the sides of
the temple (I kings 6:5-6). Also the planks which formed the sides of the most holy place were given the name , batselot, meaning in the sides. Here again we see no hint of the notion of a rib or similar superstructure of any kind.

In Job 18:12 Job refers to “calamities at his side” (la-tselot) and Jeremiah 20:10 speaks of “fear on every side”. It would be ludicrous to speak of fear at every rib.

The only mention which might remotely be construed as anything like a rib is this:

“As David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside ( ba-tsela) and cursed as he went…”. II Sam 16:13.

While The New Brown Driver Briggs Gesenius Hebrew English Lexicon suggests that this is the ridge or the rib of the hill. This seems to be interpretive because this episode could have taken place on one of the sides of the hill as easily as on the ridge of the hill. From the context you simply cannot tell which it was. Because of the preponderance of usage of the word side as the translation, it seems likely that should be the meaning here as well.

We conclude from this analysis that there is no real justification to render the word in Gen. 2:21 as Adam’s rib. Rather, it should be Adam’s side. As a result, a new and bold imagery begins to emerge from Gen. 2:21. What is really meant by the use of the word side? Was it the side of his torso, like a side of beef? Did it include an arm or a leg? Once we are freed from the notion of a rib, what really makes sense here? I suggest that what is meant
here is virtually an entire side or half of Adams body. There are several Hebrew words that express the notion of half, chiefly variants of the verb chatsah, which means to divide. This word is most often used to signify halving a weight or volume or quantity of some substance, whereas the examples we previously mentioned seem to refer to a side, that is a half of an object or structure. That is especially clear in Ex. 20:35, where a table is
located in one side or one half of the tabernacle.

Now consider the implications of this. God literally divided Adam in half to create a woman for him. This is a much more powerful symbol than merely taking a small bone out of his side. Eve was every bit the man Adam was (pardon the pun), in fact in Gen 1:27 it says “In the image of God He created him, male and female He created them” suggesting
complete equality. Eve began, literally, as half of Adam. Even today people sometimes refer to their spouse as their other half or their better half and that seems somehow appropriate. Of course God closed the flesh to restore Adam to wholeness. Though not specifically stated, it is clear God did the same for Eve in the process of fashioning her into a woman. How appropriate the language used in Genesis. The words “bone of my bone”
and “flesh of my flesh” take on new significance. Even the expressions are grammatically symmetrical.

The traditional mythical interpretation of Adams rib is of very long standing. We do not know when it first began, but it is clear that the ancient Hebrews did not understand this episode in the way moderns do. When Genesis and Exodus were written, the concept was one of Adams side, not his rib. Remarkably, we have the testimony of a Jewish authority
of about 2000 years ago on this issue. Philo Judeaus addressed the subject thus: “The letter of this statement is plain enough; for it is expressed according to the symbol of the part, a half of the whole, each party, the man and the woman, being as sections of nature co-equal for the production of that genus which is called man.” (The Works Of Philo, p. 796, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts,) emphasis mine. How clear.

Notice also the Hebrew words usually rendered help meet. This rendering is such an anemic translation for what is being expressed. The expression in Hebrew is azer k’negdo. In every case in the Hebrew Bible the Hebrew word azer means not just assistance, but a significant and substantial kind of help. Look at some examples:

Ezekiel 12:14 Zedekiah had “all those about him to help (azer) him, all his bands.” This is clearly referring to Zedekiah’s armed men.

Daniel 11:34 The expression “helped with a little help” in this context seems also to refer to military intervention.

Isaiah 30:5 This verse refers to seeking help in the form of military protection from the king of Egypt.

All these examples refer to substantial and powerful help or protection, the kind you could get from armed men, not just a little help or hand holding. Continue:

Ex 18:4 “for He (God) was my help.”

Deut. 33:29 “… The Lord, the shield of thy help”

Deut 33:7 “… Be thou (the Lord) a help to him from his enemies.”

In these examples, we see an even more powerful type of help from God himself. It is clear that this was not just help, but real substancial deliverance, there was nothing puny about it. The point is to show that Eve was created as a capable, intelligent, force to be rekoned with. She was every bit as qualified and adept as Adam. This was not simply a “Let me
hold the flashlight for you, Honey” kind of help.

And the Hebrew word K’negdo is charged with meaning as well. It means more than just suitable. It carries the meaning of opposite. She was an opposite to him. This is literally what you would expect since she was formed from his other half or side. Perhaps it would be better to say she was his complement. The two were made to work and fit together.
She was opposite in gender, but opposite in many other ways as well. No man can be married for any length of time without realizing that his wife thinks and behaves in a very different way than he does. She views things very differently, her concerns are quite unlike his. Eve was made to be everything Adam was not. She was his complement.

Now Adam was faced with the realization that he was not unique and he was not alone. To find completeness and wholeness he would want to take a wife. This longing for wholeness is a popular theme in our modern love songs. Ultimately she is the key to the meaning of his life and vice versa. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24. Neither can be complete
without the other.

So this old story that was once a rather bizarre metaphor, a woman created from a rib, can now be understood to be a powerful, meaningful and beautiful symbol for the most profound relationship in human existence. It is very clear that, in the beginning, God gave woman absolutely equal status with man.

(c)Copyright 1996 by Wayne Simpson
Distributed by the Biblical Research Foundation
629 Lexington Road, Sapulpa, Ok 74066

Reproduction and distribution is permitted provided this copyright notice is left intact on all copies.

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Problems with Radiometric Dating

Potassium-Argon radiometric dating is a process by which scientists assign an age to a rock sample by measuring the amounts of Potassium and Argon found within it. It is similar to Carbon dating, which can only be used on materials that were once alive. Potassium-Argon dating is used on rock.

Potassium-40 will decay into Argon-40 at a steady rate. So if scientists know how much Argon is in the rock sample presently (which they do), and if they know how much Argon was in the rock sample when it was formed (which they don’t), and if they know the current rate of decay has always been what it is now (which they don’t), and if they know it has never been contaminated (which they don’t), they could get very accurate readings. Since they don’t know all these facts, they make assumptions—guesses. Of course scientists call their results fact and expect us to swallow their results without debate.

But let me share with you some examples of when Potassium-Argon dating has been proven incorrect:

  • Mt. Etna, in Sicily, erupted in 122 BC. The rock formed in that eruption has been dated at 170,000-330,000 years old.
  • Mt. Etna errupted again in 1972. The rock was dated at 210,000-490,000 years old.
  • Hualalai, in Hawaii, erupted in 1800-1801. The rock has been dated at 1.44-1.76 million years old.
  • Mt. Ngaurahoe, in New Zealand, erupted in 1954. The rock has been dated at 3.3-3.7 million years old.
  • Kilauea Iki, in Hawaii, erupted in 1959. The rock has been dated at 1.7-15.3 million years old.
  • Mount St. Helens erupted in 1986. The rock has been dated at 300,000-400,000 years old.

Did you do the math? Is anyone else having trouble accepting these figures? Perhaps radiometric dating isn’t as accurate as we’ve been told.

More on Carbon Dating

Most people have heard of Carbon-14 dating, but it is a wide misconception that this method provides proof that the earth is millions of years old. Even if we don’t consider the assumptions on which Carbon dating is based, this process is still unable to provide dates more than 100,000 years into the past. This is because C-14 has such a fast decay rate. Every 5,730 year, half of the C-14 in a specimen will have decayed into Nitrogen. This is called a half-life. In another 5,730 years, another half will have decayed. After about 100,000 years, there would not be enough C-14 present to detect with modern instruments.

There are five other radiometric dating methods that use elements with longer half-lives (uranium-238, uranium-235, potassium-40, rubidium-87, and samarium-147). These are the ones that produce readings of millions of years. But Carbon dating actually undermines these figures.

Wood has been found trapped within lava flows that date into the millions of years. But this wood still has detectable amounts of C-14 in it. If it was actually millions of years old, the Carbon would be long gone. Coal and diamonds have been found in rock layers dated in the millions of years. However, both coal and diamonds were found to contain C-14. It is physically impossible for these things to be more than 100,000 years old.

Let me assert that radiometric dating is not as reliable as we have been told.

The Lowdown on the Creation Museum

If you’ve ever felt like you’re the only person left in the world who doesn’t buy into evolution, go to the Creation Museum. If you’re struggled with balancing your faith with what the scientific community passes off as “fact,” go to the Creation Museum. If you’re looking for solid science that does not contradict God’s Word, get yourself to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It’s run by Answers in Genesis, and every hypothesis, every theory, every answer is carefully weighed against the authority of scripture. If it doesn’t align, it’s discarded.

My family and I made a stop at the museum on our vacation last week. It’s a beautiful facility–bright, colorful, and kid-friendly. And their message is a super antidote to the crap constantly dished out in our schools. It’s nice for Christian parents to have some solid backing by real scientists.

So what kind of scientist practices science according to a religious book? you may be asking. One who understands that God was there in the beginning and knows far more than we do. One who recognizes that God created the laws that govern science. One who realizes that God graciously recorded and preserved many answers for us. But is that real science they’re practicing? Of course it is. The methodology is the same. The data is the same. Only their conclusions differ, because they are drawn from different worldviews.

In the Creation Museum, you and your kids will find out that evolution actually floats on a series of assumptions. You’ll discover that radiometric dating methods are extremely inaccurate. (For example, they date Mount St. Helens rock at hundreds of thousands of years.) You’ll learn that the ingenuity of early craftsmen could have truly made Noah’s ark withstand an ocean voyage, and you’ll get an idea of just how huge and roomy that sucker was. You’ll find evidence of dinosaurs in recent history. And you’ll come to see the importance of believing all of the Bible or none of it. The basic foundations given in Genesis are the support for redemption given in the New Testament. Evolution knocks them out; the folks at the museum help put them back in place.

If you go, plan at least five hours. In fact, you could easily spend an entire day there. The main attraction is a large walk-through display that touches on all sorts of topics beyond the ones I mentioned. It also gives a biblical history for those unfamiliar with scripture. The exhibits are large, varied, and interesting. Many also makes use of video; some are hands-on. But along with the display, the museum has a planetarium with Bible-based astronomy, a petting zoo, beautiful gardens, and lots of talks and programs going on all day long. Make sure you catch the Men in White show in the special effects theater. Plans are in the works to build a full-scale replica of Noah’s ark in the next two years.

Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum offer faith and logic. It’s a great combination. And they make it fun. If you’re interested in any curricula or resources, check out their website at www.answersingenesis.org. They have all sorts of materials that answer tough questions with plain answers. Information about the museum can be found on their website. I strongly encourage you to visit!

Dinosaurs for Kids, by Ken Ham, 2009, Book Review

Like most kids their ages, my boys are fascinated by dinosaurs. You have to admit, there’s an air of mystery and horror surrounding these monsters of the past. What were they like? What was their world like? What happened to them? Secular scientists have supplied their version of the answers to these questions, but they are answers that don’t jive with my belief in Creation as described in the Bible. So it was to creation scientists that I turned for information to teach my kids about dinos. And I discovered this book.

It’s amazing! Full of huge, full-color illustrations and chock full of easily digestible information, Dinosaurs for Kids is a real kid-pleaser. And a mom-pleaser. To quote from the book, “When trying to solve the mysteries of these mighty dinosaurs, it is important to remember to start with the truth found in the Bible.” Author Ken Ham takes the same scientific evidence on which scientists base evolution and interprets it in a way complimentary to what God says.

Within, he discusses seven ages of dinosaurs:

Age 1 – Formed: The creation of dinosaurs and the rest of the world—including humans—in six days.

Age 2 – Fearless: For a time before sin entered the world, the animals and people lived together without fear and without aggression.

Age 3 – Fallen:  After man sinned, everything changed. Death entered the world.

Age 4 – Flood:  The time when most fossils were formed.

Age 5 – Faded:  The age when dinosaurs died out and became extinct, just as animals still go extinct today.

Age 6 – Found:  Man has only rediscovered dinosaurs in the last couple hundred years.

Age 7 – Fiction:  Today, scientist have created untrue stories about dinosaurs living millions of years ago.

In Dinosaurs for Kids, Mr. Ham has provided a logical, scientific, biblical explanation for the mysteries surrounding these amazing animals. It really isn’t that much of a mystery if you break down the evidence according to the history God has recorded for us in his Word. This book has been a huge read-aloud hit at our house, and I’m so pleased at not having to sift through lots of evolution propaganda.  I’d recommend it for ages 6-13 and probably place it at a fourth to fifth grade independent reading level.

 

Is Carbon Dating Reliable?

Evolutionary scientists use a method called carbon dating to determine how old a fossil is. They use the results they get to support their theory that the earth is millions and millions of years old. But is their method reliable? Let’s check out the basics:

Carbon dating uses the Carbon-14 isotope. Because it’s radioactive, C-14 loses neutrons and turns into N-14 at a constant rate, measured in half-lives. A half-life simply refers to the time it takes for half a radioactive element to disappear from the fossil. The half-life for C-14 is 5,730 years. It is therefore presumed that we can figure out how old a fossil is based on how much C-14 is left in it.

However, to figure this out irrefutably, three things must be known for the equation:  the rate of decay (half-life), got it; the amount of C-14 presently in the fossil, got it; and the amount of C-14 in the organism when it died, um, DON’T have it. Instead of throwing this equation to the wind, however, scientists make an assumption and call their resulting findings fact. Sorry, guys, there’s a problem with that.

Let’s look at the science behind the assumption. To determine how much C-14 was present when an organism died, scientists look at how much C-12 the fossil contains. C-12 is an isotope of Carbon that does NOT decay. So, if it can be determined what the ratio of C-14 to C-12 was, it can be presumed how much C-14 was in an organism when it died. So, scientists assume  that the present-day ratio of C-14 and C-12 has always been a constant ratio, and on this assumption they complete their formula. That this ration has always been constant, however, cannot be proven.  In fact, there’s good evidence the ratio fluctuates, because the amount of C-14 present in the atmosphere fluctuates.

At any time, the amount of C-14 present in living organisms is equal to the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere, because that is where it comes from. For the C-14 to C-12 ratio to stay constant, the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere must also stay constant. That means the intake and output must be equal all the time. But are intake and output constant? To decide that, one must understand where it comes from and where it goes.

C-14 is constantly being created as cosmic rays from outer space smash into atoms in earth’s atmosphere. For a constant rate to be achieved, the earth’s magnetic field must remain constant, yet this protective barrier has grown measurably weaker since 1845, when the first measurements were taken. Ten percent weaker, in fact, which means more radiation is being permitted through the atmosphere, and more C-14 is being created. And if the atmosphere contained smaller amounts of C-14 in the past, the resulting ages given to fossils are over-inflated.

How about output? C-14 disappears from the atmosphere when it’s absorbed into living things. For a constant rate of output, a constant rate of organisms (including vegetation) must be assumed. But has earth always had today’s amount of vegetation? Or in the past, could it have had more? More vegetation would do two things: absorb more C-14 from the atmosphere thereby lowering the ratio; AND it would absorb at a lower rate per organism because of a greater number of organisms (like pouring water into 5 pails instead of three). This would further inflate the ages given to fossils.

So it can be seen that the assumption upon which scientists base Carbon dating can result in arguable data. Take their millions of years with a grain of salt. They want their data to support their theory. However, when the weakening magnetic field and a dwindling supply of vegetation (“save the rain forests,” remember?) are taken into consideration, the numbers support a much younger earth.

Three Types of Science

Nowadays, people tend to think science is science, infallible and absolute. Not true. There are actually three types of science, and much of what is taken as concrete fact is actually based on assumption.

Don’t get me wrong. I agree science has given us concrete facts. These are based on science that is observable and repeatable. I won’t argue with anyone who says the Earth revolves around the Sun. We can watch it happen the same year after year after year. This is operational science. It happens in the PRESENT and can be proven beyond debate.  True science by its nature, by its very definition, must be repeatable and observable.

Historical science can also be accepted as fact, though in a more limited capacity, because it cannot be repeated. Not one person alive today has first-hand knowledge of the American Civil War, but it is accepted unquestionably because it has been credibly recorded in a variety of ways by those who were there. It happened in the PAST, but it has been observed and added to mankind’s collective factual knowledge.

But events that took place in the PAST which were not observed and recorded can only be speculated about. This is called origins science, and it’s based on theories.  Don’t mistake them for facts. This third type of science cannot be proven absolutely.  Scientists make their best guesses as to what happened and when it happened based on the evidence they find; however, evidence is open to interpretation. Two people might have vastly different ideas about what the same bit of evidence suggests. For example, evolutionary scientists believe the fossil record is evidence for millions of years of history. Creationist scientists believe it to be evidence for a worldwide flood. Notice I used the word believe in both cases. There is a great amount of faith behind both. They must be taken on faith, because both of these ideas are theories – assumptions. They cannot be proven beyond doubt, because they cannot be repeated and observed.

I cannot scientifically prove to anyone my beliefs, theories and assumptions about the events of the past. However, neither can anyone scientifically prove to me that their beliefs, theories and assumptions about these same events are more true than mine.  On both counts, it is a matter of faith.