15 November 2014

Symbolic Meanings From Genesis

Symbolic Meanings From Genesis


This is the Hebrew word for “man.” It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew אדם (’adam) meaning “to be red, or red clay” found in the Middle East and means acre, ground, land, or referring to the ruddy colour of human skin, or from Akkadian adamu meaning “to make.” According to Genesis in the Old Testament Adam was created from the earth by God. Notice there is a word play on Hebrew אֲדָמָה (’adamah) “earth.” As the story goes, he and Eve were supposedly the first humans, living happily in the Garden of Eden until Adam ate a forbidden fruit given to him by Eve. Later, God says “you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The name represents the material from which he was made. Earthen clay or ground.


From the Hebrew name חַוָּה (Chawwah), which was derived from the Hebrew word חוה (chawah) “to breathe” or the related word חיה (chayah) “to live”. She gave the forbidden fruit to Adam, causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Most (if not all) translators and interpreters derive the name Eve from the verb haya (haya), meaning live or have life. In Genesis 3:20 it reads that Eve was named this way because she was em kal hay; mother of all life. The Hebrew word em (’em), mother, comes from the same root as amma (’amma), mother city, cubit, tribe/ people; hence the phrases Mother Babylon and Mother Jerusalem. The phrase ‘all life’ returns six times in Scriptures and never just mankind is meant. Hence, the ‘mother of all life’ is the biosphere; all living things. “Eve” is translated from the Hebrew chavvaòh, for lifegiver, as in “the mother of all living.” Its root, Chaya, means “serpent” in Aramaic. Eve and serpent are taken to be synonymous.


The word, Eden, has been traced to the Sumerian language, meaning fertile land. To the Hebrews who later settled in the region, the word eden came to mean “delight” or “enjoyment.” In a sense, it is a garden of delight. In sum, the words Adam and Eve describe nobody in particular, and Eden describes no place in particular. It belongs with all the pagan mythologies of its type.

Just a thought …

~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.