Friday, November 27, 2015

Did Adam and Eve Have the Holy Spirit?: "The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan"

I am reading “The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan” for my daily quiet time.  This is a Christian work that probably dates from the fifth century C.E. to the ninth century C.E.

Did Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden have the Holy Spirit inside of them, as Christians do?  Did Adam and Eve even need the Holy Spirit at that point, since they had not yet sinned and thus did not have a sinful nature?  Was their pre-Fall righteous disposition (assuming that is what they had) a part of their human nature, or something that was supernatural—something that was foreign to their human nature and that they depended on God for?

Does the Bible address this question?  The most relevant passage that comes to my mind is I Corinthians 15:45, which states: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (KJV).  The context of this passage is the resurrection from the dead, both the resurrection of Jesus, and the future resurrection of others.  Adam here is contrasted with the risen Jesus.  There are different ideas about what exactly I Corinthians 15 is saying as to the nature of the contrast.  Is it saying that Adam and his descendants have fleshly bodies, whereas the risen Jesus has a spirit body, like (to use an example) that of an angel?  Or do Adam, his descendants, and the risen Jesus all have physical bodies, but they are enlivened by different things: Adam and his descendants are enlivened by breath or a soul, whereas the risen Jesus is enlivened by God’s Holy Spirit and lives perpetually as a result of that.  If the latter is the case, did the pre-Fall Adam have the Holy Spirit?  It does not appear so.  Adam was made to be animated with a soul or breath, not God’s Holy Spirit.

I have not read the entirety of “The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan,” but I have encountered a couple of passages in it that may be relevant to my questions.  The first passage is in Book 1, chapter 23, verses 6b-7.  In this verse, Adam is lamenting about the results of the Fall.  In whatever translation The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden is using, we read the following:

“For when we were in the garden our praises and our hymns went up before Thee without ceasing.  But when we came into this strange land, pure praise was no longer ours, nor righteous prayer, nor understanding hearts, nor sweet thoughts, nor just counsels, nor long discernment, nor upright feelings, neither is our bright nature left us.  But our body is changed from the similitude in which it was at first, when we were created.”

In the Garden, Adam and Eve had understanding hearts, sweet thoughts, just counsels, discernment, and upright feelings.  Now, after the Fall, they do not have these things.  This reminds me of Daniel Keyes’ short story and book, Flowers for Algernon, in which a developmentally-delayed man, Charlie Gordon, undergoes an experiment that triples his IQ, making him a genius.  Unfortunately, in the course of the story, Charlie loses his intelligence and reverts back to how he was before.  Somewhere in between his state as a genius and his state as a developmentally-delayed man, Charlie is frustrated that he cannot do what he used to do as a genius.  He can no longer read German, for example.  At this stage, he remembers enough about being a genius that he appreciates what he was able to do, but he is conscious that he cannot do those things anymore; once he becomes developmentally-delayed again, he does not care.  This, in my opinion, is similar to what we see in this verse-and-a-half in “The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan”: they remember a time when they were righteous, and they recall what that felt like, but they look inside of themselves and realize that they are no longer in that same state, at least not to the same extent.

But why, according to that passage, did they have that righteous state before the Fall?  Was it part of their human nature, or something that was supernatural, coming from God’s Holy Spirit inside of them?  In that passage, at least some of their pre-Fall nature was from their own nature: they had a bright nature before the Fall, but that left them after the Fall.  Perhaps the same can be said about their righteous thoughts and feelings; they had, after all, an understanding heart.  Was their heart naturally understanding, or did God make their heart understanding through the influence of God’s Holy Spirit inside of them?  The passage does not explicitly say.

In Book I, Chapter 34, verse 16, we read the following (same translation):

“And of Thy goodwill, O Lord, Thou madest us both with bodies of a bright nature, and Thou madest us two, one; and Thou gavest us Thy grace, and didst fill us with praises of the Holy Spirit; that we should be neither hungry nor thirsty, nor know what sorrow is, nor yet faintness of heart; neither suffering, fasting, nor weariness.”

Here, God’s grace plays some role in how Adam and Eve were prior to the Fall.  Grace, in this case, does not refer to God loving Adam and Eve even though they are sinners, for this verse concerns a time when they had not yet sinned.  What is God’s grace, though?  Is it God blessing Adam and Eve by making them with a certain nature?  Or is it God supernaturally empowering Adam and Eve through God’s Holy Spirit inside of them?  One can argue both ways, in looking at this passage.  On the one hand, God makes Adam and Eve with bodies that have a bright nature.  That is natural.  On the other hand, God fills them with praises of the Holy Spirit.  That sounds supernatural.  Could the latter be a part of God’s creation of them?

There is probably more research that can be done on this topic, particularly on how it has been handled within the history of biblical interpretation.  It overlaps with questions that Christians have asked about the Fall: Were Adam and Eve prior to the Fall perfect, or did they need to rely on God’s supernatural grace even then?  Does Jesus restore humanity to how it was prior to the Fall, or does he make humanity something different, and new?  Is God’s grace, in some manner, a part of our human natures, or must it come from outside of ourselves?  Karl Barth had this debate with others, as he leaned towards the latter position.  See also the video, “Fundamental differences between an evangelical and Roman Catholic understanding of the Gospel.”

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