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Adam Stories

60,000 BCE to 20,000 BCE

New Theory

  • The first state was innocence and happiness
  • From heaven gods descended on earth
  • From spirits, they became men
  • God establishes a specific condition that humans must adhere to.
  • After some time, humans violate this divine condition.
  • A woman is created from a part of a man’s body (tail, thumb, rib, navel).
  • There is a notable interaction or relationship between the woman and a serpent.
  • The first humans have exceptionally long lifespans.
  • Initially, there is no sickness or death among humans.
  • Another deity, driven by envy, alters these favorable conditions.

On the Gold Coast, the reason for the Fall is said to have been that the first men were offered the choice of gold or of wisdom, and they chose the former.

Tumale story

Lamaic Faith

According to the traditions of the Lamaic faith, the first men lived to the age of sixty thousand years. They were invisibly nourished and could raise themselves at will to the heavens.

In this age of the world the transmigration of souls was universal,—all men were twice born; and in this age it was that the thousand gods settled themselves in heaven.

In an unlucky hour the earth produced a honey-sweet substance: one of the men lusted after it, tasted and gave to his companions; the consequence was, that men lost the power of rising from off the earth, their size, and their wisdom, and were obliged to satisfy themselves with food produced by the soil.

The Nepaul account

The Nepaul account of the beginning of sin is as follows: “Originally,” says one of the Tantras, “the earth was uninhabited. In those times, the inhabitants of Abhaswara, one of the heavenly mansions, frequently visited the earth and thence speedily returned.

It happened at length when a few of these beings, who though half male, half female, through the innocence of their minds had never noticed their distinction of sex, came as usual to the earth.

Adi Buddha suddenly created in them a longing to eat so violently that they ate some of the earth, which tasted like almonds. By eating it, they lost their power to fly back to their heaven, so they remained on the earth. They were now constrained to eat the fruits of the earth for sustenance.

The Cinghalese account

According to the Cinghalese, the Brahmas inhabited the higher regions of the air, where they enjoyed perfect happiness. “But it came to pass that one of them beholding the earth said to himself, What thing is this? and with one of his fingers having touched the earth, he put it to the tip of his tongue and perceived the same to be deliciously sweet; from that time, all the Brahmas ate of the sweet earth for the space of 60,000 years.

In the meantime, having coveted in their hearts the enjoyment of this earth, they began to say to one another, This part is mine, and that is thine, and so, fixing boundaries to their respective shares, divided the earth between them.

Because the Brahmas had been guilty of covetousness, the earth lost its sweetness and then brought forth a kind of mushroom,” which the Brahmas also coveted and divided, and of which they were also deprived. Thus, they proceeded from food to food till their nature was changed, and from spirits, they became men, imbibed wicked ideas, and lost their ancient glory.

The Chinese account

According to the Chinese, man is part spirit, part animal. The spirit follows the laws of Heaven, as a disciple his master; the animal, on the other hand, is the slave of sense. At his origin, man obeyed the heavens; his first state was one of innocence and happiness; he knew neither disease nor death; he was by instinct wholly good and spiritual. But the immoderate desire to be wise, or, according to Lao-tsee, to eat, was the ruin of mankind.

Tumale story

The following is a very curious negro tradition, taken down by Dr. Tutschek from a native in Tumale, near the center of Africa.

Til (God) made men and bade them live together in peace and happiness, labor for five days, and keep the sixth as a festival. They were forbidden to hurt the beasts or reptiles. They themselves were deathless, but the animals suffered death. The frog was accursed by God, because when He made the animals it hopped over His foot.

Then God ordered the men to build mountains: they did so, but they soon forgot God’s commands, killed the beasts, and quarreled with one another.

Therefore, Til (God) sent fire and destroyed them, but saved one of the races, named Musikdegen, alive.

Then Til began to re-create beings. He stood before a wood and called, Ombo Abnatum Dgu! and there came out a gazelle and licked His feet. So He said, Stand up, Gazelle! and when it stood up, its beast-form disappeared, and it was a beautiful maiden, and He called her Mariam.

He blessed her, and she bore four children, a white pair and a black pair. When they were grown up, God ordered them to marry, the white together, and the black together.

In Dai, the story goes that Til cut out both Mariam’s knee-caps, and of each He made a pair of children. Those who were white He sent north; those who were black sent south. He gave possession of the land where they were born.

God then made the animals subject to death, but the men He made were immortal.

But the newly created men became disobedient, as had the first creatures, and the frog complained to Him of His injustice in making the harmless animals subject to death but guilty man deathless. “Thou art right,” answered Til, and He cast on the men He had made, old age, sickness, and death.

The Fantis relate that they are not in the same condition as that in which they were made, for their first parents had been placed in a lofty and more suitable country, but God drave them into an inferior habitation, that they might learn humility.

On the Gold Coast, the reason for the Fall is said to have been that the first men were offered the choice of gold or of wisdom, and they chose the former.

Ashantee story

In the beginning, God created three white and three black men and women, and gave them the choice between good and evil.

A great calabash was placed on the earth, as also a sealed paper, and God gave the black men the first choice.

They took the calabash, thinking it contained everything, and in it were only a lump of gold, a bar of iron, and some other metals.

The white men took the sealed paper, in which they learned everything.

So God left the black men in the bush and took the white men to the sea, and He taught them how to build ships and go into another land.

This fall from God caused the black men to worship the subsidiary Fetishes instead of Him.

Greenland Story

In Greenland “the first man is said to have been Kallak. He came out of the earth, but his wife issued from his thumb, and from them all generations of men have sprung. To him many attribute the origin of all things. The woman brought death into the world, in that she said, Let us die to make room for our successors.”

Dog-rib Indians story

The tradition of the Dog-rib Indians near the Polar Sea, as related by Sir J. Franklin in his account of his expedition of 1825-27, is that the first man was called Tschäpiwih.

He found the earth filled with abundance of all good things.

He begat children and gave them two sorts of fruit, one white and the other black, and he bade them eat the white, but eschew the black.

After giving them this command, he left them and went on a long journey to fetch the sun to enlighten the world. During his absence, they ate only white fruit, and then the father made a second journey to fetch the moon, leaving them well-provided with fruit.

But after a while, they forgot his command and consumed the black fruit. On his return, he was angry and cursed the ground, saying that it should thenceforth produce only the black fruit and that with it should come sickness and death.

Kikapoos Story

Dr. Hunter, in his “Memoirs of Captivity amongst the Indians,” says that the Delawares believe that in the beginning the Red men had short tails, but they blasphemed the Great Spirit, and in punishment for their sin their tails were cut off and transformed into women, to be their perpetual worry. The same story is told by Mr. Atherne Jones, as heard by him among the Kikapoos.

Myth of Xolotl

The ancient Mexicans had a myth of Xolotl, making out of a man’s bone the primeval mother in the heavenly Paradise; and he called the woman he had made Cihuacouhatl, which means “The woman with the serpent,” or Quilatzli, which means “The woman of our flesh.”

Serpent and woman

She was the mother of twins and is represented in a Mexican hieroglyph as speaking with the serpent, whilst behind her stand the twins, whose different characters are represented by different colors, one of whom is represented slaying the other. 

Xolotl, who made her out of a bone, was cast out of heaven and became the first man. That the Mexicans had other traditions, now lost, touching this matter is probable, for they had a form of baptism for children in which they prayed that those baptized might be washed from “the original sin committed before the founding of the world.” And this had to do, in all probability, with a legend akin to that of the Iroquois, who told of the primeval mother falling and then of the earth being built up to receive her when precipitated out of heaven.

Caribs of South America

The Caribs of South America relate that Luoguo, the first man and god, created the earth and the sea, and made the earth as fair as the beautiful garden in the heaven where dwell the gods. Luoguo dwelt among the men he had made for some while. He drew the men out of his navel and out of his thigh which he cut open.

One of the first men was Racumon, who was transformed into a great serpent with a human head, and he lived twined round a great Cabatas tree and ate of its fruit, and gave to those who passed by.

A serpent with a woman’s head lurks in the Tree of Knowledge above Adam and Eve. Masolino, da Panicale, 1383-1440

Then the Caribs lived to a great age, and never waxed old or died.

Afterwards they found a garden planted with manioc (Cassava?), and on that they fed. But they became wicked, and a flood came and swept them away.

South Sea Islands

In the South Sea Islands we find other traditions of the Fall. In Alea, one of the Caroline Islands, the tale runs:

The sister of Eliulap the first man, who was also a god, felt herself in labour, so she descended to earth and there brought forth three children. To her astonishment she found the earth barren; therefore, by her mighty word, she clothed it with herbage and peopled it with beasts and birds. And the world became very beautiful, and her sons were happy and did not feel sickness or death, but at the close of every month fell into a slumber from which they awoke renewed in strength and beauty. But Erigeres, the bad spirit, envied this happiness, so he came to the world and introduced into it pain, age, and death.”

Jewish additions

We conclude with the Jewish additions to the story in Genesis.

The godless Sammael had made an alliance with all the chiefs of his host against the Lord, because the holy and ever-blessed Lord had said to Adam and Eve, “Have dominion over the fish of the sea,” and he said, “How can I make man to sin and drive him out?” Then he went down to earth with all his host, and he sought for a companion like to himself; he chose the serpent, which was in size like a camel, and he seated himself on its back and rode up to the woman, and said to her, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” And he thought, “I will ask more presently.” Then she answered, “He has only forbidden me the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge which is in the midst of the garden. And He said, ‘In the day thou touchest it thou shalt die.'” She added two words; God did not say anything to her about touching it, and she spoke of the fruit, whereas God said the Tree.

Then the godless one, Sammael, went up to the tree and touched it. But the tree cried out, “Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the ungodly cast me down! Touch me not, thou godless one!”

Then Sammael called to the woman, and said, “See, I have touched the tree and am not dead. Do you also touch it and try.” But when Eve drew near to the tree she saw the Angel of Death waiting sword in hand, and she said in her heart, “Perhaps I am to die, and then God will create another wife for Adam; that shall not be, he must die too.” So she gave him of the fruit. And when he took it and bit, his teeth were blunted, and thus it is that the back teeth of men are no longer sharp.

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