In my last post I summarized Collins’ writings on Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis (see part 11). This post will follow Collins through a survey of how Adam and Eve are presented in the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Collins doesn’t limit allusions to Adam and Eve to the use of the words “Adam” and “Eve.” Rather, he asks where the Hebrew Scriptures reflect the narrative of Genesis 1-5. He begins by noting that Genesis 1-11 and the whole Book of Genesis cannot be read without 1-5 (p. 66, 67). Creation/Sabbath is a prominent motif:
“…numerous references to creation (e.g., Psalms 8, 104) and to marriage (e.g., Mal. 2:15, using Gen. 2:24). Human rest on the Israelite Sabbath imitates God’s rest after his work of creation (Ex. 20:11, echoing Gen. 2:2–3) (p. 67).”
The idea is that Creation/Sabbath is shaped by the story wherein we find Adam and Eve, so we cannot simply toss these figures aside. They inform other passages on Creation and other passages on Sabbath.
What about neo-Adam-like figures?
“Genesis presents Noah to us as a kind of new Adam: he is the representative who receives God’s covenant on behalf of his descendants and also of the animals (6:18–19; 9:8–17); God “blesses” him and tells him to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (9:1). The call of Abraham is another fresh start on God’s plan to bring his blessing to the human race. The “blessing” idea is explicit in 12:2–3 and is combined with being fruitful and multiplying in 17:20; 22:17–18; 26:3–4, 24; 28:3, 14: these echo God’s blessing on the human pair (1:28). Another theme that ties Genesis 1–5 with the rest of Genesis is the repeated word “seed” (best translated “offspring,” as in the esv): cf. 3:15; 4:25 with 12:7; 13:15–16; 15:3, 5; 17:7–9, 19; 22:17–18; 26:3–4; 48:4. Especially pertinent is the apparent individual offspring referred to in 3:15; 22:17–18; 24:60—who, by the time of Psalm 72, is identified as the ultimate heir of David through whom God’s blessing will finally come to the whole earth (Ps. 72:17, echoing Gen. 22:17–18) (p. 68)”
Eden as a temple/tabernacle reminds readers of the place of humanity before God, especially Adam as the archtype:
“Israel’s sanctuaries, the tabernacle and then the temple, were God’s down payment on the accomplishment of his plan; the Christian church furthers it, and the description of the final state of the world (Revelation 21–22) is the completion (p. 69).”
“…references to Eden as a prototypical place of fruitfulness occur in Genesis 13:10; Isaiah 51:3; Joel 2:3; and Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8–9, 16, 18; 36:35. In particular, Ezekiel 28:11–19 portrays the king of Tyre as having once been in Eden, blameless, who nevertheless became proud and violent. That is, Ezekiel has a “fall story” based on Genesis 3 (p. 69).”
Finally, Collins suggests that passages like Hosea 6.7 and Job 31.33 may echo Genesis 1-5 and the story of Adam and Eve. What we must realize about Collins’ argument is that he assumes that echoes of Genesis 1-5 reflect the greater context of that story and this includes the important role of Adam and Eve. Sure, there are not many direct mentions of the “first couple,” but this story of Genesis 1-5, especially 1-3, establish how we understand other texts.