The attack on Genesis 3 is an old attack and that is for a reason. It is the basis for everything, it is the foundation for all that comes after. It is the beginning of sin, rebellion, and God's interaction with man. Humans want to deny their culpability in their rebellion against God, so they twist and deny and slyly change the bible's foundational doctrine...like this rabbi does.
In discernment, first and foremost, any religious person who says that have a "new twist" on the ancient word is lying. In essence, they are saying, 'I, and I alone, have found the one and only interpretation that escaped everyone else for 3 thousand years.' Not.
But here is Rabbi Manis Friedman telling his story in an essay titled
A New Twist to the Adam and Eve Story
Right away, discernment bells should go off in your mind.
Additionally, I will make a comment that is sure to rankle some. Our friends, the Jewish scholars and Jewish people, are not saved. They are not under the covering of blood that saves them from the wrath of Gods and are not brethren as defined in the bible (Matthew 12:50). They may be expert in the history of the Jewish people, but they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit in them because they have not believed on Jesus's death and resurrection as the Messiah and become saved. Therefore it is easier for satan to work in them. We pray for all the lost, and we know that God is not finished with His people the Jews and His nation Israel, they will come to national salvation at the end of the Tribulation. (Zechariah 12:10, Revelation 7:1-8). But unless a person is a Messianic Jew, they are not saved and therefore have no clue about the whole plan of God in the Old Testament to the New.
I want to link to and excerpt some part from the Rabbi's piece in the Huffington Post today. He made some statements that a careful reading will show what he is about.
He begins by restating the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. So far, so good. He does say that "within an hour of those explicit instructions," that they ate the fruit but the bible does not say how long of an interval occurred between God delivering the instructions and the time they ate of the fruit of the tree. It could have been long and it could have been short, as little as a day. Butthe bible does not say it was an hour. So he took a liberty there.
Then he asks, 'Hasn't it ever struck you as a bit odd? Why would G-d choose to start the Torah with such a horrible story?"
He didn't. He started the Torah with the book of Bereishit, which we know as Genesis 1, and the Creation. He began by revealing His power.
Now, asking questions of the bible is good. I ask all the time, not to doubt (like Zacharias) but to wonder (like Mary) ,(Luke 1:5-17) My questions are like, "Wow, I wonder why He did that? I want to study that more!"
But the question the rabbi asked about beginning the story of human history seems more like Zacharias's question to me, "hath God really said..." More of a doubting nature, questioning the event itself. God began the story there because that is where the story began. Period.
Then the rabbi says the Garden was "a place where the evil inclination cannot even exist, and after being given just one simple commandment they break it within the hour."
First, he is obviously wrong. Evil inclination did exist, because satan was there. He had already fallen and he was evil through and through. (Ezekiel 28:15). Unless the rabbi does not believe that the serpent speaking to Adam and Eve was satan, which he was.
And there is that 'one hour' thing again. The rabbi makes it sound that because Adam and Eve disobeyed so quickly, something else must have been going on. 'They couldn't have been so weak as to be unable to resist one 'simple' command... Come on....' However the rabbi's sly approach denies the strength of the sin nature, which is exactly what God was showing us here.
And then his sly work deepens. He writes, "And if there is no evil inclination in the Garden of Eden, how could they have transgressed this one commandment, and so soon?! If G-d Himself told us to eat from any tree that we wanted, except for one, wouldn't we listen?"
The rabbi builds upon his false premise that evil couldn't have existed in the Garden, and cements his proposition that because it happened so quickly something else was happening. He is essentially saying that man has the internal strength to resist sin and to perfectly listen to God on our own. Now his essay is really getting deep into treacherous waters of non-belief in the meaning of the plain text.
Rabbi: "But when He asks Adam to refrain from eating from a tree, Adam's response is, "I'll try"? That can't be; it's not possible."
Where has the rabbi been for all of human history? Why does he not take the example from his own people's history, one of continuous disobedience to what God said not to do?! It's not possible? Of course it's possible, it happened over and over! But he is chipping away at the authority of God's word by denying the fact that we succumb to sin so easily when tempted.
Then the rabbi says that God is a bad psychologist. "It is also bad psychology. When you tell a child, "Don't touch that crystal vase," you do not add, "if you do..." What do you mean "if you do"? You don't! You never introduce the possibility that they will break your rules. When you say, "If you do..." you're in effect saying that it's possible that they will touch that vase."
So God is never to tell us not to do anything against His wishes because we're children and He knows we will disobey anyway? Doesn't that make God into a slave to OUR sin-nature?
Rabbi: "And where did Adam learn to blame someone else? His automatic response to G-d's query was that Eve had forced him to eat the fruit. This man was only a few hours old, having been created just that morning, and he's already blaming others?"
If the rabbi read Genesis 3:7 he would know that after they disobeyed, a sin nature came alive into them, their eyes were opened, and they knew shame. Before the Fall, they did not know shame (Genesis 2:25) After the Fall, they did. And blame, too, obviously. "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Genesis 3:7).
Adam did not remain sinless/righteous after he disobeyed. He then knew the full pantheon of good and evil, just as God had told Adam would happen when He said not to eat the fruit. (Genesis 2:16)
Rabbi: "The whole story as we know it appears quite problematic. But the main problem is, if you would want to start teaching your child the Torah, would you start with this story? Even if it did happen, why talk about it? And right in the beginning of the book? Maybe the story isn't all that simple."
Here it comes. Wait for it...
"Adam and Eve consciously remembered being in heaven when they were informed that their souls would have a special spiritual mission to fulfill in a physical world."
Really? I can't find that in my bible.
In order to create a new doctrine, and that is what the Rabbi is doing here, you need to stray off the path. But false teachers don't grab you by the hand and yank you off the path, They lead you gently. He has brought us to the edge of the path with his questions and false premises and building on those premises as if they were true. Sly questions incrementally drift us to the edge of the narrow road God set before us. Hebrews 2:1 says we must pay careful attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away. Illegitimate questions nudge us off the way and soon we are drifting to the edge. Eventually, the false teachers leave the left foot on the path but take their right foot off it into new territory. It doesn't feel totally unfamiliar to you because one foot is still on familiar terrain. This is to get you to feel comfortable with the new terrain before he leads you totally off it. Now we take one foot off the path on our veering away into new doctrinal territory.
He sets up quite an argument, beautiful in its false logic, superficially logical in all its evil. Read it. I will post the summary statement here--
"Adam wanted to ensure that his children would all remain righteous. How do you do that? Don't eat from the tree. If you don't eat from the tree then you'll stay in the Garden of Eden, you'll never die, there will be no sins, and all of your children will be pious. Eve didn't want that. She wanted her children to be forced to struggle, to have to repent for their inevitable shortcomings. She eventually convinced Adam that one who must struggle to find G-d is worthier than a naturally righteous man."
Yeah, because who wants that. Perfect obedience to God and living a perfect, righteous life in perfect fellowship with Him? Nah.
Rabbi Friedman says that when God asked Adam if he had eaten the fruit, God was not angry. He was smiling, happy that the humans had figured it out. God is a riddler and woman is clever.
What the rabbi is saying in his piece are several things:
1. God tricked humans with a double-back command
2. Adam was too dumb to figure it out
3. Eve was smart and led the man to the right conclusion, (incidentally paving the way for feminism)
4. A typically Pharisaical hierarchy is cemented by this doctrine, that all Jews are equal, but some (struggling righteous Jews) are more equal that others (naturally righteous Jews). (HT to Animal Farm by George Orwell)
5. Some men are naturally righteous (not so says Romans 3:10)
6. Pure, unadulterated grace is less desirable than man's self-effort at righteousness
Let's get back to the beginning for a moment. The Rabbi had asked, 'is it really that simple'? And proceeded to confuse things. But it is that simple. God said not to do something. They did it. He was angry. He proved He was angry by punishing them with departure from the garden and cursing all participants. He told them they were lost by promising them a savior. It is so very clear.
Back to the Rabbi: "Eating from the tree was not an act of rebellion against G-d, nor was it succumbing to their appetite, for they had no desires other than to serve G-d. The choice they had was between one holiness and another. Their motivation came from their G-dly souls. It is known as the "sin" of the tree for sin means stepping down from an innocent place to a lower place, and they certainly did -- not out of weakness but out of devotion to their mission."
Of course they had desires other than to serve God, The verse in Genesis 3:6 says so.
And in another HT to Orwell, the rabbi's treatise on the "new" way to see the story of Adam and Eve is typical doublespeak. The rabbi's evil conclusion- Rebelling against God is holy.
Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. For example, in Orwell's book 1984, we learn that in the dystopian, atheistic world of Orwell's future, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.
In Rabbi Friedman's world, Sin is Holy.
Hath God really said...?