Genesis 2:4b-20: Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa

This Article shows that in the second creation story in genesis the concept of man made from earth pre-existed and spanned cultures and geographical boundaries, has the rivers confused between different geographical areas, and has many elements from prexisting Near Eastern Myths such as "The Myth of Adapa".

* This article and its predecessors in the series are a collection of notes put together from sources that are represented by quick reference links to similar web pages to make it easy to get more information as quickly as possible. The original sources are listed at the end.

P1. The Interconnectedness of The Ancients - Demonstrates the robust ancient civilizations at the time and that Canaan, Israel and Judah were central to them. Discusses trade routes, seafaring, the link between whales and the Leviathans of Mythology and how long it would take to get from one civilization to another by sea.
P2. Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths. Demonstrates the prior existence of key elements of the story of the creation of the Universe that appears in Genesis.
P3. Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era. Demonstrates that the physical evidence contradicts the story of the making of the first humans in Genesis.
P4. GENESIS 1:28-2:4a, Be Fruitful And Multiply, Founder Effect and Genetic Diversity. This Article shows that even if the physical evidence didn't refute the special creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve, in Genesis 1:27, the problem of Genetic Diversity known as the "Founder Effect" would eventually lead to crippling genetic mutations or extinction.
P5. Genesis 2:4b-20 Man Made From Earth Is Folklore, Conflated River Elements and the Myth of Adapa. This Article shows that the concept of man made from earth spans cultures and geographical boundaries, the rivers are confused between geographical areas and has many elements from pre-existing Near Eastern Myths such as "The Myth of Adapa.

The criteria for Folklore as described in Alan Dundees book "Holy Writ as Oral Lit" are "multiple existence and variation".

Four major differences in the two creation stories follow, but there are many others that are not covered here.
A. God is referred to by different names in each story. In the first story he is referred to as Elohim (“God”) and in the second story he is referred to as Yahweh (“LORD”) or Yahweh Elohim (“LORD God”).
B. The methods of creation are different. In the first story creation occurs by the spoken word and in the second story creation occurs by physical means (for example, God plants a garden).
C. The order of creation is different in the two stories. The first story follows the order in the Enuma Elish(6) and starts with vegetation and proceeds to animals on to humans, and the second story begins with the male human, then the vegetation in the Garden of Eden, and then the animal kingdom.
D. In the first story, the man and woman are created together, but in the second story, the male is created first, with the female made later from his rib. ("The Book of Genesis", The Teaching Company)


* Multiple stories of Creation are common in all cultures including the Near East(1)
- Egypt, Mesopotamia (although the most widely know is the Enuma Elish(2)) and the Indus Valley all have multiple versions of Creation.
4b. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-
5. and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground,
6. but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-

* Many myths regard breath as life and regard it as supernatural. The correlation of breath to life is understandable because breathing is the obvious difference between someone sleeping and someone dead. In Ancient Hindu beliefs, the breath and the spoken word were sacred and representative of aspects of life, morality and divinity.(3)
* MAN MADE FROM EARTH: These predate the Torah
- Mesopotamian,
-- the God Bel (a lot of them were referred to as Bel) cut off his own head and the other gods mixed his blood in with the earth to make humans (4)
-- Kingu was killed and his blood was mixed with clay to make humans(5)
* Africa
-- Egypt - khnum molded people out of clay on his potters wheel(6)
-- Shilluks of the white nile, Juok is the god(4)
-- Fans of West Africa(4)
-- Togo-land, West Africa(4)
* Greece
- Prometheus made men out of clay(7)
7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

The specific dates of origin of these stories are unknown but with the serendipitous mutation of the FOXP2 gene in the isolated population of sub-Saharan Africa about 70,000 years ago, and with the necessity of that gene for language(8), it may be that the story of making humans from clay (as well as other trans-cultural themes in folklore) originated with language.

The Following are various versions from all parts of the world of Man Made from earth or stone, and/or breathed life into them. The latest time of the arrival of the original population can be estimated using the dates of fossil evidence and genetic graphing.

Approximate timeline of origins of cultures that contain humans made of earth or clay as folklore (rounded off)(9,4)
~60000 BCE
* Kumis, Arakan Chittagong India,
* Korkus, India, the god Shiva or Mahadeo,
* Khasis of Assam,
* Mundas, Chota Nagpur, Singbonga the god
* Santals of Bengal, Thakur Jiu asked the god Malin Budhi

~50000 BCE - Indonesia
* Australia - Pund-Jel around Melbourne Australia
* Melanesian legend, Mota, Qat the hero
* Malekula, New Hebrides, Bokor the god,
* Toradjas of central Celebes, i Lai the god, i Ndara the god asked Kombengi the god to make them
* Mihahassa, north Celebes Wailan Wangko and Wangi gods,

* Dyaks of Sakarran in British Borneo, Two large birds made man or the God Salampandai
* Nias, Sumatra, sing a song in couplets like Hebrew poetry, Luo Zaho the god,
* Bila-an, Mindanao, Philippine islands, Melu the god,
* Bagobos, South-Eastern Mindanao, Diwata the God,
* Noo-hoo-roa, kei, Dooadlera the god,

* Pelew Islanders

~40,000 BCE - Eurasain Steppes
* Cheremis of Russia, Finnish people,
* Nui, Netherland Island, Ellice Islands, Aulialia the god

~20,000 BCE - North America
* Eskimo and Indians From Alaska to Paraguay,
* Eskimo of point Barrow, the spirit A Se Lu
* Acagchemem Indians of California the god Chinigchinich
* Maidu Indians of California the god earth-initiate
* The Hopi or Moqui Indians Arizona Huruing Wuhti the god,

* Pima Indians, Arizona,
* Michoacans of Mexico, the god Tucapacha,
* Peruvian Indians,

* Lengua Indians of Paraguay, God in the form of a beetle

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

* The Story of the Garden of Eden shares elements with the Enuma Elish such as the Following.
- Enki and Ninhursag
-- Seduction with fruit
-- The eating of trees brings a curse consisting of the withholding of life

- Gilgamesh and the Huluppu Tree
-- Tree with Serpent (combined with a demon)

- The Myth of Adapa(10) has some of the same elements as the Garden of Eden Story combined. A list follows.
-- Son is semi-divine, has characteristics of God.
-- The son has done something wrong,
-- The son must answer to the God (Anu) for his misdeeds,
-- God the father warns him not to eat anything or he will die
-- A woman gives him something to eat which could potentially be deadly
-- Because of his choice he doesn't get eternal life and is not allowed to stay in the nice place

--- Excerpt: A summary of the Myth of Adapa from follows(2).
"[Summary: Adapa, or perhaps Adamu, son of Ea, had recieved from his father, the god Ea, wisdom, but not eternal life. He was a semi-divine being and was the wise man and priest of the temple of Ea at Eridu, which he provided with the ritual bread and water. In the exercise of this duty he carried on fishing upon the Persian Gulf. When Adapa was fishing one day on a smooth sea, the south wind rose suddenly and overturned his boat, so that the was thrown into the sea. Angered by the mishap, he broke the wings of the south wind so that for seven days it could not blow the sea's coolness over the hot land. Anu calls Adapa to account for this misdeed, and his father Ea warns him as to what should befall him. He tells him how to fool Tammuz and Gishzida, who will meet him at the gate of heaven. Ea cautions him not to eat or drink anything in heaven, as Ea fears that the food and drink of death will be set before Adapa. However, the food and drink of eternal life are set before him instead, and Adapa's over-caution deprives him of immortality. He has to return to Earth instead.]"
9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

* Bible with sources revealed discusses the the literary device of 'wordplay' in the form of puns. Gihon is similar to the Hebrew word Gehon which is "belly" an obvious reference to the snake that will crawl on its belly. Pishon has the same root has the same root letters as Nephesh which means "a living being". Euphrates appears in the same verse as pishon and creates "you shall eat dust". Tigris as a the combination of two words becomes "his hand and take". Adam is a play on the word for ground. Eve's semitic root is snake and a play on the word "sly" (in reference to the snake) appears later as the humans are naked.

* Only the Tigris and Euphrates have ever been close together. The Gihon and the Pishon are in a different area of that region. The author either mixed up the rivers accidentally or did it on purpose to enable the use of wordplay in the story.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.

-- Pishon was in Havilah which is commonly thought to be in Yemen(11), at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula,
11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)

* Kush is in Africa where the Sudan is today(12).
13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.

* The Tigris and Euphrates are in modern day Iraq which was ancient Mesopotamia(13).
14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

* In Near eastern myths, humans served the Gods(14). Though the Hebrews represetation of Gods relationship is noticeably different, in this case Adam was to take care of the domain of the garden of Eden. Here God wants Adam to be the caretaker of the Garden.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

* Something to eat that will cause you to die is a shared element with Mesopotamian myth of Adapa
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

* Adam needed a helper to maintain the Garden.
18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs [a] and closed up the place with flesh.

And that brings us to Eve being made from Adams Rib.

Quick Reference to material in the sources. For the Quick References, Wikipedia is used liberally because while academics don't consider Wikipedia definitive or acceptable as a source they do consider it generally good enough for quick reference. Please do not confuse quick references with the sources. The sources are where the majority of information came from.

Quick References
1. Creation Myths
2. Enuma Elish Text online
3. Science of Breath
4. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online
5. Kingu blood mixed with clay
6. Khnum
7. Prometheus
8. FOXP2
9. National Geographic Genographic Project
9a. Man made to serve Gods
10. The Myth of Adapa
11. Havilah
12. Gihon
13. Tigris and Euphrates
14. Man made to serve Gods

1. Human Prehistory and First Civilizations, The Teaching Company
2. Story of Human Language
3. Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World, The Teaching Company
4. The Bible With Sources Revealed
5. The Book of Genesis, The Teaching Company
6. Great Figures of the Old Testament, The Teaching Company.
7. Alan Dundees Holy writ as oral lit
8. National Geographic Genographic Project
9. Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 Online, Sir James G. Frazer