“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”Hosea 4:6
As a writer, I am often delighted when words and phrases rhyme, juxtapose, or take on double meanings. When this happens, the mundane morphs to prose; and the banal becomes a ballad. I see such a poetic pun in our new year—2020. 20/20 is also how we refer to perfect vision. When one has 20/20 vision, it means their visual acuity is measured at a distance of twenty feet. I am beginning this new year with a call to the Assembly of Yahweh’s Believers to view the world through the 20/20 vision of biblical authority.
But, in the age of 1-minute devotionals, this is easier said than done.
This is not a mere call to longer quiet times or to attend more church-sponsored events. This is a call to set watchmen upon the cerebral walls of your mind and to interrogate every piece of information that dares bust through its doors. This is a call to wage mental war against every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Yahweh Almighty, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
One area of Christian thought that requires greater vigilance is when meandering through the minefields of information on the internet. Despite the plethora of online sermons and other useful sites, don’t think for one minute that the god of this world is not also the god of the world wide web. (Exhibit 1 being the unconstitutional DEMONetization of truther channels on You Tube.)
Yahweh told the prophet Hosea, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” That’s a triple-threat right there:
- My people
- Lack of knowledge
Yahweh is reporting the genocide of His own chosen people (not pagans, not uncircumcised gentiles, not nice, law-abiding citizens who have just never heard the Gospel) HIS PEOPLE, who are called by His Name. And they aren’t just “backsliding,” they are perishing—not because of enemy soldiers, Illuminati war machines, satanic spells, or demonic interference—but simply for lack of knowledge (which, for the sake of our ensuing discussion, specifically means, “forgetting God’s law.”)
In the days of antiquity, people had less access to the Torah; but in our day and age, we are without excuse. No American who carries a smart phone around in their pocket 24/7, who has immediate access to 20+ translations of the Bible, Greek and Hebrew dictionaries, commentaries, online sermons, and Q&A forums have any reason for not studying to show themselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15).
In this devotional series, I plan to dissect an online article entitled, “God Made the Rainbow: Why the Bible Welcomes a Gender Spectrum.” I chose this article, not so much for its subject matter, so much as I simply could not hope to stumble upon a more excellent example of sloppy exegesis (interpretation of a text).
Yes, the article is about gender inclusivity, but it could just as easily be about politics, keeping the Sabbath, clean and unclean meat, divine election vs. free will, or any other trendy topic of our day. And while I do wholeheartedly disagree with the conclusions of the aforementioned article, I have chosen it—not to debate the issue or to take umbrage with its author—but rather, to use the article as a tool to teach Bible believers how to discern truth, how to test the spirits, and how to defend their faith in a world that is rapidly abandoning the core tenants of Scripture to be tickled by a feather in their ear.
Before reading any further, I would strong urge you to read the article.
WHICH CAME FIRST THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?
The author of the article, Robyn J. Whitaker, begins her treatise with an argument about a misinterpretation regarding the Hebrew word A-D-M (אָדָם)—translated as the proper noun, Adam, in English language translations of Scripture.
“Adam is not a proper name in Hebrew, but rather the transliteration into English of a Hebrew word a-d-m. Using the imagery of God as potter, “the adam” is a humanoid being created out of the adamah (the earth).”
I take no issue with the first sentence. We see this happening all over the English translations—instances where common Hebrew nouns are turned into proper nouns in English. The best example being HaSatan, which is not a name, but simply the generic Hebrew noun for, “the adversary.” Because Yahweh, in actuality, has many accusers and many enemies, there are likely tens of thousands of satans in existence; not just that one lone guy stuffed into a red Lycra jumpsuit brandishing a trident.
Whitaker, in support of the quote above, quotes Meg Warner, citing that A-D-M can be best translated, “earth creature,” thus concluding, “The first human appears genderless.”
Well…that’s a bit of a leap.
Long before an LGBTQ movement existed, gender-neutral pronouns have existed in the English language. Such words do not intend to convey ambiguous insinuations of gender or sexual preference. Two such examples being the words someone and they. When an English speaker uses the word someone, for example, it typically denotes lack of information, intentional ambiguity, or sarcasm.
Lack of information:
Someone stole my car while I was inside the bank making a deposit!
I saw someone at the mall today—guess who it was?!
Someone never seems to remember my birthday! (Stated to the person who forgot it.)
Likewise, the word, they, is typically evoked when referring to an unknown or more than one person.
The person who stole my car is a thief! They must be on drugs!
I asked my parents if I could go and they said no.
We can safely assume that in all of the above cited examples, the speaker is not intending to infer that the “someone” or the “they” are genderless, hermaphrodites, gender fluid, or homosexual; and yet, the words are clearly not specifying a gender.
And that is my whole point. Just because a word does not encode gender data into its meaning, does not mean a gender does not exist. If I recommend an amazing brain surgeon for you to refer to your grandmother with brain cancer, and I tell you, “She should get in touch with Doctor Smith,” I have not indicated gender. The word “doctor” does not, in and of itself, denote a gender. But this does not mean that Doctor Smith is genderless until grandma shows up at the doctor’s office and observes that Doctor Smith is wearing a bra and lipstick.
Likewise, Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, chose the Hebrew word A-D-M to describe the creature Yahweh was forming out of clay; but just because this word does not encode gender information within its meaning does not automatically assume this creature did not have a gender.
“In fact, gender roles are only introduced into the story when a counterpart is made for the earthling, when this human being is separated into two. At that point, they both become gendered: “Eve” is called woman (ishah) taken from the man’s (ish) rib.”
More accurately, it is not until a counterpart shows up that it is revealed to the reader that the two creatures Yahweh created are two different genders. This is quite simply the use of two very common literary tactics called suspense and plot twist; both of which are still effectively employed by writers to this day.
If we had been told in the first scene of Star Wars Episode IV that Darth Vader was Luke’s father, the iconic line in The Empire Strikes Back would not have been so epic. The writer (George Lucas) knew from Day One that Vader was Luke’s father, but for dramatic effect, he withheld the information from the audience in hopes that the unfolding of the story in this manner and timing would evoke greater delight within his captive audience.
Whitaker unwittingly reveals the truth when she states, “The first human appears genderless.” Yes, to the non-omnipotent readers of the Scriptures, the first human appears genderless. But, to be blunt, this creature didn’t look like a Ken doll and then, like some sort of sea sponge, miraculously grow a penis when Eve showed up. The appendage, I dare say, was there from the beginning.
A Deeper Dive
Any astute student of biblical exegesis learns that accurate translation of a text will incorporate study of the passage’s: context, culture, language, history, and geography.
Any time we attempt to glean meaning from a Bible verse without accounting for these five considerations, our interpretation and understanding of the text will leave gaps—gaps that the adversaries, antichrists, and spirits (1 John) will attempt to fill with their blasphemous nonsense.
For those of us who do not have a firm, fluent grasp of the extremely complex Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic languages employed by the biblical writers, we will be further estranged and at higher risk of error and deception. And simply referring to an online Strong’s dictionary to reverse-engineer our modern, Western ideas and concepts into an ancient text will only wreak further havoc.
Merely reading an uncited, unsourced article where the author quotes an unknown woman in a vacuum as saying, “…we might best translate this person as ‘earth creature,’” is a weak argument at best. (I’m not even going to launch into a tirade here about how her use of the word “might” severely undermines the authority of the point she is attempting to make).
Another danger that we all fall into is, we tend to see our own worldview in everything we see and hear. We see this when the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah is played at the funerals of devout Christians, despite the song being about having an orgasm. We see this in the mass popularity of contemporary Christian music getting secular airplay because this genre of music makes people “feel at peace.” We see this when literary theorists read themes of feminism into children’s fairy tales. We see this when professing believers watch admittedly godless movies but relate to them because stories of redemption and saviors are woven within the plotlines.
It is a fascinating study of human psychology to see that whenever we are faced with something diametrically opposed to our own worldview or belief system, our knee-jerk reaction is to feverishly start searching for a thread of commonality. I believe that this is, in part, because Yahweh designed us for unity; and even within the disintegration of morals, society, and the human heart, no matter how ugly or immoral or wrong something is, we still desperately strive to find common ground with one another.
But within this beautiful reality is an even darker reality—an open opportunity for the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy. Because sometimes our desire for unity (our desire to “get along” or to “tolerate” or to “accept people just the way they are”) leads us down the broad road of egregious exegetical error. This is perhaps why the Scripture writers were constantly exhorting believers to be vigilant, sober minded, alert, awake, and to test every spirit to see whether it is from Almighty God.
With this in mind, the ambiguity behind the idea that the first human being was merely an “earth creature” could mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people. The folks at MUFON might interpret “earth creature” as, “See! This is proof there are creatures not of this earth!” Theologians specializing in divine counsel doctrines might interpret “earth creature” as “See! There were human representatives in the spiritual realm and human representatives in the earthly realm!” Evolutionists might interpret “earth creature” as an amoeba or a chimpanzee; because if the Hebrew word A-D-M does not encode any information about that creature’s gender or sexuality, it likewise does not even tell us whether this first creature was human at all!
One A-D-M 12! One A-D-M 12!
After reading an intriguing, albeit vague, statement such as, “…we might best translate this person as ‘earth creature,’” our response as believers should be, “Now that is really interesting! I am going to do further research to see if this is (a) true, (b) the proper interpretation of the Hebrew word, and (c) if there is any further information that will add more depth and dimensions to my faith or increase my delight in God.”
Every time we get a little nugget of insight, that is an invitation to investigate. We have all experienced those sermons or word studies where some insight has given us greater depth of biblical truth. We get chill bumps all the way up and down our spine, tears well up in our eyes, and we frantically start jotting down notes. We rejoice in the revelation. We tell all our friends. And usually, we have a day or two where we experience some heightened awareness of the love and presence of Christ that brings a burst of joy into our Christian walk.
I did some further research on Whitaker’s interpretation of the Hebrew word A-D-M—NOT to “prove her wrong” but rather, to see what hidden manna might be hiding beneath the surface, some little crumb of sustenance that might “brighten my eyes” (1 Samuel 14:27) upon discovery.
On the website The Origin of Language, the site author explains:
“Each letter [of the Hebrew alphabet] is used as building blocks, like atoms in a formula to create a word which is but a combination of letters-pictures-a short sentence. Take the word Adam, or as written in Hebrew A-D-M, made up of 3 letters that we encountered earlier. As a three-letter word, it’s a name. Using a one letter meaning:
A= aleph = el Peh=God speech/thought
D = de-a = idea, knowledge/information
M = mem = water, mother, from
Using the one-letter picture word “Adam” means: “Thought with knowledge in water”…sounds almost anecdotal…Using the two-letter source system produces clearer results.
A-Dam = God blood
Adama = earth
Adam = earthling with god’s blood
Thought and information in water- as description of our blood begins to make more sense only after the 2-letter source is introduced. God is saying in the word ADAM: Cro-Magnon was birthed with blood of God and an earthling, two races that became one.”
I don’t know about you, but if this is true, it says something about my identity that far exceeds my human “right” to have sex with whomever I choose. Without Christ, my identity is “enemy of God” (Romans 5:10, Ephesians 2:3). But coded within the very “name” of the first human being—the same human being whose sin eternally separated me from God—is the promise of future redemption. There, within the very meaning of the word “earth creature,” is—the Gospel! My blood, mingled with God’s, makes me a part of God’s progeny; and this is why the blood of Christ, shed for me, covers my sins—because Christ and I are of the same divine bloodline!
Brothers and sisters, to reduce this profundity down to nothing more than, “A-D-M proves that traditional interpretations of gender roles are outdated and unbiblical!”—is nothing short of devastating. We are supernaturally transmogrified from an inanimate lump of clay into a living creature via a blood transfusion from the very veins of God Almighty—and the only thing we have to say to our Creator in response to this is, “Yeah, but let me get this straight—homosexuality is okay, right?”
What a travesty.
Conclusion to Part One
The point is simply this. The Word of God does not exist as a cipher to reverse-engineer all our modern belief systems and worldviews. We are putting the cart before the horse when we do this. The reason Yahweh broke through the clouds and handed Moses the Torah on a sapphire platter was preciously because without it we would inevitably fall into egregious error. Our sinful hearts will always (eventually) steer us in the wrong direction. The modern mantra, “Follow your heart!” is a mortifying contradiction to the Word of God, which states on numerous occasions that our hearts are “deceitfully wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9-10, James 1:14, 26, Romans 8:7, Matthew 12:34, Proverbs 3:5, etc.) God’s Word is intended to be a road map to keep us on the right path—NOT some butt-kissing GPS device that assures us we are still on course when we have miserably meandered off the beaten track.
Stay tuned next week for Part Two….