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God and creation

“And the sons of the elohim saw the daughters of the man, because they were good. And they took to them wives, from all that they chose. And the Lord said, my spirit cannot yadun in man forever, also he is flesh; therefore his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

These sons of elohim lead directly to a world in which “the wickedness of man is great in the earth and every desirable thought in his heart is only evil, continually.” And, soon after, these sons of elohim lead to the flood. The word Elohim refers, most often, to Hashem. But it does not only refer to Hashem. Eloha, from the same root as Allah, refers to physical power. The great medieval sage, Yehuda HaLevi points out that elohim refers to a bundling of forces – a combination of multiple physical forces. If so, then the sons of elohim are not sons of G-d, but sons of the greatly powerful.

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Their earliest ancestor, Adam, had two sons who carried his line forward. One was Cain – whose descendants were city builders and founders of industry. The other was Shait, whose descendants walked with G-d. Among Cain’s descendants were three children whose names all shared the same root – yaval or ‘acquisition’. Each name is different. The first is Yaval. By being in the active voice, it literally suggests that he earns his property as a dweller in tents and ownership of cattle. The second is Yuval. His name is in the extreme passive form, suggesting he receives his property. The Jubilee Year is a Yuval – we receive property. Yuval’s profession involves grabbing the harp and ugav, which is a word that implies both a flute and the male reproductive organ. In other words, he doesn’t ‘earn’ his property, he ‘receives’ it through entertainment and prostitution. The third son is Tuval Cain. His Yaval is in the future tense, but also intensively passive. He will receive property. The word Cain strengthens the concept – as it refers to the act of purchasing. How will this son receive his property and purchases? Through cutting instruments: both through instruments of copper (which signify utility in Torah) and through instruments of iron (which signify oppression and war).

Through copper and iron, the descendants of Tuval Cain become the children of the Elohim. How is their seeing the goodness of the daughters of men and their taking of them a sin great enough to lead to the death of almost the entirety of mankind?

To understand, we must go back to the creation. The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose. The differences are illustrated by the vegetation. In the first creation, it is called deshe, eisev mazriah and eitz pri. Roughly translated these are ‘sprouted vegetation’, ‘seeded grasses’ and ‘fruit trees that make fruit of their own kind’. They are reproducing plants. The second creation has siach hasadeh and eisev hasadeh. There is less influence on reproduction. There is also the addition of the word sadeh, or field. A field is a place for human needs and human creation. In other words, the second set of vegetation has a purpose beyond the Darwinian imperative of reproduction. It waits for man to work it. The creation of man follows the same pattern. In the first creation, man is commanded to rule the world, eat from it and be fruitful and multiply – like an animal at the top of the food chain. In the first creation, man is judged to be ‘very good.’ He is judged, like flora and fauna, on his innate physical characteristics.

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Joseph Cox is the author of the City on the Heights (cityontheheights.com) and an occasional contributor to the Jewish Press Online

7 COMMENTS

  1. Ellewee, it is actually quite often that the word ELOHIM in the Hebrew refers to powers that be rather than God. See for instance Exodus 21:6 where it refers to judges as ELOHIM.
    As to how do people beget giants, you assume that if a spirit is combined with a human that must make a giant. However, all humans are infused with the spirit of God and that doesn’t make them physically a giant. So the answer to your question ‘How …. does (sic) people beget giants’?? must be something else. Perhaps we can say it was by the will of God? Could it be that just as some humans are short and some are tall some were giants? Could we say that just as humans lived hundreds of years they were also giants?
    in any case, the point of creation as a tool for human endeavor is clearly stated in the last line of the creation story. (Genesis 2:3) ‘For in it He ceased creativity from all the creative work that He created so that it can be worked with’. See Samson Raphael Hirsch commentary to Chummash ibid

  2. Ellewee, it is actually quite often that the word ELOHIM in the Hebrew refers to powers that be rather than God. See for instance Exodus 21:6 where it refers to judges as ELOHIM.
    As to how do people beget giants, you assume that if a spirit is combined with a human that must make a giant. However, all humans are infused with the spirit of God and that doesn't make them physically a giant. So the answer to your question 'How …. does (sic) people beget giants'?? must be something else. Perhaps we can say it was by the will of God? Could it be that just as some humans are short and some are tall some were giants? Could we say that just as humans lived hundreds of years they were also giants?
    in any case, the point of creation as a tool for human endeavor is clearly stated in the last line of the creation story. (Genesis 2:3) 'For in it He ceased creativity from all the creative work that He created so that it can be worked with'. See Samson Raphael Hirsch commentary to Chummash ibid

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