Richard Carrier contends that, in the Life of Adam and Eve
, the Greek version of which is sometimes (confusingly) called the Apocalypse
) of Moses
, Adam is buried in the heavens (http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/201 ... 8028.shtml
And just as Adam was in some accounts buried in the heavens (as in chapter 40 of the Greek text of the Life of Adam and Eve), so possibly was Jesus imagined to have been. ....
The Revelation of Moses has Adam buried in heaven (in the Garden he was made from, the very Garden Paul says was in the “third heaven” in 2 Cor. 12, just as the Rev. Mos. also says, in which Adam’s fall is described literally: a fall from the heavenly Garden to the earth below). So there’s even dirt in heaven, and corpses, and graves (Eve is also buried there, along with others).
I will readily grant that the passage in question is not extremely clear on its own, and that upon a first reading it may appear to be the case that Adam is buried in Paradise in the third heaven. However, further reading uncovers severe difficulties with this view, and a simple understanding of a couple of key passages is all that it takes to reveal the true flow of the narrative.
I find that I am preceded in this basic, overall understanding of the text by a blogger (http://naturalreason.revolvingplanet.ne ... in-heaven/
) who has also posted on this forum under the name einniv
). However, I had already formed my understanding of the text before reading that blog entry, and came across it only in the course of preparing this post. Carrier responded to the criticisms
As to the burial of Adam in the Greek text of the Life of Adam, this is unambiguous and I cannot fathom why this critic thinks it’s not....
At this point Carrier simply quotes all of chapter 40 from an English translation of the Greek text, boldfacing what he takes to be the key passages. And, read on their own, those boldfaced passages do look like a heavenly burial. What I will show is that those boldfaced passages ignore the context (including passages from the same chapter which Carrier has failed to put in boldface). In the end, I will agree with Carrier that it is unambiguous, once one has fully digested the text and grasped the contexts of the various key passages... but it is unambiguously in favor of an earthly burial, not a heavenly one.
The lack of immediate clarity in the passage at issue stems in large part, I believe, from two facts:
- There are two locations called Paradise in the text, one on earth and the other in the third heaven. This conception of two gardens of Eden, one earthly and the other heavenly, is commonplace in the rabbinic literature (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/artic ... -garden-of), but it does not make the flow of the story easy to follow at times in the Life of Adam and Eve. Indeed, certain comments by Carrier (including those quoted above) seem to suppose that there is only one Paradise throughout the text, the one in the heavens. However, this supposition is quite mistaken. The Paradise in 37.5, for example, is explicitly said to be located in the third heaven; but the Paradise in 10.1 and 13.1, is on the earth, and Eve and Seth actually travel to its regions [εἰς τὰ μέρη τοῦ παραδείσου] in order to wait nearby [πλησίον τοῦ παραδείσου], while very much still alive, in the hope of persuading an angel to enter it and retrieve healing oil for Adam. (According to Genesis 3.24, the entrance to the garden is barred against human incursion, so they cannot actually enter this earthly Paradise; but they can wait just outside it.) Does Carrier imagine that Eve and Seth are actually camped out just outside of the third heaven?
- When Adam and Eve each die in their turn, spirit and body separate from each other, and each follows a separate course from that point onward. Sometimes the name of the person applies to the spirit, while the body is labeled distinctly (Adam = spirit; body of Adam = body). And sometimes it is the other way around (Eve = body; spirit of Eve = spirit). This will become evident as I work through the text, and I aim to show how it all works out in the end.
The Greek texts I am using for this post are those of Tischendorf
(T.) and Ceriani
(C.); the Ceriani text is missing chapters 18-35, so for those chapters I can cite only Tischendorf. These texts have both been superceded by Tromp 2005, but I do not have access to it. If anyone does, and something from it may be profitably brought to bear, I welcome it. The Latin that I use is Meyer 1878. The English translations of the various versions are from the following site: http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/anderson/vita/vita.html
. I have also consulted the translation of the Armenian, with accompanying notes, by Fred C. Conybeare: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1450231?seq ... b_contents
. I will quote chapters 31 to 43 in their entirety, so as not to skip any crucial evidence.
Carrier references chapter 40 of the Greek text as the one in which to find a burial in heaven, but the relevant details actually start a bit earlier, in chapter 31; that is where I wish to start tracing the story:
31.1 And when Eve had said this in the midst of her sons, while Adam was lying ill and had one more day from the sickness (prior to) his going from his body [ἄλλην δὲ εἶχεν μίαν ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐξελθεῖν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος, T.].
31.2 Eve said to Adam: "How is it that you die and I live or how long have I to live after you are dead? Tell me."
Here Adam has one more day before leaving the body. Notice that Adam himself is identified with the part of him that is going to leave his body; it becomes clear in the next passage that this part is his spirit (Adam = spirit; body of Adam = body):
31.3 And Adam said to her: "Give no thought to this, for you will not tarry long after me, but both of us are to die together. And (as to) this one he shall set (her) in my place. But when I die, anoint me and let no man touch me till the angel shall says something concerning me.
31.4 For God will not forget me, but will seek the vessel he made. Now, arise, and pray to God until I give up my soul [τὸ πνεῦμά μου, literally my spirit, T.], which he gave me, into His hands. For we know not how we are to meet our Maker, whether He will be angry with us, or will turn to show mercy on us."
So his spirit is to go into the hands of God. The next chapter reinforces the separation between spirit and body:
32.1 And Eve rose up and went outside and fell on the ground and said:
32.2 "I have sinned, O God, I have sinned, O Father of All, I have sinned against You. I have sinned against your elect angels. I have sinned against the Cherubim. I have sinned against Your unshakable Throne. I have sinned, o Lord, I have greatly sinned, I have sinned before You and all sin has begun through my doing in the creation."
32.3 Even as Eve prayed on her knees behold, the angel of humanity came to her, and raised her up and said:
32.4 "Rise up, Eve, from your penitence, for behold, Adam your husband has gone out of his body [ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, T.]. Rise up and behold his spirit borne aloft [τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ ἀναφερόμενον, T.] to meet his Maker."
The next chapter makes sense only if we realize that at this stage Adam is split, his dead body lying upon the earth, where Eve is, his spirit having been borne aloft into the heavens:
33.1 And Eve rose up and put her hand on the face (of Adam), and the angel said to her, "Lift up your hand from that which is of the earth [ἀπὸ τῶν γηΐνων, literally from earthly things, T.]."
33.2 And she gazed steadfastly into heaven [εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, T.], and beheld a chariot of light, borne by four bright eagles, (and) it was impossible for any man born of woman to tell the glory of them or behold their face and angels going before the chariot,
33.3 and when they came to the place where your father Adam was [ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον ὅπου ἔκειτο ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν Ἀδάμ, T.], the chariot halted and the Seraphim were between the father and the chariot.
33.4 And I beheld golden censers and three bowls, and behold all the angels with (AFTER?) censers and frankincense came in haste to the incense-offering and blew upon it and the smoke of the incense veiled the firmament.
33.5 And the angels fell down to God, crying aloud and saying, "JAEL, Holy One, have pardon, for he is Your image, and the work of Your holy hands."
Eve, on the earth, at the bidding of the angel turns her attention away from the earth and toward heaven, where she sees what is apparently the spirit of Adam, around whom the angels are now praying on his behalf.
The reader who has not been keeping track of body and spirit might well misread the next three chapters:
34.1 And then I Eve beheld two great and fearful mysteries before the presence of God and I wept for fear, and I cried aloud to my son Seth and said,
34.2 "Rise up, Seth, from the body of your father Adam [ἐκ τοῦ σώματος τοῦ πατρός σου Ἀδὰμ, T.], and come to me, and see a spectacle which no man's eye has yet beheld and how they supplicate on behalf of your father, Adam [ὑπὲρ τοῦ πατρός σου Ἀδάμ]."
35.1 Then Seth arose and came to his mother and said to her: "Why do you weep?"
35.2 (And) she said to him: "Look up and see with your eyes [ἀνάβλεψον τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς σου καὶ ἴδε, T.] the seven heavens opened [τὰ ἑπτὰ στερεώματα ἀνεῳγμένα, literally the seven firmaments opened up, T.], and see [ἴδε τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς σου, literally see with your eyes, T.] how the body of your father [τὸ σῶμα τοῦ πατρός σου, T.] lies on its face and all the holy angels are praying on his behalf and saying: 'Pardon him, Father of All, for he is Your image.'"
35.3 Pray, my child Seth, what shall this mean? And will he one day be delivered into the hands of our Invisible God?
35.4 But who are, my son Seth, the two Ethiopians who stand by at the prayers for your father?"
36.1 And Seth said to his mother, "They are the sun and moon and themselves fall down and pray on behalf of my father Adam."
36.2 Eve said to him: "And where is their light and why have they taken on such a black appearance? "
36.3 And Seth answered her, "The light has not left them, but they cannot shine before the Light of all things, the Father of Light; and on this account their light has been hidden."
Eve entreats Seth to engage in two separate acts of observation (each underscored by the addition of with your eyes
): one toward the seven firmaments being opened up, and the other toward the body of his dead father Adam. But nothing has changed. The body is still on the earth, the spirit in the heavens.
The potentially confusing way in which the passage has been written, however, may stem from confusion in the traditional story. In the Armenian version, it is the soul of Adam (in heaven) that Seth is bid to observe. In the Slavonic, it is the body, just as in the Greek, but the angels are actually on the earth, with the body, not with the soul or spirit in heaven.
At any rate, however, despite this confusion between the various versions, the Greek that we are examining does not say that the body is in heaven, nor that the spirit is on earth. It merely says that Seth looked upon both, with two separate acts of observation.
The next chapter involves a brief trip into Greek mythology:
37.1 Now while Seth was saying this to his mother, behold, an angel blew the trumpet, and all the angels who were lying on their faces rose up, and they cried aloud in an fearsome voice and said:
37.2 "Blessed (be) the glory of the Lord from the works of His making, for He has pitied Adam, the creature of His hands."
37.3 But when the angels had said these words, behold, there came one of the seraphim with six wings and snatched up Adam and carried him off to the Acherusian lake, and washed him thrice, and led him before God.
This Acherusian lake is mentioned in Apocalypse of Paul
22 as the place where Michael washes the spirits of humans who have died after repenting of grievous sins, so that they can join the spirits of those without sin in the city of Christ (translations by M. R. James
This, then, is the spirit of Adam, which gets washed thrice in this lake and then led before God. And now comes what is known as the assumption of Adam into the third heaven:
37.4 And he [Adam] stayed there three hours, lying down, and thereafter the Father of all, sitting on his holy throne stretched out his hand, and took Adam and handed him over to the archangel Michael saying:
37.5 "Lift him up into paradise unto the third Heaven [εἰς τὸν παράδεισον ἕως τρίτου οὐρανοῦ, T. and C.], and leave him there until that fearful day of my reckoning, which I will make in the world."
37.6 Then Michael took Adam and left him where God told him. And all the angels sang an angelic hymn being amazed at the pardoning of Adam.
Again, taking this passage on its own, without context, one might suppose that the lifeless body of Adam is now in the third heaven. However, the very next passage casts serious doubt upon this supposition:
38.1 But after this joyous event of Adam, the archangel Michael cried to the Father concerning Adam.
38.2 And the Father commanded him that all the angels should assemble before God, each in his order, some having censers in their hands, and others lyres, bowls and trumpets.
38.3 And behold, the Lord of Hosts entered and four winds drew Him and cherubim mounted on the winds and the angels from heaven escorting Him and they came on the earth [ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, C. only], where was the body of Adam [ὅπου ἦν τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἀδάμ, both T. and C.].
38.4 And they came to paradise and all the leaves of paradise were stirred so that all men begotten of Adam slept from the fragrance save Seth alone, because he was born according to the appointment of God.
39.1 And God came to the body of Adam and grieved greatly over him and God said to him: "Adam, what is this you have done? Had you kept my commandment, those who bore you down to this place would not have rejoiced.
39.2 Yet, I tell you that I will turn their joy to grief and your grief will I turn to joy, and I will return you to your rule, and seat you on the throne of your deceiver.
39.3 But that one (the one who sat on it prior to his becoming arrogant) shall be cast into this place that he may see you seated upon it. Then he himself shall be condemned along with those who obeyed him and he shall grieve when he see you sitting upon his throne."
God has entered Paradise. But which one? Well, upon his divine entrance, the rustling of the leaves of paradise actually put all men begotten of Adam to sleep, except Seth. The body of Adam, then, is still on earth, where men are. The Ceriani text of the Greek makes this explicit by saying that God and his angelic retinue came upon the earth (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν
). The spirit of Adam has taken a circuitous route, to say the least, from the body to the heavens to the lake to before God and then finally into the Paradise of the third heaven, borne there by Michael. But the body has not moved, and it is now time to prepare it for burial. Recall that God himself is now with the body of Adam on earth (his spirit being in heaven); but Adam did not die in the earthly Paradise, so God is in neither of the two Paradises (neither the earthly nor the heavenly) at this point, but he is
40.1 Then God said to the archangel Michael: "Go away to Paradise in the third heaven, and carry away three fine linen cloths."
40.2 And God said to Michael and to Gabriel and Uriel: "Spread out the clothes and cover the body of Adam." And they bore the sweet olive oil and poured it upon him. And the three great angels prepared him for burial.
Is God commanding Michael to spread three fine linens over the body of Adam in the third heaven? That is how Carrier seems to read it. But context disallows such a reading. The sense of the command is that Michael is to go back up to Paradise in the third heaven, retrieve three linen cloths, and then return to spread them out over the body. He is carrying the cloths away, as the above translation puts it, but he is carrying them away from heaven
. This is more explicit in the Tischendorf Greek text and the Meyer Latin text, both of which include God using the first person singular pronoun in the dative case: μοι
, meaning: Bring the cloths to me
. The Armenian likewise is rendered as follows:
After this, God spoke to Michael and said, "Go to the Garden of the third heaven and bring me three linen cloths."
The Slavonic version is crystal clear:
In the third hour, however, the Lord, seated on the throne, stretched forth his hand and took Adam and gave him to the archangel Michael and said to him, "Carry his corpse into Paradise; his spirit shall tarry in the third Heaven, but his corpse shall remain here until my resurrection."
And the Georgian, which has been especially Christianized with interpolations in several spots, adds a detail or two to the notion of Adam being kept in the third heaven:
37.4 ...and he dipped him in it three times. Then he led him back before God and (Adam) remained (prostrate) on his face for three hours. And after that, God stretched out his hand from his Throne, raised Adam up and gave him to Michael, and he told him,
37.5 "Take him to the third heaven, to paradise, and set him before the altar until the day of the "oikonomia" which I contemplate concerning all the fleshly (beings) with my well beloved Son."
Adam waiting before the altar in the third heaven reminds one of Revelation 6.9, the breaking of the fifth seal, which reveals the souls of the martyrs waiting (impatiently) under the altar.
The command is an errand; Michael is to retrieve the linens from
the third heaven and take them back to
God, who is waiting on earth beside the body. The next section confirms this:
40.3 When they finished preparing Adam, God said they should bear the body of Abel also. And they brought more linen and prepared him for burial.
40.4 For he was unburied since the day when Cain his brother slew him; for Cain took great pains to conceal (him) but could not, for the body sprang up from the earth and a voice went out of the earth saying:
40.5 "No other body can be covered until --with respect to the first creature who was taken from me -- the earth from which he was taken is returned to me. [οὐ δέξομαι ἑταῖρον σῶμα, ἕως οὗ τὸ ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ χῶμα ἀρθὲν καὶ πλασθὲν ἔλθῃ πρὸς ἐμέ, T.; C. has a similar, though even clearer, line in different words]" And the angels took him at that moment and put him upon a rock until Adam, his father, was buried.
40.6 And God commanded that after they had prepared the body of Abel for burial that they bear Abel up also to the area of paradise, to the spot where God had taken the earth and fashioned Adam [εἰς τὰ μέρη τοῦ παραδείσου, εἰς τὸν τόπον ἐν ὧͺ εὗρεν τὸν χοῦν ὁ θεός, both T. and C., with two insignificant variants]. And God made them dig the spot for two.
40.7 And God sent seven angels to paradise and they brought many fragrant spices and placed them in the earth, and afterward they took the two bodies and placed them in the spot which they had dug and built (a sepulcher).
41.1 And God called and said, "Adam, Adam. "And the body answered from the earth and said: "Here am I, Lord."
41.2 And God said to him: "I told you (that) earth you are and to earth shall you return [εἰς γῆν ἀπελεύσει, T. and C.].
41.3 Again I promise to you the Resurrection; I will raise you up in the Resurrection with every man, who is of your seed."
42.1 After these words, God made a three-fold seal and sealed the tomb, that no one might do anything to him for six days till his rib should return to him.
42.2 Then the Lord and his angels went to their place.
Abel is to be buried with Adam in the regions of Paradise; the Greek phrase is the same as the one that earlier describes Seth and Eve journeying to wait just outside of Paradise. So, not only is Adam not
buried in the Paradise in the third heaven, but he is also not
buried in the earthly Paradise! He is buried nearby. Why? Well, the voice from the earth claims that it, the earth, was unable to receive the body of Abel into the ground until it had received back the dust from which Adam had been formed (Genesis 2.7). Fittingly, then, God commands both to be buried at that very spot whence he had originally taken the dust to form Adam. (In Genesis 2.7-8, God first creates Adam from the dust, and only then plants the garden, toward the east.)
What has happened to Adam, death followed by the separation of body and spirit, now also happens to Eve:
42.3 And Eve also, when the six days were fulfilled, fell asleep. But while she was living, she wept bitterly about Adam's falling asleep, for she knew not where he was laid. For when the Lord came to paradise to bury Adam all were asleep until he finished the burial of Adam except Seth alone. And no one knew (this) on the earth, except her son Seth.
42.4 And Eve prayed while weeping that she might be buried in the place where her husband Adam was. And after she had finished her prayer, she said:
42.5 "Lord, Master, God of all virtue, do not alienate me from the body of Adam, from whose members you made me.
42.6 But deem me worthy, even me who is unworthy and a sinner, to enter into his tabernacle. Just as I was with him in paradise, both of us not being separated from the other;
42.7 just as in our transgression, we were (both) led astray and transgressed your command, but were not separated, even so now, o Lord, do not separate us."
42.8 But after she had prayed, she gazed heavenwards [εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν, both T. and C.] and groaned aloud and smote her breast and said: "God of All, receive my spirit," and she delivered up her spirit [τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτῆς, T.; τὸ πνεῦμα μου, C., which has Eve offer her spirit up to God in the first person as she dies].
43.1a And Michael came and taught Seth how to prepare Eve [τὸ σῶμα αὐτῆς, T.; τῆν Εὔαν, C.] for burial.
Notice that her spirit goes to God, while her body does not; it stays with Seth, who may now prepare it for burial; this is yet another confirmation, as if it were required, that the same thing happened to Adam before her, especially since Eve is buried with him:
43.1b And there came three angels and they bore her body and buried it where Adam and Abel's bodies were.
43.2 And afterwards Michael spoke to Seth saying; "Lay out in this manner every man that dies until the day of the Resurrection."
43.3 And after giving him this rule he said: "Mourn not beyond six days, but on the seventh day, rest and rejoice on it, because on that very day, God and we the angels rejoice with the righteous soul, who has passed away from the earth."
43.4 After the angel said these things he ascended into heaven, glorifying (God) and saying: "Allelujah, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father, Amen."
Here ends the Greek text. The Jewish Encyclopedia (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/artic ... am-book-of
) agrees with this overall assessment of the book (underlining mine):
It is possible to prove that the apocryphas, Apocalypsis Mosis— as Tischendorf, following a copyist's erroneous inscription, called the book—and Vita Adæ et Evæ, and to a certain degree even their Slavonic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic offshoots, are of identical Jewish origin. According to these apocryphal works and to the Eastern and Western forms of the Apocalypsis, the Jewish portion of the Book of Adam must have read somewhat as follows (the parallels in apocryphal and rabbinical literature are placed in parentheses):
Three days after the death of Adam (Gen. R. vii), which took place, as in the case of Moses and Aaron, in the presence of many angels and even in the presence of the Lord, his soul was handed over by God to Michael, who assigned it an abode in the third heaven (Ḥag. 12b) until the day of resurrection. The body was interred with exceptional honors; the four archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael (in the exact order of enumeration given by the Haggadah; see Kohut, "Angelologie," p. 25), buried it in the neighborhood of paradise, the precise spot being (Pirḳe R. El. xii. and xx.) Hebron near Jerusalem; for the site of the altar in the Temple, whence the dust of Adam was taken, is the gate to paradise.
I contend that Adam, Abel, and eventually Eve herself are all buried on earth, near the earthly Paradise, in the Life of Adam and Eve
. It is simply a misreading of the text to suppose, like Carrier, that they are buried in the third heaven.