The boundary line between the state of original man and historical man is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is key. Man was the only person in the garden. The animals were not persons. They could not choose like Adam could. They could not till the ground or tend to the garden as human beings were called to do.
We have a choice. We can love God or reject God. We can be good stewards or bad stewards. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents this choice.
The book of Genesis features two accounts of creation. Detractors of Christianity, and even some Christians, claim these stories contradict each other by telling different versions of the same event – namely, when God created the world. The two creation accounts also pose a challenge to fundamentalists who hold a literal interpretation of the Bible. Pope John Paul II in his Theology of the Body, shows how the two creation stories in Genesis are complimentary, not contradictory.
The first creation account (Genesis 1:1-2:9) is called the Elohist account since the term used for God is “Elohim.” It is chronologically newer than the second creation account starting at Genesis 2:10. The second creation account is called the Yawhist account since the name used for God in that story is “Yahweh.”
The Bible calls the first human being "man" ('adam), but from the moment of the creation of the first woman, it begins to call him "man" (ish), in relation to ishshah ("woman," because she was taken from the man—ish).
Our personhood - being a subject before God - is more fundamental to who we are than even our gender. In the Bible our personhood, our dignity before God, comes before gender differentiation. (We will discuss gender more fully in a future post.)
The first sense of original solitude has to do with Adam's relationship with God. In "the beginning," Adam quickly began to understand that he had a unique relationship with the creator. He alone could talk with God. He alone could have a personal relationship with God. None of the other creatures in the garden could do this.
Through his experience of original solitude Adam (mankind) realizes he is alone. There is no "other" to give himself over to in love. Adam cannot perfect himself, he cannot fulfill himself, he cannot know himself except by making a gift of himself to another human person. Adam longs for another human person to love. It is in his spiritual DNA to give himself to an other. God acknowledges this when he says; "It is not good for the man to be alone."
God bringing the animals to Adam to see what he will name them is a kind of test. Through it Adam discovers that there is not a help mate fit for him. Genesis states; "The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man."
God is clearly enjoining man to be a responsible master over all creation. In the beginning, this responsible mastery came easily. After sin, it would prove difficult if not impossible to achieve.
God causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep "and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man." God then presents the woman to man who exclaims; "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called 'woman,' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken." In that moment, original solitude gives way to the joy of original unity.
When Adam awoke from the divine sleep God presented him with Eve. Adam explained “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” This was an exclamation of love. Adam saw in Eve a human person like himself. Eve saw in Adam a human person like herself. In this moment original solitude was over come. The loneliness that each person felt for the other, the longing that they felt for another was over.
Adam and Eve were created as gifts to one another. Their very bodies made this truth known. It was through their masculinity and femininity that they could express this gift. This is called “the nuptial meaning of the body.” The nuptial meaning of the body is a central concept in John Paul’s Theology of the Body. He refers to in numerous times throughout his addresses.
To love is the essential activity of the human person. We were created to love others and receive love from others. Because our bodies make visible what is invisible in the world, it is through our bodies that we are called to love others. This is evident in the conjugal union most obviously. But we are also called to love and to serve others in numerous ways using our bodies. We cannot serve others unless we have a body to serve them. Man can only discover himself through a sincere gift of himself. This is at the heart of Christ’s teaching. It is also the heart of the theology of the body.
Before sin, Adam and Eve had a clear perception of this truth. After sin, it became cluttered and obscure. For the children of Adam and Eve it remains clouded and obscure. We struggle daily through sin to love and serve others. In the beginning love was undiluted. Love was spontaneous. Adam and Eve served each other without thinking. It was in their spiritual DNA to do this.
Now with historical man, that is man after the first sin, we do not automatically love as God loves. It is not something we do automatically any more. It takes work. It takes conscious effort. In many ways it is a struggle among our heart, our will, and our body. "In the beginning," there was no struggle.