Addenda to "Supposed Preexistence Verses" by Noel Rude (4/09)

 

For he was before me

 

There are a couple more verses in the first chapter of John that are of particular interest because they seem to say, at least for some, that Jesus preexisted.  These are verse 15 and verse 30:

 

15 ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ

15 John bare witness of him,

καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων,

and cried, saying,

οὖτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον,

This was he of whom I spake,

ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος

He that cometh after me

ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν,

is preferred before me:

ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν.

for he was before me.

 

 

30 οτός στιν πρ ο γ επον,

30 This is he of whom I said,

πίσω μου ρχεται νρ

After me cometh a man

ς μπροσθέν μου γέγονεν,

which is preferred before me:

τι πρτός μου ν.

for he was before me.

 

Barnes’ Notes, for example, note (Barnes 1983): “He was before me. This can refer to nothing but his preexistence, and can be explained only on the supposition that he existed before John, or, as the evangelist had before shown, from the beginning. [1]

 

So how would a unitarian explain these verses?

 

First one might note the contrast between μπροσθεν ‘in front of’ and πρτος ‘first in a sequence’.  Both words—especially the latter—can denote rank.  There is also a difference in verbs: γέγονεν ‘has become’ versus ν ‘was’.  Thus John 1:15 can be interpreted,

 

He that comes after me (in birth order)

has come before me (into my presence) [2]

because he was before me (of higher office than I).

 

But why would Jesus appear humbly before John because (τι) he was of higher office than John?  Maybe it’s because, as he said (Mat 20:27), “And whosoever will be chief [πρτος] among you, let him be your servant …”

 

The Scriptures love a riddle and a play on words, and here I would suggest that John is linking three things: birth order, the fact that the younger has come to the elder, and the higher rank that Jesus had from the beginning.[3]  John, of course, deferred in the same way to Jesus (John 3:28): “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him [μπροσθεν κείνου].”

 

John was not the Messiah, rather (John 1:23), “He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” [4]  Jesus, on the other hand, was set apart [5] for that office (John 1:32-33): “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth [with holy spirit (ν πνεύματι γί)].”

 

How was the dove a sign of the Messiah?

 

Sometimes it is amazing how much the New Testament and Chazal [6] are mirrors of each other.  In the Midrash the spirit is associated with the role of messiah son of Joseph and the waters with the waters of repentance (Genesis Rabbah 2:4):

 

וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת

“And the Spirit of God moved …” (Genesis 1:2)

זֶה רוּחוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶ הַמָּשִׁיחַ

This is the spirit of the King Messiah,

הֵיאַ מַה דְּאַתְּ אָמַר

as it says (Isaiah 11:2),

וְנָחָה עָלָיו רוּחַ ה׳

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him …

בְּאֵיזוֹ זְכוּת מְמַשְׁמֶשֶׁת וּבָאָה

In what merit is there hastening when he will come?

הַ׳מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם

The “moved upon the face of the waters

בִּזְכוּת הַתְּשׁוּבָה

is in the merit of repentance,

שֶׁנִּמְשְׁלָה כְמַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר

which is likened to water, as it says (Lamentations 2:19),

שִׁפְכִי כַמַּיִם לִבֵּ

“…pour out thine heart like water …”

 

And again the spirit of Messiah is likened to a dove [יוֹנָה] (Babylonian Talmud, Chagiga 15a):

 

וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:2)

כְּיוֹנָה שֶׁמְּרַחֶפֶת עַל בָּנֶיהָ

Like a dove which hovers over her children

וְאֵינָהּ נוֹגַעַת

and does not touch them

 

The name Jonah (יוֹנָה) means ‘dove’.  And according to Pirqe d’Rabbi Eliezer (פרקי דרבי אליעזר ג), “By virtue of a righteous woman the dead are destined to live [מִכֹּחַ צַדֶּקֶת הַמֵּתִים עֲתִידִין לִחְיוֹת],” and this virtuous woman is here identified as none other than the widow whose son was raised from the dead (1Kings 17): “She was the mother of Jonah [אִמּוֹ שֶׁל יוֹנָה הָיְתָה].”  And then Tosefot (בבא מציעא קיד ב) says of this child, “The sign of the boy was messiah son of Joseph [אוֹתוֹ תִּינוֹק מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן יוֹסֵף הָיָה].”  Thus the resurrection of this boy was viewed as a forerunner or sign of the resurrection of the house of Israel, this just as Jesus claimed only the sign of the prophet Jonah (Mat 12:39-40): “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” [7]

 

As in the Midrash where the spirit is the spirit of messiah and the waters are the waters of repentance, so also for John (Mat 3:11): “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you [with holy spirit and fire (ν πνεύματι γί κα πυρί)].”  And when Jesus was about to ascend to heaven he tells his talmidim (Acts 1:5), “For John truly baptized with water; [but ye shall be baptized with holy spirit (μες δ ν πνεύματι βαπτισθήσεσθε γί)] not many days hence.”  And so they were (Acts 2:3-4): “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with [spirit of the Holy One (πνεύματος γίου)], and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

 

This was the first outflow of the spirit of a new covenant that ultimately repatriates the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Jer 31:33): “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

 

And the “cloven tongues like as of fire”—these recall Moses’ last blessing (Deut 33:1-2): “And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”

 

When we come to the Scriptures we begin with certain premises and go on to interpret accordingly.  If we begin with preexistence then we look for passages that might confirm this premise.  If we believe that the Tanakh (Old Testament) demands a man as messiah and not the avatar of an angel or other spirit—and if we wish to uphold the New Testament in light of the Old—then we look for verses that confirm that.  Because the Bible is written with riddles and types and symbols, each side of a controversy always ends up with a residue of “difficult scriptures”—what the one uses for support the other will have to “explain”.  If John 1:15, 30 can support preexistence, then all that the other side has to do is show that these verses can also be explained another way.

 

Without Father, Without Mother, Without Descent

 

Once when the author of Hebrews mentions Melchizedek, he then cites what seems like a kind of rabbinical aphorism or midrashic saying (Heb 7:3):

 

πάτωρ, μήτωρ, γενεαλόγητος,

Without father, without mother, without descent,

μήτε ρχν μερν μήτε ζως τέλος χων,

having neither beginning of days, nor end of life;

φωμοιωμένος δ τ υἱῶ το θεο,

but made like unto the Son of God;

μένει ερες ες τ διηνεκές.

abideth a priest continually.

 

Now if one insists on taking the Greek literally and chooses to ignore the possibility that Melchizedek is here some kind of symbolic archetype, then of course this speaks of a preexistent being.  And if one is looking for a preexistent Jesus in Genesis, this might be the place.  Nevertheless the Peshitta makes the typological interpretation explicit—it is not that Melchizedek is actually immortal but that Genesis 14 makes no mention of his mortality (Heb 7:3 - James Murdock’s translation):

 

ܕ݁ܠܳܐ ܐܰܒ݂ܽܘܗ݈ܝ ܘܠܳܐ ܐܶܡܶܗ

Of whom neither his father nor his mother

ܐܶܬ݂ܟ݁ܬ݂ܶܒ݂ܘ ܒ݁ܫܰܪܒ݂ܳܬ݂ܳܐ

are written in the genealogies;

ܘܠܳܐ ܪܺܝܫܺܝܬ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܝܰܘܡܰܘܗ݈ܝ

nor the commencement of his days,

ܘܠܳܐ ܫܽܘܠܳܡܳܐ ܕ݁ܚܰܝܰܘܗ݈ܝ

nor the end of his life;

ܐܶܠܳܐ ܒ݁ܰܕ݂ܡܽܘܬ݂ܳܐ ܕ݁ܰܒ݂ܪܶܗ ܕ݁ܰܐܠܳܗܳܐ

but, after the likeness of the Son of God,

ܡܩܰܘܝܳܐ ܟ݁ܽܘܡܪܽܘܬ݂ܶܗ ܠܥܳܠܰܡ ܀

his priesthood remaineth for ever.

 

Melchizedek is mentioned only in Genesis 14 and Psalms 110, and thus the rabbinical commentators have seen the Psalm as a Midrash on Genesis.[8]  The account in Hebrews also connects Genesis 14.

 

Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

 

 

Without father, without mother, without descent,

having neither beginning of days, nor end of life;

but made like unto the Son of God;

abideth a priest continually.

 

 

Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.  Hebrews 6:20-7:4

 

Tradition says that Melchizedek was Shem, and one can deduce as much from Scripture, for thus Noah speaks to Shem’s elder brother[9] (Gen 9:27), “… and he [God, as it can be read] shall dwell in the tents of Shem …”  And where are those tents?  “In Salem also is his tabernacle ...”  (Psalms 76:3[2])  And where was Melchizedek a king and a priest?  In Salem, as it says (Genesis 14:18), “And Melchizedek king of Salem … and he was the priest of the most high God.” [10]

 

In Hebrews it says (Heb 7:40), “Now consider how great this man was,”[11] which fits if Melchizedek were Shem and thus heir of Noah who had received the kingship and priesthood from his ancestor Adam (Gen 14:19-20): “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth ...” [12]  And thus it is also in our Midrash (Heb 7:7): “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.”

 

The book of Hebrews (Heb 6:20; 7:17) has κατ τν τάξιν Mελχισέδεκ ‘after the order [i.e., a priestly order, cf. Luke 1:8] of Melchizedek’, which follows the Septuagint.  The Hebrew of Psalms 110:4 might better be read, “according to the word/decree of Melchizedek.” [13]  Either way the point is the same—that Abraham (and thus the patriarchs) inherited Adam’s priesthood.

 

And thus Abraham receives Adam’s mantle legitimately, first by the decree of Melchizedek (Psalms 110:4), and then by an oath from God (Heb 6:13-14): “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying [Genesis 22:16], Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.”  And thus our author uses this to say that the Adamic priesthood is greater than the Levitical (Heb 7:21): “For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him [Psalms 110:4], The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec …”

 

But the legitimacy of Abraham as heir (and Messiah through David back to Abraham) is only part of the argument which is here twofold.  It’s as in Paul’s opening to the book of Romans (Rom 1:3-4): “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,

ü  which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

ü  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead …”

Which brings us back to the archetypal imagery in Hebrews 7:3: “…but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”

 

And who is the son of God?  Luke 3:38—“… Adam, which was the son of God.” [14]

 

The author of the book of Hebrews is emphasizing, in a sophisticated rabbinical fashion, that though the kingship is passed on via a genealogy, the sons of God are sons of the resurrection, just as Jesus said (Luke 20:36), “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”

 

And here a friend points me to the first chapter of John’s Gospel where it is the Word/Torah that imparts the power to become sons of God.

 

12 σοι δ λαβον ατόν,

12 But as many as received him, [15]

δωκεν ατος ξουσίαν

to them gave he power

τέκνα θεο γενέσθαι,

to become the sons of God,

τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,

even to them that believe on his name:

13 ο οκ ξ αμάτων

13 Which … not of blood,

οδ κ θελήματος σαρκς

nor of the will of the flesh,

οδ κ θελήματος νδρς

nor of the will of man,

λλ κ θεο γεννήθησαν.

but of God [were born].

14 καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο

14 And the Word was made flesh,

κα σκήνωσεν ν μν,

and dwelt among us,

κα θεασάμεθα τν δόξαν ατο,

(and we beheld his glory,

δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός,

the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) [16]

πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας.

full of grace and truth.

 

Thus the purpose of Hebrews 7:3 (“Without father, without mother”) is not to tell us that Melchizedek was immortal, nor that Jesus preexisted as an immortal being, but that in order to inherit the heavenly mantle of Adam, Jesus had to be born again, this time not of human parentage but of God, i.e., become one of those (John 1:13) “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  And again as he said (John 3:6), “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  As always the symbolism goes back to Adam:

 

And so it is written [Gen 2:7], The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  1Corinthians 15:45-49

 

And it is not by father or mother or genealogy but by the Word/Torah that we become the sons of God who (James 1:18), “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”  Peter preaches the same (1Peter 1:23): “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

 

It is God’s word that creates a clean heart in us—for isn’t that what the tabernacle washings symbolized?  As the author of the book says (Heb 10:22), “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”  And that should remind us of Ephesians 5:26—“That he might sanctify and cleanse it[17] with the washing of water by the word …”

 

Much of the book of Hebrews is dedicated to proclaiming that Jesus has pierced the veil of his mortality to serve as an advance advocate for the rest of us not yet completely cleansed.  This was the proclamation when this section on Melchizedek was introduced (Heb 6:19-20): “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

 

“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us …” (Heb 9:24)

 

The author of Hebrews paints the Melchizedek archetype as superior to the mortal Abraham (Heb 7:7), “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.”  Why?  Let me suggest this is because Adam’s heritage—that with which Melchizedek is blessing Abraham—was to eat of the tree of life and live forever (Gen 2:9).  Even though Adam and Eve were barred from it (Gen 3:22-24), the promise remained for the faithful of the first millennium (Rev 2:7): “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”  And it is available to all in the end (Rev 22:14): “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

 

And this, let me also suggest, is what Jesus was getting at when he would claim greatness.

 

Jesus claimed to be greater, for example, than Solomon (Mat 12:42; Luke 11:31), “…and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”  Did he mean that he was greater because he preexisted Solomon?  As Jesus himself said (Luke 7:28), “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  And how do we attain to the kingdom of God?  Again as Jesus said (John 3:3, 6), “… Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  So let us return to Paul who does not seem to think this is merely a metaphor for a spiritual experience in the here and now.

 

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written [Isaiah 25:8], Death is swallowed up in victory.  1Corinthians 15:50-54


 

[1] John 1:1—“In the beginning was the Word … [ν ρχ ν λόγος]”

[2] Some examples with μπροσθεν ‘in front of’: “And before him [μπροσθεν ατο] shall be gathered all nations …” (Mat 25:32); “But he denied before them all … [μπροσθεν πάντων]” (Mat 26:70); “And Jesus stood before the governor … [μπροσθεν το γεμόνος]” (Mat 27:11).

[3] i.e., John 17:5, “… the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”  See section below with this subtitle.

[4] From Isaiah 40—

ג  קוֹל קוֹרֵא בַּמִּדְבָּר

3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,

פַּנּוּ דֶּרֶ יהוה

Prepare ye the way of the LORD,

יַשְּׁרוּ בָּעֲרָבָה מְסִלָּה לֵאלֹהֵינוּ׃

make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Note how—as so often (see Zechariah 14:3-4)—the messianic prophecy is really a prophecy about the return of God—of the divine presence or Shechinah.

[5] Jesus was set apart from conception (Luke 1:35), but so was Jacob (Rom 9:11-12), Jeremiah (Jer 1:5), John (Luke 1:15), even Paul (Gal 1:15).

[6] Chazal (חז״ל) is an acronym for חֲכָמֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנִים לִבְרָכָה ‘our sages of blessed memory’.

[7] See also Matthew 16:4 & Luke 11:29.  The Shem-Tob Matthew employs the same language as Chazal (Howard 1988): הָאוֹת שֶׁל יוֹנָה “the sign of Jonah’ which equals ‘the sign of a dove”.  The word for ‘dove’ is the same—כְּיוֹנָה ‘like a dove’ in the Talmud (Chagiga 15a) as also in the Shem-Tob of Matthew 3:16.  For the other side of the coin one is tempted to connect Hosea 7:11: “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart [כְּיוֹנָה פוֹתָה אֵין לֵב]: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.”

 

[8] Rashi, for example, has,

נְאֻם יי לַאדֹנִי

The LORD said unto my Lord

רַבּוֹתֵינוּ דָּרְשׁוּהוּ בְּאַבְרָהָם אֲבִינוּ

Our rabbis interpreted it in Abraham our father,

ואֲנִי אֶפְרְשֶׁנּוּ כְּדִּבְרֵיהֶם

and I shall interpret it in accord with their words,

שֶׁקראוּהוּ הַכֹּל אָדוֹן.

for everyone called him ‘lord’:

אֲדוֹנִי שְׁמָעֵנוּ שְׁמָעֵנוּ אֲדוֹנִי

“my lord, hear us” (Gen 23:11, 15); “hear me, my lord” (Gen 23:6) …

 

[9] Shem was (Gen 10:21) אֲחִי יֶפֶת הַגָּדוֹל ‘the brother of Japheth the elder’.  The Hebrew here may be ambiguous—yet one might still deduce this from Gen 5:32 where Noah was 500 years old when he begat his sons, from Gen 7:6 where he was 600 when the flood was upon the land, and from Gen 11:10 where Shem was 100 years old two years after the flood.

[10] For example the Babylonian Talmud, Nedarim 32b (Soncino translation):

אָמַר רַבִּי זְכַרְיָה מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל

R. Zechariah said on R. Ishmael’s authority:

בִּיקֵּשׁ הקב"ה

The Holy One, blessed be He, intended

לְהוֹצִיא כְּהוּנָּה מִשֵּׁם

to bring forth the priesthood from Shem,

שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית יד)

as it is written,

וְהוּא כֹהֵן לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן

And he [sc. Melchizedek] was the priest of the most high God.

 

[11] Rashi derives high status and authority from the word כֹּהֵן:

אַתָּה כֹהֵן

Thou art a priest …

יֵשׁ בַּמַשְׁמָע כֹהֵן כְּהוּנָה וּסְרָרָה.

There is among the meanings of kohen high status and authority

כְּמוֹ וּבְנֵי דָוִד כֹּהֲנִים הָיוּ

such as (2 Samuel 8:18 - KJV), “and David’s sons were chief rulers.”

 

[12] This also is Rashi’s interpretation:

אַתָּה כֹהֵן לְעוֹלָם עַל דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי צֶדֶק

Thou art a priest for ever after the word of Melchizedek.

מִמְּךָ תִּהְיֶה הַמַּמְלְכוּת וְהַכְּהוּנָה

The priesthood and kingship will be from you

לִהְיוֹת בָּנֶיךָ יוֹרְשִׁים אֶת שֵׁם אֲבִיהֶם

in order that your sons will be heirs with Shem their father

בִּכְהוּנָה וּמַלְכוּת שֶׁנִּתְּנָהּ לוֹ.

in priesthood and kingship which were given to him.

 

[13] Rashi suggests that דִּבְרָתִי in Psalms 110:4 is simply the construct of דִּבְרָה ‘word’ but with an extra yod (י) just like רַבָּתִי עָם ‘great of people’ in Lamentations 1:1.  Thus Rashi:

דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי צֶדֶק

“… the word of Melchizedek.”

י"וד יַתִּיר. כמ׳ רַבָּתִי עָם.

A superfluous yod.  Just like ‘great of people’ (Lam 1:1)

עַל דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי צֶדֶק

“… according to the word of Melchizedek.”

עַל פְּקֻדַּת מַלְכִּי צֶדֶק.

because of the decree of Melchizedek.

The strict literalist will likely say that either Hebrews errs by quoting a mistranslation of the Septuagint or else that Rashi cannot be right.  But if the author of Hebrews is not “proof texting” but rather making a Midrash, then anything can be used to illustrate his point.  Here it would be that melchizedek symbolizes a heavenly order (τάξις) of priesthood.

[14] The genealogical δμ το Θεο ‘Adam of the God’ is rendered most naturally into Hebrew as אָדָם בֶּן אֱלֹהִים ‘Adam the son of God’, as it is in Hebrew translations of Luke 3:38.  Thus also was it put in the Sinaitic Syriac, ܐܕܡ ܒܪ ܐܠܗܐ ‘Adam the son of God’, though the Peshitta has instead ܐܳܕ݂ܳܡ ܕ݁ܡܶܢ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ‘Adam who was from God’.

[15] “Him” (ατόν) references the word ( λόγος) which is the Bible, as it says (Isaiah 8:20), “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word ...”

[16] According to the lexicons μονογενής does not mean ‘only begotten’ [as if from γεννάωbeget, sire, father’, as in Heb 1:5; 5:5 from Psalms 2:7, ‘Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.’]; rather it is a compound of γένος ‘kind’ and as such might mean an only, a firstborn, or a chosen son.  It recalls Isaac in Heb 11:17: “… and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [μονογενής reflecting יָחִיד in Gen 22:2: ‘Take now thy son, thine only (יְחִידְךָ) son Isaac, whom thou lovest] …”  This word may have had a messianic connotation in 1st century Judaism, for according to the Jewish Encyclopedia (Bar Kokba and Bar Kokba War), “It is singular that Syncellus also calls Bar Kokba ‘an only son’ (μονογενής) …”

[17] “It” (ατν) being Eve, here figuratively the festal assembly of the first resurrection (Rev 19:7-9; 20:1­5), as it says (Heb 12:23), “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn [πανηγύρει καὶ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρωτοτόκων], which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect …”