Brian’s Questions – Lilith

Dear Brian, your first question was a “first” for me. “Who was Lilith? Did she really exist or was there only Eve?” First, I need to tell you that you don’t find Lilith in the Bible. The only possible mention is in Isaiah 34:13-15 where the Hebrew word liyliyth appears in a list of eight unclean animals, some of which may have demonic associations. Isaiah is several centuries removed from Genesis where we first read of Eve.  References to Lilith come to us from Jewish rabbinical literature (the interpretations and explanations of the rabbis. This is a system of interpretation called midrash which grew up out of a desire to explain what seemed contradictory or difficult in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.

In that literature, which really had no scriptural reference points but was really based on a system of philosophy, these rabbis taught that Adam’s first wife was not Eve but a woman named Lilith, who was created in the first Genesis account. Only when Lilith rebelled and abandoned Adam did God create Eve, in the second account, as a replacement. In an important 13th century Kabbalah text, the Sefer ha-Zohar (“The Book of Splendour”) written by the Spaniard Moses de Leon (c. 1240-1305), it is explained that: At the same time Jehovah created Adam, he created a woman, Lilith, who like Adam was taken from the earth. She was given to Adam as his wife. But there was a dispute between them about a matter that when it came before the judges had to be discussed behind closed doors. She spoke the unspeakable name of Jehovah and vanished.

You should note that this literature really is compiled 13 centuries after the birth of Christ and is therefore removed from the record of Genesis itself by more than 20 centuries!    A Jewish mystical cult called Kabbalah were the primary proponents of this idea, but traditional Jewish people did not follow this.  Lilith has become fashionable again as this particular cult has captured the spiritual imagination of people in our century.  There is nothing, however, in the biblical world view to support this.

Instead, Genesis says that after Adam’s creation he had no human companionship until Eve is created. Genesis 2:18 then says, “It was not good for man to be alone. I shall make a helper for him” and a few verses later a woman is created. Ultimately that woman is identified as Eve and she is quite sufficient to help Adam get in trouble with God. No mention of Lilith.  It is also not until both Adam and Eve chose to be disobedient to God that there is any sin or rebellion in the world. The mystical teaching about Lilith would make sin a part of life before that and primarily make her the reason for sin.  I doubt if it does a service to womankind to make her solely responsible for such an awful plague upon humanity.

You’ll have to tell me more about mud people to answer the second half of your question.


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