7b. the Garden of Eden, Michael Heiser’s mythmaking
Mr. Heiser’s imagination is found to be in overdrive as he says on the sixth day of creation, God consults with His divine council of other gods in Genesis to create another kind of being which will be made in their image, and His. (Heiser teaches man is made in both the sons of god, and God’s image; yet they have no involvement.) The plan is for man to grow up, join the council, and have dominion over the physical realm just as God has placed His heavenly council over the unseen realm. (Bible verse- none)
There is much said on this in his book ‘the Unseen Realm.’ What I want to focus on is the specific teachings he claims he’s found in Genesis, i.e. the Garden of Eden, the gods, the serpent and man.
Our approach is from the Bible: Deut. 4:2 “ You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, (Deut.12:32). This principle is repeated in the book of wisdom “ Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Prov. 30:6).
In other words do not add to the Word with what it does not say.
When was the Bible delivered to Moses?
The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch. Heiser views Genesis (and the other books of Moses) as not written in 1450 BC when Israel left Egypt, but 800 years later in Babylonian captivity 600 BC. Then there is no correlation to divine revelation that the Scripture speaks of. Scripture, “the Word of God” is used in both the Old and New Testaments expressing the revelation of God in written form. So the receiving of these books are in question along with the actual record of the Scripture. He then exalts the Ugarit, by accepting its earlier delivery long before Genesis is written.
With this approach the Scriptures words and meanings become putty in his own imaging.
“ my position is that “law of Moses” is an appropriate designation for the Torah/Pentateuch despite sound evidence that Moses did not write all or even most of it… where I’m at on all this in light of the biblical data, I suggested that it was possible that none of Genesis came from Moses’ hand. Instead, Genesis seems best understood as the result of activity during the exile (Gen 1-11) and oral traditions about the patriarchs later codified at a time after Moses was dead.”
Moses was a compiler and an editor. The toldot sections in Genesis were individually written, eleven family documents. The 5 books called the Pentateuch includes Genesis. Clearly when Moses was up on the mountain for 40 days in the presence of God, he was given instruction on how to build the tabernacle. Anything that needed correction would have been taught to him. He came down with his face reflecting Gods glory and 613 commands for Israel to keep. In fact the book of Genesis would have to have Gods approval before it was given to the people, it was not a product of man.
The JEDP Theory states that the Pentateuch was likely compiled in the fourth century B.C., possibly by Ezra. Heiser finds fault with this theory and replaces it with his own. Liberal scholars (are they scholars?) have numerous problems with Moses authorship, that would include Heiser. They mistakenly cite that Genesis has two creation stories (which Heiser subscribes to, saying it was written in Babylonian captivity and with two authors, “I think Genesis 1-1 is substantially composed or edited during the exile of Babylon, because there is a babylonian polemic running through those 11 chapters, almost on every page.
I would point out that editing is very different than composing.
He further states “Moses or someone soon after Moses’ death recorded events in Moses’ life and leadership period, from the exodus, to Sinai, and through the wilderness.” That would be Joshua, except for the fact the Scriptures say Moses is the author except for the last recordof his death.
Josh 22:9 according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses ”
In fact the Bible says 2 Chron. 33:8 the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses” same in 2 Chron 35:6. Not only do we find these words but it tells us Moses himself wrote them, or the bible is bearing false witness.“Does Jesus or anyone else ever specifically quote anything in Genesis and attribute it to Moses? ... I suggested that it was possible that none of Genesis came from Moses’ hand. Instead, Genesis seems best understood as the result of activity during the exile (Gen 1-11) and oral traditions about the patriarchs later codified at a time after Moses was dead. ... but the phrase “law of Moses” includes it, however that phrase is understood. There’s just no specific indication in any other part of the Pentateuch that he wrote anything in Genesis .”(Moses and the Law of Moses in the New Testament) underline mine.
Heiser doubles down on this, and makes absurd statements like, “There is no verse in the OT that (key word) unambiguously uses the phrase law of Moses comprehensively i.e., referring to the five books of the Pentateuch. The same is true for other references to the law in connection with Moses.“ (The Law of Moses: Does it Read Like Moses Wrote It?)
Heiser dissects the amount of first person and third person statements to introduce the idea of another writing the book, not just Moses. One can dissect words and verbiage to the point that they miss the overall meaning of what is said. “4. The authorship of the Pentateuch is a whole lot more complex than saying, “Hey, I know this Bible verse over here that uses the phrase ‘law of Moses’ so that settles it.” Not even close.”
So this Dr. of academia sets himself against the Scripture. For the Bible says Moses is the author, and he was instructed to write (numerous times) Ex 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD.” Ex 34:27 the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words.” If it is not written then, the Bible is bearing false witness.
Deut. 28:58 “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book (28:61;20;20-21;29:27).Deut. 30:10 keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law.” We find who wrote this book of the law in Deut. 31:24-26 “So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book”
Will you believe Gods Word or Heiser’s?
Josh 1:7-8 observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you ” We read Joshua meditated on and practiced Gods Word which he could do if you do not have it! Josh. 8:31 “ as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses.” Josh 23:6 “ Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses,” In fact 14 times the Old Testament refers to the law of Moses, 6 separate old Testament books mention it. So again Heiser is making a RED HERRING ARGUMENT.
1 Kings 2:3 “And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses.” 2 Kings 14:6 “written in the Book of the Law of Moses.” 2 Kings 23:25 “according to all the Law of Moses.”2 Chron 23:18 it is written in the Law of Moses.” 2 Chron 30:16according to the Law of Moses.” Ezra 3:2it is written in the Law of Moses.” Ezra 7:6 in the Law of Moses.”Neh 8:1 “They told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses , which the LORD had commanded Israel.”Dan. 9:11 Law of Moses the servant of God.’ Dan 9:13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses.”Ma.l 4:4 “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.” (2 Chron.23:8, 18, 2 Chron.24:6; 25:4.
In the New Testament the Law of Moses is said 7 times by Jesus and Paul. Jesus in Jn.7:24 on about the Sabbath. Luke 24:44 that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me ." Jesus certainly taught that Moses was the conveyer of the law of God. “ For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath ” (Acts 15:12-21). Paul in Rom.10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law,”
The evidence from Scripture is overwhelming.
Jesus recorded in John 5:46 “If you believed Moses you would then believe me, for it was about me that he wrote.” On this Scripture alone the Law of Moses is affirmed.
Dr. Gleason Archer is professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He holds degrees from Harvard College, Princeton Theological Seminary, Suffolk University Law School, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard Graduate School…. Dr. Archer is fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic and German and has a working knowledge of well over a dozen more ancient and modern languages. Posted on https://jashow.org/articles/what-evidence-proves-moses-wrote-the-first-five-books-of-the-bible/
“the Pentateuch itself testifies to Moses as having composed it. The first clear indication of this is in Exodus 17 at verse 14: “And Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Write this for a memorial in a book . Exodus 24:4 we read that Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh… and in verse 7 of Exodus 24 he took the book of the covenant and read it in the audience of the people. Now, obviously it would have been difficult for him to read something that wasn’t written. But back in those earlier days of higher critical speculation, it was reasoned that Moses is presented as the leader of a band of slaves and therefore the chances are he wasn’t even literate; he couldn’t read or write. And it was too early for that kind of thing to have been a possibility for the Hebrews. And so this, of course, has been later exploded as utterly unsound because we now have evidences of literacy that extend even to the slave miners who worked at Serabit el Khadim, or ancient Dophkah down in the Sinai Peninsula.
Deuteronomy 31:9…“Moses wrote this Law, this Torah, and delivered it unto the priests.” In other words, one of the last things that Moses did before he was taken from the earthly scene was to complete the writing out of the Pentateuch and this, then, was laid up before the ark of the covenant in the tabernacle.
This is the kind of analysis that began to spring up during the latter part of the 18th century and the 19th century and by the time that Hegel came along with his dialectic that historical processes go according to initial thesis, and then there’s an antithesis and thirdly, there’s a synthesis, you should look for these movements in tracing the history of Israel’s religion and so on. Well, I won’t go into that in great detail but, of course, you see the assumption is that there was never any communication from a personal God to a prophet like Moses; this was simply the invention of a much later period centuries after the death of Moses himself.” (WHAT EVIDENCE PROVES MOSES WROTE THE FIRST FIVE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE?)
I would add this for an example; in the new religion of Mormonism, the Joseph Smith Translation: Smith made 662 changes in the book of Genesis, 560 changes in the book of Luke, 483 in Mt. 188; in the Psalms 178, in Isa. 159, and he added to, or subtracted from the Book of Revelation over 85 times. Consider this as you read Heiser’s reinterpretation[s] that he claims is the truth IN THE SCRIPTURE.
Heiser’s Garden story in Genesis
One of the divine council members in the Garden opposed God’s plan for humanity (what plan is this? (again like Mormonism). He comes as the “Serpent” to trick Eve, and Adam. John (in Revelation.) uses two titles for Satan, the dragon and the serpent. In Genesis the serpent is the deceiver of Eve. The dragon is Satan the persecutor.
Heiser changes the fall of the angels following the head angel (Cherub) to be a separate event from Day Stars fall in heaven (that changed Lucifer to Satan and had a third of the angels follow him) to the serpent who is not an angel have a fall on earth, in the garden.
In Heiser’s book (The Unseen Realm) we discovered that Eden is called (falsely) the dwelling place and the headquarters of his imagined divine council. “ Eden was both the divine abode and the nerve center for God’s plan for Earth. The worldview of the biblical writer was: Where Yahweh is, so is his council.” (Unseen Realm)
Heiser theorizes that the serpent who deceived Eve was living in Eden as a member of Gods council in good standing as one of God’s sons until he (the Serpent) fell. This unbiblical fall took place while he allegedly lived with the so-called divine council in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. His penalty, (allegedly), was to be expelled from the garden to the underworld (Unseen Realm p. 82).
Where is any of this in the Bible? The serpent is a son of god along with the other sons of gods (council) residing in Eden. As one of the divine council living in Eden he became displeased by God’s decision to create humanity and give them dominion over the earth. He then decides to sabotage God’s plan and in the process was expelled from both the divine council and Eden (ibid.) This become one of many changes to the biblical story “This being was punished with expulsion from Eden to the underworld.”(Unseen realm)
According to an apostle named John this being, the serpent, is the devil, who is satan and is active all through history. He is not incarcerated in the underworld away from mankind. That happens after the Millennium (Rv.20:2) .Exactly where do we find this described in Scripture? The whole story in the Scripture changes under Heiser’s reinterpretation through the lens of the Ugarit writings. He has a son of God made in Gods image and man made in Gods image both falling in the Garden at the same time. Except this son of God (among the many that are living there) does not influence anyone but the two humans. Exactly where is this written? It is not written!
“Eden was the divine abode and, therefore, the place that Yahweh held council meetings” (Unseen Realm).
The only meeting in Scripture is after they sinned, exactly where does it say this? “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8). There is no mention of any other ‘god’ among them.
Were there divine beings living alongside human beings? (the Scripture does not teach this.)
A visible manifestation of God appeared in the garden to fellowship with Adam and Eve daily. God was walking in the garden infers to him regularly doing this each day (in the cool of the day), meaning toward the time of sundown. They knew his voice before they saw his presence, but there was now guilt and fear from their disobedience, so they hid from him.
If the serpent was another god, then certainly what was said of man would be said of the serpent who was also without sin before the temptation; but it is not said. Gen. 3:14 “ the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life”
If he was a spirit being (divine) as Heiser claims, this would not make sense to have this parallel with the animals.
p.7c Eden and the Heiser mythology - Michael Heiser's very wrong view on the tower of Babel and historical events after.