Monday, September 12, 2011

Fig Leaves in Genesis

The fig is native to SW Asia, Israel, Syria, and Egypt. Its leaves are large, measuring as much as 20 cm (8 in.) or more in width.[1] It is first mentioned in Genesis 3:7, where the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, “sewed fig leaves together and made loin coverings.” This may simply mean that they fastened the large fig leaves together, using twigs of the fig tree to do so.[2] This action may imply some familiarity with sewing fig leaves on Adam's part. He may have had some experience doing this while he was a single man building a shelter for himself in the Garden of Eden. This therefore helps us understand that he was in the garden for some time exceeding what young-earth creationism claims.

Interestingly, fig leaves in Eden also presents a problem for Mormonism. The Mormon scripture of Moses 4:13 reads the same as Genesis 3:7, about sewing fig leaves together. However, Mormonism also teaches that Eden was “located on what is now the North American continent,”[3] near what it calls “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” located by its founding prophet Joseph Smith in northwestern Missouri.[4] However, at least three things contradict Joseph Smith's identification:
  1. There is no evidence, fossil or otherwise, of fig trees existing anywhere in Missouri in antediluvian times, or even in ancient times.
  2. Genesis 2:8 says Eden was “toward the east.” Moses wrote that in the Middle East, so it was east of his position. America is west. Wrong direction.[5]
  3. If Noah's ark was constructed in or near Missouri, then how did it float half-way around the globe to the “mountains of Ararat”? (Genesis 8:4)[6] There is nothing in the account indicating that it floated that great distance. This is a fatal flaw on Joseph Smith's part.
But the traditional location of Eden in the Middle East eliminates all three of these obstacles as fig trees exist there and so do the mountains of Ararat.

[1] "Fig." Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 1.

[2] "Sewing." Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 2.

[3] "Eden, Garden of." [Mormon] Bible Dictionary.

[4] Doctrine and Covenants 116:1, dated May 19, 1838. "10. The Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman." Church History Photos.

[5] See the parallel Mormon scriptures Moses 3:8 and Abraham 5:8, as well as the JST (Joseph Smith Translation) version of Genesis 2:8 (2:10). Joseph Smith agreed with Genesis 2:8 that it was east, yet then chose a location to the west.

[6] In the JST Genesis 8:4 is found in 8:49, where it reads that the ark landed “upon the mountain of Ararat.” However, the Bible is not that specific, and must be considered as more reasonable than specifying Mount Ararat, even though it has long been considered to be the location of where the ark rested. (I will close this footnote by confessing that I used to believe that the ark landed on Mount Ararat, but after researching this matter objectively, I no longer do. Thus, I see this specific identification in the JST to be another flaw in the Mormon paradigm.) See: Mount Ararat Landing?

See also:
Mormonism and the Eden Direction Dilemma

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