Lilith… The First Wife of Adam?
The first chapters of the book of Genesis give us a “play by play” analysis of many of the main events in the creation of the Universe. The text explains that God created everything in the Universe in six, literal days. Included in His “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31) was the formation of the first man—Adam. After God breathed life into his nostrils, the Bible states that God did not want man to be alone, and so the Creator brought into existence a helper comparable to Adam. The Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and He fashioned Eve from one of the man’s ribs. This well-known narrative is often one of the first Bible stories children learn.
Over the years, some people have questioned the legitimacy of the story of the first two people on Earth. They have suggested that Eve was not Adam’s first wife. Uninspired Jewish folklore says that a woman by the name of Lilith was Adam’s first wife instead of Eve. The text known as The Alphabet of Ben Sira narrates the mythical story of Lilith, explaining that God originally created her out of the ground just as He created Adam. But when Adam explained to her that he was to be the leader and head of the relationship, Lilith flew away from him. Adam then proceeded to report the incident to God. God sent three angels to retrieve her, and she refused to return (Alphabet of Ben Sira, 2015). [NOTE: The date of this work is unknown, but scholars generally agree it was written some time in the middle ages around 1000-1300 A.D. see “Alphabet of Ben Sira,” 2008].
When the Lilith legend is evaluated closer, however, it becomes obvious that the story is a fabricated myth unsupported by historical fact. It is impossible to nail down when the myth started. Her name derives from a Sumerian word that means “female demons” or “wind spirits.” Lilith’s roots can be roughly traced back to Babylonian demonology, where she is said to have terrorized pregnant women and preyed upon infants, but even that is uncertain. Feminists in today’s society often praise her for attempting to break free from the shackles of Adam’s rule in the Garden of Eden. In most expressions of her myth, she represents seduction, chaos, and ungodliness (Gaines, 2014). There is no historical proof that Lilith existed on the Earth, much less that she was Adam’s first wife who God formed in the beginning.
THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED AND ACCURATE
In order to validate the claim that the Lilith myth is true, adherents insist that Genesis chapters one and two are separate Creation accounts. God supposedly created Lilith from dust at the same time as Adam in one Creation account, and Eve was formed from his rib as the Bible describes in the other. When the words of Genesis are surveyed in greater detail, this claim cannot be reasonably maintained. There are not two different accounts of Creation in Genesis one and two (Jackson, 1991). Genesis two simply provides more details regarding the Creation account of chapter one. Genesis one and two form a perfectly complimentary account of the same events. The biblical text specifically mentions Eve as Adam’s wife and states that she is the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). Just as conspicuously, the text does not mention any other wife, nor does it mention other mythological female demons or gods such as Ashteroth, Hera, Ishtar, or Lamia. To artificially insert such a character into the text would be disingenuous and misguided.
When the words of the Bible are evaluated, they have been proven to be factually accurate. The historical facts, archaeological finds, and written records of famous historians “live to tell the tale.” Not only have people such as John the Baptizer and King David been shown to be real, historical figures, but also countless narratives in the Bible have proven to be historically true. In fact, nothing in secular history has ever been shown to be factually true that disproves anything in the 66 books of the Bible. That fact, coupled with numerous other evidences, proves these books to be accurate and inspired (Butt, 2007). Since the Lilith story contradicts the biblical account of Creation, and since we can know that the biblical account is accurate and inspired, then we can conclude that the Lilith myth cannot be true and must be understood to be a myth fabricated over time from human imagination.
Does the myth of Lilith match up with the biblical record? Despite the beliefs and personal opinions of some, it does not. There is only one account of creation in the Bible, and the name Lilith is not found in the Creation account. Her name is associated with myths, folktales, and demonology that is based on superstition and imagination, not historical events. The Bible’s account of creation has passed every test of scrutiny and has proven itself to be historically accurate and divinely inspired. Any person or group of people can make up a story, but God’s Word has stood the test of time, and it remains the standard.
“Alphabet of Ben Sira,” (2008), Encyclopedia Judaica, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0003_0_02541.html.
Alphabet of Ben Sira, (2015), http://jwa.org/media/alphabet-of-ben-sira-78-lilith.
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God, Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf.
Gaines, Janet Howe (2014), “Lilith: Seductress, Heroine, or Murderer?” Bible Archaeology, http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/lilith/.
Jackson, Wayne (1991), “Are There Two Creation Accounts in Genesis?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=127&article=1131.