Table of Contents
Part II: The Nature of the Forbidden
The Testimony of Scripture
THERE IS some
evidence for a kind of unwritten law that the first mention of
a word or a circumstance in the Bible provides a special insight
into its meaning elsewhere. The first mention of the grapevine
by name, is in Genesis 9:20 where it is recorded that Noah planted
one and later on became drunk. The immediate consequence was
that he indecently exposed himself. It seems to me a remarkable
circumstance that both Adam and Noah, who stood with respect
to mankind in a somewhat analogous position, should have become
naked in a way that brought a sense of shame. This could be a
pure coincidence, of course, but there might also be some justification
for arguing that the same fruit may have been involved in both
1 of 10
Throughout Scripture nakedness
and the drinking of wine are linked together (cf. Lamentations
4:21; Habbakuk 2:15). This is very natural because the action
of alcohol upon the body is such that vasodilatation is stimulated
so that more blood flows near the surface of the skin. The redness
of a man's face and neck after over-indulgence results from this
physiological reaction. The effect of this vasodilatation is
to bring the deep body temperature to the skin surface where
the nerves which register the sensation of heat are located.
The consequence is that a certain excess of alcohol has the ultimate
effect of making a man feel too warm, and if this feeling
persists and social restraints are weakened the subject is likely
to remove his clothes to obtain relief. The end result is that
the total body temperature is lowered, the heat having been lost
from the surface. Chill results when it is cool.
In the story in Genesis 3 we are
told that after eating this fruit Adam and Eve both "discovered"
that they were naked in such a way that they became ashamed.
There are several ways of interpreting this. One is to say that
they always had been naked but that the
poison in the fruit made
them aware of their own bodies because of the sensation of chill
which they now experienced for the first time. Possibly this
was the beginning of self-consciousness. It should be noted that
the temperature of the environment was specifically mentioned
in the verse which follows (verse 8). Perhaps up until now metabolism
had been so perfectly adjusted that there was no awareness of
the diurnal temperature changes, because if the skin surface
was cooled, the body automatically generated more heat to neutralize
the effect, and vice versa. I do not think that in the heat of
the day there was any sweating, though there probably was insensible
perspiration. The phenomenon of sweat, as an excretion of waste
products, does not seem to have appeared until afterwards. It
thus seems that the details of what took place when Adam and
Eve introduced this poison into their bodies certainly do not
tell against our theory, and indeed are illuminated by it.
Another interpretation is that
their bodies were originally clothed with light so that their
nakedness was not apparent though they did not actually wear
clothes. Psalm 104:2 may reflect this circumstance, since man
was made in the image of God. This would satisfy the requirements
of Genesis 2:25. There is some evidence even yet for this garment
of light. It was destroyed almost but not quite completely by
the poison, for in moments of great spiritual enlightenment it
may be recovered as it was in the case of Moses.
As the nakedness of Adam and Eve
was covered by God (Genesis 3:21), so the nakedness of Noah was
covered by his sons (Genesis 9:23). In a real way neither Adam
nor Noah was able to properly cover themselves
Scripture attaches great importance to
the spiritual implications of a "covering." This is
illustrated, for example, in the covering which a woman's hair
provides for her (1 Corinthians 11:15) and which in a special
way a man's hair provided when he had taken the Nazirite vow.
Anyone who took this vow was given the following instructions
He shall separate himself from
wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or
of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes,
nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
All the days of his separation
shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the
to the husk.
All the days of the vow of his
separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the
days be fulfilled,
in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be
holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
All the days that he separateth
himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body.
we have a list of requirements which must be fulfilled together,
and they are most explicit. We know from the New Testament that
hair has the significance of a "natural" covering so
that there is a linking together in Numbers 6:3-6 of the poison
from the vine, a natural covering, and death. The Nazirite was
to abstain from the vine, to preserve the only natural covering
the body now has, and to have no contact with death. In the Garden
of Eden, Adam and Eve took of the vine, lost their natural covering
(which may have been a garment of light), and became as good
In Judges 13, we are given a story
which is full of light on this theme. It is the story of Samson.
Samson had taken this vow (Judges 16:17). It was not possible
for him to prove that he had sworn to serve the Lord in a special
way merely by saying that he had never touched alcohol, and had
never come near a dead body. What was needed was a continuing
and manifest testimony, and this existed in his long hair. The
other two details of his vow could in a way be performed in secret
and became a kind of private testimony. Samson knew well enough
that his strength in the Lord depended not upon his secret testimony
but upon the outward evidence, which he showed plainly and without
shame to all men.
Everyone knows that Samson was
brought low by his subservience to a Philistine woman. But what
really broke his relationship with the Lord was the loss of his
hair. This was symbolical. He had no sooner lost his natural
covering than he lost also his great physical strength. Deeds
which he might have done before effortlessly, he now laboured
to perform. He was taken into bondage by the enemy, his vision
was gone, he literally ate his bread by the sweat of his
brow. He was fettered with chains of brass, a metal which elsewhere
in Scripture speaks of the judgment of God. This is all a remarkable
allegory, as well as being sober history. These things happened
to Adam also.
But this is not all. When we turn
back to his parents, we find that they too have a story to tell.
The promise of this "heroic" son was given to his father
(Manoah) and his mother in Judges 13. What is significant in
this context is the list of instructions regarding her behaviour
prior to his birth. She was explicitly told to drink no wine
nor any strong drink.
Today we have evidence of the reasonableness
of this precaution. Dr. Sicard de Planzoles of Paris wrote in
this connection: (29)
To menace the child, an accidental
but slightly alcohol-influenced procreation is enough. This can
result in deterioration of the germ and the
29. De Plauzoles, Sicard: quoted by Ernest
Gordon in The Sunday School Times, July 25, 1953, p.644.
birth of a weak, feeble, deficient child,
tainted with nervous and mental trouble.
During gestation, alcohol taken
by the mother acts on the unborn child. During nursing, alcohol
taken by the mother passes into her blood and intoxicates (i.e.,
poisons) the child.
That is to say, alcohol
reaches the germ seed, the embryo, and the suckling child, poisoning
it at every stage.
But even supposing that the forbidden
fruit in the Garden of Eden was a grape of some kind, in what
circumstances could the juice of the grape generate a poison?
And, would this poison be of such a nature as to influence the
germ plasm and therefore reach through to the next generation,
thus becoming inheritable? Furthermore, would such a poison affect
only the male seed as we have hypothesized that it did? These
assumptions are implicit in Judges 13 to some extent.
That alcoholism is in some degree
hereditary is argued strongly by many authorities. It appears
that parents may become alcoholics, and by some means their children
inherit a tendency in the same direction. It is widely held that
in human beings the effects of alcoholism have indeed been transmitted
according to Mendelian Law. Here, then, we have a special instance
of an acquired characteristic that is inheritable. Bruce Bliven
in the Smithsonian Institution Report for 1941 remarked, "When
the son of a drunkard takes to drink, it is possible that his
genes are involved." (30) This is a case where the sins of the fathers may
be visited upon the children.
We can, however, go one step further.
There are some remarkable instances in which the influence of
the father, but not of the mother, is clearly indicated. In his
book Alcohol and the Human Body Sir Victor Horsley made
this statement: (31)
A case which is typical of hundreds
of others is reported by Dr. Norman Kerr in which first was born
a son and then a daughter, who both mentally and physically were
excellent specimens of vigorous humanity. After the birth of
the daughter, the father fell into habits of dissipation and
rapidly became a habitual drunkard. He later had four more children
of whom one was defective in mind, while the remainder were complete
subsequently quoted at some length from a German work by G. von
I have made it my task to find
out the causes of inability to suckle on the part of mothers,
by means of statistical procedure. I first of all found it to
be hereditary. When a woman is unable to suckle, it is almost
30. Bliven, Bruce, Genes and the Hope of
Mankind, Smithsonian Report for 1941, p.301.
31. Horsley, Sir Victor, Alcohol and the Human
Body, Macmillan, New York, 1908, p.294.
32. Von Bunge, G.: quoted by Victor Horsley, ref. 31, p.308.
exception that the daughter cannot do
so either, and the power seems to be lost for all the next generation.
If we inquire of a woman who has suckled her infant successfully
for nine months or more, whether her mother had equally been
able to suckle, the reply is almost without exception in the
affirmative. If we ask a woman who has not been able to suckle
her infant for the full time, we find that previously, in the
majority of cases (but not in all) her mother has not been able
to do so.
There are some cases, and these are not
rare, where the mother having been able to suckle, the daughter
has not been able to do so. Here we are close to the causes
of the incapacity and shall find it in the father, and
we at once encounter alcoholism [his emphasis]. In 78%
of these cases it appears that the father is an immoderate drinker.
On the other hand in those families where the mothers and daughters
can suckle their infants, drunkenness is rare: in other words,
that the daughter of a drunkard is in a position to be able to
suckle her infant properly is a rare case.
The rule is that if the father
is a drunkard, the daughter loses her power of suckling.
of this is clear. Somehow the father is able to infect his children
with the poison which he admits in excess to his own body when
he over-drinks. The effect is so clearly marked that those children
which he may raise before indulging in alcohol will be normal,
and those which he sires afterwards will be defective.
Of course it may be argued that
eating grapes does not introduce alcohol into a man's body. Grapes
are good for us! This is true; but it must also be remembered
that we are already poisoned sufficiently that we suffer from
all kinds of ailments and sicknesses . . . whereas Adam and Eve
had bodies so perfectly balanced that they could have lived on
indefinitely. The tiniest amount of this poison would have for
them an effect equal to a strong dose for us today. Horsley remarked:
In the case of grapes the micro-organisms
which produce the right ferment to turn the grape sugar into
alcohol, gather from the air and collect upon the outside of
the grape. While there, they cannot attack the juice -- but as
soon as the . . . skins are broken, the micro-organisms begin
to grow and increase very rapidly, at the same time producing
their ferment, which splits up the sugar in the grapes into alcohol
and carbon dioxide gas, bubbles of which escape freely.
We need only
assume that Eve pulled the grapes off their stems and kept them
for a while before she finally decided to eat them, in order
to fulfill the necessary conditions for the introduction of some
tiny percentage of alcohol into her perfect body, and probably
even more by the time Adam had been persuaded.
33. Horsley, Sir Victor, ref.31, p.25.
commented on some experiments made by a Professor Rauber to examine
the effects of alcohol upon plant life: (34)
Using principally a 10% solution,
he found that alcohol acts as a definite protoplasmic poison
upon all the forms of cell life with which he experimented. All
these investigations proved clearly that animal and vegetable
protoplasm is harmfully affected by even very small quantities
of alcohol. It is thus proved, in fact, to be very poisonous
to living tissue, and to cell-life. The bearing of this upon
the question of the effects of relatively small doses of alcohol
upon the living cells of the human body is obviously important.
The great doctor
then elaborated this a little:
These investigations are too
long and complex to describe in detail, but we may state that
experiment has shown how blood containing only one quarter of
one per cent of alcohol diminished, within a single minute, the
work being done by the heart. And blood containing one half per
cent so seriously affected its working power, that it was scarcely
able to drive a sufficient amount of blood to supply its own
nutrient arteries. . . . The characteristic of alcohol
is that it causes a gradual waning of the metabolic activities
of the body.
When we find
that the tiniest percentage of alcohol is able to have a marked
effect on these much-abused bodies of ours, already poisoned
enough that we can barely survive our three score years and ten,
it is surely not surprising that the perfect bodies of Adam and
Eve were so seriously poisoned with the first introduction of
this dangerous substance.
Sir Alfred Gould has told us: (35)
There is no question but that
alcohol is a protoplasmic poison, which directly interferes with,
and mars cell metabolism.
This fact led
Eugene Lyman Fisk to observe: (36)
Can it be questioned that alcohol
is one of the forms of poison which among other factors, is responsible
for the gradual bodily impairment and decay which we unthinkingly
ascribe to time.
In other words,
we are not actually growing old: we are being poisoned to death.
And this is not the result of any mild intoxication arising from
a moment of weakness when we yielded to a temptation to drink
something which is not good for us, but to the fact that the
poison was introduced into the stream of human life right at
the very beginning; and in each generation has been passed on
34. Rauber, Prof.: quoted by Victor Horsley,
35. Gould, Sir Alfred, quoted from The Tribune, South
Africa, February, 1943, in The Sunday School Times, October
36. Fisk, Eugene Lyman, Alcohol: Its Relation to Human Efficiency
and Longevity, Funk and Wagnalls, New York, 1912, p.20.
man, and not through
the woman, so that quite literally death passes upon all men
because one man sinned. The form of this initial disobedience
has often been the target of much sarcasm by unbelievers, but
it now appears that the simple record may be telling us a profound
A moment ago we asked three questions.
It now appears that we have some answers. If grapes were plucked
so that the skin was broken and the fruit kept for a while in
this condition before being eaten, a small quantity of alcohol
could be formed. There is evidence that alcoholism is inheritable,
and it therefore seems that the germ plasm must be influenced
by it. From the research carried out in France and elsewhere
it appears that the taint is conveyed by the male and not by
the female. If these things are true, they go a long way toward
establishing the validity of our hypothesis regarding the nature
of the forbidden fruit.
There are some other considerations.
Wine has from the most ancient times been a symbol for blood.
It is so used by our Lord, and there can be no doubt that the
cup which He drank when He came under our judgment was a cup
of wine in this symbolic sense. There was a time when man offered
a sacrifice to the gods of the sea before launching a new vessel.
In these days we are accustomed to break a bottle of wine instead.
There are passages in the Word of God in which the juice of the
grape is spoken of as blood (cf. Genesis 49:11; Deuteronomy 32:14).
It is not surprising. There is no doubt that the blood accelerates
body corruption after death, because if it is removed the body
corrupts much less rapidly. In this unique substance which visits
every part of the body and thus infects the whole with itself
there is evidently a corrupting agent.
But there was One whose blood was
uncorrupted (and consequently His body saw no corruption either);
and the importance of the blood as a symbol of life and death
throughout the whole of the Bible may be due in part to its peculiar
function of conveying both life and death. Without it we cannot
live; yet within it may lie the cause of our ultimate death.
And this brings us to one final
point. Throughout Scripture leaven evidently stands for the same
basic cause of corruption and death. All types of Christ in the
Old Testament as the Bread of Life employ loaves without leaven.
Indeed, at the time of the Passover there was not even to be
found leaven in the house.
Jewish literature touches upon
the use and symbolism of leaven at many points. In the Talmud
it is written: (37)
37. Babylonian Beracloth, 17.1.
when he had finished his prayers, said, "Lord of the Universe,
it is clearly manifest before Thee that it is our will to do
Thy will. What hinders that we do not do Thy will? The leaven
which is in the mass."
A glossary at
this passage adds the explanation of the last sentence, "the
evil which is in the heart." Plutarch said, "Leaven
itself is born from corruption and corrupts the mass in which
it is mixed." (38)
The Word of God says, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole
The Latin word fermentum was
synonymous with our word "corruption," and from it
we derive the more familiar term "fermentation," for
it is the very same principle. As a matter of fact, it is the
yeast which is introduced into bread that largely gives it its
taste, and the temptation of some bakers to add more in order
to increase sales by making their bread more tasty, led in time
to the passing of a law specifying that the content of alcohol
must not be in excess of 0.5 percent. Fresh bread may actually
have as much as 3 percent alcohol. And while we are speaking
of words and their meaning, poisonous agents are termed "toxic
agents" and an intoxicated man is simply a man who has been
Chemically speaking, ferment and
yeast are the same substance; but yeast or leaven is more correctly
applied to solids, while ferment is applied to both liquids and
solids. Fermentation is in effect a substance in the state of
putrefaction. In the Orient the lees of wine are sometimes used
as yeast, thus showing that basically they are the same in their
action upon any body into which they have been introduced. It
is not surprising that God should make it so very explicit that
no leaven should accompany any blood sacrifice (Exodus 23:18;
34:25). It may also be worth mentioning that the Hebrew root
of the word for "leaven" means "to be agitated."
This is the very antithesis of the. Hebrew concept of health
which is, for them, synonymous with the word for "peace."
Priests were strictly forbidden in Leviticus 10:9, 10 to drink
wine or strong drink, when they went into the tabernacle, "lest
ye die." In a sense, entering the tabernacle was like entering
into the Garden of Eden, for there was the presence of God.
Thus we seem to be led to the conclusion
that whatever may have been the exact nature of the forbidden
fruit, it was something similar to a vine, bearing a fruit which
contained the requisites for the production of alcohol. In the
present circumstances our bodies are already poisoned from generations
of breeding and partaking of this fruit since the days of Adam
and Eve, so that the addition of
38. Plutarch, Quastones Romanae, 109.6.
alcohol, in bread for
example, is not likely to cause any further damage. In a few
instances it may even be proper to treat a poison with a poison,
as Paul seems to have advised Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23). This,
then, becomes temperance by divine appointment, rather than total
It may help to summarize very briefly
the main points which have been made in this Paper. It is our
contention that Adam and Eve were real people. They were placed
in a Garden which contained a variety of trees providing them
with shade and with food. Presumably their diet consisted not
merely of fruits, but also of herbs, berries, and probably nuts.
Two trees were singled out, the one a kind of medicine tree to
keep them in perfect health, the other a forbidden tree by which
their obedience and faith was to be tested. For those whose diet
was vegetarian, a herbal "conditioner" seems most appropriate.
Now that we eat meat, other forms of conditioning may be necessary.
The forbidden fruit was either a grape or something similar,
from which could be derived a poisonous juice whose action on
the body was similar to that of alcohol. It is possible that
Adam and Eve might have been unharmed by the forbidden fruit
if they had eaten it without hesitation. The delay, occasioned
by their doubts, allowed time for fermentation to begin, illustrating
unexpectedly the truth that whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
The poison entered their bodies and made them self-conscious
physiologically for the first time. This poison reached the male
seed whence it is passed on to all mankind at the time of conception,
so that we all die. But the seed of the woman is not affected
by it except through the seed of the man, thereby leaving the
way open for the re-appearance by a supernatural generation of
One who truly represented in His Body a second Adam. To make
this completely possible, the woman was taken out of the man
while Adam was yet unfallen, and her body distinguished from
his by this one feature, namely, that she became a vessel capable
of carrying the seed from generation to generation without corrupting
It will be seen therefore that
the record of the details of the creation of Adam and Eve and
the manner in which death was introduced into human experience,
is an essential part of the Faith, for it made possible the virgin
birth and the appearance of One who was not subject to death
as we are, and yet was truly representative. The exploration
of these further relationships is the subject of the other Doorway
Papers mentioned in the preface
to this volume.
We cannot conclude
this chapter without acknowledging that some serious questions
remain unanswered. It would not strengthen
our case either to deny
the reality of these questions nor to propose superficial answers.
But it is not necessary to solve every problem raised by a theory
before presenting the theory for serious consideration.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
Previous Chapter Next
Finally, we should like to reiterate
the important fact that our theory has to do with the links
between the Fundamentals, and not the Fundamentals of the
Faith themselves. Whatever may be the fate of the links we have
proposed, it is quite certain that the Fundamentals will remain.