Genesis 1-2 Deleted Scenes #7: Adam was created a powerful giant

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God created man on earth, from one end of heaven to the other.

—Deuteronomy 4:32

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This verse from Deuteronomy lead some rabbinic writers to believe that God had originally created Adam as a giant, half man, half god; that he was more powerful and had more knowledge than the angels.[1] When the angels saw him, they trembled and asked God if there were now two powers in the universe, one in heaven and one on earth. Being the jealous god that he is, Yahweh placed his hand on Adam and reduced his height to one-hundred cubits and removed his divine knowledge. This shrinking of Adam is also said to be confirmed in scripture: “You hedge me before and behind; You lay Your hand upon me” (Ps. 139:5). Since Adam was formed from the dust of the earth, God placed his hand back upon Adam to reform him down to proper size.

Another version of the myth, according to Sefer Hasidim, is that the angels wanted to worship the giant Adam when they first saw him. But after he sinned, God diminished him and piled pieces of his limbs around him. Adam said to God, “Does it benefit You to defraud, to despise the toil of Your hands?” (Job 10:3). God told Adam to scatter the pieces of his limbs throughout the world and plant them, and his offspring will settle in those places. But no Jews would live in any of the places where he did not plant any pieces of his flesh. Scholars have noted that this closely resembles the Greek myth of Cadmus.

Sources and Further Reading:


[1] Schwartz, Howard. Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (p. 128).

Primary sources: B. Hagigah 12a; B. Bava Batra 58a; Pesikta Rabbati 48:2; Philo, De Opificio Mundi 134-142; Philo, Legum Allegoriarum 1:31, 1:53, 1:88, 2:13, 2:4; Philo, De Confusione Linguarum 62-63; Midrash TanhumaTazri’a 2.

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