As I discussed in my 2013 work titled _Aaluja…_, in the ancient world, life was poetically considered the derivative of the union of a “sky-father” and “earth-mother” (with the exception of Kemet, which reversed the gender roles). A case in point is the Yoruba deity Obàtálá “the exalted king” or “The father on high,” who is a “sky” deity, and the “earth” goddess by the name of Odùduwà, from Odù-ó da ùwà “Oracular utterances created existence.” Among the Fon, Ewe and Egun ethnic groups, the “sky” deity is Segbo (cf. Hebrew sagab “be inaccessibly high”; Yoruba òṣùgbó “exalted elders”) and the earth goddess is Sakpata (cf. Ga šikpón “earth”).
The Bible follows this same tradition. However, in trying to appear ‘monotheistic’, the Old Testament writers ‘demoted’ the gods and tried to make them appear human. The story of Adam and Eve is really a tale of how the sky-god and the earth-mother gave birth to life as we know it. However, this life, which once included everything, is now relegated to human-beings only in the Bible.
Adam is from the same root as Egyptian jtm “Atum,” who was Egypt’s “sky-god” par excellence. Natively among the Yoruba, this spirit is known as Adàmú. In Shona-Bantu, God is known as Mu-Dzimu. In Hebrew, the earth goddess is known as Hawwah “Eve.” Her name is cognate with Yoruba ùwà/ìwà (cf. ayé “earth, world, life, state of being”) “existence, life, destiny,” “character (mode of life)”; Igbo uwa (cf. Yoruba, Nembe ayé) “earth, life, world”; Hausa uwa (cf. Bini iye, Yoruba iye/iya “mother”) “mother”; Urhobo ohwo (Yoruba ẹyò/ọjè) “human being, existence.” In many respects, Hawwah is a variant of Odùduwà. It should be noted that among the Yoruba, ùwà (the personification of Iwa) is the wife of Orúnmìlá, another representation of the sky.
The Hebrews, in many respects, took two Egyptian nTrw (deities) and demoted them in Genesis. We’ve already noted Atum = Adam, but we did not address Hawwah “Eve.” Hawwah is a by-form of the Egyptian deity Gb “the god Geb,” which derives from Egyptian gbb “earth” (possibly a geminate or partial reduplication on the /b/ phoneme). In Egypt the earth is personified as a masculine deity (cf. Nembe Ijọ kiri “earth,” Amakiri “the Earth god”; Egyptian Aqr “earth, Earth God”; both male). In Aaluja Vol. II, I will provide the linguistic proofs for Semitic /h/ corresponding to Kongo-Saharan /k/ or /g/ sounds (a common sound shift: e.g. k>h), and /w/ deriving from /b/. Hebrew Hawwah is Epie àgbà “farm”; Engenni àgbà “farm”; Ewe/Aja/Ge agbe “life”; Fon gbè “world, life (of plants, of men)”; Yoruba gbé “live, dwell,” igbé “bush” (Hebrew yegeb), àgbè “farmer” (Hebrew yagab “till the earth”); Ewe gbèé “bush,” gbé “be alive,” Hogbe “the people of the land”; Urhobo akpo “world of the living, life, society.” It should be noted as well than in Yoruba, the word igbo means “forest.”
This brief examination shows an emerging theme in ancient African conceptions of life. The fructifying rain impregnates the fertile earth and gives birth to all types of life. The Hebrew authors did not want to attribute this process to many “deities,” and they did not feel comfortable with the idea of creation coming by way of sexual activity; so the gods Atum and Geb were demoted to “human beings” and all ‘glory’ was given to El “God.” Linguistics and comparative cultural anthropology and religion help us to recover the underlying theme in the text. The story of Adam and Eve is not a historical fact as many believers proselytize in their respective institutions. These are two African deities whose stories and characteristics were adapted to fit the social-political and theological framework of the Hebrews in that age and time. By knowing the meaning of words, we can get past the dogma and realize the underlying themes the mythologies are trying to convey to us. Adam and Eve (Atum/Adàmú/Mudzimu & Geb/Hawwah) is simply a story of how spirit (rain) and matter (earth) gives birth to life as we know it. The demoting of Atum and Geb was a political jab at the African traditions.
The sky goddess nwt and the earth god gb, being separated by the god Sw.