9. To "Know" Can Mean "To Have Sex"
Genesis 4:1 says Adam "knew" Eve his wife (KJV) . The word "knew" here means "had sex with." It comes from the Hebrew word "yada." The idea is that when a man and woman have sex, they "know" each other in a deep, intimate way.The forbidden tree of the Eden narrative is referred to as "The Tree of the Knowledge Of Good and Evil." The Hebrew word for "knowledge" used here is also "yada." "Yada", the Hebrew verb to know, doesn't mean simply "to acquire information." We often assume that to know something is simply having information about that thing. To know computerss is to have information about how to program a computer or how to use a computer. To know world history is the same as memorizing a bunch of information, such as names and dates. But in Hebrew thought, to know has to do with knowing someone or something intimately. It means to experience, which includes but is not limited to, emotions. To the ancient Hebrews, knowing pain meant being in pain; knowing sorrow meant to be personally acquainted with grief. And knowing God meant to be personally acquainted with God.
The Bible uses knowing as a way of intimately experiencing someone or something. In the case of Adam knowing Eve, he fully experienced her in a deep, intimate way through sexual union. Granted, to know does not always refer to acquiring intimate knowledge through the sex act. But to an ancient Jew, knowing a person in a biblical sense suggests more than just knowing facts about them, such as height, weight, eye color, etc. It means to know someone or something intimately. It refers to experience.Adam and Eve intimately experienced good and evil when they ate from "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." It was a deep and profound emotional experience.
The word "yada" is used five times in the biblical account of the fall:
- For God "knows" (yada) that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and... (Genesis 3:5a).
- ...you will be like God, "knowing" (yada) good and evil (3:5b)."
- Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they "knew" (yada) that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (3:7).
- Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, "knowing" (yada) good and evil (3:22).
- Now Adam "knew" (yada) Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the LORD" (4:1).
Keep in mind that this "knowledge" or "knowing" in some way made Adam and Eve like God. It wasn't just a head knowledge of facts and figures. It was a deep, emotional, intimate knowlege that God also had but did not want Adam and Eve to have. Genesis 4:1, Adam "knew" (yada) Eve his wife. As a result, she conceived and bore Cain, the world's first murderer. No one would dispute that this occurance of the word yada is referring to having sex. But what about the previous four occurences leading up to chapter 4? Is it possible that they too were also referring to having sex? If so, how was that possible?