Dec 21, 2022

The Day of Atonment and the Eden Narrative

L. Michael Morales makes a thought-provoking observation linking the Day of Atonement with the Garden of Eden with the former providing a ritual reversal of the expulsion from Eden. Part of the move made by Morales is to highlight the parallel between Adam and the high priest and Eden and the tabernacle. Here he states,

"Not only is Adam's job description, best translated as "to worship and obey" (Genesis 2:15), used elsewhere only to describe the work of the Levites at the tabernacle (Numbers 3:7-8) but even Yahweh's clothing of Adam and the woman reappears later in the description of Moses' clothing of the priests (Genesis 3:21; Leviticus 8:13). While it is accurate enough to call Eden an archetypal sanctuary and Adam as an archetypal high priest, the theological message of the Pentateuch seems rather to focus on how the tabernacle, with the holy of holies, comprised an architectural Eden, with a garden, and how Aaron's priesthood functioned as renewed humanity, the high priest serving fundamentally as a new Adam figure. The Eden narrative of Genesis served to explain the logic of Israel's cult, providing God's people with a narrative backdrop for understanding their divinely ordained liturgy."

L. Michael Morales, Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption (Downers Grove, InterVarsity, 2020), 100.

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