The Broken Gift by Daniel Friedmann is not an easy read. While the book tries to say a lot, it doesn’t really say much at all. Some parts of the book feel like lessons and covers pretty much a lot of information we already know (for example, how the human race can be traced back through the ages by studying mitochondrial DNA). Additionally, the book puts forward certain theories that, while controversial in nature, tend to go against what it says in the Bible.
First of all, the author espouses that Adam and Eve, as the first humans, were giants while living in the Garden of Eden. And, even still, were not really humans; they were immortals, like angels. Only after the Fall of Man did these two shrink to “human size.” Also, it claims that their children, Cain and Abel, were born in the Garden of Eden. That pretty much tells us that Adam and Eve had intercourse and that Eve, an immortal spiritual being, became pregnant and gave birth to her sons. In the Bible, it says that Cain and Abel were born AFTER the Fall of Man, and not before. An excerpt of Genesis is at the back of the book, where it does clearly say that Cain and Abel were born after Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. The book also puts forward the idea that when Adam sinned, his soul “shattered” and so-called “soul sparks” went into preexisting human-like apes and all of a sudden, these apes had souls and were consciously aware. (We even have these “soul sparks” in our bodies right now!)
So after Original Sin, we have Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel – all formerly immortal giants now mortal puny human beings – as well as human-like apes with Adam’s soul sparks that eventually evolve into Homo sapiens, as well as the rest of the monkey population who are not so lucky to have souls, human-like appearances or conscious thought. But we also have “other people” who are “out there” in the world, outside of the Garden of Eden, because as we see, after Cain murders his brother Abel, he worries that “the others” out there will harm him or kill him after God banishes him, so God places a mark on him to keep him safe. While some of this is the same stuff we’ve been reading in our Bibles since the days of Sunday School, other things are not, so, you know, it’s important to read this book carefully.
While the book does try to explain how religion and science are the same and uses ideas to explain how science is even a part of God’s plans for creation, I was bothered by how the author seemed to translate Bible verses in a way that seemed to fit his ideas. Also, he relies heavily on Jewish texts and scripture more than on Biblical scripture to back up his claims. Granted, Middle Eastern and Jewish texts do indeed have interesting translations of Biblical events, as well as some extra details not found in a standard KJV, but it seemed like the author decided to pick and choose from various Jewish texts in order to support his claims. Every single religious book has its own interpretations of creation and how humans began. In my own personal opinion, I didn’t feel it was a good idea for the author to keep grabbing a verse from the Talmud or rabbinical writings to back up his explanation of certain events in the book of Genesis.
Overall, it was an interesting book to read. It’s an interesting theory, and an interesting translation of the book of Genesis, but not one that I can entirely support.
What really happened when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden? Was the Great Flood an actual global disaster wiping out all of humanity save for a family safely floating in the Ark? And what really happened at the Tower of Babel? These are questions that author Daniel Friedmann attempts to explain using Jewish and rabbinical writings, and put forward how science actually supports these ideas rather than refuting them.
The Broken Gift: How did we get here? Was Adam the first man? Was man created by divine act in less than one day almost 6,000 years ago, as the Bible suggests? Or did man appear 200,000 years ago as the culmination of numerous human-like species that existed during a span of millions of years, as the scientific record shows? Both cannot be right. Or can they? Imagine there exist manuscripts, written centuries ago, that could help us objectively decipher Genesis and thereby extract the timeline and key events recounting the appearance and early history of our species, Homo sapiens, precisely as identified by the latest scientific evidence derived from the fossil record and genetic studies. The Broken Gift carefully examines the relationship between scientific theory and Biblical teachings. The book approaches the human origins debate from a fresh perspective informed by both scientific and scriptural research. The author demonstrates alignment between key events and their dates relating to the appearance and early history of our species as described in Genesis chapters 1 through 11 (Adam, Adam’s descendants, the Flood, and the fall of Babel) with those derived from scientific observation. Could both be true? Is the evidence solid or is it sophistry? You’ll have to be the judge. Read The Broken Gift and join the conversation.