In the lonely man of faith article, Soloveitchik tries to find a way in which he could understand frustrations and conflicts that occurred in his path while pursuing faith in the current world (Soloveitchik, 1992). The main conflict Soloveitchik tries to put across concerns the loneliness that people of faith experience in the modern society.
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Men of faith experience this loneliness despite having many friends and acquaintances. The whole story centers on the universal theme of struggling to be human. In addressing the theme, Soloveitchik analyzed the two creation stories of genesis in the first two chapters. According to Soloveitchik assertions, there are three inconsistencies in the first two chapters of the bible (Soloveitchik, 1992).
While analyzing these discrepancies, two types of human beings are created. In line with Soloveitchik, these types of human nature are called the first and the second Adams (Soloveitchik, 1992). It this two types of Adams, human nature is depicted together with the way it leads its life in the modern world. This paper analyzes these two typologies of human nature in the context of marriage and their implications in the social work practice.
Review of Soloveitchik’s typology of human nature in ‘the Lonely Man of Faith’
In line with Soloveitchik claims, the first chapter in the bible indicates that Adam was like God. However, this chapter did not mention the formation process of Adams body. The second chapter shows that Adams body was from soil, and into his nostrils, God breathed the breath of life (Samuel & Sable, 2008).
Besides, founded on Soloveitchik arguments, there were two Adams. The first Adam got the Gods mandate to fill the world and have the power over everything that is on it. The second Adam was given the duty of cultivating the land and keeping the gardens (Samuel & Sable, 2008). In the story of the first Adam, man and woman were concurrently created while in the second Adam story, Eve or the helper appeared later.
Similarly, Soloveitchik had the view that these contradictions and discrepancies are not textual, but they are rather within the human nature. They result from the duality and inner incongruity found in human beings (Samuel & Sable, 2008). As a result, two types of people are depicted.
The Adams of the two stories is not real people, but they represent the types of human beings that Soloveitchik constructs. The function of these two people creates the comparability and greater understanding of the natural duality of human beings in society.
Soloveitchik asserts that the first Adam and Eve were made in the God’s image during creation. As indicated in the first chapter, “the first Adam and Eve were permitted to reproduce and fill the whole earth”. Moreover, they were to have dominion and power over nature. Soloveitchik further argues that, “creation in the God’s image meant that human beings are gifted with celestial intelligence that they must utilize to fulfill the God’s command” (Soloveitchik, 1992).
In other words, human beings are supposed to produce and construct societies as well as civilizations through their intellectual capabilities. In the same vein, human beings have to use within their intellectual capabilities the brain-power and knowledge to achieve the mandate.
First Adam and Eve are concerned with the ills that affect human nature and how they use the given intellect to counter such ills. In doing so, they can be able to build a society that is prosperous and perpetual. They were equally curious intellectually, success oriented, aggressive and dominating. They are driven by the need of success, procreation and environmental control (Linzer, 1978). They believe that one cannot create and sustain society by oneself.
This implies that, man and woman were created to fulfill the mandate given by God. In the community of first Adam and Eve, human beings are socially interdependent. First Adam and Eve represent the modern man who is technologically advanced, intellectually go-getters, doers, lawyers, workaholics and in general, they represent the modern society professionals (Samuel & Sable, 2008).
The second Adam and Eve are perceived as being passive and introspective according to the descriptive nature of their own creation. These kinds of human beings are more concerned with their spiritual well being and the meaning of life. The origin of the second Adam spiritual nature and submissiveness stems from his creation (Soloveitchik, 1992).
Nevertheless, the loneliness nature results from being created singly. As stated by Soloveitchik, “the creation of second Eve from second Adam was an archetype of intimate and in-depth relationship that can possibly cope with existential loneliness” (Samuel & Sable, 2008). Soloveitchik further asserts that the community created by the second Adam is a conventional faithful community where God, man and woman interact.
That is the community of people committed to the desires of God. Basically, it is a community of religious people whereby the societal ideals are commensurate with Gods ideals. Within this community, people find ways of overcoming their solitude existence through spiritual and interpersonal connections (Samuel & Sable, 2008). Generally, in real life situation, the second Adam community, in a non-religious secular context, represents therapy groups, the self help groups as well as the friendship groups.
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The typology in marriage
According to these typologies, marriage is essential for the propagation of human society. Essentially, human society cannot be created and built from a single person. From the typology of the first Adam, God created females and males on an equal basis (Linzer, 1978). They were given the responsibility of multiplying and filling the earth.
Multiplication process required the union of these people and combined efforts of their intellect to ensure that their offspring survive. Thus, the males and females were given the authorities by God to construct and generate societies through the application of their intellect (Samuel & Sable, 2008). In other words, these people were to use all their knowledge and brain-power at their disposal to accomplish this purpose.
All their endeavors must be directed towards attaining various family roles. The life of these two people must be driven by the ultimate aim of marriage which comes with the need to produce and succeed in upbringing the offspring. Achieving this marital aim require that they make use of their intellectual capability to create conducive environment in which their offspring could survive (Linzer, 1978). Marriage is not just a matter of union between females and males, but includes other responsibilities that are geared towards creating a better society.
In the modern society, the equality between man and woman is highly upheld unlike in the conventional society where women were subdued. The modern societal expectations are that both the women and men equally contribute to the development of their marital status. That is, they ought to use all their intellectual and physical capability towards ensuring decisively up-bring their families. As in the case of the first Adam and Eve, the creation of man and wife occurred at the same time.
This indicated that they were given equal responsibilities to fulfill the commands given to them by God (Samuel & Sable, 2008). In addition, man and woman require each other in order to attain the mandate though in some cases, they may perform their task of fulfilling this mandate in different ways. In essence, the man and the woman symbolize a community consisting of individual males and females who are mutually working jointly in fulfilling their universal functions (Samuel & Sable, 2008).
On the other hand, “the second Adam represented a conventional family where humility, submissiveness and passivity are highly upheld” (Samuel & Sable, 2008). The type of family we get from the second Adam is such a religious family where the spiritual standards stem from the original creation ideals (Soloveitchik, 1992).
Adam two was first created as a single man. Being lonely pushes the second Adam to look for a partner who would share with him his loneliness. God first made Adam two to sleep so as to pull part of his body to create a woman helper (Soloveitchik, 1992). The second Adam had to first sacrifice part of his body for the partner to be created.
According to Soloveitchik’s, in this typology, creating a woman in this form represented an act of defeat and surrender. Eve came into existence only after Adams sacrificed and surrendered part of his body (Samuel & Sable, 2008). Eve’s creation from Adam provides a model where intimate and in-depth relationships deal with existential loneliness.
What this depicts is that, it is only through shared sacrifice and endurance that can make marriages and friendship thrives (Samuel & Sable, 2008). Furthermore, it is through these that families, organizations, community and society can thrive, survive and grow.
In general, marriage is an essential part of life. Just like any society, successful marriage results from shared sacrifices and endurance. The relationship between second Adam and Eve is symbolic of the modern day type of marriages.
The mandates and characteristics of the relationship of the first Adam and Eve are symbolic of the duties and responsibilities of the married people in the modern society (Samuel & Sable, 2008). Also are the challenges that the married people in the modern society face particularly the challenges in relation to professionalism and career objectives.
Comparing and contrasting Soloveitchik’s views with those of Hegel
While advancing his theory of family life, Hegel took into consideration the types of modern world marital perspectives together with its characteristics of social activities and dynamics. Unlike the Soloveitchik’s views, Hegel conception of marriage and family is blemished by the progressions of internal inconsistencies between the interactions of the family and love, the position of women in the modern society and the certainty of the rise of the family.
According to Hegel, the family originated as a result of industrial capitalism rather not commanded by God as claimed by Soloveitchik’s. However, some of his views are in line with that of Soloveitchik’s. Both tried to explain family life and marriage in accordance with the modern world perceptions as well as its social undertakings.
What is more, is the fact that they attempted to bring out the connections between marriage and family life, from the perspectives of ethical, religious and political life. To them, marriage life has endured in the face of modern day social fragmentation resulting from the growing modern day economic relationships.
Relevance of marriage from social work perspective
There is a greater role played by marriage in the society as depicted in Soloveitchik’s views. From the conventional perspective, married people must assume the state of humility as well as spiritual connectedness so as to succeed in their roles and responsibilities. In contrast, creativity, handwork or generally the use of human intellect is the main driver of the modern day marital status.
Furthermore, modern day economic challenges have a profound effect on marriage life. The unpredictability of the success of the modern marriages reflects the economic hardship and challenges that modern man faces.
Whereas characteristics such as endurance, perseverance and conventional characteristics determine the type of marriages in the modern day society, economic considerations have conquered the humble and noble divine practice of the past.
In fact, the economic considerations have rendered the modern day marriages to appear just like contractual agreements between those who are involved. The marriages of today are not binding as was seen before. Even though some religious practices are still being considered significant especially on their purported purposes, their dimensions have totally taken different perspectives.
In conclusion therefore, understanding today’s marriages from the religious and other perspectives is essential as it might help us to deal with its ensuing philosophical challenges. As a social worker, it is important to be equipped with knowledge and skills necessary in providing solutions to the effects that commonly break marriages in the current society. Equipping oneself with such skills involves understanding the dynamics of marriage from various philosophical viewpoints.
Linzer, N. (1978). The nature of man in Judaism and social work. New York, NY: Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.
Samuel, J. & Sable, J. (2008). The lonely man of faith: Implications for social work practice. Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 83(2/3), 186-203.
Soloveitchik, J. B. (1992). The lonely man of faith. New York, NY: Doubleday.