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Adam and Eve's

6000th birthday



The eighth item on the Dunedin Methodist Parish education programme for the year 2000 was advertised in the following terms:



A celebration of the 6,000th birthday of
Adam and Eve

Speaker:      Peter Gregory

Peter Gregory is a well-known Otago artist now resident in the Old Post Office Gallery,  Waikouaiti.   He has many exhibitions to his credit, and his works are held by galleries and private collectors in New Zealand and overseas.   He has taken a particular interest in the Adam and Eve story, making a number of paintings of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.

Early in history a detailed chronology of events in the Bible was worked out,  most famously by Archbishop Ussher for the King James Bible.   According to these historians,  Adam and Eve were born on October 26 in the year 4000 BC.   We plan to hold a party to celebrate their 6,000th millennial birthday with appropriate music,  food and drink,  and a feature of this joyous occasion will be the reunion of two large Peter Gregory paintings of the parental pair,  now held separately in Dunedin and Oamaru.   You are invited to dress suitably for the occasion  (fig-leaves will be supplied to those who need them).   Don't miss this Party of the Millennium!

Thursday October 26,  7.30 - 9 p.m.
accompanied by an Edenic light supper.
Mornington Methodist Church,  Galloway Street.
Cost $5.


It turned out to be an excellent occasion.   The 'Edenic supper' featured apple charlottes,  figs,  and fruit juices  --  with a special birthday cake.   Peter Gregory retold the Eden story in his own style  (we have his script on this site)  and explained some of the conceptions behind his paintings.

The following report and illustration are reprinted,  with permission,  from the Otago Daily Times of October 27,  2000.


Adam and EveMinistering to Adam and Eve  ...  Mornington Methodist Church minister the Rev Dr Geoff King shows off two paintings at the church yesterday.   Church organ pipes are visible at the rear.
Adam and Eve's 6000th birthday was celebrated in tongue-in-cheek style at the Mornington Methodist Church last night.

A kind of retrospective wedding ceremony for the celebrated couple was also staged at the Galloway Street church,  as part of the Dunedin Methodist Parish open education programme.

In the 17th century,  distinguished Irish biblical scholar Archbishop James Ussher calculated that Adam and Eve were created on October 26,  4000BC.

More than 30 people attended last night's event.   Green crepe fig leaves were available for anyone requiring them,  and lashings of cake were provided.

The celebration featured two large paintings of Adam and Eve by Waikouaiti artist Peter Gregory.   The Eve painting was created in 1994 and the Adam work was painted this year,  especially for the "birthday" event.

Emeritus Prof Colin Gibson is an award winning composer of religious music who has been the organist and choirmaster at the Mornington church for the past 45 years.   Prof Gibson,  who helped organise the 7.30pm event,  noted that the Bible did not record that any marriage ceremony ever took place between Adam and Eve.   As presumably their "later numerous children were all conceived out of wedlock"  steps were also being taken last night to  "posthumously legitimise their relationship",  he joked.

Mornington minister the Rev Dr Geoff King said humour played a significant part in the life of the parish.   Prof Gibson said there was no intention of making Archbishop Ussher a "laughing stock",  although science had since shown the first humans existed much earlier than 6000 years ago.   Humour was "a very important vehicle for teaching" about Adam and Eve and other stories.


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