Re: Dating Adam

Dick Fischer (
Fri, 03 May 1996 16:24:38 -0500

At 07:39 PM 5/1/96, Glenn wrote:

>Once again, I ask. Where in all of this do we place Adam? And IF Adam is
>that far back, then the harmonization I am offering should not be

And this is the reason I wrote the book. The one common flaw in nearly
every Christian apologetic technique comes from the desire to line up
Adam of Genesis with the paleoanthropological data. We wish to believe
that the biblical record somehow should reflect the anthropological
record. It doesn't. Never has. Psalmists knew it. Moses, Jeremiah,
Daniel, and Ezekiel knew that. But what the prophets wrote in Hebrew
and Aramaic was sanitized when it was translated into English by those
who knew what was written but were seemingly oblivious to the entirely
Mesopotamian background. English equivalents were selected, not based
solely upon Hebrew verbiage and syntax, but also upon presumptive bias.

May I refer you to a series of two articles I wrote that appeared in
_Perspectives On Science & Christian Faith_, Vol 45, Number 4, Dec. 1993
and Vol 46, Number 1, March 1994, titled "In Search of the Historical
Adam Parts 1 and 2." These articles pinpoint Adam's niche in time
(ca. 7,000 years ago) and space (Southern Mesopotamia) both from an
historical and biblical perspective.

The short answer is that the source of biological man is in the
domain of science, while covenant man is in the hands of theologians.
Biologists and anthropologists can look in Africa and can go back in
time over 4 million years if they like. It has no impact on biblical
authority or integrity because Adam of Genesis entered a populated
world. And this was known by the OT authors.

This is from _The Origins Solution_, pages 365-367:

There is a lack of consistency when "man" and "Adam" appear
in Scripture, and the translation often deviates arbitrarily
from the original Hebrew. Although 'adam sometimes is
translated "Adam" in the Old Testament, it also appears as
"man." "Man" or "a man" appears in Gen. 1:26-27 and 2:5,7.
"The man" or "Adam" is found in Gen. 2:8,15,16,18,19,20,21.
Adam is commingled with the word "man" in Genesis 2:21-23
where God "caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam" and took
the rib "from man." This haphazard use of "man" and "Adam"
causes confusion. Of course, up until the 19th century, man
and Adam were thought to be rather synonymous.

Here, as usual, the Bible itself can guide us through this
difficulty. Jacob became "Israel," a name bestowed upon him
by his night visitor (Gen. 32:24-28). Where the Bible mentions
Israel during his lifetime, it refers to the man previously
called Jacob. After his death, "Israel" denotes the nation of
Israel consisting of primarily, though not entirely, the
descendants of Jacob.

Adam (the Hebrew 'adam) is first applied to the man created in
the image of God and placed in the garden. This usage should be
retained in translations. For example, "God created Adam [not
"man"] in his own image ..." (Gen. 1:27). This is the book of
the generations of Adam. In the day that God created Adam
[not "man"] in the likeness of God made He him" Gen. 5:1).
After Adam's death, starting with Genesis 6, a variation should
be used such as "son of Adam," "descendants of Adam," "Adamite,"
or "Adamites."

Remember, the OT was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, whereas NT
authors wrote in Greek. The phrase "son of man" appears in
both the Old and New Testaments. It can be perplexing when
'adam is translated "man" especially when a word for generic
man or mankind was used in the original, 'ish in Hebrew or
'enash in Aramaic. Psalm 8:4 is a case in point: "What is man,
that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou
visitest him." How are men different from sons of men? Why the
redundancy? Aren't all men sons of men? Yes, but not all men
are sons of Adam! In this verse, God is "mindful" of "man"
('ish), but it is the sons of Adam ('adam) that He "visitest."

In Psalm 80:17, "Let thy hand be upon the man ['ish] of thy right
hand, upon the son of Adam [it should read] whom thou madest
strong for thyself." See what a clarification it makes in
Numbers 23:19: "God is not a man [generic man], that He should
lie; neither the son of man [Adam!], that He should repent ..."

The prophet Jeremiah likens what will befall Babylon to the
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. By way of translation, in
one sentence he appears to say the same thing twice: "... so
shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell
therein" (Jer. 50:40). Here again 'ish and 'adam are both
translated "man." Had the translators let 'adam be "Adam"
instead of "man" we would know that neither Adamites nor
Non-Adamites will live there.

God repeatedly calls Ezekiel the son of Adam ('adam) starting
in Ezekiel 2:1, although translators render him "son of man"
thus blurring the distinction between the prophet and Christ,
a distinction delineated in the book of Daniel. Pointing to
the coming Messiah, Daniel relates a vision "...and, behold,
one like the Son of man ('enash) came with the clouds of
heaven ..." (Dan. 7:13). Yet Daniel is addressed: "Understand
O son of man ('adam): for at the time of the end shall be the
vision" (Dan. 8:17). If only the vision of the translators
had been equal to the vision of Daniel.

In the New Testament, occasionally Christ is called "son of
David," but more often, "son of man." All four of the gospels
include this phrase repeatedly respecting Christ. We also find
"son of man" in Acts 7:56, Heb. 2:6, and Rev. 1:13; 14:14. In
every instance "man" is the Greek anthropos meaning "human" or
"humanity." The phrase "son of man" should be reserved for
Christ who is nowhere called the son of Adam. To differentiate,
a prophet should be called "son of Adam," not son of man.

Hope this clears things up for you. I didn't write it to create more

Dick Fischer

* *
* *
* An Answer in the Creation - Evolution Debate *
* *
* Web page - *
* *