Re: Dating Adam

Dick Fischer (
Tue, 04 Jun 1996 15:01:17 -0500

Russ wrote:
>To Dick and the group:
>Genesis 3:20. Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the
>mother of all the living.
>Dick: Did Adam give Eve the wrong name?

Adam named his wife Eve "because she was the mother of all living"
(Gen. 3:20). Does this verse signify that all present-day human populations
are derived from Adam? It would if the word "living" was synonymous with
"Homo sapiens". But "living" is an adjective, unless it stands in for a
noun, such as "life." Was Eve the mother of all life? The word "life"
surely carves out far more territory than the verse intends.

If "living" is an adjective in this verse, it modifies a missing noun. We
could pencil in "men" for the missing word, but how about "higher primates"?
That should create a lively discussion.

In this verse, the Hebrew word chay, translated as "living," can be either
an adjective or a noun. Used as a noun, it can simply mean "relatives."
In this sense, all of Eve's relatives (Adamites) emanate from her. By
inference, Non-Adamites can look elsewhere. The real significance of
Genesis 3:20 is that it establishes an acceptable standard for marriage.
By this verse, Adam had no other wives or concubines.

Delaware license plates brandish the phrase, "The First State." The
Delaware legislature was first to endorse the Declaration of Independence
and declare itself independent from England. The qualifier "... in the
U.S.," is unstated, so to speak. Certainly, Delaware claims no world
ranking. The same is true of Adam. He was first in the Old Testament,
and if Alulim is the Sumerian equivalent of Adam, then he was the first
man in recorded history as well.

Why get bogged down in semantics? What does "man" mean? Does "man"
identify humanoids, hominids, all in the genus Homo, archaic Homo sapiens,
modern Homo sapiens, Caucasians, or Adamites-Semites-Israelites-Jews?
Picking Homo sapiens out of the lineup is as arbitrary as picking any of
the other categories of precursors.

Notice that Jesus avoided any semantics problem. After the resurrection,
the new covenant encompassed both gentiles and Jews. In Mark 16:15, the
risen Christ commissioned His disciples to "preach the gospel to every
creature." Any less encompassing terminology might have left us to wonder
who was eligible. The word "creature" leaves no latitude for exclusion.
Everyone, regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, or Adamic
ancestry is deemed suitable for God's kingdom.

Dick Fischer
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