Both right?

Paul Arveson (
Thu, 6 Jun 96 14:26:19 EDT

Extract from the summary #60 of 5 June:

From: Dave Koerner 818-354-8820 <>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 09:21:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Dating Adam

Seriously, my claim follows logically from acceptance of BOTH positions of
Glenn and Dick (forgive me if I mis-remember exact details, but I think I have
the essential points correct):

1) Glenn says that a literal Adam must be the progenitor of all mankind,
but anthropological and molecular biological evidence establishes that any
such progenitor is older than 100,000 years, maybe as old as 5.5 million years.
I agree with this 100% and am impressed by the weight of evidence.

2) Dick says that a literal reading of Genesis demands that any literal Adam
must be 7,000 years old (or less?). I confess I'm inclined to agree with this
-- it seems to be in accord with the Biblical timeline presented, and it
strains credulity to think that a 5-million year old ancestor could wind up in
a Hebrew story of only a few thousand years ago.

I and a large fraction of the posts accept BOTH 1 and 2 -- a literal Adam
must be the progenitor of all mankind -- hence older than many 10's of
thousands of years -- but must also be no older than 7,000 years.


There is no logical possibility of satisfying both these conditions, ergo there
was no literal Adam. There may have been a historical "Atum" guy running around
-- probably was -- but this guy is not the progenitor of the human race and,
correspondingly, not _literally_ specially created in a Garden with only one

-- Dave Koerner

------------------------- (end of extract)

I'm glad Dave brought this issue up; I've been thinking along the same lines.
Perhaps Glenn and Dick could BOTH be right, in a sense. I will only offer a
brief sketch of this scenario; perhaps someone would be willing to fill it in:

Consider the whole course of Bible history. There is a recurring cycle:
An individual is chosen by God, named, given a mission, sent out, he prospers
and multiplies, his children are blessed, then they start to get fat and
profane, they forget God, they are judged and fall into calamities, most of them
die out, only a remnant is left behind, the remnant languishes in obscurity for
many years, then out of the remnant an individual is chosen by God, etc.

At each level of the cycle, something new is added to mankind's knowledge
and spiritual awareness. A "new creature" is formed. The "old things are
passed away, the new has come." There is, to use an overused word, a
"revolution". This cycle can thus be seen as "the structure of spiritual
revolutions." Or one could look at it (sub specie aeternitatis) as God's
process of "supernatural selection", which is merely a trendy name for

Note the ecological parallels (genetic bottlenecks, selection of beneficial
mutations, etc.)

Now, in this context I can see that, in a sense, both Glenn and Dick could
be right, but they are referring to different cycles of the ongoing process of
supernatural selection. "Adam" becomes the prototype for Abraham, Moses, Jesus
and all the other "partiarchs" in this broad sense. They were all real
individuals. But the definition of "image of God" continues to unfold layer by
layer as the story proceeds.


Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
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