Adam and "adam" (was Soc. Prob.--E)

RDehaan237 (
Tue, 3 Mar 1998 05:46:43 EST

Hi Russ,

I'm jumping into this thread at a rather date. I want to comment on what
seems to me to be the unwarranted way you have conflated the first two
chapters of Genesis in your discussion of Adam. You wrote in your first draft
of *Social Problems--Part E* "The human race began when God created Adam and
Eve in his image....What we do know is that all human beings are descendants
of Adam and Eve, the first beings to bear God's image."

That's not strictly, biblically true, Russ. Adam and Eve were not the first
to bear God's image according to the Bible. The image of God did not
originate with Adam, although he was created in that image. In chapter 2 of
Genesis, where the creation of Adam is recounted, there is not a single
mention of the image of God. It originated earlier. The image of God belongs
in chapter one, where it is bestowed on humankind as a whole from the very
beginning of humanity. The first chapter of Genesis reads "So God created
humankind in his image, in the image of God he created he them; male and
female created he them." (NRSV. A footnote gives "adam" as an alternate
translation of "humankind".)

Chapter one describes the creation of human beings (adam with a small "a") as
the climax or crowning glory of creation, human beings with God's image. The
image of God, I humbly suggest, begins with the first human being(s) that God
separated with a creative act from animal lineages, and consists at the most
basic level of everything that distinguishes human beings from animals and
continues from there toward God's likeness. To object to this view because it
makes humans descendants of animals misses the point that the image of God is
the essence of humanity, not its animal origins.

Adam, of chapter two, as Dick Fischer has demonstrated to my satisfaction, was
a historical person, created within the last 10,000 years, and introduced into
an already-peopled world. The people that preceded Adam were the descendants
of the "adam" of chapter one. Of course Adam bore the image of God, but it
did not originate with him. What did originate with Adam and Eve went far
beyond the image of God, into the beginning of a new higher relationship with
God, a covenantal relationship, a relationship that was to eventuate in the
redemption of the human race in the second Adam, Jesus Christ. The meaning
and significance of Adam in chapter two would never have been discovered by
naturalistic, materialistic science. Without God's revelation we would not
have known about Adam the head of a redemptive lineage of human beings.

To make Adam of chapter two the head of the human (adamic) lineage of chapter
one is to introduce all kinds of unnecessary problems. The biblical problems
I have cited above. The other major one is where does Adam's fatherhood
begin? Since he was able to speak and name animals, he would have had to come
after the enlarged Broca area was formed in *Homo habilis* the necessary brain
structure for speech. Do you agree? This area of the brain probably did not
develop overnight, so some very early human beings with slowly developing
Broca areas or no Broca areas must have preceded him. Was he the father of
pre-Broca humans? Or was he created with a preformed Broca area? Or you may
have another alternative.

Thanks for your stimulating essays. I am interested in your comments on the

Your friend,