> The latter. When I read "Enoch, the seventh from Adam ...." (Jude 14), I
> understand God to be saying Adam was literally the first human, and there
> were literally seven generations from Adam to Enoch. Given this, I tend
> to think that the remaining generations were pretty much what we find in
> the Bible, without any significant missing time. And if Adam was an
> actual human living about 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, then it strains me
> to think that the rest of the Genesis story is allegory, except for the
> part about Adam being the first man. I just feel more comfortable
> believing that there are explanations for what I don't understand rather
> than allegorizing Scripture that seems (in light of Jude 14) to have been
> intended to be taken literally.
In interpreting Jude 14 we need to ask: Enoch the seventh what from Adam?
A simpler interpretation is that his is the seventh name in the genealogy
in Genesis 5. This is not the same as saying that he had only six male
ancestors. We find a somewhat similar situation in Matthew 1:17, where
Matthew tells us that there were fourteen generations from David to the
deportation to Babylon. Matthew couldn't have meant fourteen literal
generations (unless the Bible contradicts itself) for he omitted three
generations (Joash, Amaziah, and Azariah) between Uzziah and Jotham. What
he is referring to is obviously the number of generations that he had
actually included in the list that he had just given.
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395