New genetic data and mankind's ancestry

Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 10:11:34 EST

  • Next message: John W Burgeson: "Answersingenesis"


    gordon brown wrote:
    > Peter,
    > Proposing the existence of pre-Adamites solves a number of problems, but
    > it seems to me that it also creates some. One is reconciling it with I
    > Cor. 15:45.

    I Cor. 15:45 compares the "first man Adam" with the "last Adam" who is
    Jesus Christ (Adam means "man"), and verse 47 compares the "first man"
    Adam with the "second man" Jesus Christ. Whereas Adam is the "first
    man", Jesus is both the "second man" and the "last Adam". As both before
    and after Jesus there were many other people, this implies that Paul
    talks neither about Jesus as the biologically second and last man, nor
    about Adam as the biologically first man.

    The context deals with spiritual realities, like in Romans 5:12-21. So,
    the "first man Adam" was the head of fallen humanity both before,
    during, and after his time, while Jesus is the head of spiritually
    living humanity both before, during, and after his stay on Earth. If it
    had been in a biological sense that, in I Cor. 15, Adam was called the
    "first man", the second human being would be Eve, and the second man
    Cain, not Jesus.

    > Another is having to believe that God waited thousands of
    > generations before producing a man who began life in an unfallen state.

    Before trying to deal with this problem, it might be helpful to look a
    little more closely at Adam's situation. Before the advent of man, the
    creation had been in a fallen state for a long time already, perhaps
    billions of years, presumably since the fall of Satan. This is what Paul
    describes in Romans 8:19-23. The creation is "subjected to futility" and
    "groaning" through "the one who subjected it" - who certainly was not
    Adam, but either God, or Satan with God's permission.

    Adam was the first elected human being, elected for the purpose of
    establishing God's kingdom within a fallen creation. God's "forming" a
    person (Adam in Genesis 2:7, Hebrew: "yatzar") usually means forming
    someone in his mother's womb, and this occurs for a specific mission, as
    can be seen in other passages using "yatzar" (Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 43:7,
    21; Isaiah 49:5; Psalm 139:13, 16). God also (perhaps 20 to 30 years
    later) breathed into Adam the "spirit-of-understanding of life" (Hebrew:
    "neshamah ghayyim"), usually translated as "breath of life" (Gen.2:7;
    for "neshamah", "spirit of understanding" cf. Job 32:8; Prov. 20:27; Job
    33:4; this is not the usual word for "spirit", which would be "rooagh").

    In this way, God lifted Adam's life from the purely natural level into
    the new dimension of the spiritual life - similar to what happens today
    to those who are born again. That by this means Adam became a "living
    soul" is not equivalent to saying that he became alive biologically, as
    neither the animals (Gen.1:21) nor Adam (Gen.2:7) were made without
    living precursors, but by means of natural descent. That at this point
    of God's dealing with them, both animals and Adam are called "living
    souls" indicates that then they became what God intended them to be: in
    the case of animals, biological bodies gifted with the newly created
    soulish dimension, but in the case of Adam, a body-soul gifted with the
    new spiritual life. Humans created "in the image of God" are capable of
    becoming spiritually alive, but they do not necessarily realize this

    God then made Adam to settle in the garden in Eden, in order to "work it
    and keep it" (Gen.2:15); "keep" is not just "take care of": the Hebrew
    "shamar" means "to guard" and implies a danger against which the garden
    was to be guarded. The word used for "garden" (Hebrew: gan) implies a
    protective fence around this "paradise". The "tree of the knowledge of
    good and evil" (Gen.2:9, 17) in it would be incomprehensible if there
    were no evil at that time. With Eve, the Lord prepared a "helper" for
    Adam (Gen.2:18). The Hebrew for "helper" is "ngehzer", which usually
    refers to a help in a military or law conflict. That she should be
    "suitable for him" or "fit for him" does not talk of menial, subordinate
    tasks, but tells us that she should be capable of fighting as an equal
    at his side. All this suggests that the outside environment was not that

    By his disobedience, Adam ruined the possibility of his fulfilling God's
    mandate for the world. From then on, God proclaimed the coming of the
    Messiah who is to set the creation "free from its bondage to decay and
    obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom.8:21). In a
    sense, before his disobedience, Adam was a type prefiguring Christ. In
    God's history with mankind, it is often the case that the first one
    fails, while the second one is useful for God: Adam - Christ, Cain -
    Abel, Ishmael - Isaac, Esau - Jacob (Israel), Ruben - Joseph, Manasseh -
    Ephraim, Saul - David.

    Sin's severity depends on the level of revelation: "sin indeed was in
    the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there
    is no law" (Romans 5:13). Paul applies this to the time from Adam to
    Moses. But even during that period, there were divine precepts and
    orders and corresponding human responsibilities, but before Adam even
    these were not yet applicable. In a sense, the pre-Adamites may be
    compared to those modern people who never heard either the Gospel or
    anything else from the Bible. In principle, they are capable of entering
    into a personal relationship with God, being created in God's image, but
    they are prevented from doing so, in a full sense, by their lack of
    knowledge. Could it be that Adam did not begin life in an unfallen
    state, but would have been born again in his experience told in Genesis
    2:7 and could then have begun his new life in happy fellowship with the
    Lord he had not known personally before?

    Before God called him out, Adam was fallen and sinful in the limited
    degree and with the limited responsibility (Romans 5:13) applicable to
    the pre-Adamites who had never heard God's message. As one who did not
    get any clear christian teaching before the age of 21, I have no
    problems conceiving of such a possibility of sinfulness in honest
    ignorance. By his wilful and knowing disobedience (as opposed to Eve's
    being seduced somewhat unawares), Adam invited severe punishment, with
    the loss of his special commission and (before the end time) of the
    opportunity of eternal life (Gen. 3:22-24). But God lovingly restored
    them (Gen. 3:21), presumably on the basis of the coming atonement
    through the Messiah and their belief in him (Gen. 3:20 and 4:1).

    So, why did God wait for thousands of human generations before calling

    Why did he wait for 10 billion years before making an Earth? Why did he
    wait for another 4.5 billion years before making humans? Then comes the
    question of the delay before calling Adam. Why did he then again wait
    for many generations before calling Abraham to prepare a special people
    out of whom the promised Messiah should come? Why did he wait for
    another 2000 years before sending his Son? Why has he since been waiting
    for another 2000 years before bringing the Gospel to many indigenous
    peoples all over the world?

    We have quite a good answer to the first two questions. Preparing a
    universe and preparing a planet suitable for human life takes much time
    if it should be done by means of natural processes - evidently God's
    preferred mode of action in such circumstances. As both science and
    Genesis 1 apparently indicate, God prepared the first humans by means of
    a long evolutionary process out of animals he called "living souls",
    before he created a spiritual dimension in them.

    We have a partial answer to the last question in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord
    is not slow about his promise..., but is forbearing toward you, not
    wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance".
    God wants to give all people an opportunity to be saved. But he prefers
    to work through his people who are already saved. And we are often slack
    to get this job done...

    As to the pre-Adamites, we don't know how God dealt with them. Perhaps
    he prepared and educated them in some ways, until humanity was ready for
    the next step, through Adam. Quite generally, a newly created object or
    creature is like a seed requiring a further development, sometimes a
    long one: a new human being, after having been created by God in his/her
    mother's womb, is not at all finished, but takes months to be ready for
    birth, years to become a grown-up person, and sometimes decades to
    become useful for God. Newly created humans, as a species, may have
    needed a development through thousands of generations before one of them
    would be ready to take on the mandate of proclaiming God's kingdom.

    Peter Ruest
    CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern

    > Gordon Brown
    > Department of Mathematics
    > University of Colorado
    > Boulder, CO 80309-0395
    > On Mon, 19 Mar 2001 wrote:
    > > You can have Jesus' genealogy go through Adam in a biological sense even
    > > if there were 10,000 pre-Adamites living at the time of Adam. But
    > > presumably you were thinking that all fallen humans (and this includes
    > > all humans except Jesus) must have their biological genealogy go through
    > > Adam. But the Bible does not imply the doctrin of the biological
    > > inheritance of the so-called "original sin" (supposedly Adam's). Romans
    > > 5:12ff contrasts Adam the head of the fallen humanity with Jesus Christ
    > > the head of the new, spiritual humanity. In both cases, it is definitely
    > > not biological inheritance that is in view. All believers, including
    > > Abraham and many other Old Testament believers, belong to the new
    > > humanity - but none of them descends from Jesus biologically; similarly,
    > > all humans before, contemporaneous with, and after Adam belong to fallen
    > > humanity, because "all have sinned", not because some of them
    > > biologically descend from Adam. The text emphasizes the correspondence
    > > between the old humanity and the new humanity, implying that the
    > > relationship of fallen humanity to Adam is taken in the same spiritual,
    > > not biological way as that of the new humanity to Jesus. The
    > > significance of Jesus' genealogy is also (partly) biological, but its
    > > primary impact is spiritual: it shows the fulfillment of prophecies
    > > given to Adam, Abraham, and David, and Jesus' right to the throne of
    > > David and his being the Messiah. Else why would the genealogy in Matthew
    > > 1 go through Joseph (who was not Jesus' father in a biological, but in a
    > > legal sense)?
    > >
    > >
    > > What does Genesis 3:20 imply? Jesus is the representative of the new
    > > humanity (both before and after his time). Adam is the representative of
    > > the old, fallen humanity (both before and after his time). Abraham is
    > > the father of all genuine believers (Gen.12:2-3; Rom.4:16), both
    > > Israelites and gentiles (gentiles presumably both before and after his
    > > time). Could Eve be the "mother of all living" in a similarly spiritual
    > > sense (both before and after her time)? Probably, it should be related
    > > to God's "proto-gospel" in Genesis 3:15, predicting that one of Eve's
    > > descendants will be the Messiah, through whom all will live who believe
    > > in him, without any consideration of inheritance.
    > >

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