Re: How to interpret Adam (was: Re: Kerkut)

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Wed Feb 11 2004 - 15:18:14 EST

George Murphy wrote:

>& who are the "all" in "in Adam all die" if not literally all humans? Is it
>simply _some_ humans? This would mean that some don't die. (I suppose
>some would
>appeal to Enoch & Elijah but that seems a stretch.) One could say "in
>Christ shall all
>be made alive" means "all who are made alive are made alive in Christ"
>which is OK but
>then the parallel would be "all who die, die in Adam" which again seems to

As you have so capably reasoned, there are a number of ways we can look at
it. As the federal head of the human race, not the biological head, all
die in Adam as Adam failed in his responsibility. Precursors are an open
question. Also Christ is the new covenant thus ending the old
covenant. Under the old covenant only the faithful remnant, the children
of Israel, are capable of redemption and all outside the covenant die,
everyone. Under the new covenant all may be redeemed.

>But there is another problem which I've already noted which is independent of
>the interpretation of this verse. I appreciate the theological need that
>some people
>feel for strict monogenism (i.e., that all humans can be traced back to
>one historical
>couple) & don't think it's a preposterous idea, though it certainly
>encounters problems.
>But to do that you have to put Adam & Eve a lot farther back than 7000
>years simply
>because virtually the whole world seems to have been populated by Homo
>sapiens by then.
>So unless you want to have all those others wiped out by a worldwide flood
>(which I
>don't think Dick wants) or have them somehow all quickly interbreed with A
>& E's
>descendants (which hardly seems feasible), then in historic times there
>have been
>millions of people walking the earth who looked human but in a theological
>sense weren't
>(to use Dick's term) "responsible." This seems to me problematic for
>several reasons!

Actually, my first attempt called for a catastrophic wipe out of all
precursors. That seemed to make sense. The historic flood at 2900 BC
eliminates that possibility. The entire world was far too populated by
that time to have been impacted by an entirely Mesopotamian event. If that
affects our theology, then theology needs to make room and recognize valid
historical and scientific evidence. Otherwise we make similar mistakes to
the YECs. Read the Bible, make a determination, and try to change the
world to accommodate.

>I don't buy Glenn's concordist scenario but if I had to choose between it &
>Dick's I would choose Glenn. It seems to me highly contrived &
>unnecessary but it
>doesn't create the sort of theological problems that arise with "Adam"
>appearing in a
>world populated by a lot of people who seem to be fully human.

It's the theological misunderstanding that has stood in the way all these
years. Do we change history, or do we change our theology? Recently Bruce
Waltke did a Genesis Commentary. Those who have studied Hebrew Grammar
undoubtedly have a book with his name on the cover.

He mentions the legend of Adapa. He states, "The closest comparison that
can be made with Genesis 2-3 is with the Adapa myth." He gives a two
sentence summary of the legend and never returns.

Naturally Waltke toes the mark theologically (Zondervan is the publisher
after all): "Fundamental to Genesis and the entirety of Scripture is the
creation of humanity in the image of God. The expression 'image of God' is
used uniquely with reference to human beings and so sets them apart from
the other creatures." No wave maker he.

He does the same thing with the flood. He mentions the Mesopotamian
accounts that parallel the Genesis flood account, never lists a single
similarity, but reasons, " The Flood defaces the original creation headed
by Adam and cleanses the earth for its re-creation headed by
Noah." Theologically correct, historically inept.

And the tower of Babel "represents the nations of Noah's sons multiplying
under God's blessing and being scattered with many languages under God's
wrath." Many languages? Okay, Hittite, Canaanite, Assyrian, Amorite,
etc. Not Mandarin, Swahili, Bantu, etc. Get the picture? Well, he
doesn't. Or at least he lacks the courage to reach rational conclusions
based upon what he demonstrates he knows.

Does he know? Here is what he writes:

         Like Jacob's staircase (see Gen.28:12), the ziggurat mountain,
         with its roots in the earth and its lofty top in the clouds, served
         in mythopoeic thought as a gate to heaven, This humanly created
         mountain gave humanity access to heaven (28:17) and served as
         a convenient stairway for the gods to come down into their temple
         and into the city. For example, the ziggurat at Larsa was named
         "The House of the Link Between Heaven and Earth" and the most
         famous ziggurat of all, at Babylon, "The House of the Foundation
         of Heaven and Earth."

So he recognizes the tower of Babel as a ziggurat. There is no trace of a
ziggurat anywhere prior to 3000 BC. Yet the Americas were populated 12,000
years ago! No Noahic descendants on this side of the Atlantic at that
time. Or in Africa, Asia, northern Europe, Australia ...

So, theologically correct, historically out to lunch. You have good
company George.

Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
Received on Wed Feb 11 15:29:02 2004

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