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

From: <>
Date: Tue Feb 24 2004 - 10:36:01 EST

Yes Guy these questions are at the heart of the matter.

Geroge said:
">Note that this line of reasoning does not require the
>that the Adam
>and Eve of Genesis are to be understood as individual
>historical figures."

But I think that the evidence in the bible does require
the historicity of Adam and Eve.

I think we can have other concepts of "genuine humanity"
other than theological ones. But since the issue here is
the historical veracity of the bible, I think using a
biblical definition is appropriate. This might be and
interesting discussion. One characteristics of Man in
scripture is that he was placed above creation, was in
dominion of the earth. Could there be some archiological
evidence for this, such as domestication of animals? If
we are going to use language as a criteria, and I would
make the assumption that there is spoken language long
before there is written phonetic language, what would be
some evidence for this? Agriculture? The use of tools?

On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 15:08:55 -0000
  "Plowman, Guy (ELSLON)" <> wrote:
>Just a question (is this the easiest way to respond to
>the list or should I
>just use the asa address?):
>I have been following this discussion with interest. I
>must confess that I
>am still unsure of the nature of the biblical creation
>account though I do
>believe it to be the inerrant word of God and do see the
>text as an
>historical account.
>My question: If Adam and Eve weren't historical figures,
>then how can Jesus
>be descended from them in a meaningful way? Isn't the
>whole life, death and
>resurrection of Jesus related to the fact that he is
>descended from Adam?
>If I am not descended from Adam, how have my sins been
>atoned for in the way
>the bible says?
>Sorry this is now more like three questions but they are
>all the same in
>Thanks, Guy Plowman.
>-----Original Message-----
>Behalf Of George Murphy
>Sent: 24 February 2004 13:48
>To: jack syme
>Cc:; D. F. Siemens, Jr.;
>Subject: Re: How to interpret Adam (was: Re: Kerkut)
>jack syme wrote:
>> I too thank you for that detailed information.
>> I asked for a definition of what is meant by " genuinely
>>human". And
>> yes,I suspect this definition of what it means to be
>>"human" is not
>> verifiable, it is likely a philosophcal/religious
>>construct. But
>> this does not make the concept invalid, it just puts it
>>beyond the
>> realm of science. And, this is an important question,
>>it has
>> implications for current medical ethical debates such as
>>abortion and
>> decisions at the end of life. I remember a few years
>>ago there was
>> some debate about whether or not the condition
>>persistent vegetative
>> state, could be considered equivalent to being dead,
>>along the lines
>> of the concept of brain death. My argument at the time
>>was that this
>> involved a concept of "loss of personhood" and was
>>therefore not
>> testable, so could not be seen like brain death, which
>>is testable.
>> But, this discussion involves what it means to be human,
>>or "created
>> in God's image". I am not sure when Peter Ruest said
>>geninely human
>> he meant just biologically human, or something else.
>> "Something else"
>> would admittedly not be verifiable. But the situation
>>is this as I
>> see it. There were bilogical humans all over the world
>>as far back as
>> 60 thousand years ago according to this information.
>> But, it is my
>> understanding that Adam and Eve, were true historical
>>figures, given
>> New Testament accounts referring to them. And,
>>therefore the first
>> "genuine humans" whatever that means.
>> So, is it possible that Adam and Eve existed further
>>back than is
>> commonly accepted? I guess that is possible, the
>>biblical evidence
>> seems to contradict this. Is it possible that all homo
>>sapiens were
>> wiped out in a worldwide flood, except for Noah and his
>> and that all people now are descendant of Adam and Eve?
>> This would
>> seem to fit the biblical evidence, and seems to make the
>>most sense to
>> me, but it appears that there is scientific evidence
>>that contradicts
>> that as well.
>> Honestly, I do not know what the answer is. But, to
>>claim that Adam
>> and Eve cannot be historical contradicts pretty clear
>> evidence to the contrary, so I do not accept that answer
> In this contaxt a _theological_ definition of "genuinely
>human" is
>Scientific & philosophical concepts may contribute to
>such an understanding
>but do not
>determine it. The basic question is, what does scripture
>see as being
>constitutive of
>genuine humanity? & the 1st answer to that has to be
>that genuine humanity
>is revealed
>in Christ. I.e., we do not know what genuine humanity is
>primarily from the
>1st humans,
>about whom we know very little - whether we try to get
>data from
>paleontology or from
>the biblical stories of Adam and Eve.
> Having said that, Gen.1 & 2 certainly give some
>understanding of
>when we could
>say humanity 1st emerged. It would seem from both
>creation accounts that
>the ability to
>to receive and respond to God's word is essential, & thus
>that rationality &
>ability would be required. (But that does not imply that
>the imago dei is
>to be
>defined purely in terms of reason.) This means that
>scientific data should
>be able to
>suggest an earliest date that genuine humanity could have
> Note that this line of reasoning does not require the
>that the Adam
>and Eve of Genesis are to be understood as individual
>historical figures.
>They can be
>seen as representing the 1st humans, but how large (both
>in numbers and in
>that group of 1st humans in fact was is another matter.
> Shalom,
> George
>George L. Murphy
Received on Tue Feb 24 10:42:17 2004

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