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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Feb 24 2004 - 11:47:56 EST wrote:
> Yes Guy these questions are at the heart of the matter.
> Geroge said:
> ">Note that this line of reasoning does not require the
> >assumption
> >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
> >essence.

Briefly -
        1) If "Adam & Eve" = "the 1st humans" then Jesus is descended from Adam & Eve.
        2) As I said in my earlier post, Christ - not Adam and Eve - is what defines
genuine humanity. It is wrong to think of humanity being defined by A & E & then Christ
as simply a correction or "Plan B" required by human sin. Christ is what humanity -
& in fact creation - was intended from the beginning - cf. Ephesians 1:10.
        3) The atoning work of Christ is of course related to the general problem of
sin which began with the 1st humans - i.e., A & E. (#1 above.) But the common argument
that such atonement implies a particular understanding of who the 1st humans were is
fallacious. In Romans Paul talks about sin as a general problem that afflicts all human
beings and God's answer to it in Christ in the 1st 4 chapters without saying anything at
all about how sin originated, & then introduces Adam only in Ch.5. Do you have to know
that Adam & Eve were historical figures before you have any sense of your own sin & need
of forgiveness? Of course not.

"the whole life, death and resurrection of Jesus related to the fact that he is
descended from Adam?
> >
> > In this contaxt a _theological_ definition of "genuinely
> >human" is
> >needed.
> >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 &
> >linguistic
> >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
> >emerged.
> > Note that this line of reasoning does not require the
> >assumption
> >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
> >space-time)
> >that group of 1st humans in fact was is another matter.
> >
> > Shalom,
> > George
> >
> >George L. Murphy
> >
> >

George L. Murphy
Received on Tue Feb 24 11:50:52 2004

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