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

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Wed Feb 25 2004 - 11:04:13 EST

drsyme wrote:
< Peter said:
<< Yes, if we want to both take Adam and Eve as a literal human pair and
respect what we know from science, there are just these two possible
interpretations: either (1) Adam is placed into the Pleistocene (or even
earlier), or (2) there were genuinely human Preadamites. Solution (1)
requires us to ignore the clearly Holocene environment the Bible presents us
in Gen.4-5, whereas (2) requires us to understand Adam as the
representational head of humanity, rather than a biological founder. Neither
of these two solutions is straightforward, and it is a matter of opinion
which one to prefer. By the way, a solution (3) of refusing to accept Adam
and Eve as a literal human pair is even less straightforward. I don't
believe either (1) or (3) to be more acceptable theologically than (2). >>

< What do you mean by genuinely human here? If you mean biologically
human, ok, but couldnt there be more to being human than just biology?
Could a 4th possiblity be that Adam and Eve were true historical figures
that God created in his own image around what 7000 years ago, give or
take a few thousand. There were other homo sapiens around then of
course, and prior to this, but somehow Adam and Eve were different,
spritually only perhaps, a difference that science is unable to discern.
And we are all descendants of Adam and Eve only. >

No, I mean theologically genuinely human, i.e. created in the image of God.
But I don't place that at 7000 years ago, but much earlier, because there is
so much suggestive or even stronger evidence, in earlier humans, for
characteristics like animal sacrifices, burials, art, language etc., which
are hard to reconcile with a creature that would not have the capability of
responding to God's call.

I agree that the spiritual dimension characterized by God's image need not
be traceable in biological terms. We cannot identify "theologically genuine
humans" with Homo sapiens, or modern H.sapiens, or the genus Homo, or any
other biologically defined taxon. Or, maybe sometime we'll be able to do
that, but at present we just don't know enough.

On the other hand, according to the cultural indicators mentioned in Genesis
for their immediate descendants, I do place Adam and Eve at around 7000
years ago. But I cannot consider them the biological ancestors of us all.
And I don't know of any convincing theological argument why they should be.
And of course there is ample evidence that much of today's human population
cannot be descended from a common Mesopotamian ancestor of 7000 years ago.
That's why I see solution (2) presented in my post to which you are
responding as the most reasonable one at present, while having all of
today's humans descend from a couple 7000 to 10,000 years ago is quite


Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Wed Feb 25 11:04:16 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Feb 25 2004 - 11:04:26 EST