RE: mtDNA Eve and the determination of humanity

From: Jon Tandy <tandyland@earthlink.net>
Date: Sun Feb 26 2006 - 00:45:58 EST

Glenn,
 
This is part of the problem that I keep seeing. A very ancient (100,000 or
5,000,000 year) Adam, along with an allegorical interpretation of Genesis 2
might be a reasonable interpretation to reconcile the scriptural and the
anthropological accounts. But how then do you reconcile the accounts of
Genesis 5, 10, and 11? If the theory is a correct one, it should be able to
reconcile all the known data in a reasonable, coherent scheme that is true
to the Bible (if not our historic interpretations).
 
Whether Adam is taken as a symbolic figure or an actual historical (but very
ancient) ancestor of all humanity, what point is there to all the
genealogies listed in Adam's descendents from Adam to Enoch to Abraham?
Were these all mythical and symbolic figures? Were all the descendents of
Abraham, including the Jews down to the time of Christ, simply figures of
speech? At what point would you suggest that the genealogies switched from
being literary symbols to actual histories?
 
The writers of scripture spent quite a lot of effort listing both the total
ages of the patriarchs and their ages when their children were born. To
sweep all this literary history under a 5 million year rug seems just to
confirm the YEC suspicion that such a theology has little regard for the
truth of scripture. It not only affects the early chapters of Genesis, but
also the later rehearsals of the genealogies including Luke 3, and other
scriptures such as Jude 14 ("Enoch the seventh from Adam"). I really am
interested in your theory on how a 5 million year old "Adam" makes all these
lengthy and detailed genealogies any more than a sham, and how this
eventually merges with a real, historical account (presumably sometime
around the time of Abraham?). Also, when in human history (according to
your theory) do you understand the "flood" to have occurred? I'm not trying
to be difficult or critical, just trying to put this theory on a
pre-Neandertal Adam into context with the rest of Genesis.
 
One suggestion of how there could be more historical years than are found in
the genealogies is given by one YEC author. She suggests at least the
possibility that (like the African translators) the Biblical authors may
have dropped some generations from their genealogies in order to make an
easily memorizable list (see section on "Problems of Interpretation").
http://www.sonlight.com/young_or_old_earth.html
 
While this idea has some possibilities, my feeling is that it doesn't really
help the 100,000 year old Adam any more than a 5 million year one. Dropping
some kings from the genealogy list might help extend Adam from a 4000 B.C.
to perhaps as much as 10,000 B.C. But as you say, the "rubber band" snaps
in my mind trying go back much further in history. I'm trying to envision
Biblical authors giving a detailed account of their ancestors, yet removing
anywhere from 2500 to 125,000 generations of ancestry from their
genealogies, just so that their illiterate population could have a small
number of patriarchs to memorize. It stretches the limits of credulity.
Would you agree this is a difficulty in the Biblical exegesis, trying to
cover this much time with the limited information given in the text? And if
the text can't be relied on as anywhere close to an accurate account of
reality, how does this interpretation do anything but fall into the AiG
argument about the authority of scripture being undermined?
 
 
Jon Tandy
 

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of glennmorton@entouch.net
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2006 4:04 PM
To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: mtDNA Eve and the determination of humanity

Bill wrote and Jon Tandy endorsed,

>Terry said what I wanted to say -- only much better. Thanks, Terry. It
seems to me that since none of the
>interpretation/harmonization schemes is pefect, and they break down at
different points, it would be useful to catalog
>the major interpretation/harmonization schemes (including YEC) together
with where they fail. The result might be a large >projectable chart that
could be presented to a variety of audiences to show the pitfalls and
difficulties of trying to
>harmonize Scripture and science. Since it would gore everyone's ox, perhaps
it would be a useful teaching tool.

I almost added a response to Terry's comment to the last note. The biggest
thing I hear from people rejecting my views is not that my facts are wrong,
or that I have some awful illogicalness (like poling boats upcurrent and
uphill). I hear that the constant complaint that Adam is too old to be
believable and that he has to be neolithic. ) For some reason we have come
to believe that it is logical to have a non-neolithic Adam of 100,000 years
ago (who still can't hold the genetic unity of mankind) but not logical to
have a non-neolithic Adam of 5 million years ago so that evidences of
religion (which clearly do not define humanity for a number of people) and
genetics (which shows that some of our genes are that old). We are willing
to have the chronologies stretched by double or more but then if one goes
and simply does more and moves Adam further back, the rubberband breaks and
suddenly what was viewed as logical is no longer viewed as ok? So, I would
try to make an observation here that offering something that fits the
observational data of science does not ensure success. And if someone
thinks my facts are wrong on something, I would love to be corrected because
I would rather have it right than avoid admitting I was wrong.

And one other observation. When one tries to discuss evidence of an older
Adam, people go silent on this list like YECs do about geology. It is truly
amazing, but I think I found the evidence of antiquity people don't want to
accept on this side of the fence.
Received on Sun Feb 26 00:48:45 2006

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