RE: mtDNA Eve and the determination of humanity

From: <glennmorton@entouch.net>
Date: Sun Feb 26 2006 - 11:16:41 EST

John Tandy wrote:

 

>>>>>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).<<<<<

 

GRM: First off,  the way the above question is framed it is as if I am the only one who holds to a view that has problems and our Ďhistoric interpretationsí have no problems.  As I have pointed out here (and maybe effectively this time) the historic interpretations have huge problems with the genetic age of mankind. Even an Adam of 100kyr ago is not in any sense a Ďhistoric interpretationí unless one considers Bernard Ramm a historic figure. But then he doesnít actually get into details and his entire treatment of the issue is a throwaway paragraph. Secondly, to have a recent Adam requires us to ditch Adam as the common father and Eve as the common mother, and forces our Ďhistoric interpretationí to have a flood no bigger than what happens every year in many places of the world.  Why such a flood is an archetype of the Godís judgment would be unclear to me.  David Siemans said it well when he noted that such a flood would mean all other people were incredibly stupid being unable to flee for the hills, AND there is no break in the civilization of that age.

 

GRM:Secondly keep this in mind as we go through things. I am a strong believer in Godís ability to inspire the writers. I know it is a very novel concept that God might have such capability to tell mankind something about his past (rather than merely about his future).  I say this with sarcasm because I am so often told on this list that God canít tell a poor Neolithic person a simple version of the truth about anything scientific or factual but He can and does tell us the true theology (an absurdity in my opinion and an unverifiable one at that ).

 

GRM:When one uses the  genealogies and what we know about the times when certain people lived, we can  see that the gaps start almost instantly .

 

GRM:Jesus used the term "Son of Man". My dictionary defines "Adam" and "Man".
Thus Jesus was giving his genealogy with a gap of at least 4000 years. Does a minimum of a 4000 year gap mean that this genealogy is false or an inaccurate depiction of reality?


GRM:And the Genealogies are most assuredly very incomplete. Assuming that the Flood was in 3000 B.C. David lived about 1000 B.C. we find this.
In Luke 3 there are 42 names between Jesus and David. This is an average
of 23 years per generation. This is probably a little high for that day in age. If Abraham lived at 1800 B.C. there are only
13 names between David and Abe giving an average 61 year generation time.
Did the average man in 1600 B.C. have his first child at age 61? Did the 18-year old men with all their hormones raging sit idly and disinterestedly by while 61 year olds played with the 18 year old girls? That is what a complete genealogy interpretation would have to say.

GRM:[according to skeletal evidence most people died before they were 40 in
that time period--grm]

GRM:There are only 10 names between Abraham and Noah. Since you believe that
this represents 1200 years, that is an average generation time of 120
years. Are you willing hold to an acceptable historical interpretation which requires that post flood Sumerians lived lives of several hundred years and that their first born were born on average when the old geezers were 120 years of age?   Are we willing to hold to an interpretation which says that 120 year old men were the beauís for the 18 year old girls while the young men with raging hormones couldnít get anyone? 

GRM:Assuming that people in the 1200 years between David and Abraham had the
same generation time as between David and Jesus, then the Luke Genealogy
represents 1/3 of the people who should be there. Between Abraham and
Noah, 1/5 of the necessary people. When you consider that people married
and had children younger these figures for the missing people should be
considered conservative.

GRM:That people are missing from the genealogies is no big surprise. The
question is how many people? Can you cite a verse that says no
geneological gap shall hold more than 5 people? The issue is not when the
people lived or how old they are. The issue is whether or not they were
real people.

 

 

>>>>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?<<<<<

 

GRM:The name Adam, is not a name, it is Ďmaní. Some of the other names may be similar. Methuselah means something like, when he dies, judgement comes.  He may be a real fellow  whose name is made a memnomic.  Secondly, one doesnít have to have evenly spaced gaps in the genealogies in order for them to be true. I donít believe that the genealogies, if they have validity, are anywhere as complete as we think.  Before Christmas, I did my genealogy for my kids.  Through one of the lineages we got tied into the British nobility and then into the Irish nobility.  Along about 400 AD, the records have people living for  2-300 years. The guys lived, they were real, but for some reason the lineage records were lost for a few generations (or made up by the next guy in the line). All of this has the same appearance as what the Bible has.  The Scot and Irish nobility lineage can be totally true but have those gaps of 2-300 years without any evidence that it is there, save for the lifespan. In my case the gaps seem to happen about 1600 years ago. So, in line with this, I would now (and this is a somewhat new view that may have some flaws) say that the Biblical genealogy isnít too much different than my own.  True lineage, but possibly false father-son relationships and very incomplete father-son relationships but true ancestor descendant relationships.  Remember that the Hebrew 'ben' can mean 'ancestor of'

 

 

 

>>>>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.<<<<<

 

GRM: No,it would make it just like my genealogy which also records some of that information but it canít be complete because people didnít live 300 years in 400 AD

 

>>>  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").  <<<<

 

GRM: Have you ever considered that he is seventh in the list?

 

>>>>>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.<<<

 

GRM:I have made a career in my company of being somewhat of a contrarian, but a successful one. I have learned that if I am going to offer something new, I have to be prepared to present a good case and to fight for the oil prospect.  I also know that if one goes against conventional wisdom, one is going to be considered on the fringe, but I love it here. In this issue, the solution lies in a place other than within the common interpretations which have been offered for two centuries but which never seem to actually solve the issues.  Thus, I donít care if one is being difficult, (which I donít think you are) because as you say a view must explain the data. 

 

GRM:But one canít aim this criticism only at the new. The old interpretations donít handle the scientific dataóon either side. The YECs canít handle much of science, and the OECs canít seem to handle anthropology. So, if you want a theory which handles all the facts, I can tell you right now that traditional YEC and traditional OEC fail on this regard, but you donít seem to demand the same of those theories that you do of mine.  But that is ok.

 

>>>>>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?<<<<

 

GRM: Well, you are right. If one canít go back that far, then one has a couple of choices which no one on this list is willing to consider. One could say that the Bible is wholely untrue and become an atheist. Once could become a New Testament only person and dump the OT with all its problems, but since Jesus had this irritating habit of citing the OT, that probably wonít fly well either.  

 

GRM:I would disagree with your description of an incomplete Biblical genealogy being a text which canít be Ďrelied on as anywhere close to an accurate account of realityí is not correct. It can be accurate, but incomplete. There is a difference between incomplete and false.  What many here want to say is that the science is wrong but the theology is correct, and that is where one falls into AiGís argument in my opinion.

 

GRM:As to the problems, Terry did have it right when he said we must chose our poison.  I for one see little reason to chose a poison which ignores large areas of science, and denies many logical deductions (like an accommodated science but not an accommodated theology). I will chose the poison based upon the position which fits the most scientific data. To do otherwise is to automatically be wrong from the getgo.

 

 

 


Received on Sun Feb 26 11:19:53 2006

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