Re: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Thu Mar 29 2007 - 13:27:46 EDT

To All readers of the ASA list:
  The question posed in this thread was initially meant to gather an idea of the different views people at ASA take about the two (supposedly real) persons, Adam and Eve.
  Randy Isaac referred to the ASA Statement of Faith, in the words:
  "Our statement of faith says it all.
  That's where we stand."
  From an organizational, but not a personal perspective, then yes, I can understand why 'ASA does not take a position when there is honest disagreement between Christians on an issue'. Yet why would there be felt a need to 'stand' somewhere outwardly on believing in 'Creation' and not on believing in 'Adam and Eve'? In accepting 'creating and preserving the universe' (in its platform of faith) this presumably includes the creating and preserving of human beings. Is this topic then as much an issue of names (Adam=Man) as it is about faces?
  I suppose if there were more anthropologists on the list, it would be deemed a relevant question. As it is, there has been much discussion on the topic in the last ten days since the thread was initiated, revealing that indeed there are various views. Imo, Dick's historical analysis contrasts nicely with George's theological approach, though the two do not ultimately agree on Adam's real or unreal existence.
  George Murphy wrote:
  "I think it very unlikely that the present human race descended from a single couple."
  I'm curious then if this means, 1. you believe 'the present human race' descended from multiple couples, and if so, 2. then does this count as a view against the 'common descent' of human beings (i.e. is descended from a single couple considered 'common descent' while descended from multiple couples is not so)?
  Michael Roberts wrote:
  "AS far as I can see Dick and Glenn produce scenarios which go far beyond any possible evidence and there must be another million or so scenarios which can fit the bill."
  To which Dick responded: "Okay, produce just one."
  Let me second the request - produce just one. What are your views Michael? Adam and Eve: were they real persons or not? The answer 'I don't know' will suffice if that's the feeling of the British geologist-theologian. I would guess that Dick and Glenn are multiple times more well-read on the 'evidence' on this topic that Michael is, that is, they are more well-informed of the scenarios on offer.
  ASA's statement of faith may be welcoming to people who do not believe Adam and Eve were historical persons. What other options do those persons have though? Please excuse if I'd rather not get caught on the literal/figurative dilemma (especially while reading Tom Wright's comments on it recently). But to those persons were 'Adam' and 'Eve' just symbols, names that were conjured by 'later' human beings to suit their ideas of how 'mankind' might have originated and become (emergently) conscious of its physical and religious self?
  Those who dismiss the question as irrelevant seem to be rather missing something significant: to some religious persons, especially those who reflect upon their existence as being created/designed in the image of God (imago Dei), the 'reality' of their ancestral roots is an important topic. For all the social scientists and social theorists in the world, historical origins and processes of humankind underpin their individual and collective assumptions. Whether or not they choose to include Adamic history in their tool kit, it would seem unfortunate for social thinkers to package the discussion off merely to theology.
  If a person says that 'Adam had animal ancestors,' this is likely to get them into trouble with their local clergy. An observer can request tolerance and say that beliefs about Adam and Eve should be non-dogmatic and not pressed upon others. But this does not solve the dilemma of coming to a personal answer or at least to a measure of suspended belief about it.
  Gregory Arago
  p.s. perhaps a new thread should be opened about flood(s), if the comments don't relate to the theme of Adam and Eve, thanks.

George Murphy <> wrote:
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  Your last comment about me supposedly running back into a burning building indicates that you have badly misunderstood me. I have been trying to be fairly irenic in exploring your claims but I think that they are wrong. I think that the biblical pictures of Adam and Eve make theological statements about the first of all human beings, not just the ancestors of a part of the present human race. "All" doesn't always have to mean literally "all" but it sometimes does, & I think that in context it's highly tendentious to read "all" in the relevant places in Genesis as if it means just "aome." I think it very unlikely that the present human race descended from a single couple. I won't go into detail arguing for those views - you know about my recent PSCF article. By discussing your views I have not meant to imply that my own have changed and apologize if I have not said "assume for the sake of argument" enough.
  While there was no global flood historically, what is presented in Gen.6-8 is clearly a picture of a catastrophe that wipes out the whole human race except for Noah & in fact the whole world. To note just one point, the way in which II Peter 3:5-7 uses the story of the flood to argue for the possibility of the destruction of "the present heavens and earth" makes no sense if the writer of II Peter did not think of the flood as affecting the whole world.

    ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: ASA
  Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:59 AM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

    Hi George:
  God provided for Adam. In turn, Adam had an obligation. To me that’s a covenant relationship. Today, we have a gorgeous day here in greater Washington. All Washingtonians receive God’s blessing equally as did Noah’s sons. Whether Ham and Japheth enjoyed a covenant relationship as to salvation is an open question. I certainly don’t pretend to know, though I think not. The agreement from God’s part was not to bring another devastating flood. And that is true to this day in the areas that they currently reside. Note the devastating tsunami that struck Asia, for example, was not in an area occupied by Noah’s kin. Which further exemplifies my point.
  When Shem’s line (or at least some of it) resided in Babylon along with Ham’s line including Nimrod, who had a covenant relationship with God? If you know I’ll abide by your answer because I don’t. However, I’ll agree that at least at the time of Noah, God did establish a covenant with Noah’s entire family. Salvation history working backward from Christ seems to eliminate the branches, though to whom God grants salvation is entirely up to him.
  As to this part:
>>This doesn't invlidate your basic argument about the historicity of Adam but it does mean that it's wrong to suggest that the stories about Adam are just the family history of Israel. They belong equally to the people of Tarshish in Spain, the Ionians, &c - & given what I said earlier, to the Aztecs & in fact everyone<<
  I feel like you just ran back into a burning building. The historicity of Adam and Noah precludes the Aztecs unless you wish to establish a point in time as does Hugh Ross when it would be possible. Do you have such a point? C’mon George, climb down out of your ivory tower and take a stand. Don’t reach for the waffle iron. You want Adam and Noah to be ancestral to all mankind, so Adam and Noah, when and where? And don’t ask us to go read something. Just cough it up.

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Received on Thu Mar 29 13:28:15 2007

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