Re: [asa] Re: various questions

From: Merv <>
Date: Sat Jun 02 2007 - 13:57:57 EDT

Since nobody else has replied yet, let me pick out one small part of
your question -- the earlier comments on the Romans 5 passage.

My take on these is that we get used to reading these passages with our
prior assumptions in place so that the verse then seems to support (and
even necessitate) our presuppositions. In this case, your dad (along
with some very worthy proponents on this list), assumes a literal Adam,
and the Romans passage referring specifically to Adam would then also be
read in that same sense -- continuing to demand the literal assumption
or else it falls apart. That passage is a great text for this, in that
it sets up the symmetrical pattern: (sin spreads from one to many /
righteousness is given to the many from the one.) So it seems obvious
that since Jesus is undisputedly a literal person of history, then so
must Adam be. Most YECs would be willing to declare 'case closed' at
this point, and indeed, who wouldn't agree and think that way if it
wasn't for science compelling anyone to think otherwise? The question
remains, does Paul's point fall apart if the literal sense is stolen
away? I don't think it does -- in fact, if one frees themselves from
trying to milk all these passages for their cosmologies and
anthropologies, and instead tries to learn about man and God's relation
to him, I think new theological insights can be forthcoming. Read to
the end of Rom.5:12 ...'because all sinned --' and then on to verses
13 & 14 all of which just as easily seem to fit a 'delocalized' sin
presupposition as well as a literal focal point on a person. Paul's
symmetry would still hold. If I made a comment that somebody
physically is as 'strong as Hercules' my general point would be
successfully communicated, despite the fact that Hercules never
literally existed. And my point would continue to retain its meaning
and significance even if I had mistakenly thought Hercules to be real
when I had said it. Because the subject spoken of was not Hercules --
it was really about the person to whom I was attributing much
strength. So if somebody is said to have 'the righteousness of Job',
it would not detract one iota from the power & pertinence of their point
to launch into the irrelevant question of whether the events in Job
historically took place somewhere. So, can the whole Bible then be
dismissed as some sort of ahistorical story with 'merely spiritual
truth'? Those who object to 'Bible as literature' views have good
reason to see that as the logical conclusion -- because for many it
is. But I don't go to the extreme of thinking that nothing in the
Bible is literal in the modern sense -- in fact I think most of it is.
But one heavy blow in favor of Dick Fischer's relatively late Hebrew
Adam is that he's not saddled with trying to decide at what point early
Genesis slips from 'figurative' into literal history -- which certainly
we all agree it has to be by Abraham. Whereas those of us favoring the
figurative speech of the creation & fall accounts have the decidedly
more awkward task of negotiating some 'transition'.

As it is, I for one take on the attempt to discern passage by passage
what God's Word is revealing and what it is not. It is spiritual &
intellectual work as opposed to formulaic response.

Literary interpretations attract the derision of some participants on
this list who, with your Dad, will fully support a literal Adam. And
they have mountains of convincing research to demonstrate their claims.
So my 'armchair' opinions expressed above carry no equivalent research
weight, and I would be compelled to agree with them, I think, were it
not for the fact that some of these disagree wildly with each other in
how (or when rather) Adam actually lived. And both views come armed
with impressive supports and numerous jabs for the other side, so -- as
they would say, we can't all be right. Maybe this was a long way of
saying I don't really know. But, in any case, I don't think New
Testament references always strike a blow for the literal side.

Well -- this has gone long enough that I won't even start in on the sin
> death issue which others here have also treated at length. (Unless
other replies are not forthcoming.)


But if you think of 'Adam' (Hebrew translation meant 'man' or
'humankind') as a general reference to the first humans (whenever that
occurred), and then go and read the Romans

David Buller wrote:
> Oh, and by the way. I'd also be interested in hearing your position
> (TE, OEC, ID, YEC) and how (in a nutshell) you interpret Genesis. Thanks!
> David Buller
> On 6/1/07, *David Buller* <
> <>> wrote:
> My Dad (who is also interested in age of the earth/evolution
> questions) recently asked the opinion of a friend of his (by
> email) regarding the age of the earth. I'd be interested in
> hearing your perspectives on some of the objections to an old
> earth that were brought up by the friend.
> 1. "Romans 8:19-23 talks about how the whole creation was
> affected by sin and that through sin the creation was subjected to
> futility (v. 20), corruption, and decay (v. 21) all things that
> led to death. So, I think there is fairly clear Biblical warrant
> to say that the whole creation suffered from Adam's sin and that
> before that sin there would have been no futility, corruption,
> decay, or death."
> 2. "This also comes from Romans 5:12ff. The issue here is that
> if Adam evolved, then the human race did not just descend from
> Adam but from the entire population of pre-Adamic, pre-human
> beings. There would have been nothing to stop the intermarriage of
> Adam's descendants with the descendants of other, non-human
> beings; or for other humans to evolve apart from Adam. So, you
> would have humans inheriting a sin nature and dying who were not
> exclusive descendants from Adam. Theologically, Romans 5 does not
> make sense if Adam evolved. I think these first two issues pretty
> much rule out biological macroevolution."
> In the Tyndale Old Testament commentary on Genesis, Kidner has
> some interesting perspectives on this, and I agree with him (an
> evolutionary creationist). I'd still like to hear what some of
> you think and share it with my Dad.
> Thanks,
> David Buller

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Received on Sat Jun 2 13:52:22 2007

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