RE: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
Date: Tue Apr 08 2008 - 19:29:37 EDT

Hi David:
 
Job is one issue - who was there to witness the sons of God gathering
together and could have transcribed the conversation between Satan and
God? Jonah is another issue. There are two crumbling mounds in Mosul
(ancient Nineveh) today. One is called the "mound of repentance." The
other is called the mound of the nebi Yonas (prophet Jonah.) Plus,
there is a mosque erected over the supposed burial site.
 
Abraham rebuked his father Terah who was an idolator in Jubliees.
Josephus said, "In the tenth generation after the flood there was a man
among the Chaldeans who was just, great and knowledgeable about heavenly
phenomena." That would be Abraham. He was further described as ".a
person of great sagacity, both for understanding all things, and
persuading his hearers, and not mistaken in his inferences. So he began
to have higher notions of virtue than others had, and determined to
alter and change the opinion all men then had concerning God; for he was
the first that ventured to declare that there was but one God, the
Creator of the Universe; and that of other things whatever contributed
anything to the happiness of men, as only according to his appointment,
and not by its own power."
 
Berossus wrote: "... a man named Abraham, a man of noble race and
superior to all others in wisdom. Of him they relate that he was the
inventor of astrology and the Chaldean magic, and that on account of his
eminent piety he was esteemed by God. It is further said that under the
directions of God he removed and lived in Phenicia (sic), and there
taught the Phenicians the motions of the sun and moon, and all other
things; for which reason he was held in great reverence by their king."
 
One archaeologist, Hilprecht, from the University of Pennsylvania
visited the tomb of Daniel. I read his book and he described the
journey to the tomb. How can you question whether or not there was a
prophet Isaiah? Who wrote the book? Somebody had to write the book and
hand it to somebody else who would have known the authorship. Any
imposter would have been discovered immediately.
 
Joseph and Mary traveled to the city of David. For whom was the city
named?
 
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
www.historicalgenesis.com
 
-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 4:18 PM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
 
Bernie said: I think the prodigal son in no way presents itself as a
historical story

I respond: Fair enough. How about Job or Jonah? Even some
conservative scholars allow that these might not be "historical"
figures. There are historical problems, BTW, with just about every
major figure in the OT. Abraham -- no extrabiblical evidence. Joseph
-- nothing in archeological or historical records to indicate there was
ever a Hebraic governor of Egypt. Moses -- no evidence for a mass
exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egypt. David and Solomon -- many scholars
think them largely mythic. Esther, Daniel, Isaiah -- likewise. The
issue isn't really "affirm Adam as a real person or the dominoes fall".
The issue is more like "to what extent does scripture count as
testimonial evidence, however contextualized it may be" and/or "what is
the historiography of the OT?"

Bernie said: It looks like the abstract indicates it will answer this
question, but I have to pay $10 to find out. Does anyone know the free
answer?

I respond: if you could pay $10 for a clear answer to this question,
seems to me it'd be worth it. The free answer is that there is no clear
answer. (For $20, I'll give you a link that resolves the antinomy
between predestination and free will).

On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 3:13 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
wrote:
>
>
>
>
> Thanks- David. When I said below
>
> "Therefore, we know from science there was no first man named Adam, as
there is no such thing as a "first" man."
>
>
>
> I meant:
>
> "Therefore, we know from science there was no biological first man
named Adam, as there is no such thing as a biological "first" man."
>
>
>
> Not only does the NT refer to Adam as a real person, but in my
opinion, the OT also does. by naming his offspring, ages lived, etc.
>
>
>
> Obviously there are different genres, and I think the prodigal son in
no way presents itself as a historical story, as does Adam, Noah, and
Abraham (so someone would be off-base in claiming it was a historical
story). Therefore, I think the prodigal son is a poor example to relate
to the Adam "first human created" story.
>
>
>
> You wrote:
> ".Denis Alexander's presentation from last year's ASA annual meeting:
http://www.asa3.org/ASA/meetings/edinburgh2007/papers/Edinburgh_Alexande
r_text.pdf "
>
>
>
> I didn't see my question directly addressed in that discussion
(although I find that discussion very insightful and powerful; I saw it
before- thanks for reminding me!).
>
>
>
> You wrote:
> "This seminary by the Academy of Christian Thought offers some further
ideas: http://www.actministry.org/eventDetails.php?event_id=115 "
>
>
>
> It looks like the abstract indicates it will answer this question, but
I have to pay $10 to find out. Does anyone know the free answer?
>
>
>
> .Bernie
>
>
>
> ________________________________

>
> From: David Opderbeck [mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 11:53 AM
> To: Dehler, Bernie
> Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Bernie, I've wrestled with this question as well. There is no
straight, crisp answer.
>
> Loren and Deb Haarsma's book "Origins" offers several possibilities,
as does Denis Alexander's presentation from last year's ASA annual
meeting:
http://www.asa3.org/ASA/meetings/edinburgh2007/papers/Edinburgh_Alexande
r_text.pdf This seminary by the Academy of Christian Thought offers
some further ideas:
http://www.actministry.org/eventDetails.php?event_id=115 There are
numerous PSCF articles on the ASA website about this as well.
>
> To me, the "slippery slope of historicity" isn't the biggest problem.
We can recognize that the Bible contains many different genres, each of
which have to be read on their own merits. We don't worry, for example,
about whether the prodigal son was a historical person. Of course, the
New Testament assumes Adam was a real person, so that does complicate
things. But the bigger questions, for me, relate to anthropology and
original sin.
>
> That said, I'd take issue with this statement of yours: "Therefore,
we know from science there was no first man named Adam, as there is no
such thing as a "first" man." IMHO, "science" can neither prove nor
disprove whether there was a "first man named Adam." The question here
is what we mean by "first man." Biologically there was no such "first
man," but theologically scripture reveals to us (IMHO) that there was
such a "first man." An interdisciplinary approach between science and
theology therefore suggests that what it meant to be the "first man" is
something other than merely biological. We can speculate forever about
exactly what that entailed, and what implications it carried for other
human beings who might have been contemporaries of the "first man," but
it's unlikely we'll ever be able to resolve those questions.
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 12:36 PM, Dehler, Bernie
<bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:
>
> Hi all-
>
> I still have a question. For those who think that Adam was not a
real
> person in history, how do you answer the critic that says this idea
> undermines the whole Bible, since likewise if Adam didn't exist then
> other characters maybe didn't exist either (Noah, Jonah, Abraham, &
> Moses). If the Bible is undermined, then the faith is on shaky
ground,
> since it is difficult to know what is true and what isn't.
>
> I've asked before, but don't think I've gotten any straight, crisp,
> answers. Can someone point me to some references or sources for the
> answer? Is this a straight-forward question that is being routinely
> ignored or shunted or re-directed?
>
> I'm not looking for answers as to why Adam must have been real, but
> looking for answers to the criticism of those who say he was not a
real
> person.
>
> Here's what I think the answer is-- tell me if it looks reasonable:
>
> The Bible must be studied with what we know of nature. If a Biblical
> story conflicts with natural science, then we must pick the clearer
over
> the foggier; and if science is clearer, we must accept that. Example,
> those who read the Bible with ancient science thought the sun revolved
> around the earth. Now we know the earth revolves around the sun, so
> science is therefore used to interpret Scripture. Likewise, we know
> that evolution works on groups of people, and there was no "first,
> unique" man... man evolved like all other life-forms, over vast
amounts
> of times within populations. Therefore, we know from science there
was
> no first man named Adam, as there is no such thing as a "first" man.
>
>
> To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>
>
>
>
> --
> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

-- 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology 
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Received on Tue Apr 8 20:30:23 2008

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