Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Apr 10 2008 - 09:05:32 EDT

I second what Jack said below. I'd also add this about YEC being "the
closest understanding of Biblical origins":

-- the textual evidence seems ambiguous at best. We have "days" in Gen. 1
with no Sun; we have obvious poetic parallelisms among the Gen. 1 "days"; we
have a day 7 that seems never to end; and we have a separate, inconsistent
account in Gen. 2, which turns the order of creation in Gen. 1 upside down.

-- YEC is inseparable from flood geology. There is no suggestion in the
text, including in the flood story, that the flood dramatically reshaped
global geology (or even the landscape of the flat, four-cornered earth
assumed to exist by the Biblical writers).

-- the history of interpretation of these texts includes numerous ancient
efforts to understand the "days" as something more than literal

It seems to me that "the closest understanding of Biblical origins" is that
the writers and redactors of the Biblical creation and flood texts didn't
seem terribly concerned about precision or consistency. It's anachronistic
to say that God accommodated the Biblical creation texts to the "science" of
the day. There was no "science" in that day as we know it. Rather, God
accommodated to a mode of communicating through cosmogenic myths, in which
function, not structure or chronology, are the primary concerns.

On Wed, Apr 9, 2008 at 10:59 PM, Jack <drsyme@cablespeed.com> wrote:

> Ok hold on one second here.
>
> Perhaps I need to read your book. But there is a difference between
> understanding big bang cosmology and evolutionary theory, and understanding
> whether or not Adam was historical or mythical. What I am hearing from you
> in this email is a 21st century bias against the ancients, and I think the
> ancients may have known more than you seem to give them credit for.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Denis O. Lamoureux" <
> dlamoure@ualberta.ca>
> To: "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com>; <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 10:42 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
>
>
> Hi Bernie,
> > Everything you ask/state in your note is perfectly logical.
> >
> > Did the writers of Genesis believe in an Adam? Yes.
> > Did Paul believe in an Adam? Yes
> > Is young earth creation the closest understanding of the Biblical view
> > of origins? Yes.
> >
> > So how can I as an evangelical Xian open the concluding chapter of my
> > book
> > with the following sentence:
> > My central conclusion in this book is clear: Adam never existed, and
> > this fact
> > has no impact whatsoever on the foundational beliefs of Christianity.
> > It takes me some 400 pages to get there, and obviously I can give a
> > satisfying
> > answer in one e-mail.
> >
> > However, the 'quick & dirty' answer is that the de novo creation (quick
> > & complete)
> > of humans is an ancient understanding of origins. In starting the
> > revelatory process,
> > the Holy Spirit accommodated to the origins science of the day. The Holy
> > Spirit used de novo creation as an incidental vessel to deliver the
> > Messages
> > of Faith: the God of the Bible is the Creator, the creation is very
> > good, and humans
> > are created in God's Image.
> >
> > Another way of looking at it is to remember when we first met Christ.
> > Did the
> > Lord not come down to our level? So to with the ancient Hebrews. They
> > would never have understood Big Bang cosmology or evolutionary biology.
> >
> > So one word: Grace.
> >
> > Hope this helps.
> > Denis
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dehler, Bernie" <
> > bernie.dehler@intel.com>
> > To: <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
> > Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 10:36 AM
> > Subject: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
> >
> >
> > 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
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> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
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> >
> >
>
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>

-- 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Thu Apr 10 09:07:06 2008

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