Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
Date: Thu Apr 10 2008 - 17:05:56 EDT

It looks to me as though there is a problem with ambiguity. Every culture
has its explanations for phenomena. Bernie calls this the science of the
day. David wants to keep science to its current English sense. But there
is the broader sense of /wissen/ in German and the earlier /scientia/.
The latter at least required an organized approach. An animist will
explain the accident a person had after killing a bear as the spirit of
the bear retaliating because it was not placated. Such an acceptable
explanation for animism is clearly not scientific in the contemporary
sense. But there are many today whose notion of luck is not all that
different in its underlying motive.

The discussion that has been going on recognizes the similarity between
the early biblical report and that of ANE mythology. Dick insists that
the mythology is derived from the historical data in the Bible. I believe
that the biblical report is derived from the mythology of the area that
the earliest Hebrews came from. Unfortunately, I do not see that it is
possible to have a definitive proof of either position. But I am
persuaded that there are unintended consequences of Dick's view that make
it highly unlikely. Additionally, as I noted in "Extended Humpty Dumpty
Semantics and Genesis 1," PSCF 59:194 (September 2007), the descriptive
language ties scripture to ANE views.
Dave (ASA)

On Thu, 10 Apr 2008 12:14:55 -0700 "Dehler, Bernie"
<bernie.dehler@intel.com> writes:
“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.”
 
I disagree. I think every day and age has its “modern science.” That’s
the whole point- the Genesis story makes perfect sense in the science of
it’s day, but not in our day, since we know more.
 
When it says Adam had children and gives ages for Adam and his offspring,
this is just plainly an error if evolution is true and Adam was not the
first man created. The Adam that was made in Gen. 2 from dirt is the
same that is the father of Cain and Abel. He is either real or not;
can’t be real in one chapter but not the other, if the same hermeneutic
is used the same on both passages for this one book of the Bible called
Genesis. There may be spiritual truth and allegory in it, but if
evolution is true, the literal (standard YEC) interpretation is false.
Just my ideas.
 

From: David Opderbeck [mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 6:06 AM
To: Jack
Cc: Denis O. Lamoureux; Dehler, Bernie; asa@lists.calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
 
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.

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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 17:09:32 2008

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