Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Thu Apr 10 2008 - 18:13:36 EDT

No, Don C does not have it straight. Far from it. Genesis 1-11 is
prehistory, different from the rest of the Bible. The bulk of Genesis
1-11 consists of stories told with a theological purpose and using
concepts and symbolism which would resonate in the minds of people
living at the time of writing. That being the case, any concordance or
discordance with modern science is irrelevant. The paucity of references
to Genesis 1-11 in the rest of the OT indicates the minor role played by
those chapters in salvation history.
Don N (ASA member)

Donald F Calbreath wrote:
> Now, let's see if I have it straight. If the Scripture disagrees with our understanding of science, then Scripture is wrong - is that correct? It could be that our understanding of science is somehow incomplete, couldn't it? If we can identify myths from these ancient civilizations, then the Bible account did not really happen and the Hebrews and others borrowed these other stories and somehow came up with a religion out of them - is that what's happening? If so, we can just toss the Bible and forget about it. After all, we can find myths from this same region that deal with resurrected saviors before Jesus came on the scene. Using this logic, we need to discard the accounts of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. What we are then left with are some nice moral ideas that we may or may not incorporate into our lives. So, what's the point?
>
> Help me out here, folks. Using your logic, there's really nothing left to hold fast to. And how does this fit in with your understanding of the ASA statement of faith?
>
> Don (ASA member)
> ________________________________________
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of D. F. Siemens, Jr. [dfsiemensjr@juno.com]
> Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 2:05 PM
> To: bernie.dehler@intel.com
> Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
>
> 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<mailto: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<mailto: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<mailto:dlamoure@ualberta.ca>>
> To: "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com<mailto:bernie.dehler@intel.com>>; <asa@lists.calvin.edu<mailto: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
>
>
>
>

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Received on Thu Apr 10 18:15:33 2008

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