Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Fri Apr 11 2008 - 01:27:59 EDT

Phil cannot dismiss Bernie's claim that Adam cannot be real in one
chapter and not in the other as quickly as that. Phil's analogy with
Isaiah breaks down. First, there is the well known break between Isaiah
1-39 and the rest of the book. Then there is the fact that prophetic
oracles in poetry can be readily interspersed with narratives in prose
without confusion.
In the case of Genesis a redactor has juxtaposed the two chapters as
they appear in the canonical book, and the redaction makes no sense if
Adam is real in one and not real in the other. It does make sense if
Adam is not real in either chapter -- the symbolism can differ from
chapter to chapter. The assumption that Adam is real in both chapters
leads to the difficulties that we are discussing.
Don N

philtill@aol.com wrote:
> 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.
> Let's not start out with an a priori assumption that is can't be validly justified. Compare: in Isaiah there are chapters that are poetic side-by-side with chapters that are historical. You can't use the same rules of interpretation on adjacent passages of the same book if the genre is different in each one. Also, there are references to "the servant of the Lord" in Isaiah where the author equivocates between Israel, the select subset of Israel, the Persian king Cyrus, and a future Messianic individual, as being the servant of the Lord. You can't just blindly assume a priori that he means the same thing in every passage. His literature is more advanced than that. Ancient people were more subtle and intelligent that we often give them credit for. So you have to judge a posteriori, not a priori, whether to use the same hermeneutic in Genesis 3 versus Genesis 4. There is no valid basis to assert a priori that the same hermeneutic must be used just because they were c!
 
 ompiled into the same book.
>
> Phil
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
> To: asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Sent: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 3:14 pm
> Subject: RE: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
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> “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.”
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> 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.
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> 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.
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> 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?
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> I second what Jack said below. I'd also add this about YEC being "the closest understanding of Biblical origins":
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> -- 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.
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> -- 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).
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> -- the history of interpretation of these texts includes numerous ancient efforts to understand the "days" as something more than literal
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> 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.
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> On Wed, Apr 9, 2008 at 10:59 PM, Jack <drsyme@cablespeed.com> wrote:
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> Ok hold on one second here.
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> 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?
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> 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.
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> So one word: Grace.
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> Hope this helps.
> Denis
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> ----- 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?
>
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> 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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Received on Fri Apr 11 01:29:13 2008

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