RE: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Sat Apr 12 2008 - 13:19:34 EDT

Let me toss in a comment about ANE literature and what the ancients
thought. From the flood at 2900 BC to the time of Christ covers almost
3,000 years, and I can see that in general there is the temptation to
lump this entire period of Semitic history into one ANE mindset. One
can see the evolution of gods through time as new scribes concocted new
stories using existing gods but with new themes. Gods came into and
went out of favor. The moon god, Nanna or Nannar, at Ur during the
period of the Akkadians and Sumerians either became the moon god, Sin,
at Babylon, or perhaps, the Babylonians who worshipped the same moon had
a uniquely different god. How would you know?
Incidentally, does our word "sin" come from the name of the moon god who
is in opposition to the sun god?
The mindset of the Akkadians (Semites) up until the destruction of Ur
and the fall of the Sumerians around 2000 BC is not likely identical
with that of the Babylonians starting with Hammurabi. Here us a good
source to do a little research for those not interested in reading a lot
of books.
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 11:04 PM
To: Denis O. Lamoureux
Cc: Jack; Dehler, Bernie;
Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
How about if we let Walton speak for himself:
Mythology in the ancient world was like science in our modern world --
it was their explanation of how the world came into being and how it
worked. The gods had purposes, and their activities were the causes of
what humans experienced as effects. In contrast, our modern scientific
approach attempts to understand cause and effect based on natural laws.
John Walton, NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, p. 27 (emphasis
added). So Walton says here ANE mythology was "like" science, but
clearly contrasts it to what we mean by "science" today. How have I
"misunderstood" or "misrepresented" Walton's views on this?

I also said Walton stresses that the ANE mindset is about assigning
functions, whereas modern science is about material causes. Here is a
relevant quote:
If we are to understand ancient views about bringing the cosmos into
existence (creation cosmogony), it is essential that we understand
ancient views about what constitutes existence (creation ontology). As
I noted when discussing the origins of the gods, in the ancient world
something came into existence when it was separated out as a distinct
entity, given a function, and given a name. For purposes of discussion
I will label this approach to ontology as "function-oriented." This is
in stark contrast to modern ontology, which is much more interested in
what might be called the structure or substance of something along with
its properties..... If ontology in the ancient world is
function-oriented, then to create something (i.e., bring it into
existence) would mean to give it a function or a role within an ordered
cosmos.... The result of this study is the suggestion that in ancient
Near East "to create" meant to assign roles and functions, rather than
to give substance to the material objects that make up the universe.
Something could conceivably exist materially by my definitions, yet in
their view of cosmology not be created yet. An obvious case in point is
that in Egypt creation took place all over again every morning.

John Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, pp.
179-184 (emphasis added). Again, please tell me how I have
"misunderstood" or "misrepresented" his views?

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sat Apr 12 13:22:09 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Apr 12 2008 - 13:22:09 EDT