RE: [asa] biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically inconsistent?

From: Roger G. Olson <>
Date: Mon Sep 01 2008 - 15:28:55 EDT


What's "real dust"? Definitions are essential to any serious conversation.
 Actually, you need to distinguish "dust" vis-a-vis "real dust". And,
more importantly, you need to define what it means that the LORD God
formed man "from the dust of the earth (adamah)." *How* did the LORD God
(YHWH Elohim) do this? Did he reach down with his "hands" and make a mud
pie man? Or maybe just maybe this is a slightly more nuanced metaphor for
creation of Man's physical body from the same "stuff" that every other
living and non-living thing consists (irrelevant of elemental


> ________________________________
> From: David Opderbeck []
> Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 7:12 PM
> To: Dehler, Bernie
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: [asa] biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically
> inconsistent?
> Bernie, as we've discussed before, "literal versus figurative" is just too
> simplistic a way to look at these passages. There's no reason at all, for
> example, that the story couldn't refer to a real man named Adam and yet
> that some of the elements in the story (e.g., the serpent) couldn't at the
> same time be figurative. As a better example, even the most "literalist"
> interpreters of Gen. 1-4 acknowledge that God didn't literally "walk" in
> the garden (Gen. 3:8). Gen. 3:8 alone clearly shows that these aren't
> simply "literal" narratives, but non-literal does not necessarily equal
> "figurative."
> (Here's a contemporary example of figures of speech in narratives with a
> historical referent: "the defense tore the offensive line to pieces and
> swarmed the quarterback like a pack of ravenous lions."
> . . . . . . . . . .
> Hi David-
> In your example those are all figurative expressions, not a mix of literal
> and figurative.
> In Gen 2, we all agree that God made a guy named Adam (regardless of
> whether Adam was the first human or if pre-Adamite's existed prior). The
> question is how: by forming dust from the ground literally or
> figuratively. Literally means he took real dust. Figuratively means the
> dust is symbolic. See my question? If I'm oversimplifying, please
> explain.
> ...Bernie

Associate Professor of Mathematics and Earth and Space Science
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Received on Mon Sep 1 15:41:24 2008

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