RE: [asa] promise trumps biology (accepting biological evolution for Adam)

From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
Date: Thu Dec 11 2008 - 13:25:28 EST

George said:
"What I've said that I don't know - for certain - is whether or not those first humans, those all humans today are descended from, were a single couple or a larger group. "

Why don't you know that they came from a group? It is standard scientific evolutionary understanding. All evolution works in populations over vast amounts of time. What is stopping you from accepting the scientific consensus that humans evolved as a group (besides, the Bible, that is). It seems to me like you are having a hard time shedding that last layer of young earth creationist thinking. ;-)

...Bernie

________________________________
From: George Murphy [mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 10:09 AM
To: Dehler, Bernie; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology (accepting biological evolution for Adam)

Bernie -

I think you've misread me. Certainly I think that the first humans evolved biologically. What I've said that I don't know - for certain - is whether or not those first humans, those all humans today are descended from, were a single couple or a larger group. The genetic evidence makes the descent from a single couple very unlikely but the particular theological model that I've presented doesn't depend on the size of the original human group, of which the Adam & Eve of Genesis are theological representatives.

& to be doubly clear: I'm not saying that the writers of early Genesis thought "Well, we know that human beings have descended from some other creatures, and there were probably more than two 'first humans,' but we're going to use a single couple to represent them in these texts." I'm pretty sure that they though that Adam & Eve really were the first two human beings in history.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm
----- Original Message -----
From: Dehler, Bernie<mailto:bernie.dehler@intel.com>
To: asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:49 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology (accepting biological evolution for Adam)

George said:
"I think that if you asked the writer of Gen.2-3 or St. Paul if Adam was the first human, they would have answered "Yes." Exactly what Dick thinks they would have said I'll leave to him. "

Dick said he doesn't know if Adam biologically evolved from lower life-forms or was made unique and separately (God formed dirt into man and breathed life into it). By the way, seems like you also said you don't know, George. I don't understand why both George and Dick don't just bite the bullet and come on out and say "Adam evolved biologically." I don't understand what's holding you two up from accepting that without reservation.

...Bernie

________________________________
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 1:17 PM
To: Schwarzwald; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

FWIW Dick & I don't differ on whether or not Adam was the first human. We both are pretty sure he wasn't. The difference is that Dick thinks we should read early Genesis as if there were other humans on the outskirts of the stories (he may wish to put that more precisely), while I think it's quite clear that the stories are written with the belief that Adam & Eve were the first humans, that the flood destroyed the whole world & that its only survivors were Noah & his family. I think that if you asked the writer of Gen.2-3 or St. Paul if Adam was the first human, they would have answered "Yes." Exactly what Dick thinks they would have said I'll leave to him.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm
----- Original Message -----
From: Schwarzwald<mailto:schwarzwald@gmail.com>
To: asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

Whoops, guess the comment wasn't so private after all. :)

Oh well, it's nothing too controversial I'd think!
On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 3:26 PM, Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com<mailto:schwarzwald@gmail.com>> wrote:
Heya. Private comment here.

I agree with you that there are a number of curiosities in Genesis that actually make more sense if we include pre-Adamites and an older world. Just between you and me, one thing that always surprises me is that so many people (Christian and non) place tremendous emphasis on the past beliefs in humanity beginning with Adam and such entirely on 'plain reading'. To me, what seems more likely to have went on is a combination between a reading that fills in blanks, and context - particularly a lack of any alternative view, or even information towards such a view, at the time.

On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 1:01 PM, Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net<mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net>> wrote:

Hi George:

Josephus was an authority. He was not an inerrant authority (and we aren't either), and he did not write what we regard as Scripture - that's the "God-breathed" variety Paul described. There are numerous clues the Adamites were not alone in the world: who did Cain marry, who were the Nephilim or "Giants" (Gen. 6:4), where did the Emims (Deut. 2:10, 11) and Zamzummims (Deut. 2:20, 21) come from, etc., but these caution flags were ignored.

It should not be that difficult to reason out that Moses passed down to the Israelites the history of where they came from. That he knew, I don't think he had any credentials as an anthropologist. Genesis history was to Israel, for Israel, and about Israel. If early Christians read themselves into Jewish history they can be forgiven due to their ignorance. That's no excuse for ours.

What I would suggest is that you recommend to your local library that they order my book, Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham, and after they get it, read it. Then let's talk. Privately, if you would prefer.

Dick Fischer, GPA president

Genesis Proclaimed Association

"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"

www.genesisproclaimed.org<http://www.genesisproclaimed.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: George Murphy
[mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com<mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>]
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:22 PM
To: Dick Fischer
Cc:
ASA

Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

"Was Josephus an historian? Did he not write about the history of the Jews?" you began. How dare I challenge the authority of Josephus! So I pointed out that Josephus flatly contradicts a basic premise of your whole scenario, that there were other human beings around when Adam & Eve were created. That's not a minor matter like the identification of a river. Your response to this? Some shuckin' and jivin' about the Gishon and Cushites.

In fact I'm paying more attention to Josephus than you are. He is one more example of the long tradition of Jews and Christians reading the early chapters of Genesis as if Adam & Eve were the ancestors of the entire human race and that the flood destroyed all humanity except Noah & his family. (Book I, Chapter 3, paragraph 2.) He - & that tradition in general - show no inkling of the existence of all the other people that you populate the margins of the biblical story with. Of course Josephus - & the tradition - were wrong about the actual history but they knew how to read.

You should know from all to many discussions on this list & what I've written in Perspectives what my views are about the historicity of Gen.1-3 and the flood story.

As far as allowing what we've learned about the ANE to "to influence our archaic theology," I would suggest first that the notion that early Genesis must be accurate historical narrative in order to be true and authoritative is a pretty good example of "archaic theology." In fact, something like Enns' Inspiration and Incarnation shows why familiarity with the literature of the ANE should help us to get beyond that notion.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----

From: Dick Fischer<mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net>

To: 'George Murphy'<mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>

Cc: ASA<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>

Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 11:24 AM

Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

Hi George:

I think we tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be. First of all, did Adam and Noah exist? That's simply yes or no, no middle ground. They either were living human beings or mythological or theological constructs. If you side with the biblical authors and historical references then they were actual air-breathing Homo sapiens. If you choose that route then the next question becomes when and where did they live?

Next, either they lived far enough back in time that they could feasibly have started the human race or their entry was too late for that. Once again, it is either one of the other. If the biblical account in Genesis 2-11 and the history of the ancient Near East has any credibility at all they were Neolithic characters who resided in Mesopotamia no earlier than 7,000 years ago.

You can cloud the issue all you want with loaded terms like "pre-adamites," but that doesn't change the basic picture and the decision making tree I just outlined.

As for me personally, I didn't choose a path and then look for corroborating evidence. I weighed the evidence and then chose the path. Frankly, the evidence I have accumulated over the last 28 years is overwhelming. Of course, if one chooses to remain oblivious to the evidence then he or she could reach counter conclusions such as Adam lived in Africa 60,000 to 100,000 years ago, or that Adam was an invention of some imaginative Akkadian or Semite scribe. Although I will allow those are possibilities I consider them remote and totally absent any evidentiary support.

As for Josephus and his limited scope of reference, he made a few mistakes in my humble estimation. The river Gihon named in Genesis 2 in the region of the Garden of Eden he equated with the Nile influencing the King James translators to equate "Cush" with Ethiopia and setting the stage for a common misunderstanding that the black race (cush means "black" in Hebrew) emanated from Ham. Makes absolutely no sense.

But why did Josephus make that connection? Today we know that the original home of the Kassites, or Cushites, was in the southwest corner of Iran along the Kashkan/Karkheh river basin, an area called Khuzistan today. The name "Gihon" appears to have evolved into the Guyedes over time at that location. This makes good sense as all four rivers would have emptied directly into the Persian Gulf at that time, whereas the Nile is on a different continent.

This initial home turned out to be a perilous location, however, as the Kassi as the Assyrians called them were sandwiched between the warlike nations of Assyria, Babylonia, Urartu and Elam. Whether they migrated en masse or whether only a portion of them migrated, I don't know. But when a new, safer location was found along the river Nile they named the river "Gihon" after the original river in their original homeland. Josephus would not have known this.

Remember, we have accumulated significant archaeological evidence in the Near East over the last 200 years. It is just that we haven't allowed this evidence to influence our archaic theology.

Dick Fischer, GPA president

Genesis Proclaimed Association

www.genesisproclaimed.org<http://www.genesisproclaimed.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu<mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu> [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu<mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu>] On Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 1:48 PM
To: Dick Fischer
Cc: ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

It's all very well to appeal to Josephus but then you ought to recognize that he doesn't know of your idea about pre-Adamites or indeed of your whole concordist scheme. Just to note one thing, in Book I, Chapter 1, Paragraph 3 he says (I'm using Whiston's old translation), "But when he saw that Adam had no female companion, no society (for there was no such created) ... " I.e. Adam was the 1st human being simpliciter, & before Eve was made from his side there weren't any others.

Your way of harmonizing early Genesis with history has been worked our very thoroughly & is certainly better than some other concordist approaches. But that doesn't mean that it's true & in fact I don't buy it for a minute. For all its ingenuity it rests on the assumption that if early Genesis is true, it must be accurate history. & it requires far too much special pleading to make that work.

As far as Mizraim is concerned, note that RSV & NRSV just translate "Egypt" in Gen.10:6 & 13. Of course Josephus - & Genesis - don't explicitly say that his descendants were the sole inhabitants of Egypt, but that's the natural way to read it. Why do you think that Jews & Christians read early Genesis for millenia assuming that what was being talked about was the whole world, that the 3 sons of Noah & their wives literally populated the whole earth, etc? It's because there's no hint in the text that that's not the case. The YEC reading of Gen.1-11 is of course wrong in the sense that it doesn't recognize the types of texts that they're dealing with and consequently produces flagrant conflict with real history & science. But when they read those chapters as straight history they read them correctly as straight history.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----

From: Dick Fischer<mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net>

To: 'George Murphy'<mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>

Cc: ASA<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>

Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 11:50 AM

Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

Hi George:

Was Josephus an historian? Did he not write about the history of the Jews? Did he not write about Noah and his descendants? How do you know Jewish history better than Josephus? You even question the Bible writers? Moses didn't know anything either?

Of course Egypt was populated for thousands of years before the flood. That was my point. Egypt was also populated after the 2900 BC flood by Mizraim and his sons. In Josephus' words: "Now all the sons of Mizraim, being eight in number, occupied the country from Gaza to Egypt ..." Note that Josephus did not say they were the sole occupants. My grandparents left Europe and occupied Nebraska. Is everybody in Nebraska related to me?

Historically Mizraim was recorded as Msrm in Ugaritic, Misri in the Amarna tablets, Musur in Assyrian inscriptions, and Musri to the Babylonians. An Arabian presence is also possible, even in Northern Syria; Tiglath-Pileser I appointed a governor not far distant in Musri in north Arabia. Further, Sargon called Pir'u Sar Musri a king who was succeeded by Samsieh, queen of Arabia. Mizraim's sons are listed (Gen. 10:13-14) beginning with Ludim, the old tribe Lewatah, referred to as Lubiim by Josephus. The A-na-mi is found in a geographical text from the time of Sargon II which may be linked with Anamim, Mizraim's second son Lehabim and Naphtuhim are recalled in 1 Chron. 1:11, grouped with their brothers, presumably in Egypt The people of Pathros[i] in Upper Egypt are credited to Pathrusim, and Casluhim is known primarily for fathering the Philistines. With the exception of the Philistines, the rest of Mizraim's sons leave only sparse traces in various parts of Egypt.

I've said this all along, the flood was local, recent, and limited in those who died in it. And nearly every one of Noah's descendants can be traced to parts of the Near East, northern Africa, along the Mediterranean Sea and so forth, whereas none can be traced to China, southern Africa, Australia, Americas, etc.

What's to not understand?

Dick Fischer, GPA president

Genesis Proclaimed Association

"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"

www.genesisproclaimed.org<http://www.genesisproclaimed.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: George Murphy [mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com<mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>]
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 8:59 AM
To: Dick Fischer
Cc: ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

IMO this just shows the limits of your particular version of concordism. Of course not all the people of Egypt were descendants of an historical "Ham" - in fact the known history of Egypt predates by millennia any possible "historical Noah." But as far as the biblical writers are concerned Egypt was populated after the flood by the descendants of one of Noah's grandsons.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----

From: Dick Fischer<mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net>

To: 'George Murphy'<mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>

Cc: ASA<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>

Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 12:48 AM

Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

Hi George, you wrote:

>>& later in Genesis Joseph is married to an Egyptian, of the "cursed line of Ham."<<

Well maybe, and maybe not. Although the Hebrew word for Egyptian is "Mizraim" (Noah's grandson) it would not be possible for the entire Egyptian population to have stemmed from him. Narmer was in power in Egypt before Mizraim was born. Pyramids depicted four distinct races living in Egypt and the great races were established long before Noah.

Excavations in Egypt have uncovered the remains of a variant race of peoples who began moving in at the beginning of the dynastic period (ca. 2900 BC).

Quoting The Cambridge Ancient History, "Physically these peoples differed unmistakably from the predynastic Egyptians: whereas the latter were unusually small in stature and possessed long and narrow skulls (about 132 mm. in breadth), the newcomers were more massively built and their skulls (about 139 mm. in width) were appreciably broader than those of their predecessors."

So whether that Egyptian woman was of Semitic (or Hamitic) origin will forever be unknown.

Dick Fischer, GPA president

Genesis Proclaimed Association

"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"

www.genesisproclaimed.org<http://www.genesisproclaimed.org/>

________________________________

[i]. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 3, 676.

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