Re: [asa] No Adam?

From: <>
Date: Sat May 02 2009 - 20:22:06 EDT


I don't know if there was a "first man" and I suspect it's not an important concept.  We evolved as a group (there was no bottleneck n=2 at any time since homo erectus or earlier, probably not since our ancestors were bacteria) and it's probably an arbitrary choice where to draw the line and say, "now this one is human but his father and mother were not."  What would be the point of that? It would depend entirely on what definition we decided to use.

Whereas asking "who was the first created human" is probably not meaningful, it is potentially more meaningful to ask "who was the first fallen human?"  That can be answered (in principle) without appealing to arbitrary definitions.  Fallen-ness entails becoming culpable before God for rebellious choices against Him, and that is probably a black-or-white issue, creatures being either culpable or not culpable as a real ontological fact. 

Therefore, if I were tempted to try to find a particular individual in evolutionary history so that I might label him "Adam", I'd look for the first one who was culpable before God for his rebellious choices, not the first one that I could say, "now you, you fine specimen that you are, are a human."  But I'm not tempted to attempt even that, because what good would it do?  The author of Genesis probably didn't have any particular face in mind when he wrote the story.




-----Original Message-----
From: Gregory Arago <>
To: asa@c;
Sent: Sat, 2 May 2009 3:55 am
Subject: Re: [asa] No Adam?

Hi Phil,


Your position is a bit confusing to me, as is the title of the thread. If we take 'Adam' to mean 'man' then there was, inescapably, a 'first man.' It may be simply an exercise in distinguishing 'almost-man' from 'man.' Nevertheless, categorically speaking, in other words, paying attention to when the language 'man' was first chosen to signify 'that particular creature there and then,' it holds that there simply must have been a 'first man'. Aristotle's logic tells us this - (paraphrase) 'there must have been a first.'


Of course, if you believe in poly-genesis, in contrast to mono-genesis, then this adds to the confusion, the former an idea which it does seem that a few people on the ASA list accept.


Thus, the allusion to Hamlet is fair only if one agrees that there was 'no Hamlet' before a certain text about him was printed. In other words, and this is important, Hamlet did *not* gradually appear from precursors. Hamlet was created or designed or built or composed or made out of the imagination of Shakespeare, 'one fine day,' or in other words, as a 'leap into time.' Before the text was published, there was no Hamlet.


Yet, this situation does not hold the same for 'Adam,' the 'first man' (call him the first 'homo-sapiens sapiens', according to anthropology, if you prefer). Are you suggesting that when the
 first text/story of Adam was printed (here we mean scribed or written) that 'that text' was the birth of 'Adam' as a mythical figure, but not as a symbol of the 'real first man,' which must also have existed. If so, I'm curious Phil, do you think that 'first man' and 'first woman' had names. If so, what were they?





--- On Sat, 5/2/09, <> wrote:

From: <>
Subject: Re: [asa] No Adam?
Received: Saturday, May 2, 2009, 8:49 AM

I think the fall was real and happened somewhere along the course of human evolution. (My personal take is that the Fall was simply mankind becoming moral agents while not yet spiritually ready, and hence we were unable to overcome our biologically inherited selfishness and being no longer innocent it "killed" us.)  Given that the Fall was real and occurred in evolutionary history, I think it's quite acceptable for Jesus and the apostles to speak of an Adam as the symbol representing mankind, because they had real things to say about humanity's Fall and it was most easily communicated through the genre of myth.  Jesus referring to "Adam" is referring to the character in the story, much as if I said, "well, remember what Hamlet said...'"  I would not be asserting that Hamlet was a real individual, only that something spoken by the Hamlet-character was real truth worth repeating. 

Even if I was un
aware that Hamlet was not a real individual (as perhaps the apostles did not know that "Adam" was not a real individual), it would not be wrong for me (or them) to speak that way, because it is not my intention to make assertions about "Hamlet" (or "Adam"), but it is my intention to assert some of the truths that his story presents.



Make your browsing faster, safer, and easier with the new Internet Explorer® 8. Optimized for Yahoo! Get it Now for Free!


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sat May 2 20:22:48 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat May 02 2009 - 20:22:48 EDT