Category Archives: Adam
One of my current research aims is to demonstrate that the Bible itself has an awareness of other people existing in the world at the time of Adam, despite being overtly silent about them. I approached this from the point of view of the “compositional strategy” of the Torah and Tanach here, and from the point of view of hints about people other than Adam in the text here.
On the Genealogical Adam model – and indeed on any model dealing with an historical Adam – one has to account for the fact that humanity appears to have had some kind of religious or spiritual life almost as far back as artifacts can be found.
Joshua Swamidass has become involved in what appears, at first sight, a minor disagreement on a BioLogos thread puffing a new essay by several authors entitled Is Genesis Real History? His objection was especially to one sentence (bearing the marks of John Walton’s hand, I suspect), which reads: Or consider Genesis 2:7, when God forms Adam from dust and breathes into his nostrils. This could not have happened exactly as described, because we know from other passages in the Bible that God is Spirit with neither hands nor lungs.
Once more I’ve posted a few comments on BioLogos and got into trouble. Well, that’s been the pattern since 2011, so it’s no surprise. The thread was the old and currently 827-comment-long Buggs/Venema/Swamidass conversation on the population genetics of human origins, a lull in which made me think it was timely to add the kind of cautionary note on the validation of models I’ve sounded here and here.
One of the objections to the Genealogical Adam hypothesis is the case of isolated tribes who, perhaps, have never interbred with descendants of Adam in any plausible historical time-frame.
Here’s another small piece of corroborative evidence for the plausibility of the Genealogical Adam Hypothesis (that Adam is not the sole genetic ancestor of modern humanity, but is nevertheless our common genealogical ancestor, with all that entails for our spiritual solidarity with him as federal head).
As I’ve been studying the overall “shape” of biblical theology, in the light of recent work by Evangelicals like John Sailhamer, Seth Postell and a bunch of others including N T Wright, one of the common themes is that the ancient prophets had a much fuller grasp of the universal scope of salvation – we may even say, in a qualified way, of the gospel – than has been recognised either by older scholarship or “the man in the pew.”
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Let’s start with a really basic Christian truth: “No man comes to the Father except by me.” Or from another text, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Now one of the challenging things about the Christian narrative is why, if sin is so deadly and Christ’s work so necessary, the history of salvation seems to unfold so slowly.
In my last post I pointed out the close match between the description in Genesis chapter 10 of the migration of Semitic peoples to lower Mesopotamia, and the story of the Akkadian Empire of Sargon the great, and also the general correspondence between the table of nations and the western (but not eastern) Neolithic radiation. I suggested how this was an indicator that the writer of Genesis must have been fully aware that non-descendants of Adam existed at this time, and quite plausibly in the time of Adam himself, given his habit of ignoring outsiders.
Genesis chapters 1-11 continue to intrigue because, for all their “under-determination” of meaning for us moderns, and their mythic style, they keep resonating with details of the most ancient human history. And so, quite apart from any theological reasons, I can’t go along with those who regard them as ahistorical, nor have much sympathy with the idea that they are purely late, exilic, additions – they wear their great antiquity prominently.