Category Archives: Adam
Today I want to tie up a couple of loose ends with reference to Wayne Horowitz’s Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography as it relates to the Hebrew understanding of the world that appears in Genesis 1 and elsewhere in the Bible. The main themes, the non-existence of a heavenly ocean, and the non-existence of a solid vaulted heaven, in “ANE cosmology” I dealt with here and here.
Continuing my attempts to place the early chapters of Genesis within some historical context, I noticed for the first time this week that Genesis doesn’t mention any foreign gods at all in its fifty chapters. That seems remarkable to me, for I’ve never heard mention of it before, though it must undoubtedly have been noticed by someone over the last three thousand years. I look to the scholars to explain it.
In a recent post I argued for the case that Genesis 2 intends us to take the garden of Eden as a real place set in geography and history. I want to take that idea a bit further, and draw some conclusions on what we are intended to understand about the “very good” nature of the Creation before the Fall.
Carrying on the theme of biblical archaeology, Kenneth Kitchen’s book On the Reliability of the Old Testament takes a general overview of the “proto-historic” first 11 chapters of Genesis, but there have been some interesting developments since he wrote it that are worth considering, with regard both to the Flood and to the Eden narrative.
I want to present an important distinction that’s been made clearer to me during my reading of N T Wright’s magisterial series Christian Origins and the Question of God. And that is the importance of history to a truly biblical faith.
The idea of a single couple as the progenitors of the whole human race, especially on the time-frame suggested by Genesis 3, is difficult to support from history, archaeology, genetics or palaeontology. It is not actually mandated by the Bible’s testimony either, being more an obvious assumption in the absence of perfectly accurate knowledge of the genre of the garden account. It is, however, quite possible to postulate an historical Adam who is not the sole and specially-created progenitor of mankind. That I’ve covered elsewhere, but one of the biggest remaining problems is how it can still be true that “sin came into the world through one man.”
Thanks to Timothy Hicks for prompting this “update” on the “myth of the fallen creation”, and in particular on the aspect that it is not taught in Scripture. In fact, the extent of the Fall “in the natural world” shrinks even as you watch it.
My discussion with Unitarian George at BioLogos led to too much to and fro about the old chestnut of the “solid raqia and flat earth” supposedly espoused in Genesis. My “side” (on which I’ve written before here and here, for example) is that Genesis is pretty indifferent to material or scientific descriptions of creation, but is primarily describing the cosmos as God’s temple, and that dictates its whole content.
Had a spat over at BioLogos with a guy named George (who makes rejection of the Fall his strapline, it seems), who was replying to GJDS to say that the biblical creation story is flawed because of Hebrew lack of scientific knowledge, and in particular because there was no Fall, and humans were actually created flawed. He hasn’t replied to the question of just how he knows what happened so long ago, and the details aren’t important here. I just want to use the opportunity to look at what has been a pretty constant motif in “evolutionary theology” since Victorian times – that evolution is entirely incompatible with a fall … Continue reading
The BioLogos thread on the historicity of Adam turns out to be another important one, though the most interesting bit has got hived off to a sub-thread involving the Usual Suspects here, one Ex-Suspect and Christy (who so far is not suspected of anything, though she’d be most welcome on The Hump). I venture to suggest that amongst these there is broad agreement (though they may not fully realise it) that classical Christianity requires that Adam and Eve are not optional, and that attempts to make them so at least amount to new doctrine (so Eddie) and more strongly that such attempts amount to heterodoxy. That a significant strand in … Continue reading