- Humanity beyond Adam’s line in Genesis 18/08/2017
- What it means to be created human 14/08/2017
- What is man – no, really? 11/08/2017
- Original sin and the genealogical (MRCA) view of Adam 09/08/2017
- Of nesting hierarchies 06/08/2017
Category Archives: Adam
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
I haven’t commented much about BioLogos in recent months, perhaps realizing more that it’s just one small player in the scheme of the science-faith discussion, which is in turn one small player in God’s project of salvation. But I still get occasional reminders that its approach is problematic. One is the excellent article by Jamie Smith, which in turn responds to a piece by Loren Haarsma.
In my last post I examined how John H Walton discusses the role of Adam in Genesis in The Lost World of Adam and Eve. The predominant emphasis he notes is Adam as an archetype. But perhaps I should have drawn more attention than I did to the fact that in the complex pattern of individual, generic and archetypal use which Walton uncovers, where Adam is not being presented as an archetype he is being presented as something else, that is as an actual individual.
I’ve been thinking about the best approach to covering more themes from John H Walton’s important new book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve. For myself, I think I prefer to pick on particular ideas in it that may be fruitful. If one of the other Hump writers should wish to do a full review, I’m sure that would complement anything say.
One of the common apologetic themes back in mediaeval and early modern Christianity was that the antiquity of Hebrew religion over the alternatives – in particular the Greek pantheon – gave it de facto legitimacy. That argument has, of course, worn thin in the light of both archaeological and historical studies. But the reconstruction of an historical Adam which I’ve been describing in the last couple of posts, based on the excursus by N T Wright in John Walton’s new book gives it a new theological (as opposed to apologetic) impetus.
I’ve already suggested that we ought to do a full review of John Walton’s important new book, Lost World of Adam and Eve here. But since it consists of 21 propositions, it’s maybe less daunting to make a cautious start by mentioning the “excursus” in Proposition 19 by celebrated New Testament scholar N T Wright.