Category Archives: Adam
In the last post I tried to show the overall thematic “plot” inherent in the Pentateuch or Torah, which John Sailhamer calls its “compositional strategy”. This makes the foundation-document of Israel a narrative of linked themes, which I will list below the fold.
Around thirty five years ago I noticed something very significant in the book of Deuteronomy (during an uninspiring church Bible study, as it happens), which I’d never heard of before and have seldom come across from others since. It’s in ch.5, in which Moses, addressing Israel on the border of the promised land after their wilderness wanderings, restates the Ten Commandments of the Sinai covenant, and says: Hear, Israel, the decrees and the laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this … Continue reading
In my last post I wrote about Seth Postell’s work on the clear typological role of Adam, in relation to the over-arching message of the Pentateuch and, indeed, the whole Hebrew Bible. This message turns out to be the failure of Israel to keep the Covenant, their subsequent exile, and the promise of restoration through the coming prophet/king who would become known as Messiah. Adam’s history is closely parallel to this. I hinted that this makes Paul’s teaching on the parallelism of Jesus with Adam, as the one who succeeded where both Israel and Adam failed, a continuation of a mainstream biblical theme, and not just a convenient illustration of … Continue reading
I’ve just finished Seth D Postell’s 2011 book, Adam as Israel: Genesis 1-3 as the Introduction to the Torah and Tanakh, which although perhaps a little scholarly (ie interactive with the “academic literature”) for the average reader is a great eye opener in considering the whole question of understanding the first chapters of Genesis.
In the light of my recent foray into the charge of racism in relation to the genealogical Adam hypothesis, a reader sent me a sermon by Martin Luther King on the nature of man. It doesn’t mention race at all, nor Adam, come to that. But there are some insights well worth drawing out, perhaps partly because of a tenuous link to the former post arising from King’s association with the history of civil rights in relation to race.
I’m pleased to hear that the Nobel Prize for Literature this year has gone to Kazuo Ishiguro. The Nobel Press Release said: “The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017 is awarded to the English author Kazuo Ishiguro, ‘who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world’”. That description may surprise some unfamiliar with him, when they see the name, but his “Englishness” was stressed with pleasure by an erudite interviewer on the BBC.
Recent internet postings here, here and here make public a disagreement between the movers and shakers at BioLogos and Joshua Swamidass, who of course has posted here and shares our desire to see a genuine rapprochement between historic (particularly Evangelical) Christianity and science. I share his pain in finding his attempt at Peaceful Science being dragged into the culture wars. I regard him as colleague-in-arms on origins and as a brother. I even agree with him sometimes!
One of the points made by Michael Chabarek in the book I reviewed in the last post – perfectly valid as far as I can see in the primary sources – is that to Thomas Aquinas, the special creation of Adam (and of Eve from him) was an essential truth of the faith. Apart from his understanding of Scripture, this had to do with the immutability of fundamental natures (substances), as I mentioned briefly in my post, but also with the special nature of man as both a spiritual and an animal being, whose immaterial aspect (aka soul) cannot even in principle be formed by material secondary causes. On the … Continue reading
I’ve done several articles recently more or less motivated by the Genealogical Adam hypothesis, and Joshua Swamidass has asked me to put links to them, and to his own article at Peaceful Science, which is mainly about the science of the thing. I will do this below the fold, as well as linking to various others I did between 2011 and 2015, considering “matters arising” from treating the idea of a historical Adam as the forbear of all living men, though not the sole original ancestor. I hope you’ll forgive the fact that these pieces arise from thoughts as they have occurred to me, rather than being a systematic development … Continue reading
Back in May I did a piece on how the profound (and fascinating) changes in lower Mesopotamian topography over the millennia can endorse the broad historicity of the Genesis 2 narrative. But I did leave one or two loose ends then, some of which I might be able to tie up here.