Category Archives: Adam
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.
Following on from my recent post, N T Wright provoked another thought, through an offhand reply in a video of his. He described Genesis 1-11 as “The Old Testament of the Old Testament”. And that of course is true, both in its time frame – the world before the call of Abraham into covenantal (= testamental) relationship – and its provenance, in a classical Mosaic torah framework at least, as the ancient traditions that Israel already possessed at the time of the Exodus.
I thought I’d tidy up a few loose ends left by the last two posts. One thing that has never seemed quite credible to me, in the Patristic expressions of the Ransom theory, is simply the suggestion that Satan was outwitted and blindsided by the death of Christ. Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine all spoke of God deceiving Satan (justly, as the arch-deceiver), the latter even using the analogy of Jesus as bait in an animal trap (an image to which Gregory the Theologian objected). But Satan was a bright guy: did he really have no inkling, up to the Passion, of what was going on? After all, the … Continue reading
I ended my last post with the conclusion of the writer to the Hebrews’ exposition of Psalm 8, which introduces Satan into the picture of man’s temporary subordination to the angels, and his glorification by the work of Christ. The mention suggests that Satan has particular relevance to the relationship between mankind, angels and divine glory: Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
This piece arises from the line of thought I laid out here, which in turn lies within the view I’ve been developing of the significance of Eden in the meta-narrative of the Pentateuch and the whole Bible. See here, here, here, here and here.
Scholar Michael Heiser has made it his business, in books, blogs and YouTube clips, to rehabilitate the supernatural beings who are, in fact, prominent in both Scriptural Testaments, but who are usually airbrushed out by that wonderful ability we have for selective inattention to what the Bible actually says.