Category Archives: Adam
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.
A. Leo Oppenheim, writing in the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography on Man and Nature in Mesopotamian Civilization, makes an interesting (and usually unnoticed) distinction between the two “creation stories” of Genesis. The relationship between man and nature in the ancient Near East is nowhere as pointedly formulated as in Genesis 1:26, where it is said that God gave man “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” The parallel version of the Creation story (Genesis 2:19) formulates the same relationship differently, and in a … Continue reading
In this post, on the possibility of “adamic man” living with some other kind of “humanity”, I dropped in a passing comment on the difficulty for Darwinian gradualistic evolution of being able to come to grips the meaning of a word like “human” at all. Merv picked this up (remembering at least one exchange on universals we’ve had in the past): Does the fact that we can’t look at our continuous visible spectrum and point precisely to where it stops being red and starts being orange (other than by arbitrary selection of a cutoff frequency) mean that there can be no sustainable category of “red” colors? It just doesn’t seem … Continue reading
In the rich discussion arising from this piece (thanks to Colossian Forum for the original stimulus), pngarrison comments: The possibility of Adam and Eve being one couple among a population, with only their descendants being fully human makes no sense to me. Their descendants would be confronted with how to treat the sub-humans who looked like them, made a living like them, possibly talked like them. How would they even tell for sure who was fully human and who wasn’t? If they could tell the difference, would it be o.k. to treat the sub-humans like animals? If they were in the middle East, you end up saying the people in … Continue reading
There’s an interesting take on the historicity of Adam on the Colossian Forum, as part of a project funded by BioLogos, Beyond Galileo – to Chalcedon: Re-imagining the Intersection of Evolution and the Fall, of which at least one of our readers, J Richard Middleton, is a participant.
It’s often said that the doctrine of creation is of relatively minor importance compared to the gospel of salvation. What we believe about creation doesn’t make any difference to eternal life. But this view is because creation doctrine is not properly understood. In fact the two things are inextricably entwined – it is not for nothing that the Bible, the story of salvation, begins and ends with creation.
After writing about the abuse of Irenaeus’s thought, and the resulting re-packaging of the doctrine of sin, I thought it would be good to check up on the history of that doctrine, and pulled out Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology. It’s written from a Reformed position but always covers other views pretty thoroughly. To my surprise, I found immediate support for my reading of Irenaeus, even though I was aware Berkhof wrote before “the Irenaean theodicy” had been invented by John Hick:
Once again on BioLogos, Irenaeus has been enlisted as a recruit for an evolutionary view of sin, providing a debunking of Augustine’s view of both sin and the fall. As I and others pointed out there, this “Irenaean theodicy” is actually filtered through the view of the very much more modern, and probably less evangelical, John Hick. The basic premise, though, is that rather than sin being the radical historic fall of an actual first man into a state alien to his God-given nature, “sin” (now largely repackaged as “selfishness”) is an inevitable part of our evolutionary heritage, and so is to be seen (this is where Irenaeus comes in) … Continue reading