In response to @AntoineSuarez over in the never-ending Venema/Buggs thread:
Thanks for the information on how Catholic doctrine and the “functional” interpretation of the image of God are compatible. I am aware of Barth, of course, but I have never studied the finer points of Catholic teachings on the issue.
While we agree on many things, I am not persuaded by theories that place Adam at a recent time. It’s a disjunctive proposition that makes a mess of human history and concepts such as free will, spirituality, morality, personhood, and, yes, even sin.
For example, the sentence right before section 7.2 reads: “Thus Genesis 2:7 can be read in correspondence to the gradual evolution of Homo sapiens in Africa about 150,000 years ago consisting of non-personal human animals.” Immediately, I have to wonder what makes these “human animals” non-personal?
You attempt to answer right afterward, saying, “Personhood as a result of divine intervention is suggested in Genesis 2:22 by the fact that God creates the man and the wife as called to fulfil their existence in relation to each other, that is, in the context of an interpersonal ontology (Ratzinger 1995, 72–73; Alexander 2008, 197). Thus the “deep sleep” referred to in Genesis 2:21 can be considered to correspond to the creation of primeval human persons from the modern humans.”
I can agree that “male and female he created them” (1:27) refers to God’s relational intent for humanity, an idea reinforced by the naming incident of 2:18-20, where “no suitable helper” for the man was found. However, your “thus” is a non sequitur, because none of the preceding ideas lead to the conclusion that the creation of “the woman” = the creation of “primeval human persons” from modern humans. (This also seems to reverse the order of creation, since Eve would be the first “human person,” created from the merely “modern human” Adam, but that’s a side issue.) You haven’t really shown that such a conclusion is warranted, let alone flows from the text of Gen. 2. It is an unwarranted leap, not a logical conclusion.
Be that as it may, every “recent Adam” ignores facts about human history and violates simple logic. For example, earlier you said:
In what sense can we say that “Homo sapiens creatures” 10,000 years ago did not possess free will? Were they not able to love God? Were they not able to love one another? Did Homo sapiens creature not marry one another or possess any moral codes prior to Adam in 3500 B.C.? Were human cultures prior to 3500 B.C. sinless?
The questions roll on and on. In a nutshell, postulating a “recent Adam” and a recent “Fall” turn human history into an incomprehensible mess. I appreciate your efforts to resolve the problem, but your scenario creates more questions than answers, to my mind.
I’ll be glad to give you the last word on the issue, though.