Adam the first human?


(David Greathouse) #1

I believe that Adam was just the first fully evolved homosapian, that God created all creatures through evolution and that our current human state was Gods goal for evolving our ancestors into what we are now (divinely guided evolution, in other words).

In believing so, I believe Adam was not the first human being on earth, but merely the first fully evolving one, the first to have our level of intellect, creativity, intelligence and emotions. I believe there were other humans all across the earth, such as the people in the Land of Nod.

However, my hypothesis isn’t the subject of this topic.

As I was reading through Acts, I noticed in Acts 17:26 it says this:

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”

Not only does this seem to teach that Adam was the first and only human at one point, but it also seems to teach predestination and Calvinism. All three doctrines of which I wholeheartedly disagree with.

So, my question remains: Does this teach Young Earth Creationism’s belief, that Adam is our ancestor and first human being on earth? Is this verse even talking about Adam?


(Albert Leo) #2

David, in a number of posts, I have presented scientific evidence that supports your belief and the belief that we Homo sapiens (perhaps just a few) became “fully evolved” in a Great Leap Forward which occurred some 40 K yrs. ago. This is NOT in accord with what is currently accepted as Dawinian evolution; i.e. small changes with No direction. And actually in accord with a scriptural Adam.

I am not sure how to interpret your quotation from Acts 17:26, except that the gift of intellect, as evidenced by the GLF, allowed H. sapiens to form much more effective societies that would not only “inhabit the whole earth” but dominate it.
Al Leo


(Jon) #3

The word for “man” is not in the text. Additionally, Paul was speaking to pagan Greeks who had no concept of Adam and Eve and who did not believe that all humans had emerged from a single initial couple, so it is incredibly unlikely that they would have understood him in that way.

I don’t see any predestination or Calvinism here.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4

@David1

Thank you for the question. You have to look at this quote from Paul’s sermon in Athens in context.

First, this is a sermon and not a scientific statement.

Second, Paul is talking about the universal aspect of God’s salvation plan. The Jewish Messiah is for everyone, just not for Jews

Finally, what Paul is saying tis that humanity is all one family, not a crowd of individuals, conglomeration of tribes.

Lest we forget. The big point of Gen 1 & 2 is that humanity is one family, regardless of how racists, nationalists, and fundamentalists try to divide us.

Experts in evolution and population say that humans like other species came into being as species as a geographically isolated group of hominids, not a nuclear family.

These two accounts of the origins of humans answer different questions, and so it is not surprising that they are different. This does not necessarily mean that one or both are wrong. Each one does a good job in answering the questions that they each address.

I think they can be reconciled and that is our task as believers and scientists, if we think that it is important.


(David Greathouse) #5

But, that fails to answer who the “one blood” or (according to most translations) the “man” is that Paul is referring to. Whether Greek or Jew, who is the “one blood” or “man”?

And its speaking of Predestination (predetermined). Which is Calvinism.


(George Brooks) #6

@David1

It doesn’t have to be Calvinism. You’ve heard about Chess Masters who wager against dozens of opponents? They move down long tables of opponents, reviewing the board and making a move, then moving on to the next board. And one by one, the certified Chess Master defeats all comers!

Has the Chess Master violated the Free Will of his opponents? Certainly not. He has out-maneuvered them … and their flawed command of the work at hand.

God is the Chess Master of life … what’s more … he Invented the Game of Life !!! If anyone can checkmate all opponents into Heaven, it is God. I am a Unitarian Universalist, and so this way of thinking comes quite naturally to me.

And if I can set aside the literal interpretation of 6 days of creation, I am certainly happy to set aside any of the Biblical texts that seem overly severe and overly restrictive. There’s plenty of texts in the Bible which should convince you that you are a vessel of wrath, destined for whatever God has in mind for you. But you reject that text (Romans 9) don’t you?

And rightly so! For it goes against our sense of what God is about. And in my view, so does fixating on Adam and Original Sin and 6 days of creation.

God doesn’t work like that … but it’s okay if you think so. Because God’s going to get you right one way or another!

:smiley:


(David Greathouse) #7

I’m actually an Arminian Conditionalist, so we’re bound to disagree on our feelings regarding the afterlife.

I’d also like to say, God isn’t viewing us as His opponents, but His children. I don’t believe God is going to force (or out maneuver) anyone against their will. After all, I believe in free will and I also believe that humans are free moral agents. If we want Him, we’re offered His grace. If we don’t want Him, we’re still offered His grace, but we can freely resist the said Grace offered by Him.

I find it slightly troubling that you speak so freely of “setting aside” verses as if that’s a reasonable thing to do… I don’t want to set aside anything, nor give my own personal opinion, but rather I’m seeking the truth of what the author intended on spreading to the readers.

Oh, I don’t reject Romans 9, but if you read the entire chapter from beginning to end, you’ll see its talking about national groups like Israel and Edom, not individuals. Jacob = Israel, Esau = Edom.

For the record, I don’t agree with “our” sense of what God is, I want to know what Christs sense of God was, and I want to believe that, since the truth will set me free.

But I’ve always wanted to ask a Universalist: What do you do what all the passages speaking of people not gaining Heaven? The guests thrown out in the wedding parable, all of whom will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, Matthew 25:41, etc?

I’m not trying to be rude either, I sincerely want to know because I find it awesome to have met a Universalist.


(George Brooks) #8

@David1

Some clarifications:

  1. I think the Chess Master analogy is All about Freewill.
  2. There is plenty in the Bible that is “not quite right” - - and setting aside is what a rational being does when confronted with the witness of his eyes and ears … vs. something some myth-laden fellow wrote centuries ago.
  3. Your assessment of Romans 9 is a pretty good example of that. It’s hard to find a verse so explicitly geared towards the person, rather than the group, and I think Romans 9 is all about the former.

But that’s okay, you found a way to set it aside.

The Universalist in me applauds you.


(David Greathouse) #9

No… I didn’t set anything aside because I believe the Bible is the whole truth, completely and utterly. Romans 9 is literally referring to Israel, the nation, all you have to do is read the first few verses to see that. Its just misunderstood by Calvinists, like most scripture.

You answer seems really confrontational… I don’t know why you’re being so grumpy.

By the way, I never said you were making claims against freewill. I said that I do not believe God “out maneuvers” humans.

If there are some things that you think are “just not right”, than dump the whole thing. There is no reason to accept the Bible if “some things aren’t right”, yet the scriptures say all of the Bible is for learning and reproof. All of the Bible is divinely inspired. Therefore, if you think some portion of it is outright incorrect or immoral, then dump the Bible, because its either all good or all bad.

Note: That does not mean that because Biblical characters committed sins, it means God approved. Polygamy occurred, divorce occurred, none of which God had initially planned to occur. It was because of the hardness of their hearts that these things were allowed. Not promoted, not advertised, but temporarily allowed.

Could you please answer the questions I asked about Universalism?


(George Brooks) #10

@David1, I don’t believe I’m being grumpy at all.

As to “confrontational”, I thought you dismissing the Chessmaster Analogy as somehow beneath God … even thought it didn’t violate freewill… to be an odd position for a Freewill advocate to take.

You seem to have all sorts of positions you take … even when you don’t have to.

Truth out-maneuvers all lies and fictions. And yet you find something “sneaky” in Truth?

If you can turn Romans 9 into something that has nothing to do with individuals, I can turn the story of Adam & Eve into a parable about all humankind, rather than about 2 specific humans.


(David Greathouse) #11

I actually really liked the Chess analogy and will use it in the future… I never meant to criticize it. I don’t personally believe that is how God functions, but I believe it is definitely a useful analogy in things such as God making good things come out of bad things, such as Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers (Joseph became a king, and said God “intended their evil for good”). So, no, I really did like the analogy and found it quite impressive.

I’m a studying Christian, I definitely have a lot of positions, I won’t deny that.

As far as you criticizing my view of Romans, I’m only going off of what the entire chapter says in full. I think Adam and Eve could definitely be viewed as a parable, I’ve held that belief before myself. I for one believe Job is a non-literal story used to translate a literal truth, so I can completely understand you believing that.


(Jon) #12

It isn’t an individual person. There is no “who”. It’s a “what”. Paul is saying that unlike the Greek belief that different kinds of humans came from different sources (a tree, a rock, a fish, whatever), all humans belong to a common stock, all humans share the same blood. In modern terms we would say all humans are one species, though Paul wasn’t thinking in modern biological terms.

Where is it doing that? What do you think “he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” means? What would it have meant to Paul’s Greek audience? You need to consider the socio-cultural background; look at how these terms are used in Dionysius Halicarnassus, Appian, Diodorus, Aristobulus, and Philo.


(David Greathouse) #13

Interesting indeed! Thank you for interpreting it for me.


(Albert Leo) #14

Yes, I too would like to know George’s answer to this, and yours as well. For me, this is the ‘bottom line’ of religious Faith. Are there earthly rewards for leading a life pleasing to God? Then what? If the reward in the afterlife is ‘heaven’, what’s that like? Paul says its too wonderful for us to even imagine what it’s like. What about the other extreme: a life displeasing to God? Modern society surely tempts our youth to lead a life of selfish pleasure and dissipation; motto: you only live once; so cram in as much fun as you can while you can. What awaits those who travel this road? Is there an afterlife that metes out 'justice’ in the form of eternal torment in a Lake of Fire? Is God truly a Loving Father, but the demands of Justice overrides Love? Are there any satisfactory answers to these questions?

My answers may put me in a class with the Universalists. George seems to think so. I would like his first hand opinions tho.
Al Leo


(George Brooks) #15

@Aleo and @David1,

I’m pretty sure the answer of one Unitarian Universalist is not going to be very satisfying.
Let’s look at Matthew 25:41

Matthew 25:37
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord [the returning King], when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? . . .

Matthew 25:40
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[fn] you were doing it to me!’

Matthew 25:41
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
So here we have a puzzle within a puzzle: The Eternal Fire was prepared for the Devil and his followers. And now this story from Jesus suddenly makes it available to the wicked. Is this a handbook of things to come? Or is it another parable, like the one about the talents that Jesus gave just before this one?

As far as I’m concerned, Romans 9 is adequately explicit to depress even the most optimistic of the Faithful. And I set it aside… as I do Matthew 25:41.

But I’m a Unitarian Universalist. Why wouldn’t I set it aside? If good Lutherans and Presbyterians can set aside the instruction to give all their money to the Poor (i.e., the Ebonim) … certainly I can set aside this fantastic piece of “Cosmic Noir”.

Just to be clear, the instructions of Jesus to give all one has to the poor is not a reference to finding random poor people to donate to. The Ebonim was reference to a monastic way of living - - a way of living adopted by the Essenes, but also by innumerable Christians of the primitive church. They were the Poor because they owned very little in the way of private possessions … but were collectively very often a wealthy community.

My answer? To follow the example of many a fine Christian: set aside the verses that seem crazy to you.

But it really doesn’t matter what I say about it … for there are plenty of devout who ignore this most explicit of instructions by Jesus.


(Daryl Anderson) #16

Regarding the quote from Acts 17…
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”

Paul’s point, in addressing this pagan (non-Jewish) audience, is to make the case that there is one God over all people (“all the nations” is a key phrase), however, he is speaking of Noah, not Adam. He is referring to the ‘Table of Nations’ found in Genesis 10. Note how Paul’s language of “all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth” echoes the description of the seventy “nations” of Genesis 10 “spread out over the earth.” That passage is describing the descendants of Noah:
These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.(Genesis 10:32)

Also, Paul’s reference to God determining “the boundaries of their lands” echoes Deuteronomy 32:8 which refers to how God “set up boundaries for the peoples.”
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. (Deut. 32:8)

That is also referring to the seventy nations descended from Noah listed in Genesis 10 because it says “according to the number of the sons of Israel” which is also seventy:
All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy. (Gen 46:27)

I don’t see any evidence for Calvinism in these passages. Predestination, in the sense that God has always had a plan for his creation, is taught throughout Scripture.


(David Greathouse) #17

Predestination of ones salvation, or lack thereof, is not taught in scripture. God having a plan for His creation is not predestination, but foreknowledge and His “plan”.


(Daryl Anderson) #18

Sorry for my lack of clarity. In your original post you said, “Not only does this seem to teach that Adam was the first and only human at one point, but it also seems to teach predestination and Calvinism.” I’m just saying that I don’t see any evidence of predestination or Calvinism in that passage… unless you were talking about a broader view of predestination that includes God’s foreknowledge of his plan, such as in Acts 4:28…
27 For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4:27-28)


(David Greathouse) #19

I was referring to the more Calvinistic version, that God has pre-planned everything that is to occur. Thank you for clarifying!


(system) #20

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