Views on morality has changed drastically in just the last 400 years, or even just the last 100 years. Slavery, segregation, totalitarian regimes, divine right, and much more were considered moral just a few generations ago. Morality has changed much faster than our genetics has, so I don’t think it is as hard-wired as you may think. There is little doubt that instinct plays a part, but morality is more than that.
Sorry to quote myself, but I wanted to mention this article about “systemic sin” that I thought was fascinating:
True. Cultural evolution is much faster than biological evolution.
You’re a bad person Jay I don’t see much abstraction going on, not in the masses. Or individuals. Starting and ending with myself. I love Haidt but he is of course wrong or at least heterodox and imparsimonious about group selection. I like the Goodall quote. She’s right, even though she wasn’t a scientist. Order doesn’t bespeak purpose at any level of existence. I’m tending to the rationalist, to deconstruction without reconstruction, what the heck is that concept? That the sum of stuff is just the sum its parts? Empiricism? AH! Reductionism. A la Skinner’s behaviourism. A manifestation of empiricism. But I know stuff emerges. Synergy is real. What do you think emerges from our evolved moral taste receptors in evolving culture? We just shouldn’t rush to proliferate entities. Like Haidt does.
That’s due to the eventual, thousand year delayed, cultural critical mass of the Enlightenment and drinking the bitter dregs of experiencing every cultural evolutionary cul-de-sac at staggering cost in human suffering. We lucky few learn through the industrial, mountainous suffering of others.
O have no idea what more morality could be other than hard wiring and hard memetic experience.
Group selection is interesting, but I wouldn’t follow Haidt that far, either. Nor Skinner! I’d say that cultural behavior is patterned, not determined. Mimesis/“social learning” establishes the pattern of cultural norms that condition behavior, but these don’t predetermine behavior.
My evolved moral taste receptors have a sweet tooth. haha
The GAE models provide depth to the age-old (i.e. “earlier”) “federal headship” explanations for the transmission of Adam’s guilt.
I am new here and definitely don’t know much but I am trying to learn. So forgive me for asking this I am endeavoring to do a walk through the Bible. And afterwards the refresher walk through to do in depth studying of scripture as well. I hope this is not a silly question to your own question. You mentioned that you are studying Genesis. If I may ask are you doing a formal course? If so could you point me in the right direction? In reading previous comments etc I haven’t seen anyone putting on information on Genesis from a Jewish perspective. I.e Genesis was written in the context to the Hebrew language and culture and so should be interpreted from that perspective. I have a Christian friend who studied under a Rabbi. And they have a far more in depth insight as to the original Hebrew writings. Especially as to how the actual Hebrew scriptures portray Genesis’s creation account. There is a curious verse in Genesis 2vs 4 in the Old KJV it reads:
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
The words “these are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created” makes me wonder about the plural nature of the words. Was there several generations ie versions of the heavens and the earth when God created. I wish I can read Old Hebrew.
Makes me wonder. . .
I just learned that another book on the topic of the Genealogical Adam and Eve hypothesis recently published:
From what I read online, this book seems to go into less detail about the science, and more into the theological implications of the theory. Here’s a summary from the publisher about the points made in the book:
I just bought myself a copy, because I’m interested in learning more
Welcome, Yolande. I have leaned a lot from Old Testament scholar John Walton and his “Lost World…” books. Here is a link to a video on this site that may be interesting also:
Thank you I’m going to check it out!
The book of Genesis has a structure to it in that there are a series of section that begin with that phrase “These are the generations of” (the hebrew is toledot). It is a repeating pattern that starts a new phase in God’s activity with mankind. In all but the first one, it is an individual and discusses the descendants but also God’s activity in their life. I really haven’t study it, but I think the plural in Gen 2:4 isn’t talking about many heavens & earths, but what God did in that creation and what came out from it.
- ESV Genesis 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
- ESV Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.
- ESV Genesis 6:9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
- ESV Genesis 10:1 These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood.
- ESV Genesis 11:10 These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood.
- ESV Genesis 11:27 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot.
- ESV Genesis 25:12 These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham.
- ESV Genesis 25:19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac,
- ESV Genesis 36:1 These are the generations of Esau (that is, Edom).
ESV Genesis 36:9 These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.
- ESV Genesis 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.
I’m sure a lot has been written about that phrase. If I find some good resources I’ll share a link. But if you look at how that phrase functions in the other 9 places it will shed some light on how it probably functions in Gen 2:4
Hi John. This is very true, and accounts for the title of my book so kindly linked by your good wife. If I may quote myself, this is my approach to the toledot of Genesis 2:4:
The title, The Generations of Heaven and Earth, comes from Genesis 2:4, the first of the so-called toledot statements of Genesis. The scholarly consensus is that these act primarily as introductions to the sections of the book, pointing to the outcomes of the named individuals such as Adam (5:1), Noah (6:9), and so on. These outcomes, or generations are mainly their offspring, but also the events they took part in. The heavens and the earth are, of course, the entire Genesis 1 creation, and it may seem strange to see the garden narrative as if it were a genealogy for a parental cosmos.
And yet, if I am correct in my thesis that Genesis 2 introduces the theme of new creation that occupies the whole of the rest of the Bible, then there is a theological, as well as a poetic, truth in the concept of the heaven and earth bringing forth a new creation that literally unites and replaces them. The title, then, describes the whole theme of the book, and not simply the genealogical relationships of the human race.
I personally don’t see any reason for me to believe that Adam and Eve were created differently, or created the same, and then interbred with apes or other humans created through evolution while they themselves were created by magic or whatever you want to call it.
Since it does not give answers any more clear than mythological answers to the creation account I look into science and other biblical patterns to explain it.
Science shows that we evolved just like everything else. At some point along the evolutionary route we developed cognitive reasoning skills, emotional intelligence , abstract thought, and the became creatures that could put faith in a god.
When I look at biblical patterns I always seeing a god selecting a handful of people to be his people. He chose Abraham, and he chose Moses. He both guided them towards a promised land. He chose Noah and saved him.
So with those patterns and scientific data the conclusion that makes the most sense to me
Is that at some point God reaches out to Adam and Eve. Maybe they were already a couple. Maybe they became a couple. Maybe they were kids and he was raising them up in righteousness. Maybe they were in the garden for decades or maybe just a year. Don’t I know. But God selected them and they were his people. When they messed up, they had to leave the promise land ( garden ).
As for how sin is passed in use a similar approach. These verses really helped.
Romans 5:12-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
It says through one men sin entered the world and sin spread to all men. I don’t believe that’s reference to genealogies , genetics, or anything of the like. I believe that sin only becomes sin once god calls it sin. God gave Adam and Eve a few rules. They broke them. They sinned. Then they drift their kids , and it seems god was still communicating with them directly about sin. Cain knew his sacrifice was wrong and did it anyways. Throughout the ages, the message was spread to everyone. Everyone kept choosing sin. Sin is carried on because people
Are told the right thing to do and choose to do the wrong thing.
One part of those verses stands out to me.
Sin has always been in the world. But before the law labeled it as sin we were not accountable to it. Now we are. I believe God chose Adam and Eve to show them the right way and was going to bless them with leading the world. They messed up. We all have except Christ.
Accepting this statement as “True”, makes it a self-fulfilling prophesy. I would rather believe the line from Porgy & Bess: "It ain’t necessarily so."
On this planet at least, the evolution of life seems (to a great extent) dependent upon ‘Selfish Genes’; that is, an individual’s ‘fitness’ is often NOT enhanced by empathy, love and self-sacrifice. But humankind has been gifted with a Mind and Conscience that can comprehend a Purpose beyond simple procreation; e.g., God’s desire to have a creature strive to behave in His Image. To do so, we must strive to transcend, both individually and culturally, such hard wired morality (instinctual behavior) that is selfish.
I am not sure how it fits in, but there seems to be overwhelming DNA and historical evidence that Homo Sapiens mated with Neanderthals.
The idea that the early chapters of Genesis are literal history is directly contradicted by the existence of two creation stories with different orders and methods of creation.
Actually, the Genealogical Adam and Eve hypothesis does not say that Adam and Eve interbred with apes. As explained in @Jon_Garvey’s new book, the people outside the garden were also fully human, fully endowed with human dignity and worth. See this summary of the main points made in his book:
The beauty of this genealogical theory is that it allows scientists like us (who accept the evidence of human evolution) hold to a tighter historical Biblical hermeneutic.
The theory is a nice way of explaining the differences in the creation stories described in Genesis 1 & 2, by saying that there actually were 2 different creation events.
The theory also allows us to understand Jesus and Paul’s teachings as being clear and inerrant when they refer to Adam as a historical figure (e.g. in Romans 5). Tim Keller nicely explains these hermeneutical challenges in his essay:
By allowing for a special creation of Adam and Eve, we can understand how Adam and Eve were able to commune with God so directly and personally in the Garden. They could have a close relationship with God in the Garden before they sinned. After Adam and Eve fell into sin, they could no longer stay in God’s presence, because God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and His perfection excludes sinners from His presence (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 6:23). This direct interaction of Adam and Eve with God in the Garden gives us a beautiful picture of what we have lost through our sin, and what has now been made possible for us in heaven due to Jesus’s death and resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Of course we all have different interpretation schemes with which we can be comfortable. The GAE theory opens up new options. New options are good, because having more options could help the science/faith dialogue. Lets be open minded about the spectrum of beliefs that could fit within Christian orthodoxy. Ultimately it is our faith in Jesus’s death and resurrection that brings us to salvation (John 3:16, Romans 10:9, 1 John 1:8-10).
Yes, Vance, the GAE theory fits nicely with those observations (see my post #45 above)
I will have to read the blog sometime soon you cited. But I’ve heard very similar concepts for years now and personally dont feel its a tighter biblical interpretation than believing it’s an ahistorical account embellished with hyperbolic language.i even feel the opposite personally.
As for the apes I was just regurgitating someone else’s response I saw while reading. I also don’t believe it’s a derogatory term since I believe humans are a ape subspecies.
I believe that at that time any humans could have stood before God and we’re all equal. They all made mistakes, but there was no accountability to sin because there was no law. Adam and Eve were the first two to be called by God and placed in a sacred space and given a law and some sort of gift of eternally prolonging life by a tree. It also sets up the pattern for all the future trees being used.
The tree of life, the tree cut down for Abraham to use as the wood for Isaac, the trees used by Noah to build the arc, the trees used to construct the temple , to the specific trees wants to be used by the sons who got burned up by fire , to the tree jesus was hung on. Even the burning tree Moses saw. It sets up the patterns of Adam and Eve in the garden dealing with a snake that is later associated with Satan a fallen angel which is similar to the concept Enoch prophesied about and how the Israelites felt looking at the giants ( associated with the stories of sons of god going after daughters of men and boring the Nephilim) in the promised land partly explained as a garden and ending with Jesus in a garden dealing with the deceit of the same fallen angel trying to tell him what God said is not so.
To me the second mini creation account undermines the patterns set up and when reading it seems like they done it on purpose to showcase its not literal.
People often ask why would God explain it in such a way if he knew it was not so. Well for the same reason the same Holy Spirit led with the story of revelation.
It fits into everything for me. Even how genesis opens with a world of just water and it uses the same root words as chaos. A world of just water would be chaos for us as humans. It mentions in the first chapter of the great sea monsters being created. It uses the same tannin words. Then in job brings back up that multi headed sea dragon. Then links satan to being a dragon. Ends in revelation with the concept of a lake of fire as opposed to the world of water almost as to mock the sea dragon who was a air dragon trapped and in a sea of fire . It brings up the verses about the new heaven and earth having no sea hyperlinking back to there being a world of chaos in genesis.
For me it’s the interpretation that plays best into every thing.
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