Four Views on the Historical Adam (Rauser Review)

(Jay Johnson) #41

Yes, think about that for a minute. How do two people who have never been “socialized” suddenly and seamlessly integrate into an existing society? How would they know how to conduct themselves? I suspect they and their offspring would’ve been shunned or killed fairly soon.

(Mitchell W McKain) #42

I think the most you can say is that there is a high probability of this. History attests that the reaction to strangers is all over the map, from murderous hostility to generous welcome.

(Jay Johnson) #43

But that is the reaction to strangers who follow different customs. Simply, people who’ve been raised in another culture may have different customs, but that’s a far cry from two people who would have zero experience of human customs or group behavior. Try to imagine such an Adam. I picture him urinating in public, taking things that aren’t his, inappropriately touching his neighbor’s wife – and winding up dead of stupidity in short order. You have a different idea?

(Mitchell W McKain) #44

That seems to be assuming a great deal about Adam and Eve. Personally, I think this whole idea of a special creation of Adam and Eve is ridiculous. But even in my conception of Adam and Eve selected out of the pre-existing population, I still see them as being raised and taught by God. So I do not see why it wouldn’t mean Adam and Eve are the well behaved ones and it is the other homo-sapiens who urinate in public.

(Mitchell W McKain) #45

I would think logic is sufficient to answer this question.

  1. The number chromosomes most likely must be the same. And thus the total quantity of DNA must be rather close.
  2. The coding which determines which portions of the DNA are used has to be pretty much the same.
  3. The portions of the DNA which are used have to be compatible, and that usually means within the range of variation found in the population.

There is some room for deviation from this but the probability of viability is going to drop when there are too much differences from this.

(Jay Johnson) #46


God the nanny? That’s ridiculous. Why would God select A&E out of a pre-existing population as infants, or toddlers, or 6-yr-olds? (Of course, I’m not even asking the question of whether it was ethical for God to “whisk away” to Eden the children of pre-existing parents, whom God presumably did not ask for permission or tell what he was doing.) If you’re going to postulate A&E selected out of a pre-existing population, then go ahead and have God select them as adolescents or something. At least that way, you avoid the problems of language learning and enculturation.

(Edit: I hope some of my GA friends are listening, because I’m actually trying to help them out here.)

(Mitchell W McKain) #47

God the parent.

Well the actual events are unknown. But it is not hard to imagine Adam either orphaned or separated by circumstance. But it is also possible that God spoke to Adam and inspired him to move out on his own, as it is told God did with Abraham.

But in my thinking, providing Adam and Eve with language learning and enculturation was the whole point. I don’t think what makes us human is a genetic inheritance but a memetic inheritance. We are after all talking about the beginning of humanity. I just think the important differences are in the human mind and not in any genetics.

A hostile witness then?

(Tom Larkin) #48

I would like to try to understand this approach better, but I am confused. With any of this scriptural reference / backup would be helpful You have said in another post that you did not think Adam was directly created by God but selected by God. Wouldn’t this approach mean the events of Chapter 1 occurred before Chapter two?

Genesis 5 is a “vertical” genealogy taking us from Adam to Noah which would mean Genesis 2-4 would need to occur at least at the start of Genesis 5 and Noah at the end of Genesis 5. Typically the purpose of a “vertical” genealogy is to move between time periods and to document descent.

I am having a hard time seeing how these accounts could be parallel, maybe you could help me understand. Also if Genesis 1 and Genesis 6 are parallel, how is the creation of man “very good” in one, and a reason to destroy the earth in a parallel account?

(Tom Larkin) #49

One thing I really like about the work of Dr. Swamidass is that he shows the common descent of all men, as soon as 3,000 years ago. We are all the same, no-one has a suppler bloodline.

Under the dispensation of Grace, we are all the same, all in need of a Savior, no-one in a position to judge anyone else, no one in need of less or more Grace than anyone else. It is the ultimate equalizer.

The Old testament is a different story, in order to fulfill the covenants God establish with individuals, the bloodlines become very important. Two examples, one is that we would need to know who Abraham’s offspring are in order to demonstrate that they truly did become a blessing to all mankind. God promised that the Messiah would come from the house of David, so we need to show that the Messiah truly came from this bloodline.

There is a consistent pattern in the Old testament, the genealogy or genealogies of those not leading to the Messiah are always given first before the genealogy leading to the Messiah. Chapter 1 establishes the genealogy not leading to the Messiah ahead of the creation of Adam, the line leading to the Messiah.

The genealogies are only import unit the time of Jesus, then become completely irrelevant under the dispensation of Grace. We are all the same.

(Mitchell W McKain) #50

So you have 4 parallel accounts but they don’t all start or end at the same place.
Genesis 1 starts before the creation of the earth and perhaps before the creation of the universe. It is not very easy to match this up with the scientific account. Then it ends with the creation of man and woman, then giving them the command to be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over the earth, with much of it good for food.
Genesis 2-4 starts with God finishing the creation of heavens and earth and having a day of rest, but it continues with a second account of creating mankind in the persons of Adam and Eve. This continues with a story the two trees, the snake, the curse, and the story of their three sons, Cain, Abel and Seth, as well as the story of some of Cain’s descendents.
Genesis 5 starts again with the creation of man in the person of Adam and then gives an account of the genealogical descent to Noah and his three sons.
Genesis 6 starts with the multiplication of men on the earth and explains that the chosen sons of God took their wives from the daughters of men. And while their children were men of renown, the wickedness of men on the earth grew to an intolerable extreme.

There are linkages between the accounts which help to explains various developments, such as how the wickedness progressed in Genesis 2-4 from the sin of Adams and Eve to Cain’s murder of Abel to the even more murderous behavior of Lamech.

(Jay Johnson) #51

Just thinking out loud about a “recent” literal Adam & Eve, which many scenarios require, not just GA. The same concepts would apply to the more recent innovation, too.

Hmmmm. On second thought, my suggestion for an adolescent Adam (inspired to move out of the house?!) doesn’t work any better than God the parent, teaching A&E to speak and providing them with “enculturation.” An adolescent Adam already would be a sinner, since he was taken from pre-existing human society, and an infant Adam would require full-time tutoring by God just to learn to speak, a la Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. Of course, God himself could not really provide them with enculturation, since children learn that by observing and imitating how humans actually speak and behave in society. I suppose YHWH could’ve given them an extensive list of rules to memorize and observe once outside the Garden, but then God would be assuming their failure and prepping them for it, and I also know how you feel about rules-based ethics. :wink:

All in all, I don’t see any way to insert an Adam into recent history, whether that’s Homo divinus or GA or any other formula. Taking specially-created Adam off the shelf doesn’t solve the problems. An infant Adam runs into the language learning and enculturation conundrum, and an adolescent Adam already has the knowledge of good and evil before even laying eyes on the apple. Another paradox.

(Mitchell W McKain) #52

Seems to me your so called difficulties derive from host of assumptions, just like the rather strange assumption that Adam would be the one pissing in public. In fact, it seems to me that you are practically looking for any assumption you can find which will justify a contemptuous reaction. It strongly reminds me of the way an atheist hostile to Christianity tends to read the Bible looking for anything that will reinforce their hatred and contempt for Christianity. One of the excuses I often see is that of changing the average ways people did things at a certain time in history into a restriction on the way anybody could have done things, which is totally unwarranted. I am reminded of when people dated the writing of the gospels to after the destruction of the temple, taking for granted that nobody could predict this, when frankly any intelligent person aware of the political social circumstances might have predicted this. Likewise people don’t all learn things the same way and your assumption that God has no way to fulfill the role of parent even if imitation is essential is also unwarranted. I can think of several ways God could have done this. Frankly, when people don’t use their imagination for questions like this it is because they are making no effort to do so, just like when creationists come up with so many lame excuses of why evolution cannot work.

Children can start talking at the age of two years and then we continue learning language all our lives. And that is just the average. In one case a baby spoke fluently at the age of six months. And does the time this takes increase all that much when they are a few years older. Not at all. Adam wasn’t blind and deaf so your comparison to Helen Keller and talk of full-time tutoring makes no sense. The only thing more incomprehensible than the restrictions you place on what Adam could have learned is the restrictions you place on what God could have taught.

(Jay Johnson) #53

The primary way that humans learn is not something that has changed over various epochs. It’s an aspect of “human nature,” if I may use the term. Aristotle pointed it out quite long ago, actually.

Gosh, are you being contemptuous of me? May it never be! Nevertheless, if you want me to use my imagination, I can imagine God creating a society of humans and placing them in the Garden so that Adam and Eve could learn from them what it is to be human, but that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Anyway, what you’re doing is the problem that I have with all the various “recent Adam” scenarios, which is that they require ad hoc explanations and special pleadings at every turn. Don’t worry. It’s not just you …

(Jay Johnson) #54

Sorry. I missed your last paragraph somehow, so I’ll reply here.

No, it actually makes perfect sense, because children learn as much from the conversations that occur around them as they do from direct, one-on-one conversation with a parent. If the only dialogue they ever hear is what YHWH says to them, they are more deprived than Helen Keller, because Anne Sullivan used to sign every word of every conversation around them into Helen’s hand. Tell me that’s not a full-time job.

The only way around is for God to implant such knowledge into Adam and Eve’s minds, and then we’re back to the omphalos hypothesis again.

(Mitchell W McKain) #55

Nonsense. There is nothing any parent can do that God cannot do and nothing any infant can do that an infant Adam couldn’t do, so there is NO REASON to expect that this would take any longer than children usually take to learn and plenty of reason to think that it could have taken a lot less. Not only are we talking about an extra-ordinary parent and an extra-ordinary infant, but God can communicate in many more ways than a human parent can do. And this talk of a full-time job is really bizarre – what kind of limitations upon God are imagining in that I wonder?

And what this has to do with the omphalos hypothesis I haven’t a clue. What false evidence are you suggesting is implied by this idea of God communicating with a human being? Any evidence is easily accommodated because there is no reason to credit any strawman exaggerations you choose to argue against. You also keep harping on this term “recent Adam” when I certainly haven’t said anything like this so you might want to clarify what you mean by this term.

I said it was my guess that Adam lived 10,000 years ago +/- 4000 years corresponding with the beginning of human civilization. And again this corresponds to my feeling that our humanity has more to do with the mind than genetics. But I would think later dates in this range would suggest that the inspiration given to Adam making him human was something more subtle, while the earlier dates could mean a more substantial content.

(Phil) #56

I think what is suggested is similar to what happens when your computer breaks. The software guy says it is the hardware, and the hardware guy says it is the software. In Adam’s case, the software guy is God, and the hardware guy is God, so God gets the blame when things go wrong in Eden. This is not directly the omphalos hypothesis, but is related in that is is similar in the end to the creation of a fully functional pre-programed Adam and the questions that brings up.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #57

One of the problems for those who insist on a “special Adam” is that to the extent that some literal person Adam is deemed to have a privileged existence, is to the same extent that any continuity between him and Jesus (and all the rest of us) is severed. If he is special or God just “downloaded knowledge” into a freshly formed adult body, then he ceases to share in any of the rest of our human experience who were born of mothers and had to grow and learn things by experience. To insist that Adam must have been artificially inserted into existence is tantamount (to my way of thinking) to insisting that Jesus couldn’t have been human. In which case we can write off Christ as being hopelessly disconnected from the real human experience, and the incarnation as a sham. The message I see in scriptures instead is that Adam, Jesus, you and me are all made from the dust of the earth … knitted together in our mothers’ wombs and we all share in every bit of essential humanity. To break any part of that chain is to (I suggest) fatally depart from scripture. To think of Adam as a mere magical “golem” formed literally from mud as you have so colorfully described and rightly rejected elsewhere, is to take the very archetype of humanity itself and in the next breath deny “his” very humanity.

(Mitchell W McKain) #58

I agree with what you say whole-heartedly. But Adam within the usual range of human variation still leaves plenty of room for the extra-ordinary. And you would expect extra-ordinary if God is choosing Him. So I am not suggesting that Adam was anything that can be described as super-human. But nor do I think it is reasonable to insist that Adam must conform to the human average. So that example I gave of a baby who learned to speak fluently at 6 months old is applicable.

(Jay Johnson) #59

Wait. A minute ago it was an ordinary infant from a pre-existing population. Now, it’s an extraordinary infant? Did God pre-select his extraordinary parents for an untimely death in order to obtain this extraordinary infant from the pre-existing population? Or did God wait for an extraordinary single mom to sneak into the woods to give birth by herself and then die, so that no one would notice a newly born infant suddenly gone missing?

I am not imagining any limitations on God. The limitations are on the human infants, and the way that humans learn. Moreover, you are vastly underestimating the number of conversations and social interactions that infants/children observe indirectly, as passive participants. Think of all the conversations between mother and father that an infant observes, to point out just the most obvious. Infants and children are constantly absorbing conversational stimuli.

As far as God communicating in more ways than human parents, what do you have in mind? Unless he is communicating to them audibly in a human language, then what are they learning? It certainly wouldn’t be ordinary human language, which will be required once they are kicked out of the Garden. Go beyond that, and God is implanting knowledge in their minds, and we’re back to omphalos. (If you don’t understand, implanting knowledge in their minds is no different than creating them with the appearance of age. In effect, such knowledge would be “false memories.”)

And, I haven’t even broached the fact that communication involves a great deal more than just learning the right words and grammar. We can change the meaning of a word with the lift of an eyebrow or a slight grin. Tone of voice can change a sentence from innocuous to threatening, as can posture and gesture. It’s a “full-time job” because God would have to spend all of Adam and Eve’s waking moments in bodily form speaking and interacting with them, as normal human parents do, else God be charged with “neglect” and the experiment fails.

I think I’ve explained it as well as I can in this format. If you still don’t see the problem, I’ll let someone else take a crack at it.

(Jay Johnson) #60

I’d like to see proof of that one. It’s physically impossible, like claiming memories of one’s birth and infancy.