And this is why we can’t have nice things.
As long as this “Original Sin” stuff is criss-crossing overhead … “Genealogical Adam” is the logical approach to offer Creationists so inclined.
In other threads, I have heard the objection regarding “Genealogical Adam” that it is “Concordism” or “Concordist”. Now I find that I have been way too amiable about such accusations!
Right here on BioLogos, we have had an article treating Concordism specifically:
Here is a good quote:
"According to the historian @TedDavis , an influential early use of the word “concordism” is found in the writings of Bernard Ramm, the Baptist theologian, in his book The Christian View of Science and Scripture . Ramm writes with regard to the day-age theory (the idea that the days of Genesis 1 represent long periods of time): “It is called concordism because it seeks a harmony of the geological record and the days of Genesis interpreted as long periods of time briefly summarizing geological history”
Now this is very strange … what do you call a proposed historical scenario which doesn’t attempt to interpret the 6 days of Genesis at all? Usually, an explanation becomes Concordist when it attempts to explain away the idea of Adam and Eve being real people.
@Swamidass quite explicitly makes no such effort! They are real people to him. So, this can’t be why people call “Genealogical Adam” concordist!
The article delves a little deeper:
"The French Wikipedia entry on ‘concordisme’ describes a similar meaning. The website Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales provides a succinct definition of concordisme which, translated from the French, reads: “A system of exegesis aimed at establishing a concordance between biblical texts and scientific data.”
"A little further reading reveals that there are two types of concordism which relate to this definition. . . . “modest” concordism in which … philosophers seek to reconcile the Bible with “accurate science"…
in contrast with:
"… a “bold” concordism which claims that “the Bible teaches science and metaphysics in a positive fashion” (Shatz, 2008). A similar distinction is made between “soft” and “hard” versions of concordism by the organization Reasons to Believe."
I think we can quickly dismiss “hard” or “bold” concordism. @Swamidass makes no claim that the Bible is trying to teach its readers about “Genealogical Adam”.
But how about this “modest” or “mild” concordism: where historians or clergy ". . . seek to reconcile the Bible with “accurate science” ?
That’s a pretty far-reaching criticism, yes? In fact, it is the very nature of this accusation that led guest author, Denis Alexander, to write his clever little piece on Concordism!
“I lived for many years under the naïve impression that the word “concordism” had a reasonably stable and well-understood meaning. In Creation or Evolution—Do We Have to Choose [Monarch, 2014, 2nd edn, p. 286] I wrote that “it is truly important that we do not try and impose scientific interpretations upon the Genesis text, nor try to impose our interpretation of biblical passages upon the science, the approach of “concordism” that has already been criticized.” Therefore imagine my surprise when I was recently accused on this blog of being a “concordist”! Prof. Tom Wright was also so criticized in the same article, so at least one feels in good company. But I say “accused” advisedly because in my theological and cultural context, at least, it is mildly pejorative to claim that someone is “concordist” in their hermeneutics.”
So, let’s take a look at this terrible provocation, this “concordism”!, that the esteemed Alexander wrought upon the world?:
“In the second type of model (my personal preference), God revealed himself to a couple, or community, of farmers in the Near East at the very beginning of a putative proto-Jewish era, the so-called Homo divinus . These lived in fellowship with God, understanding their responsibility to care for God’s earth, but subsequently turned their back on God in disobedience, leading to human autonomy and a broken relationship with him (“sin”). The emphasis in this type of speculation is on a single family or community – relationships built and broken over a short time-span. God’s new family on earth had to begin somewhere and at some time: this was it.”
Scot McKnight, in his book co-written by Dennis Venema, continues his criticism:
“Perhaps I’m wrong again but I see Denis creating his own narrative, part biblical and part genome-theory and evolution-theory shaped. There’s a nice happy narrative here held by no one in the Bible but one that makes a scientist like Denis happier. That’s concordism. The concord I prefer is one that sees Genesis 1-3 more in conversation with the Ancient Near East accounts of origins and purpose.”
Now that’s interesting, yes? McKnight says Alexander is constructing a concordism… and then he plunges on - - offering a “concordist” approach more to his liking!
This approach is discussed in the beginning of his article:
"The clear parallel between Adam and Israel, already noted in rabbinic Judaism, is a crucial element in understanding Genesis 2-3, and—if accepted—decentralizes the historical question concerning Adam and thus eases tensions with evolution."
"Adam is presented in Genesis 2-3 as a preview of Israel’s history: both are
(1) “created” by God (Adam from dust, Israel out of slavery),
(2) placed in a lush land (Eden/Canaan),
(3) given commands to follow (the Tree of Knowledge/Mosaic Law), and
(4) are “exiled” for disobedience, both of which are described as “death”
(Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 37 and Deuteronomy 30)."
"In other words, Adam and Eve in Genesis 1-3 are fashioned as the first narrative of the Story of Israel – obedient, disobedient, and then exiled. This approach to Genesis 1-3 deserves more attention. In some important ways my sketch of the Adam and Eve of Genesis 1-4 is my own synthesis of John Walton, John Levison’s exceptional study of Adam in Judaism, Pete Enns, and J. Richard Middleton."
Wow, what a great solution. We explain to Creationists that Adam and Eve weren’t real at all… it’s a poetic metaphor about Israel… Adam is a stand-in for Israel. And since this is a “conceivable belief” for the actual Hebrew authors of Genesis - - it is not Concordism!
So why doesn’t some non-profit organization champion this miraculous solution? Why? Because Creationists don’t think like this. And lots of folks here at BioLogos think any attempt to craft a solution that appeals to the way Creationists think is a “sell-out”.
I guess the future will tell us the end of that story!