Question regarding Genesis, Adam, Eve, and Early Humanity

It doesn’t use the word “produced” for man either. It doesn’t say any living things are a product of design, and I think being designed is inconsistent with what it means for something to be alive. Living things are a product of growth and learning, and if anything this is even more true of human beings. The God of the Bible is a shepherd not a watchmaker – the latter idea comes from Deism.

Why? Why this difference in the case of human beings?

It is because it is not speaking of chemical biological life. It is speaking of the life of the human mind, and the divine breath is inspiration.

No if we are more than a species, then it takes more than just biology and DNA to make us human.

What problem? What behaviors do you imagine make us human?

I agree with including the Neanderthals in the biological species of humans. I do not agree this justifies your automatic exclusion of the idea that humanity consists of more than just a biological species in something which happens after the two subspecies merged together.

See above refutation of the treatment of “image of God” as a thing which anyone has. This theological terminology is not in the Bible.

God creating in His own image means His intention is a relationship with children. But that relationship with Adam and Eve failed. So this effort of God continues by calling us to seek recreation conformed to the image of His Son, which is only fulfilled in a relationship with God.

Indeed! This theological notion is a product of antiquated thinking (absolute time) which science has already rejected. Just because God is not a part of the space-time structure of the physical universe doesn’t mean that God is incapable of any temporal ordering of His own.

Eternal life is a relationship with God because there is no end to what He has to give to us and no end to what we can receive from Him. To be sure, Paul explains in 1 Cor 15 that unlike the physical body the resurrected spiritual body is imperishable. But it is a mistake to equate the eternal life promised by Jesus with the immortality of vampires. It is not just about never-ending existence which is too likely to be hell without anything to make that existence worthwhile. Jesus also says that some can expect eternal torment – so equating the ultimate hope with never-ending existence doesn’t make any sense at all. Life is more than just existence. Life is growth and learning.

Deism was one of my stops along the path from agnosticism to theism. It helped when I had no answer for the question of suffering.

Still disagree. I think it is simply the act of bringing something to life. In fact, Adam’s creation seems to me like a de novo act. I don’t like it, but the text really seems to be demanding that Adam was specially created, apart from the others and then moved into the garden. Of course, this then begs the question, why then have others outside at all, and why have the Earth produce them?

Too many similarities with other animals to claim we have anything more than they do, except the image, whatever that is. The Bible itself states we have no advantage over the animals.

I still maintain the image must be what separates us from the animals.

I’m not sure, but I am committed to my belief that man has no ghostly soul or anything within them that survives death. My only problem with my own belief here is that I cannot explain how God is going to resurrect me, without that new me being a clone.

So the image means that we are His children? In the sense my children are in my image, because they are mine biologically? But God, not having a body… You may be onto something there, but I still reject a soul within us. And I do not understand what spiritual life is. What it feels like, manifests as, or if I have ever had it. I feel fully physical.

It is more often the stop along the path from theism to atheism. That is certainly the path my father took with the conclusion that such a god is irrelevant to the living of our lives.

I don’t believe in anything put into the body to make it alive or a person. Thus I reject the puppet dualism based on the mental soul of the Gnostics. But both Paul and Jesus did teach that we have something which survives death. Paul called it the spiritual body which is brought to life in the resurrection. The difference is Paul’s teaching that the physical body comes first and the spiritual body grows from that like a plant from a seed. And I don’t think this spiritual body has any part of the space-time structure of the physical universe.

The Bible says no such thing. And there is only one important difference: language. And by language I mean a system of communication with representational capabilities which surpass that of DNA. The result is that human language can be the basis for a life all of its own – and that living organism is the human mind. Now… I don’t have any problem with the idea of other species in the universe having language. I would be delighted to find this is the case. And I believe in an infinite God, big enough for relationships with an infinite number of such other people. But so far, we haven’t found any.

However, let me clarify: the human mind is a physical living organism and not to be confused with anything spiritual.

I agree that this way of thinking is highly problematic and I would toss the whole idea of an historical Adam and Eve before accepted anything like that. But I don’t think the text demands any such thing. I certainly don’t believe in a necromancer god creating golems of dust and bone any more than I believe in magical fruit and talking animals. God created our bodies from the stuff of the earth according to the laws of nature and science is revealing the process by which this happened. Then God spoke to Adam providing the inspiration which brought the human mind to life. That is a meaning of the text I can accept.

That is the first time I have encountered such. Do you have a problem with the teaching of the Bible that God is spirit? Do you not believe we can have a relationship with this spiritual being?

I’m trying to avoid that.

We become alive again at the Resurrection. But we don’t survive death. We die and we stay that way until the Resurrection. Death is a punishment. We aren’t going to be consciously chilling out somewhere waiting until we come back to life. That isn’t death. Death is the opposite of life. There is no life in death.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-22

We agree on this.

Still not down with this.

I have a problem understanding any life within me other than plain and simple life. There is no spirit within me. I have no soul. But I am a living soul. A fully physical entity.
I can comprehend a spirit entity, to some extent. But that is not what I am.

The problem with this, is thinking that the resurrection is a physical event in the space-time structure of the physical universe. I certainly don’t believe that. The resurrection is not a zombie apocalypse of bodies climbing out of graves. But if it is not in the space-time structure then it is nonsensical to talk about remaining dead until the resurrection.

No. Death is simply the absence of life, which is a consequence of being without the necessary requirements. For physical life the necessities are chemical, but for spiritual life all you need is a relationship with God who is the ultimate source of all life.

Taken out of context.

Ecc 3:19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth?

The purpose here is only to say that we have no advantages over animals when it comes to death. Death is not a punishment for us any more than it is a punishment for the animals. It is simply the other side of life, as night is the other side of day. We have no advantage in a “soul” different from the animals to escape death – but it says quite clearly both have a spiritual existence which continues after death.

Indeed that spiritual existence is the whole point – the purpose for which the physical universe was created. The physical universe is like the womb, providing the needs for the growth of an infant in preparation for an existence outside the womb. Likewise we are made for a relationship with a God who is spirit, thus Paul explains that we have a spiritual body to be resurrected for that relationship.

Spiritual life is in a relationship with God. That life is not within you but in God. And the spirit is not a part of the space-time structure of the universe, so yeah, it is not inside you, but exists outside of space and time. What is here and now is a physical entity. But that is not the whole of reality.

@Benjamin87 , this I can’t add value to this discussion from personal work on the question. But as a librarian, I find it hard to stop my compulsion to throw books at a question. Loren Haarsma wrote a book in the last few years that might be helpful (or add confusion), When Did Sin Begin? There is a BL podcast interview with Haarsma here: Loren Haarsma | Four Approaches to Original Sin
And a book review on it by @Jay313 linked from this discussion here
CT book review: Four ways of harmonizing Genesis and evolution



Greetings and welcome!

These are all good questions. Have you reviewed Denis Lamoureux’ writings? He’s a PhD in both theology and evolutionary biology, as well as a doctorate in dentistry. He thinks that the entire Genesis account of creation is divine accommodation, with ancient science.

You might enjoy his book, “Struggling With God and Origins.” [Struggling with God & Origins: A Personal Story - Kindle edition by Lamoureux, Denis O… Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @](


About 4 years ago, when I read about non-concordism, I felt a ton of relief.

However, of course, that leaves the question of what portions of the Bible are accurate. He does say none of the Bible is necessarily accurate, scientifically.

It sounds like you have a very good mind. I’d be interested in what you find out.



Just to clarify my views: (1) Scripture features an ancient science throughout, (2) historicity begins roughly at Gen 12 with Abraham and continues through the rest of the Bible, especially with the historicity of Jesus Christ, his life, his miracles, and his bodily resurrection from the death, (3) Genesis 1-11 is a unique and complex literary genre with an ancient cosmogony, ancient historiography, parable-like stories, a few legendary elements (some real people in genealogies), and most importantly, Holy Spirit-inspired inerrant Spiritual Truths.


I’m liking the term theological history. Most of us agree there was a historic world altering event the Noahic covenant connects to.

I think you are correct that most believe there is “a historic world altering event the Noahic covenant connects to,” but are all those who believe that correct?


How is a “local flood” WORLD altering? Hyperbolic language on your part? It only altered that locality. I doubt people on other continents or anywhere outside a few hundred miles cared very much or even heard of it. But we all know Genesis doesn’t describe a “this only affects 10% (I’m making up a number) of the world population” type flood even though that is what localizing the flood does. Unless you want to push the flood back many tens if not hundreds of thousands of years which makes any claim to preserved historical memory laughable.

Conservatives are correct in dismissing this liberal eisegesis. Genesis presents a flood that destroys humanity. Creation is undone. Destroying a tiny, local population is not what Genesis describes. and that is why they just become YECs and choose to trust God and the Bible over science. Once you let the nose of the camel in the tent, the rest of him is soon to follow.

The Pentateuch consists of ~4 strands of complimentary (overlapping) and contradictory traditions that were placed side by side many hundreds of years after they were written. I get that an actual promise to a patriarch and some form of an exodus seem troubling to deny because the bigger picture of scripture presumes then and casts Jesus in those terms. But at the end of the day, archaeology and Biblical criticism have done to the Pentateuch what science has done to Genesis 1-2. Evangelicals who accept science are treading water in no-man’s land.

Rather than fussing over the “days” in Genesis Christians should be focusing apologetical efforts on dealing with the recent archaeological trend of burying the biblical stories. We generally are NOT reading history when reading the vast majority of the Bible.


In the same way the fall of the Roman empire was world altering.

And how was the fall of the Roman Empire WORLD altering?

One world ended, and a new world began :wink:

Everything that happens alters the course of world events including choosing when to take a dump. A localized flood only mattered to the locals who experienced it at the time. Most of the world had no idea it happened. Humans were spread out far and wide at the time. The fictionalized stories and mythology that Genesis borrowed from probably stemmed from ancient floods. These had more of an effect later on but during the actual event itself, assuming it occurred,there was very little about a local flood that could be deemed “world altering.” In fact, the flood account is one of the most popular stories in the world today, but that is only because Christianity spread far and why. There are also two different flood stories merged into one which shows how carefully most believers don’t actually read scripture.

So if by “world altering” you mean the flood story “become popular” I wouldn’t disagree. But why didn’t you just say that? I suspect most people mean more when they consider the Genesis flood “world altering.”

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It was world altering in the way other world defining events are. One is well within the scope of reason (or taking a dump) to see a localized flood as something that radically altered the world of the ANE.

Aren’t there two ways, at least, of viewing the Flood? Either mankind hadn’t spread too far out when it happened, or God is already only concerned with one area of the world, that being the Middle-East? The Promised Land, the chosen people and all that stuff?

I’ve always felt that works the other way for theological liberals too when the world of atheism comes crashing down.

The first way is objectively wrong. The second way is possible but I don’t think Genesis describes a local flood and I doubt 2 Peter does either:

“and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly”

“They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, 6 through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished.”

Does 2 Peter say or support the notion that a small area on earth was flooded and a small only percentage of its population perished?


It is a simple fact that local events are frequently world altering because things invented in one place spread everywhere to alter the whole world. Isn’t the most central message of Christianity all about a local event altering the entire world!!!

To be sure many people here prefer to discard the possibility of Genesis 1-11 being historical and are quite happy to make it all some vague metaphor or theological parable. I don’t think the facts of science make this necessary but it is an option. However, one way or another, nobody adheres to a completely literal understanding of the Genesis 1-11 text not even the Bible itself. Therefore, at the very least, we have ample reason to see elements of the Genesis 1-11 text as symbolic. And the facts of science are are among the best reason for doing so. Efforts to oppose this are not even consistent with the text.

One of the reasons we wrangle over this so much is how it connects so centrally to our own identity and value as human beings, as well as to the framing the problem which the gospels are addressing. What does it mean to be human? How did things go wrong? What does God want? What is the Bible and how seriously should we take it? How does Christ make things better?

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