Thank you for attempting to clarify.
You are right. I did write this, but you misunderstood it:
I would also point out that I had to cut down from about 3,500 words to 2,000, so large amounts of critical text had to be moved to footnotes. They changed the rules to allow footnotes because of me (or so they say). Let’s take your points one by one:
the first beings capable of a relationship with Him
As you know “capable” cannot be construed as any sort of biological capacity here, because there is not enough time for genetic ancestry to become universal, nor would it be reliably transmitted to his offspring. When I wrote this, I meant “capable” as in “first capable because they were first with opportunity.”
I have come to realize that capable is a trigger word for people, especially when not trained in biology. For this reason, I changed the illustration to opportunity in the blog post. This is an entirely inconsequential change, because I never proposed this as a coherent model. It is merely an illustration, a scientific test case. I do not advocate for this specific model, nor do I see at as anything other than an illustration.
I expect that as others understand the science, they will make theological models of their own, a plurality of them. I have no specific model here at all, but am merely saying that science is silent on this matter. That has been my point all along. Remember, I wrote…
Now I face a mystery. We do not know all the details; a very large number of scenarios are consistent with science and Scripture. What are the details? How could we know? Facing a grand mystery, I fall into the worship of creative curiosity.
Now let’s deal with this:
Adam and Eve, here, are the single-couple progenitors of all mankind."
In no place do I mean that there are no other “humans” in all sense of the word (remember, it is a totally ambiguous term, and I make a big point of that). I am only stating in the illustration that it is possible to imagine a theological definition of humans as we understand human today that makes Adam and Eve sole progenitors. FOR EXAMPLE, Others could still be entirely human (e.g perhaps they are God Imaged Homo sapiens), however they were just not be human as we understand it today (e.g. God Imaged and Fallen). This is, essentially, Walton’s definition of “true” human with a variation on how the Fall is transmitted. Let me remind you how I explained this in the blog:
In contrast, those “outside the garden” are God Imaged, but not yet Fallen. They are not sub-human, to be clear, but they are also different than humans as we understand them today; C.S. Lewis might say they were better than us.
This finding of non-contradiction extends to terms like sole-progenitor, first parents, “all the living,” “de novo” creation, without parents, etc. Keep in mind that sole-progenitor has several meanings, and does not forbid intermixing with other lines (see, for example, AiG’s many views on Nephilim).
Footnote 4: For example, if we define theological humans as “Adam, Eve, and their descendents,” then by definition they are the sole-couple progenitors of all humans, by definition.
Footnote 6: Once again, recall that sole-progenitors does not preclude mixing. Its definition here is that people are conferred with a specific theological status solely by way of a connection to this single-couple alone. In this sense, they are our sole-progenitors, sole source of any theological status (like original sin) conferred by being in their line.
By “theological human” here, I mean human as we understand human in theology today. And this is entirely clear from how I apply this to Walton’s model.
In context, I was responding to your book, where the focus was on Paul’s understanding of Mankind, whom are all fallen and subject to sin. So I am not talking about Homo sapiens. I declare up front that there is ambiguity in the term “mankind” and “human” in the distant past, in both theology and science. As Paul uses the term, it is legitimate to think (as even Scott McKnight thinks) he intends to refer exclusively to the descendents of Adam, which he believes are all “humans” alive in his day.
To be clear, I am not endorsing this view or advocating it. I am rather showing that it is permitted in the scientific account. Now, I am also showing you that it does not declare others as sub-human. I would point in particular to CS Lewis’ work here, that makes this clear: http://scientificintegrity.blogspot.com/2010/04/religion-and-rocketry-by-cs-lewis.html . Of course, there is also Walton’s approach too, which I have repeatedly referred to.
You are mistaking my meaning, as I hope is clear now. I could have just changed the dates to 150K (or so) years ago, so Adam is ancestor of all anatomically modern humans (as I discuss in the PSCF paper). I changed “capable” to “opportunity” with zero impact on my meaning. It was just an illustration.
This gets to the crux of the reason why so many theologians panned McKnight’s contribution to your book. Many have a problem with revising Paul’s understanding of Adam, but are entirely okay revising our understanding of Genesis. McKnight concedes Paul was starting from a genealogical Adam, but then just declares him wrong, for no clear reason. This is all the more strange when we realize there is no reason from science to doubt Paul’s understanding of Adam.
A lot of theologians found that to be jumping the shark (see the videos by my dialogue partner). I did my best to make the argument on his behalf, because there are better arguments then he offered. And I am open to a figurative Adam (as I understand you believe it), but McKnight did not make the case well.
Let me remind you also how I finished both this talk and my Sapientia piece…
Now I face a mystery. We do not know all the details; a very large number of scenarios are consistent with science and Scripture. What are the details? How could we know?
Facing a grand mystery, I fall into the worship of creative curiosity.
I fall into the “theologized fiction” of C.S. Lewis. Instead of clinging to a fragile theology unsettled by intelligent aliens, The Space Trilogy “imagined out loud” a vision of Jesus in a universe with life on other planets. Instead of grasping at fine-tuning arguments, The Chronicles of Narnia embraced the multiverse with a vision of Jesus too. “I am in your world,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia.”
Our generation needs fearless creativity. Come let us worship with curiosity, imagining new stories of Adam that give a clear vision of Jesus to our scientific world.