Fuz Rana Answers @Guy_Coe's Question about Genesis 1 and 2


#1

@Guy_Coe was honored to have Fuz Rana from Reasons to Believe answer his question:

Is Genesis 2 an expansion on Day 6 of Creation or is it sequential to Genesis 1?

This is significant because Fuz has rarely responded to questions from those outside RTB. So it is an interesting window into how RTB might think about the Genealogical Adam. We will find out more soon too. I am doing a joint event with Hugh Ross end of January in California. It will be interesting to see how they respond.

@Guy_Coe, how would you summarize what he says in this 40 minute answer? @jongarvey and @vjtorley what do you think?


#2

Yes, it was an honor. I am very glad that Faz responded, and did as well as he did.
My question to him was, on what biblical grounds would he reject a sequential reading of the two very different accounts in Gen. 1:1-2:4, vis-a’vis Genesis 2:5ff.
His answer seemed to indicate a mere preference for the “expansion of day six” hypothesis, while noting strengths in the “sequential” hypothesis.
Please read my comments to his original post, offer your own views, questions, or critiques, and let’s keep a respectful, hopeful dialogue going. By no means am I as well-informed on all the specifics as each of you. But, I have made this a life-long commitment, to understand how the Scriptures comport with the record of general revelation, as elaborated through a variety of scientific disciplines. That said, please join in the quest!


#3

You have a lot going on there. I’d suggest you focus in on the key things you think are worth preserving about that interaction over year. In particular, any transcriptions of key things that Fuz said has real value.


#4

For one, that a sequential reading suggests a Neolithic setting for Genesis 2:5ff. That makes archaic homo sapiens candidates for the “mankind” God announces He will now endow with His “image” as a creative event in Genesis 1:26-27, as possibly coincident with the cultural “big bang” which others have described variously, from perhaps as old as 100k.y.a., but also possibly 50-45 k.y.a. That is a matter for paleoanthropology to sort out. Adam would then be more recent ( much more so, in my view) than those “created” in Genesis 1:27 and ff.


#5

Or, Adam’s advent is co-incident with the 50-40 k.y.a. evidence, but my own guess is that he’s from a Mesopotamian setting more like 15-12 k.y.a.
It may be that the African emergence and eventual dominance may have more to do with the invention of controlling fire, combined with a less robust physical frame, post ice age, leading to rapid neurologic brain development, due to an increased caloric supply, among other things, to the point which God can then endow this “mankind” with His “image.”


#6

@swamidass , when and where is that event? I’d hope to be able to attend, somehow.


#7

So many Chrustmas visitors, and so little time…

Personally I don’t feel comfortable about interpretations that rely on God’s injecting hidden information about evolution (or even a far distant early neolithic) into the Mosaic account. The question has to begin with what it meant to the human author under the inspiration of the Spirit, and the interest comes from the fact that it’s such an old account that we can’t take anything for granted - even early Christian or 2nd temple Jewish understandings were far later than the composition.

The traditional interpretation, I guess, begins with the conclusion that Adam should be taken as the first man fron the various hints in the Bible. In that case Gen 2 must be restating or continuing Genesis 1, in which humans were first created - hence the common mediaeval belief (following Irenaeus) that Adam sinned on the afternoon of the day he was created.

The critical scholars, typically, barged in with high explosives and simply said they are two incompatible accounts of creation. Integrating them with each other or with science thereby becomes futile.

But I’ve been thinking through a scenario that centres on Adam’s place as a historically remembered forerunner of Israel’s covenant (and therefore dated both by his cultural and geographic setting, by genalogies, and by the limits of human memory to the Neolithic - I’d favour closer to 3500BC than 10500, but that’s detail that’s possibly unknowable).

The key thereafter is that, just Israel knew itself to be called (via Abraham) out of the human race and for the human race, it makes sense that they saw Adam in a similar role, assumed the existence of a large body of humanity in his time, and that the features of the account that appear to make Adam isolated are literary, not historical.

The writer’s concern in chapter 1 can then be seen as the establishing of God’s sole Creatorship and Deity, and therefore the establishing of his rights over, and concern for, the whole of mankind, on which Genesis 2 and the rest of salvation history depends.

In that understanding, there is no need to map Genesis 1 to evolution at all - “Moses” is talking about the race from which Adam arose, and asserting that people - phenomenologically understood as anyone you meet in your travels - are God’s handiwork, and not only that, but his image in and for the world.

I don’t see it as helpful to think of “the image” as something added to mankind - it is what we are, just as the Mona Lisa was, from start to finish, created as the image of Lisa Gherardini. In the latter case, of course, one could talk about the chemical pigments, the paint etc and compare that with mankind evolved from something else: but the painting was not made into a roughly humanoid shape and then handed to Leonardo to do the face to order. In that sense, it is and always was “in the image and likeness of Lisa,” if Leonardo knew his job.

When Genesis was written, any questions about whether some long-extinct species were, or were not, human, or created in God’s image would have been just as academic as they are for us. We don’t know, and possibly never will, how the human species was brought into being, and how much was by “generation” (providentially) and how much by “creation” (directly). What we do know is that all humanity is of one blood, and all in the image of God: modern genetics confirms that, even as the “established science” of the Out of Africa hypothesis gets a bloody nose from new fossils. Genealogical Adam, of course, confirms close human brotherhood even more dramatically.


#8

@Guy_Coe you might want to look more closely at @jongarvey’s work here. Have you read much of his series on this?

The Genealogical Adam as Israel


#9

I wonder whether it is the different view I hold of the origins of Gen. 1-11 source material that drives my different take on them than some.
I see Moses as the editor, compiler, and redactor of very ancient materials, which he was privy to as a young prince of Egypt, in the royal archives, as a way to get at the meaning of his “secret” Hebrew heritage-- perhaps the world’s most gifted and well read apologist for YHWH of his day.
See Damien Mackey’s work on "Toledot theory online, particularly his “Tracing the Hand of Moses” available online as an academic paper, and referenced in footnote #2 here: https://historyancientphilsophy.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/the-origins-of-genesis-solving-the-toledoth-mystery/amp/
This frees Adam up from being a mere literary fiction, and allowing the early Genesis material to be the forerunner to the other ancient, paganized versions from other ANE sources, while allowing for a relatively “late” date for Adam.
This avoids the inevitable conclusion that Genesis 1 MUST be merely a fanciful human literary creation, or a sanitized “borrowed myth,” and instead allows the source material for Gen 1-11 (and the book of Job) to be some of the oldest literature written contemporaneous to the events it describes on the planet.
Hope that helps set the stage… : )


#10

As for “injecting” genetic information, it may be that “the image of God” required only a small additional change in human imaginative ability, such that he could finally be spiritually aware of “the design hypothesis,” and thus to be open to actually “meeting God” in the form of The Angel of the Lord, as in Genesis 1.
Other places in the Bible make it plain that we do not, willingly, come to this awareness on our own; it has to be “given” to us.
“Let Us give mankind an inkling of Ourselves (and, thus, his own identity)” would be an apt paraphrase in such a view.


#11

@jongarvey The fact that you’re “not comfortable” with these notions, is, in fact, exactly what this model would predict, BTW! : )


#12

At this point, I am just glad you got your question answered. I did not know how RTB understood a two creation account, and it sounds like they may be open to it. That is good news.

Curious how this will play out with Hugh Ross in January…


#15

Please avoid referring to this as a “two creation” view; that kind of rhetoric plays right into Faz’s hand!
He can get most listeners to dismiss considering the view out of hand when referring to it that way.
If you look closely, you’ll see that the Hebrew verb "bara appears nowhere in relation to Adam and Eve’s story, and thus it is false to say that Adam was “created.” The Hebrew verb used in relation to him is “asah,” “formed,” and thus we have yet another clue that this account not simply a retelling of Genesis 1:27.
Instead, the crux of the matter with the interpretive view I’m putting forward is that the reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3, linked by a chiasm in 2:4, then starting into Genesis 2:5 ff , ought to be read SEQUENTIALLY, thus dispensng with the identification of Adam as the "first human being ever."
Genesis 2:5 and ff. describes events later than, perhaps MUCH later than, those in Genesis 1.
Please hold closely to that distinction when considering the view.
The Romans 5:12-15ff passage (and others used to argue that Adam was the first human being) is merely a contrast of types, and presents Adam as the first human of that type, not as the first human ever. He was the first to willingly disobey a direct command of God, yes, and we all are his descendants on that score, but he was not the first human being ever.
Just clarifying.


#16

I agree. Scripture does not teach that Adam was the progenitor of the whole human race- just the line of Messiah. And that was his role anyway, along with moving man from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to domestication of plants and animals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctaI-uapHb0&t=532s


#17

In keeping with my proposal that the Genesis 1:26-27 “creation” of mankind (australopithecines, or similar?) “in(to?) our image” (Denisovans, Neanderthals, and similar?) was a vital step in the chain of events leading to the much later story of Adam and Eve, who “gained the knowledge of good AND evil,” along with the morphological changes in human neocortical brain structure necessary for such, along with the proposal that through outcompetition, warefare, or simply interbreeding (Genesis 6), I offer the following article for consideration. No “genetic bottleneck” need be necessary; only a gradual “replacement” takeover of all prior human lineages.


I also have proposed that the “fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was not merely symbolic, nor merely “spiritual,” but also physical, containing, possibly, a suite of enzymes which activated this latent gene. Adam and Eve thus set the course for all of modern humanity, through assimilated lineage, to be born with this capacity, if not tendency, for “original sin.” It certainly is the case, for example, that the amygdala almost always outraces the neocortex… and that’s just one potential avenue to explore when probing the issues of hamartiology. Cheers!


#18

@swamidass Any thoughts? I found this fascinating, especially given that one of your go-to examples about how Christians cannot avoid the heuristic value, at least, of the evolutionary explanation is the comparative genetic distance between humans and chimps, versus mice and rats. This study showed how manipulating one gene gave mice more densely-packed and convoluted neural networks more closely approaching those typical of the human brain.


#19

For reference, the paper being quoted is this one:

@bjmiller, this another example of a frameshift adding function to a protein.

It is a great example of how a small genetic change can have a big impact on phenotype. Exactly what the phenotype is, however, it hard to tell with high precision. We do not know for sure how many changes were needed to get us here, and or even how “human” the common ancestor of Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo sapiens really was.

This does remind us, however, that very small genetic changes can have a large impact. Most of the genetic changes between chimps and us are not important to function. Only a few of them were required to bring us here.