IF there were "imago Dei" humans who existed before Adam

…how many were there, and when did they suddenly transition from being “merely animal” (sic) to being fully “human?”
Here’s where the standard “plain sense” (supposedly) English reading of the ancient Hebrew text goes astray.
The Hebrew phrase “God created” conveys absolutely no specific information about the means of His accomplishment, nor of the duration of His action involved in bringing the result about… only of the completely novel character of the action’s outcome.
Nothing sudden need be surmised.
If that sounds heretical to some, consider the “plain sense” of the English phrase “Michelangelo created the Sistine Chapel ceiling.”
Who among us envisions, thereby, a sudden, magical change in state from blobs of paint to the finished mural?
Who among us denies that the finished mural is no longer comprised of blobs of paint?
Who of us finds specific information here --in the simple phrase itself --of the means of Michelangelo’s accomplishment? Of the many long years it took him to achieve it?
Now, apply the analogy to the simple phrase “God created them in His image” and you’ll realize how ridiculously specific my first questions posted here are… and why countless pastors and theologians err when they try to pretend otherwise.
Trying to be more specific than the actual, revelatory language allows or conveys is a recipe for disaster.
No scenario involving God suddenly animating a widespread and dissociated proto-human population en masse with His image need be required by the text.
Your comments, @AllenWitmerMiller , @deuteroKJ, @jack.collins , et. al. who are Hebrew scholars?


I don’t think “created” is the problem here; it’s that it all happens in one day, following only five days of the rest of creation. And on other days the language is even less of a problem: “let the earth bring forth” and so on. Your problem lies with “yom” (and also with the sequence of events).


Good observation, with the same kind of “solution.”
The Hebrew “yom” refers to a demarcated period of time only, and does not invariably mean a 24 hour time period, just like in English.
“Back in the Colonial day, the third of young America’s growing stages, the colonists forged a new national ethos. This was both the twilight of a lingering pioneer allegiance to their countries of origin, and the dawn of their newfound identity.”
The analogy also applies.
Many would then say, “it’s historical literature, meant to tell the grand story only, not to give details with scientific precision” while my own reply is that, “miraculously,” it does both very well, given the limitations of language.
So well, in fact, as to capably bear the standard of being of divine, and not merely human, origin.
@swamidass ?

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Sorry, but when “the evening and the morning were the first day”, etc., that’s explicitly claiming a period of roughly 24 hours. Other intrepretations make no sense in context. And sorry again, the limitations of language are not great enough to turn Genesis into anything like scientific precision. To the extent that the story is precise, it’s wrong; to the extent that the story is right, it’s imprecise. There is nothing both precise and true. Thus a day must be imprecise not to be a day, creation must be imprecise not to be fiat creation, the creation of the sun must be something quite different, and so on.


You certainly are entitled to feel sorry, not having comprehended my “solution.”
The unavoidable “imprecision” of the ancient biblical Hebrew is masked by the seeming precision of the English translation.
Ancient Hebrew had a VERY limited vocabulary, so each word (as even in modern English) carried a wide range of possible meanings.
Perhaps someone else may help, here?
There are extensive resources available on these questions; here’s just a couple of articles to consider.
and here:

Are you sorry for that snide remark?

Yes, and meaning can be derived from context. When in combination with “the evening and the morning”, it’s clear that an actual day is meant. “bara”, on the other hand, is vague enough to leave all sorts of room, and there’s no other context. RTB, on the other hand, just makes stuff up to fit.

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Without meaning to, you’re being “snide” in return.
I’ll let other students in ancient literature clarify why your comments don’t follow.
Note, for example that the account delineates “evening and dawn” in typical Hebrew fashion --the reverse of our usual conception of a “day.” We’d call that a “night.”
Try reading the links, at least.

Here is where I get lost when you post here. You call yourself a “Reasons to Believe Supporter” yet I can never figure out if you believe in 1. a real Adam and Eve, 2. universal common descent, and 3. bestiality like Hugh Ross does. For the record, can you please help me out here so I know where you are coming from? Consider me momentarily a naive, blank sheet of paper ready to inscribe your belief system and ideology. Please write it here for me even if everyone else here knows where you are coming from.

I don’t see any snideness whatsoever equivalent to yours.

He is very politely disagreeing, while your snide responses make little sense.

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Apparently, “snideness is in the eye of the beholder.”

  1. Literal Adam and Eve
  2. “Made from dust” colloquially understood
  3. “Imago Dei” humanity spread all over long before Adam and Eve
  4. A sequential reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3 vis-a-vis 2:5 and ff.
  5. An “old earth” (sic) interpretation, which is in concert with both the context of early Genesis and of the universal views of the ancients
  6. No to “bestiality”
  7. Yes to a non-materialist only conception of common descent.
    You’ll find these interpretive options all laid out very clearly in @swamidass 's book, although he doesn’t commit to any of them in particular.
    He’s right to leave the interpretive options open, as do I.
    I’m only expressing my own preferred interpretive options; good people of faith are, obviously, free to disagree agreeably.
    Hope that clarifies.
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Just as apparently, you did not behold any snideness on John’s part.

That’s what I said, “without meaning to.” My remark was not snide, either --though it was taken that way. It was meant to be illustrative of the various shades of meaning, even in English.
Glad you agree with my point… apparently.

That doesn’t negate your accusation of snideness.

When you wrote,

…you were implicitly admitting that you were being snide IMO.

I think we’re both acquainted with the Jewish convention that a day begins at sunset. What are you trying to do there? How does it disagree with the literal interpretation?

Please explain these “universal views” and how they relate to an old earth.

What does that mean? My understanding is that RTB rejects common descent among “kinds”, though I’m not clear on what “kind” means to them.

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I am in the habit of supporting people whom I don’t entirely agree with, is why.
I did not introduce the word “snide” into the conversation, in case you hadn’t noticed…

I too am interesting in hearing answers to these questions. Does Hugh Ross believe in some form of common descent that I have missed him allude to? Surely not.

Was that a response to me? What did it mean?

Hugh Ross is like so many others who feel some strange obligation to deny any kind of derivative evolutionary aspect to the unfolding of life as though such a thing would threaten the notion that God created it.
So, no, I have not read where he is willing to grant universal common descent, although that issue may be in flux for the church as a whole.
You don’t have to deny one to uphold the other.
I don’t personally see the need for that, even though I do see evolution alone as an inadequate process.
My scriptural reasons why are laid out in the first analogy of the limits of the theological language, which do not affirm anything more specific than that God somehow innovated purposefully over time, and it came to its purposefully culminated fruition.
It’s a simple truism that “kinds” (Hebrew “min”) mate successfully over time.
Does that statement, however, impose a limit on genetic drift, adaptive mutation, or other innovation over time?
Certainly not.
The most famous example of a single reproductive event resulting in extensive “innovation” (sic; purposeful “development” --the one and only ever divine human being, with no sin nature --Jesus!) is the virgin birth itself.
Others, like the birth of Sampson, or the birth of Jacob, echo this less dramatically.
So, gradualism is not a requirement of the biblical language, either.
@swamidass ? @jongarvey ?

And that is exactly the reason I hold Hugh Ross in esteem. Also is the reason why I find it strange that you call yourself an RTB supporter.

The RTB site also presents OEC arguments.