@jack.collins is among the most important, of not the most important, theologian in the conversation about Adam and Eve right now.
@jongarvey addresses a recent post to him, writing…
@jack.collins comes alot on the forums, which is a good thing. He is also very supportive of a Genealogical Adam. You can read his response to my Dabar Paper here (which he gives me permission to share). http://peacefulscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/collins_swamidass_dabar.pdf I want to note a couple things from his review.
- @jack.collins is very supportive the distinctions between genetic and genealogical, and in our definitions of human.
Fourth, Swamidass’ focus on the genealogy rather than the genetics and his motivation for it is spot on: namely, the Biblical language is concerned with line of descent, or genealogy; to appeal to the genetic questions, important as they may be for some purposes, foists a misleading anachronism on the Biblical text. The same may well be true of the notion of human.5 One could wish that all discussions of these matters were as respectful of the language level and communicative concerns of the Biblical authors! 6
- @jack.collins is right that I made a mistake in describing “representational” theology of Adam. That is fixed in the most up to date version. I would say, having received his correction, that “representational” theology (just like “headship” theology) of Adam is consistent with a Genealogical Adam. A Genealogical Adam is one way to show that Adam’s representation of us is not arbitrary, but is found at the headwaters of humankind.
(2) Swamidass refers to a class of scenarios that involve representation (including one offered by me), in which the representation is potentially “independent of a genealogical connection to Adam.”10 I need to clarify that these scenarios are not all the same — those that have the representation at the “headwaters” of humankind are specifically responding to exactly the issue that Swamidass rightly concerns himself with, namely the seeming arbitrariness of God otherwise. The clarification, then, is that those who posit an imputation based on representation downstream from the headwaters of humankind suffer from this critique; I recognize that this is not what Swamidass is proposing.
- @jack.collins has a high respect for @jongarvey’s work, citing him in one of the footnotes. He might even be following the Hump.
Even though there are differences of emphasis, there is so much common ground that we can say that some notion of “original sin” (or whatever we want to call it) is part of Mere Christianity,14 and is therefore not itself any kind of open question.15
- See the blog of Jon Garvey, “Irenaeus (and others) on original sin,” for helpful spade-work on early Christians.
- He is very skeptical of a sequential reading of Genesis 1 and 2. I want to emphasize that he sees value here even if Genesis 1 and 2 are not sequential. This should not be a place where we grow dogmatic. It seems that, here, @TGLarkin, @Guy_Coe and @jongarvey say that they are sequential, but @anon46279830 and @jack.collins see it as recapitulatory. The common ground is that everyone is convinced of or open to “people outside the garden.” That should be the language used to be inclusive.
The Swamidass paper applies its biological theory under the reading of Genesis 1–2 that sees them as sequential accounts, in the way that John Walton has argued for. I will here simply note that this reading is exceedingly vulnerable to critical review. Another reading is better-attested, both within the canon and up close to it, and more readily supportable, namely that Genesis 2:4–25 narrate an expansion of certain events in the sixth day.9 My preliminary judgment is that the value of the proposal does not depend on the Waltonesque reading.
As I understand it, @jack.collins is skeptical of a sequential reading because of concerns of inerrancy in light of Jesus’s statement (Matthew 19:4-5):
4“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’a 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’b ?
As I understand it, his view is that Jesus has linked the phrase from Genesis 1 (made them male and female) with a phrase from Genesis 2 (a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh). This, in his view, indicates that Jesus was reading both chapters as descriptions of the same event. Now, I’m personally not sure that’s the case, but that is where @jack.collins and others (e.g. Andrew Loke) are coming from.
They all know much more theology, Hebrew, and Greek than I, so I am going to be reticent to dispute this with them. Instead, I’ll emphasize that we need both approaches to Genesis in the Peaceful Science tent.
I will, nonetheless, note that far more scholars than merely Walton read Genesis sequential. In August, we are going to have some opportunities to interact with Richard Averbeck on this, and perhaps @Philosurfer might jump in with some comments about the Concordia University scholars thoughts on this. I’m also not unconvinced this statement indicates Jesus read Genesis 1 and 2 as the same event, or is teaching this. It seems that the two phrases would necessarily be sequential any ways.
The key point for @jongarvey, however, is you have to engage that argument if you care to change @jack.collins’s mind. I’d be curious how you do that. Down the line, we will invite @jack.collins to hold office hours with us (What are Office Hours?), and hear from him directly. It might be a few months though. He is pretty swamped right now. Until then, I hope you can engage his argument regarding Jesus and Genesis directly.