Jeremy Christian's Take on Adam

Adam
Theology

(Jeremy Christian) #1

I’m new here and still getting acquainted, but this seems like a good jumping in point as this is where my particular view becomes relevant.

What’s significant about Adam is that he was the introduction of free will into God’s universe. All throughout creation all the natural world did exactly as God commanded. But then Adam, who was placed in a specific scenario where only one rule existed, he proved capable of breaking it unlike anything else in the natural world was even capable of.

This explains Genesis 6. It says the ‘sons of God’ (Adam’s free willed descendants) found the ‘daughters of humans beautiful’ and they began to intermingle. This is why it says humans became ‘wicked’ and why it says God ‘regretted’ putting humans on the Earth. He had created them “in our (patriarchs) image”. This mixing of blood lines also explains why life spans dropped off each generation from that point forward. As Genesis 6 says, humans are mortal and only live 120 years. It’s these “demi-gods” who Gen6 is speaking of when it refers to the Nephilim. The “heroes of old, men of renown”.

This is why the flood only needed to be regional. Free will was still geologically limited to that region. Then, in the babel story, Noah’s sons were dispersed by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.9_kiloyear_event. Each line long living “god-like” beings with free will. Each ending up in naturally evolved human cultures settled along river banks. From each came the first ancient worlds, Sumer, Egypt, Greece, Rome. All with ancient memories of gods living among them.

This meaning the shift in human behavior that attributed to the birth of civilization was the result of free will being introduced into the world. This, I think, is what was significant about Adam.


Which Scenarios of Adam Will be Helpful?
(John Harshman) #2

Jeremy introduces not a can of worms but a veritable cargo container of worms, not least of which is the idea of free will. How can you tell if a person has free will? Would they act differently if they didn’t? How can you tell if an ancient culture lacked free will? And would you, presumably having free will, be attracted to, marry, have children with a person who didn’t? Ewww. There are also echoes of “master race”, and fear of “mongrelization” here. Again, ewww. Finally, the first ancient worlds include Greece and Rome but not India and China?


(Jeremy Christian) #3

@John_Harshman First, regarding free will.

In this context the difference between a person with and without free will would be the same differences between a person born of our modern culture and one born of an indigenous culture. Indigenous cultures aren’t driven to conquer the next frontier like we are. They’re content living a simple life in harmony with nature. It’s those of us of these modern cultures who are inherently discontent. Or, like Blaise Pascal once said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Indigenous people do not have this problem.

These behavior changes are well documented in the two books I mentioned …

  • Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World by James DeMeo

  • The Fall: The Insanity of the Ego in Human History and the Dawning of A New Era by Steve Taylor

The Indus Valley culture and China are also covered in these books. I just didn’t get into them here, but the Indus Valley actually came along right about the same time and was quite advanced compared to others in the region. The dispersion at Babel led to Sumer there in Mesopotamia (the Uruk Period), Egypt to the east, the European cultures to the north, the Indus Valley culture and the Nordic cultures to the west.

It’s very similar to how Genesis described Adam/Eve changing after the fall. They became self-aware.

For example, if you read about studies done with Aborigines, then you’re probably already familiar. At one point houses were built for these people, personal possessions given, in an attempt to acclimate them to our ways of living. But when they returned none of the homes or possessions belonged to any individual. They were all shared among the members of the tribe equally. There was no sense of personal possession.

Personal possession, along with male-dominance and other characteristics, came about rather late in the game. They started in Sumer and spread from there, as those two books explore in detail.

Much like the behavior change in humans that the Roman poet Ovid observed, “There broke out … all manner of evil, and shame fled, and truth and faith. In place of these came deceits and trickery and treachery and force and the accursed love of possession … And the land, hitherto a common possession like the light of the sun and the breezes, the careful surveyor now marked out with long boundary lines.”

Second, regarding “master race” and “mongrelization”

I’ve been at this for eight years now, so you can be sure I’ve come across these types of objections before. Don’t let these tales scare you away from these topics. Yes, what we’re discussing is going to come bumping up against racial issues quite a lot. We can’t let these fears disable our ability to discuss these issues openly.

Like the issues of beings with and without free will. I’ve been accused a time or two of being racist because of my claim that indigenous cultures don’t have free will. Don’t get it confused, a human without free will means they’re living within the will of God at all times. What we all strive to be, they already are. This does not make them less human or less capable. We are biologically identical.

But the truth remains, and human history illustrates, something significant sets our two blood lines apart. Allowing fear to get in the way of these discussions only holds us back from reaching greater understanding. I make it a priority at all times to not disrespect anyone or any race of people. It is possible to have these discussions respectfully and to avoid the ewwww factor.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #4

@Jeremy_Christian , I think the problem is that what you call “self-aware” and “free will” are not really these things as common understood. I’m not sure if you find specific value in those terms, but it might be best to just drop them.

To help expose why I think this is idiosyncratic, it seems that our family dog both has free will and is self-aware. It would be hard to argue against this. If we move up the chain to a chimpanzee or an ape, it certainly seems that they have these things too.

It seems more like you are saying that there was a cultural change that happened with the rise of Adam. This was not a change in biological or spiritual ability, but perhaps in awareness of how to use technology subjugate others. They might been more “able” just in the sense they had more “knowledge” and technology and opportunity. If that is why you mean, you might do better by just dropping the terms “free-will” and “self-aware.”


(Jeremy Christian) #5

Yes, this has come up many times before. By “free will” I mean a will apart from God’s. This is according to how it’s illustrated in the stories. In creation it depicts a natural world that totally abides by the will of God. Then, in the Adam/Eve story, these two are placed in a specific scenario where only one God-mandated rule exists. For Adam/Eve to behave contrary to that will is the equivalent of matter behaving contrary to gravity.

This becomes a central theme of the story from that point forward. It’s all about human behavior. Whether or not the individual will of humans will bow to God’s will or not. Like the test Abraham was put through. Would his will to save his child override God’s will that his child die?

Free will I think is the correct term because even in the case of free will vs. determinism it’s much the same thing. Determinism means our behaviors are dictated by the matter we are made of and how it behaves in the environment of the natural laws. There is no real choice possible.

Think of it like this. All the components of the natural world adhere to natural law in the same way all the cells in our bodies adhere to the singular DNA code of our body. Each cell does not behave according to it’s own individual needs because it’s behavior adheres to the singular code that allows all these individual elements to work as a single collective organism.

So our having free will in this system is akin to cells in your body having it’s own DNA code. It’s behavior isn’t consistent with the system it lives within. As humanity has shown conclusively, we tend to behave more like a cancer than mammals. We’re destructive. We don’t behave harmoniously within the system we come from as the rest of the natural world does.

The advances in technology, the inventions, writing, this all comes from free will. Writing, for example, comes from the need to keep track of what individuals are owed. In Sumer writing was first invented to track what belongs to who, who gets how much of what, etc. It comes from a mindset of individual/personal accounting that simply wasn’t a concern before. All the numerous inventions that happened in Sumer and nowhere else are the result of a shift in the psyche of humans.

Civilization itself is a result of free will. It can be a confusing term, but it just needs better understanding I think, and not a new term to describe it.


(Jeremy Christian) #6

I find it helps to think this way. I’ve never met your dog, but I know dogs well. I know exactly what you mean when you describe your dog because I’m familiar with dogs. The same goes for apes and chimpanzees. No matter where you go in the world, a dog is a dog, an ape is an ape, a horse is a horse… of course.

This is the lack of free will. Indigenous humans are exactly as humans were all throughout the world just a few thousand years ago. Their cultures identical. No change. But from Sumer until now humans from these cultures, the cultures themselves, everything has changed dramatically. And continues to do so.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #7

What you describe as free will seems very different than what I mean by free will.


(Jeremy Christian) #8

Yeah, I get that. It’s a heavy subject to be sure.

What I’m speaking about is what’s inferred in the story being told. Think specifically about Genesis 6 and the statement that God “regretted” placing humans on the Earth. I think it often gets overlooked how significant that truly is.

God commands all the universe. He does not experience time like you and I do, as a series of moments, but sees all time from beginning to end all at once. Yet free will in this case did something He did not anticipate and caused Him to “regret” a decision. Like Abraham, though God knows the future, He did not know what Abraham would do until Abraham did it. If Abraham was never put in that situation where he had to choose, then there would be no choice in the future to look to to know. Until Abraham made his decision, God did not know what he’d do. That’s free will.

What is eternity without free will? If we’re all just drones who can only behave according to God’s will? What is life if not your own? Free to make your own decisions and persuits according to your own likes and desires?

Now, in that context, what is free will in eternity? A billion different wills, all wanting different things, all interacting. Just like in this life. There’s constant conflict. There must be rules to achieve order.

Belief in God, in Jesus, is a willful acknowledgment that God is indeed the authority. If you don’t first of your own free will acknowledge God as the authority, then you cannot pass through and participate in eternity. Like the rules of the road, we’re each free to go where ever we wish, but there are rules in place to make sure we don’t just ram into each other constantly. To drive, you must be licensed. To be licensed you must show that you acknowledge the rules of the road and the authority that enforces them. So we’re free, but because we don’t exist in a vacuum, there must be rules. Because it’s a free will, you must willfully acknowledge that authority.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #9

Are you sure that is the right translation? Are you sure this is in reference to free will? I am not so sure.


(Jeremy Christian) #10

Yes, it’s reiterated throughout the texts. You cannot properly understand the story being told if you do not first understand free will because it’s a central element to the events being described. God called all of creation before Adam “good”.

Like we’ve learned through science, there are constant unchanging laws and the adherence to those laws is absolute. This is how/why we’re able to define them as we do.

If this same thing was true of each of us, if our actions/behaviors/decisions were all determined by our physical make-up then we each would just be passive observers of life, not active participants. Life would be meaningless. And we could not be held accountable for our actions because we would have no control over them. All would be determined before we were even born. How can we be judged if we are not in control of our lives/actions?

The theme of the biblical story becomes about human behavior. From Adam on. The interactions between God and the Israelites is a perfect example. This is God working to create/breed Jesus in an environment He does not have control of. Just like a breeder would do, He chooses a specimen, observes and tests that specimen, then breeds from them. He controls what groups mix with who, who they procreate with, what they eat, what they wear. All in the interest of keeping the “holy seed” pure.


(John Harshman) #11

This is seeming more and more racist as you continue explaining. And James Demeo is a Reichian fanatic with no semblance of credibility. The redefinition of free will doesn’t help.

Finally, there was no Adam. There was no great flood. There was no confusion of tongues. These are all just stories, and you can’t build history on them. I don’t think there is any profit in talking to you, though I probably will if you say anything interesting.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #12

As far as I know the text does not include the word “human”.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #13

It seems really creepy to me also. Very arbitrary and demeaning to the humans without a soul. If you say it’s theological nonsense, I will add that it’s scientific, genomic, anthropological, and archaeological nonsense too.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #14

Great, I am now pleased that Homo Erectus had souls. Thanks for that. Does Australopithecus have souls also? And what about that little monkey who’s mutated Vitamin C gene that we all have?


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #15

Please tell us more about this. What’s your definition of free will? Did Homo Erectus, 2 million years ago have free will? Did Neanderthals? When did you think free will emerged in human minds?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #16

It is also definitely not what most of us are proposing.


(Jeremy Christian) #17

It’s funny how you state all of that as if it’s fact like you know and you’re educating me. Didn’t think I’d have this problem here, yet here we are. I guess it’s inevitable.

You can and I have built history on them. The series of events from Adam/Eve, Cain, Cain’s city, the flood, and Babel, nearly 2000 consecutive years, all line up down to the number of centuries in between in that specific region of the world with actual documented events. This interpretation explains why the flood didn’t need to be anything more than regional. A flood that did happen. The dispersion at Babel was caused by a climate change called the 5.9 kiloyear event, and the languages were already varied by that point, so simply dispersing the humans of that region into these other cultures managed to confuse their languages.

So far you’ve shown yourself to be very close minded so I doubt discourse with you will get anyone anywhere. The ‘racist’ comment is particularly telling. How exactly am I being racist?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #18

@John_Harshman is just putting his personal opinion out there.


(Jeremy Christian) #19

Are you talking about Genesis 6? Nearly every translation I’ve read calls them the “daughters of humans”.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #20

Perhaps look at the original language. What do you see? Does it say “human” or something else?