Jeremy Christian's Take on Adam

Unlike Greek, the Hebrew definite article is quite close to English usage…but not exact (though Hebrew lacks an indefinite article for “a, an,” and tends to not use the article in poetry). So by pressing “the” in a translation might give a wrong force/nuance than intended. this is why, e.g., translations generally do not render it as “the human(s)” in Gen 1:27; 6:1, 3 ('adam can be singular [“human being”] or corporate/collective [“humanity, human beings”]). The lack of the article in Gen 1:26 (yet present in v. 27) does not mean that the two verses are speaking of two different referents; the natural reading is to take them as the same referent. In fact, the article in v. 27 simply alerts the reader that the 'adam he is speaking of is the one just mentioned in the previous verse.

1 Like

So “the adams” is a bit more like “this adams”?

yes, can be. In fact, most grammarians argue that the article originated as a demonstrative and then softened/expanded in usage.

1 Like

@Jeremy_Christian, can you please take a look at these two threads? Adam and adams, not Adamites and A Tentative Look at Nephilim

I’m quoting a few key parts here, but please read more than just this.

but 'adam tends not to be in plural (though can refer to plural)

1 Like

That’s certainly understandable, but in this particular case I’m not sure there’s any ambiguity that requires careful interpretation.

As for referring to supernatural beings, I’d like to hear more about this because in a lot of cases any kind of “supernatural being” kind of territory you get into is rooted in these very verses that have been, in my estimation, greatly misunderstood. Like the very common idea that the “sons of God” are angels. Some translations go so far as to just translate it as “angels”. Even though this directly contradicts other passages… like pretty much the entire message of Hebrews 1.

Hebrews 1:5 – For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my son”?

So, if singular, who’s “us”?

My guess is that your statement about image having nothing to do with biology is at least strongly based on the idea that God created us in His image? Which comes from this line. Am I wrong?

My point was that keying in on that one word isn’t going to help. By that reasoning, it’s all Adam every time that word is used.

I can’t see the quote here. I just see a little trash can icon. So I’m not yet able to answer.

I only care about what’s true. If it can be shown that I’m wrong I’ll drop it. I’ve got stacks of decks of cards. We’ve hardly scratched the surface.

Understand, this particular interpretation formed a hypothesis that I then used to make predictions. Most of the evidence that supports this interpretation I found through making predictions. Like, if this is true, then right here in this time frame in this particular part of the world, I should see … this. Time and time again I’d find exactly what was predicted. Like the 5.9 kiloyear event. An event exactly like what’s described happened right where/when this hypothesis predicted.

So yes, I’m fairly certain, but am more interested in figuring out the truth than I am in being right.

1 Like

I will certainly read more, but this is a particular area of interest, so I can’t help myself. The problem with a lot of what’s quoted here is that it’s not taking into account the definition that the text itself gives of the Nephilim. “Heroes of old, men of renown”.

Pay particular attention to how the author states this. There’s an assumption that the intended reader knows who they’re talking about.

Then again, in Numbers, when the spies come back with the report that they saw descendants of the Nephilim in Hebron. First, they knew of them. Second, apparently whatever they saw as “Nephilim” is recognizable by physical appearance.

In the context of what I’m proposing, the Nephilim are exactly as described. Yes, they’re the “hybrid offspring”. Hybrids of the “sons of God” (Adam’s god-like long-living family) and the “daughters of man”. In the context of Greek and Roman mythology, Nephilim are demi-gods. The Sumerian character Gilgamesh, was a demigod. Of both lines. A “hybrid offspring”.

I’m not sure what you mean by ambiguity here. The ANE context of the OT is different than the Greco-Roman context of the NT. This affects linguistic usage. Simply put, the OT and NT speak different languages–not just literally (Hebrew vs. Greek), but even conceptually. Thus the semantic range of a given Hebrew word is not necessarily the same as its Greek counterpart. My specific point here is that the Hebrew meaning of a term should be drawn from its own context–e.g., looking at its use in the Hebrew Bible and cognate languages–not imported from the NT.

Every other instance of “sons of God” in the OT refers to supernatural beings. To reduce “sons of God” to “angels” is overly simplistic since there’s a more complex taxonomy of supernatural beings in the ANE world than just “angels” (BTW, this is a good example of the OT and NT contexts using the same term–“angel”–in not equivalent ways.)

Including the Septuagint (e.g., Deut 32:8, see DSS).

No contradiction here. Heb 1:5 is about adoption of the messianic king. This never happened with an angel. Don’t fixate on the (singular) “son” but the whole phrase/idea.

It’s not “if” singular…it is singular by virtue of the singular verbs “said” and “created.” That’s not up for debate. I would take the “us” as the members of the divine council…they also are made in God’s image.

My view of image–as functional representative/vocation–is based on (a) the meaning of the word (drawing on cognate parallels), (b) the immediate context (see v. 28), and (c] the usage of image/likeness in the Bible.

I’m assuming you don’t mean to capitalize Adam as a proper name. Hebrew, like English, doesn’t use the definite article with a proper name.

I was questioning the logical consequence of: “So the ‘sons of God’ are Adam and all of his descendants according to the Hebrews of Jesus’ time.”

1 Like

I agree the Nephilim are recognizable due to their size/appearance. I understand the term to derive from the Aramaic nephila “giant” (rather than the Hebrew verb for “to fall,” i.e., “fallen ones”). Whether they are directly related to the Nephilim in Genesis is debatable, but besides the point. Of course, as stated elsewhere, I take the “sons of God” in Gen 6 to be supernatural beings (which still fits the Greco-Roman demigod parallel). I don’t think the Nephilim survived (b/c God was intent on destroying them)…at least on earth. I take demons to be the spirits of dead Nephilim.

1 Like

Regarding Genesis 6:1-4, I think every scholar would agree that nothing is obvious here, and we should be very tentative. I just gave one reading here. There are others.

Not really. Read here: What is the Image of God?

Okay, then perhaps slow down a bit on Genesis 6:1-4. It seems that you are just hearing about the “human” vs. adam distinction.

Several views. Heiser and @jongarvey would say the Divine Court.

Remember also that the name of God is different in Genesis 1 (Elohim) and Genesis 2 (Yaweh Elohim).

Sure, why not? Maybe in means the “lineage of Adam”? That is how many people are taking it. Adam seems to be an important word here, and it might be used with some precision through out Genesis.

What I mean is that there’s little question of linguistic usage here. The passage in Luke 3 is very clear. It accomplishes a few things …

  1. establishes “son of God” as indeed meaning a father/son dynamic
  2. it ties what it’s saying directly to the Patriarchs of Genesis by name
  3. it shows the consensus of how the Hebrews of Jesus time viewed this lineage

I understand what you’re saying, and in nearly every case I think it’s very much an important consideration. But in this passage in particular the context is made very clear leaving no need to decipher linguistic usage further.

See, this here is what I’m trying to make sure everyone’s on the same page about. I think there’s as lot of confusion about this and I think a lot of that confusion stems from the misinterpreted bits of Genesis we’re talking about here. It permeates people’s views all over the place throughout the rest of the test.

I assume here you’re referring to the bit at the beginning of Job. Are there others? There’s this idea that angels were hanging around during this time in history, and I don’t think that’s accurate. Once it’s understodd that the ‘sons of God’ are Adam’s line and that there are two lines in the story, one “mortal” the other god-like, then it begins to clear things up.

We should keep in mind that the early books of Genesis were very much a mystery to the people of Jesus’ time as well as the writers of the Septuagint. By this time they were already ancient history and all anyone really knew was from the very same texts that we’re reading today. And in that time, as is still today, there’s little understood. So I don’t think the Septuagint can be taken as some kind of “knowing” source beyond any of the others. This is how I see it. Is this valid in your view?

I feel it’s important for me to say, I am thrilled to know that on this site there are Hebrew Professors and other expert level people participating in the discussion. So I don’t want any of my arguments to come off as me disrespecting you or your level of knowledge.

I argue to learn. Arguing with a Hebrew Professor is something I hope to learn a lot through. So please don’t think I’m dismissing your input. I’m hanging on every word.

This is what I’m talking about. Where do you get the idea that there’s a “divine council”? From my experience this concept all stems from this same concept of the ‘sons of God’ being supernatural beings.

Is this not made clear by Luke 3?

This is exactly why I think the Nephilimm did survive and were directly related. The flood was meant to destroy them, then in Numbers after the flood, God’s first priority seems to be sending Moses and the Israelites to take out those found in Hebron. To finish the job it would seem.

1 Like

I’ve read through that thread. I did not see that there was a consensus or agreement reached. Only that there’s still debate on the topic. In my view there seems to be a whole ideaology built around this statement made in Genesis 1 that humans were created “in our image, in our likeness” which is often taken to mean this is a quote from God and that we humans were created in His image. “Image” is a bit ambiguous, but “likeness” I feel is pretty straight forward and clear.

Yes, I am. For good reason. This is an important theme that bleeds throughout the rest of the story. If it’s not first understood that there are two lines here, then it’s really difficult to comprehend the rest of the story being told.

This bit is central to all of it. This is the reason given for the flood. This is the reason behind most of God’s actions throughout the OT. It cannot be overstated.

This only really reflects the sources these texts come from. There were many texts that tell the stories of the Torah. Written by different sources that knew God by different titles. But it’s all the same God. At some point they were edited together because of the similarity between the different versions (except of course some of the titles used).

It’s what the documentary hypothesis refers to as the Elohist and Jahwist sources …
J: [Jahwist] source (7th century BCE or later)
E: [Elohist] source (late 9th century BCE)

And it might be part of the reason why these texts have been largely misunderstood for centuries.

This bit in particular raises a lot of questions in my mind. The whole concept of a “divine council” seems to be rooted in this specific line and the assumption that it’s a direct quote from God.

So, does this mean creation was a ‘creation by committee’? Why would God need council? What could they inform God of that He was not already aware? Who are the members of this council? And if their input was so important, why do they not play a bigger role in the story beyond this point?

Is there any reason beyond the use of “us” in Genesis 1 to think there is a council? Does this idea come from Job 1?

I hope you enjoy learning from @deuteroKJ and @jongarvey as much as the rest of us have here. Don’t dismiss their take on things quickly. They have been studying this for a very long time, and are both very conversant on the literature.

Not really. There is large precedence for it.

That would be strange as most people have not taken this view for for centuries.

No, it is not. I am not putting forward the documentary hypothesis. I’m stating a fact about the text. I disagree that this is merely the sources.

Did you pay attention to what @deuteroKJ wrote? He is a legitimate expert in this area. There is actually a very strong consensus among old testament exegetes. He explains it clearly.

It is not at all clear your conclusions are correct. If they are correct, can you show us the other people who have also clearly derived these conclusions?

This is why I’m asking. If there is I’m not aware of it. In fact, I’m kind of surprised that this is coming from a student of Hebrew literature. What is this “large precedence”?

Most people/religious institutions have taken the view that Adam was the first human. A misinterpretation, in my view, that’s spawned all kinds of ideological concepts that I feel are based in confused meaning.

Okay, then what other explanation is there for the same being being referred to by two completely different titles?

And not just the use of different titles, but different characteristics as well…
Jahwist - In J, Yahweh is an anthropomorphic figure both physically (Gen. 3:8, Gen. 11:5, Ex. 17:7) and mentally (such as when Abraham bargains with Yahweh for the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, or when, during the exodus, Yahweh, incensed by the Israelites’ lack of faith, threatens to destroy them all and raise Moses’ descendants instead but “relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened” when dissuaded by Moses).

J has a particular fascination for traditions concerning Judah, including its relationship with its rival and neighbor, Edom; its focus on Judahite cities such as Jerusalem; and its support of the legitimacy of the Davidic monarchy. J is also critical of the other tribes of Israel, for example, by suggesting that the Northern Kingdom’s capital of Shechem was captured via a massacre of the original inhabitants

Elohist - In the E source God’s name is always presented as “Elohim” or “El” until the revelation of God’s name to Moses, after which God is referred to as “YHWH”.

E has a particular fascination for traditions concerning the northern kingdom of Israel and its heroes such as Joshua and Joseph. E favors Israel over Judah (e.g., claiming that Shechem was purchased rather than massacred) and speaks negatively of Aaron (e.g., the story of the golden calf).

Is agreement from other people a prerequisite? Because I can find all kinds of things that are demonstrably wrong that multiple people agree on.

What more is needed than the text itself? And maybe a good understanding of culture and history.

The divine council seems less outlandish if you realize it is clearly present in the New Testament too - check out Revelation, especially chs 4 & 5, or Heb 12:22. Or in the OT Job 1:6; 2:1.

Don’t forget the Book of Enoch. It is really several “books” to, which flesh out the divine council understanding.

1 Like

True, though it might be argued that it is not canonical. However, it does show that monotheistic Jews were quite familiar with the concept.