Story Three: Recent Sole-Genealogical Progenitor Adam


(Joshua Hedlund) #85

Let me give that some thought and maybe peruse through my copy of Misreading Scripture, which doesn’t specifically refer to the creation stories. (The Walton books, FYI, which I have not yet read either, are The Lost World of Adam and Eve and The Lost World of Genesis 1)

One paradigm that’s somewhat relevant to the use of days in the creation story is chronos vs. kairos conceptions of time. An example of honor-shame culture interactions in the David and Bathsheba story could possibly be informative about the interactions between God and Adam in Genesis, i.e. regarding cultural assumptions about who knows or doesn’t know what based on what they do or don’t do or say or don’t say.

(Jon Garvey) #86

Well, one good example for Genesis 1 would be that in ANE culture, until they picked up the idea from the Greeks, there was no concept of “world” in the sense of “cosmos”, a whole interconnected system analogous to an organism, and therefore having a clear shape and size. Therefore you can’t have a cosmology as such, and that’s so integral to our worldview that it’s hard not to impose it on the text.

Linked to that is that they had no concept of “nature” as a totality of reality - so “natural” reading even as a concept is alien to the text.

Then there’s the fact that, even up until mediaeval times (as Werner Heisenberg pointed out in his erudite way) the core reality of the world was its meaning, not its material structure. Which means that concepts like “symbolic” have an entirely different weight. Thus in an Egyptian tomb painting, the goddess Nut actually is the sky, and Geb is the earth, both in the actual world having merely the appearance of material substances. But we interpret the picture as divine/human symbols that represent the material “reality.”

That, of course, has an impact on the relationship between two stories superimposing some similar and some discordant images, like Genesis 1 & 2. If, as mainstream (hoorah!) OT scholars - not just Walton - are now saying, Gen 1 represents temple imagery, we are almost certainly wrong to think of them considering the world to be “like” a temple. It is a temple, and the Jerusalem temple, or the wilderness tabernacle, is a microcosmic version that is genuinely connected with it by some kind of correspondence or representation. The materials described are significant for their spiritual meaning far more than their physical aspect.Totally alien concepts to most of us - unless we’re mediaeval scholars used to heliotropes actually having a connection with the sun.

(Jon Garvey) #87

I should add that it’s fallacious to attempt to see the text with “enlightened” eyes, as if our view of things corrects their view. It’s just a different worldview, and we need first to attempt to understand theirs, and then to see how it might instruct ours.

(George) #88

@John_Harshman. (@swamidass)

Because those two things define “the rock” … and “the hard place”.

One represents Christians who see too much evidence for evolution to dismiss it… and the other Christian camp sees too much Biblical investment in Adam for him or her to dismiss Adam as an historical person.

And what’s more? If Christians are already ALLOWED a few miracles (like the resurrection of Jesus)… it is a relatively small matter to allow Special Creation of just 2 humans!

(system) #89

(Jeremy Christian) #90

On the topic of creation, I wrote an article a few years back where I attempted to illustrate how creation, if read from God’s “from the surface of the planet” point of view as was established at the beginning, described a series of events that actually does line up chronologically with what would be observed from that POV. This is the text that most interests me as far as it’s origin.

I don’t know if there are many other views of creation out there like this. This text seems packed with historical accuracy that no human could have known. It seems more should be made of that. It’s incredible insight into how God creates and in my mind informs the texts that follow.

Anyway, I’m interested in how on/off board this particular group is with this if interested …

(Jeremy Christian) #91

I’m sorry, I’m just now finding out there’s disagreement on something I kind of assumed was part of the Adam stories discussed here.

Gen2:19 - Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

I don’t take this to mean God created these animals then. Is that what the Hebrew text specifically says? I take this to mean He summoned them, basically. “Formed out of the ground” just means summoned from the surrounding area, right?

Am I wrong about this?

You know me, I’m all ate up with this “free will” thing, but it seems to me the priority God has here is His new creation. He’s bringing these animals to Adam to see what he’d name them. As silly as it may sound, this is an act of creation. God’s creation is creating something not “of God”. Nothing else in the universe exists of any will other than God’s, until Adam named these animals. Kind of a big deal.

(Jeremy Christian) #92


to form, fashion

Is it correct to say God “formed” or “fashioned” a grouping of animals?

(Kenneth Turner) #93

The verb clearly describes a creative act, and does not support “summoning.” According to most scholars, the pluperfect translation “had formed” in Gen 2:19 is an unnatural reading of the Hebrew (wayyiqtol verb, or the so-called waw consecutive, normally conveys sequence, concomitant act, or even a summary of a scene, but rarely pluperfect). I know it’s the preferred translation of Jack Collins (who’s behind the ESV translation), but it’s driven by a desire to show more consistency in the order of events between Gen 1 and Gen 2. The more normal way to convey pluperfect (for a “flashback”) is to use the relative particle 'asher (“who, which, that”) + Perfect (qatal) verb.

(Jeremy Christian) #94

Could it be speaking of something already created by God? In the same way it speaks of the sun and moon in Genesis 1, though they existed long before they’re spoken of?

(Kenneth Turner) #95

IMO, only if one follows Walton’s functional view, so that the material creation was before the functional “creation” (though I don’t remember Walton using this for “forming” in Gen 2, like he does for “create” and “make” in Gen 1). I’m not sure if this is what you mean about the sun and moon, or if you take the view that the sun and moon only appeared in view on Day 4 (but were created in Gen 1:1). If the latter, I simply reject that option as unlikely.

(Jeremy Christian) #96

Unlikely grammatically or literally?

I do mean the latter. It makes sense for this to come after the creation of plant life. The Earth’s atmosphere, largely because of plant life, changed from translucent to transparent in this period. For ages the light of the sun could be seen, but not the sun itself. It only lit up the dome of the sky. Light of day separated by dark of night, but no visible sun and certainly no visible moon or stars.

“At certain points during that 150-million-year interval, the researchers found that the oxygen produced by photosynthetic organisms was staying in the ground rather than entering the atmosphere. During these times, methane dominated the atmosphere, resulting in the thick hydrocarbon fog. But at other points, the amount of methane in the atmosphere decreased and the haze probably cleared. It finally disappeared once and for all when the Earth’s atmosphere turned permanently to oxygen.” -

The sun was created with the heavens, and it’s the sun’s light that first broke through after the formation of the oceans…

“In fact, the primitive Earth long remained covered in darkness, wrapped in dense burning clouds into which continuously poured water vapor from volcanic emissions.” -

(Guy Coe) #97

The verb translated “formed” (yatsar) is not the same verb ('bara) that gets translated as “create” in chapter 1.
So, there are those who argue for it being semantically equivalent; for my part, it is semantically distinct. It conveys, to me, an emphasis on ongoing development, rather than on first time inception.
It is not presenting something “brand new” that was brought before Adam, in my opinion.
There is no basis for charging either a contradiction with chapter 1, nor of presenting chapter two as coincident with the events of day six in chapter one.
In context, the sentence is merely providing the already known background information from chapter one, to set what probably was, at one point, a much later story and an independent pericope in chapter two, in context with the first pericope in chapter one.

(George) #98

@Jeremy_Christian (@swamidass and @deuteroKJ )

The compromise of Geneal. Adam is about keeping the “footprint” of Genesis 2 small enough that it doesnt conflict with an evolutionary interpretation of Genesis 1.

So Genesis 2 seems to be about an enclave where God can commune intimately with a single pair of humans…summoning or corralling a small selection of animals for the human couple to work with.

You will notice that Adam doesnt get to name all the creatures of the sea. Genesis 2 cant be perfectly translated into Earth’s history… but it doesnt have to… as long as it provides the moral demonstration that God requires for humanity!

(Jeremy Christian) #99

The footprint of the text is small in that it’s speaking of a specific region and individual.

As for the animals for the human couple to work with, it says no suitable helper was found. God’s only interest here seems to be what Adam would name these animals.

(Jeremy Christian) #100

Agreed. Plus, it does not seem, whether reading the creation account or observing the natural world, that God does not generally just “poof” things into existence.

(Guy Coe) #101

The other interests here would be in God reinforcing Adam’s role as image-bearer, in them working out a shared language, and in Adam gradually identifying his need for a truly corresponding peer and wife, instead of just animals as companions.
The Hebrew phrase behind “suitable helper” is totally worth your researching and discovering the fullness of on your own. I’ll be interested to see what you come up with!
As for “poofing things into existence,” as far as I can tell, the Hebrew goes to some lengths to have us avoid that conclusion.

(Jeremy Christian) #102

If your goal is to translate the meaning of the text, why would you ever desire to put your own stress points on it in any way?

(George) #103


Double negatives sometimes defeat me. Are you saying poofing is rare or is common?

(Jeremy Christian) #104

Rare. God creates through evolving processes. Not instant existence.

God works within and through the invented system He created.