The De Novo Creation of Adam and BioLogos

Well thank you on the distinctions.

Regarding Adam, it is too long an explanation to cite this morning here but I think he was both created (the middle part of the triplet in 1:27) and formed in chapter two. “Yatsar” is the word used in chapter two, not bara as you point out. It is not “ex-nilo” but rather something changing form- dust to man.

There are some ancient stories from India which claimed Adam had a mother and father, but I don’t see where the text, in two or elsewhere, allows for that. Adam returns to the dust from which he came.

Adam is supposed to be a copy of the heavenly man in Genesis 1 and 2, thus he is both created (as man) and formed (simply changing form form pre-exiting substance as did the second Person of the trinity). So that does not fit with Adam having a mother, and his “father” was Yahweh-Elohim even as the 2nd Person of the Trinity has a “Father” in the first Person of the Trinity.

Christ, the second Adam, was born of a woman. But that had to do with the promise of a Seed in which the Heavenly Man would assume a nature like ours in order to crush the serpent’s head. Being born of a woman was a part of His coming down from His heavenly position. It was a “loophole” in that He could be of the line of Adam even though Adam was not directly His sire, but rather came through Eve who was taken out of Adam. It sort of wrecks the picture if the first Adam was also born of a woman.

Can God form a man from a pile of dust? Of course. Jesus said “God can turn these stones into children of Abraham.” What is the reason to doubt that is what happened here?

The view you put forth here, @Revealed_Cosmology , is only true if you hold that Genesis 1:26-27ff. is the general “overview” of the more specific account of Adam’s origin in chapter two. I see this as an unwarranted conflation of two very different events, which are actually separated in time by a large margin.
The creation of mankind in “Our image, according to Our likeness,” happened in chapter one, at what I would estimate to be at least 50 kya. The events surrounding Adam occurred, again in my rough estimation, some 15-13 kya.
There were “imago Dei” human beings wandering the earth, obeying God’s creation mandate for humankind, long before the account of Adam and Eve took place.
Could God have formed Adam whole-cloth from a “dust cloud?” Of course.
But then, why didn’t He do the same at the incarnation of Jesus?
No; I see no biblical warrant for the claim that Adam was magically “swirled” from dust into mature human existence. Josh makes the point well that, if you do affirm that, then you have to account for why God would include a “false history” of common descent in his genome.
The English translation may lend itself to such a possible interpretation, but the Hebrew original clearly steers away from it, in my view.
The events outlined in Genesis 2:5 and ff. are clealy well subsequent to those in Genesis 1:1-2:3. They ought not to be conflated in time. Adam was NOT the first “imago Dei” human being.

Well it takes going through the text day by day to see it, but there is another option. 1:27 is actually three events which occur over what we would call a large amount of time, but from the reference point of creation (whose narrative this is) it is not. Chapter two is a “telescoping” of one of those three events. The rest of day six in chapter one is as you say, God’s blessing on the race adam (human) which occurred before the formation of the man Adam.

Christ is the image of God. 1 John 3:2 says “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Adam had that, but he lost it. The rest of mankind didn’t have it, though they had the same potential as Adam. The plan to “make man in our own image” is referencing Christ and the church. It’s a process. He created men and women. His goal was Christ and the Church and Adam was the start of the plan to take humanity from where they started to where He wanted them to be (in His Image, and Christ is His image).

I think you are right on the timing. Agree completely,

2:7 says He formed the man from dust. But if He did the same for Jesus then it would not fulfill God’s word to Eve about her seed. Christ would not have been from Adam (indirectly through Eve taken from his side). God had proclaimed that Adam would be the tool through which His plan to “make (a process) man in His own image” would be accomplished. If He created Christ out of a dust cloud then it would not be in accordance with His original plan, and God never needs a back-up plan.

I’d say 2:7 forward. But 1:27 is both history and prophecy. It is speaking of things which occurred in heaven that we have not seen here yet, and things here that happened long ago. Chapter one is like “the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” and chapter two is like “The Life of Julius Caesar”. The first starts long before the second, but has the second within it.

I don’t expect this to make much sense here because a few piecemeal blog posts cannot put it together like a 350 page book can, and that is about what it takes, mostly to peel back misinformation and common theology which is not in the bible. We here understand that Adam was not the first human being to walk the earth, and that helps, but it takes a lot more than that to unpack it. When you do, you find out its Christianity all along. Right there in early Genesis.

To make my point about chapter one speaking of a much longer amount of time and chapter two telescoping on one key event within that time span, notice that the “Seventh Day” in Genesis never had an evening or a morning on earth. It was reality in heaven, but it did not happen on earth until after the cross. This is what the writer of Hebrews taught, Moses saw coming, and Jesus implied…see video for details.

We may just have to agree to disagree on this one. The “recapitulatory” view you’re espousing is not “harmful” in any theological sense, as far as I can tell. But I have a problem with it as an interpretive conclusion – specifically, as regards the notion that the fall took place prior to the conclusion of chapter one.
Certainly, we are in the seventh day right now.
But, before the close of chapter one, it says that God assessed the creation as “very good.” Either God was not paying attention, or the fall hadn’t happened yet.
I really can’t ignore that problem.
Since the vast bulk of the events in the rest of Scripture deal with the “not good” – in fact, downright evil --aftermath of the fall, I cannot picture God as that inept a theologian, so to speak.
The fall happened AFTER the commencement of the seventh day, just as the text presents it.
Hope that clarifies my position and rationale. Cheers!

Which is fine, and our host may prefer it that way. My thinking is that he wants to be able to take several theological hypotheses with him for the theologians to sort out when he discusses a framework of scripture with them where the man Adam comes along well after the race Adam. Call it the Adam-race-then-Adam-man framework.

Within that framework he has a model, Genealogical Adam, which attempts to solve a theological problem which comes out of that framework. I share the same framework as he, but the Christ-centered model within the Adam-race-then-man framework is somewhat different. I solve the problem arising from it differently. I can see his model “selling” the framework better among some groups, like reformed, and also as a stepping-stone to the Christ-centered model. But the more plausible alternatives he has the better his chances of selling the framework.

So, disagreement is fine. Maybe even preferable in this context and I hope you will take any disagreements I may express with your ideas in the same spirit.

Not prior to, right at. When God declared that it was very good and “it was so” right on top of each other it was at a point in time when heaven and earth were at last lined up. That is why the sixth day is the only day with a definite article. There was a particular morning. The adamic race was out exercising dominion over the earth. They were doing it wrong but God had given no “thou shalt nots” yet so they were not in rebellion. Adam and Eve were in the Garden and fellowship had begun. The plan was proceeding just as He would wish it. Then came the fall of Adam. Then came all of that unfortunate history you mention. Then came the Savior, who is now at rest. And His Sabbath is ongoing.

So, we are agreed, then, that the fall could not have taken place prior to God’s assessment in day seven that the creation was “very good?”
Because He didn’t do that, according to the text, until after day seven had commenced.
All of chapter one was finished before what happened in chapter two began, during the unconcluded seventh day.
If the author of “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” concluded his introductory chapter with “the Empire was a very good place,” and then he proceeded to write the chapters on Nero and Caligula, we’d have to conclude he was an inept historian. That’s my view of it, anyway. Maybe agree to disagree? : )

Guy that assessment was made at the end of day six, not day seven.

Also, the heavens and the earth were finished but God’s work was not finished. Once Adam fell He had one work left to do- redeem what He finished making and creating in days 1-6.That is why He ended his work “ON” the seventh day, and not at the end of the sixth day when He had finished making and creating.

Excuse me; I misspoke by saying “God’s assessment in day seven” and you are correct to remind me that it was at the end of day six --which means that Adam had not yet fallen before the commencement of day seven, when God’s assessment would not have been so very good. God’s Sabbath rest from all His creating, having begun in day seven, was interrupted by Adam’s rebellion – and need for the work of human redemption came sharply into focus. This is exactly how the story presents itself to the reader. But, unless you’re going to maintain that it was God’s will that Adam fall, you have to allow for a “plan A” versus a “plan B” scenario. God, from His angle, had all the bases covered ahead of time, no matter what Adam chose… like any good parent does.

An old joke says, “God created the world in six days; on the seventh He started taking complaints.”

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Please see the video I put in above. Numerous scriptures indicate that God in heaven had that rest from the beginning, and the question was only if men would enter into that rest or not enter due to unbelief. The manifestation of that rest did not appear on earth until Christ, because He is that rest. On earth God was working right up until the crucifixion. Christ is God, as well as man. So the scriptures say that the rest of God was ongoing and accessible through faith from the beginning and it also shows God working, particularly in Christ both carnate and pre-incarnate. The glorious resolution to this mystery is found in Christ. Even though early Genesis was written well before the Incarnation, that’s what it is pointing to.

The Plan “A” was just as I said, man would be made in His image (which is Christ and something we don’t have earth yet, but are moving towards it if the Holy Spirit is renewing us). Bearing His image, we could share in His rest. Man could attain rest with Him the easy way or the hard way, but the plan will be accomplished either way. Male and female becomes Christ and the church, and we will bear the Image. All this, laid out from the beginning. That is because it is Divinely inspired.

@swamidass

My head is a little lose and wiggly right now… could you provide the Old Statement
vs. the Changed Statement … right next to each other so I can see exactly what you mean?

It would be a huge help!

George

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Thanks for pointing that out. Turns out it changed again! I’ve added this note to the original post:

So the original version was:

Then about 2 weeks ago it was changed to (bolding the new text):

Then sometime over the last few days, it was change back again to…

Now, let’s remind everyone that this definition is 100% consistent with evolutionary science.

@swamidass

So… do you think the temporary language was an improvement?

It sounded like you didn’t think so. What would you change to make the language read just the way you think it should read?

George

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No. It is transparently a strawman argument. Anti-traditional theology. Anti-de novo creation. For no defensible reason.

I was just asked by a leader at BioLogos to do the same. So I have a rewrite on hand. Links are missing. Kudos for the leaders at BioLogos that are choosing to engage. There is no reason to press this disagreement further.


Were Adam and Eve historical figures?

At BioLogos, we are passionately committed to taking the Bible seriously and to seeking a scientific understanding of God’s creation. How do the Bible and science inform our understanding of Adam and Eve?

We are also persuaded by the scientific evidence that human beings evolved, sharing common ancestors with all other life on earth. Furthermore, it increasingly appears that our ancestors were never a single couple in, at least, the last half million years.

Traditional de novo view

Traditional interpretations of Scripture should not be lightly dismissed, but neither is it responsible to ignore or dismiss the results of scientific inquiry simply because they appear, superficially, to conflict with traditional interpretations.

In one traditional view, Adam and Eve were created de novo—they were created by God as fully formed “humans” (as understood in theology), roughly 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. God made them quickly and completely as fully formed humans with no biological ancestors. In this traditional de novo view, Adam and Eve are “sole progenitors”: they were the first two humans, and they alone gave rise to all other humans. The good news is that some traditional de novo views of human origins (including this one) are entirely consistent with evolutionary science. This is a recent correction to our understanding of how evolutionary science interacts with theology of Adam (and is defended by S. Joshua Swamidass).

As surprising as this conclusion sounds, it is possible because genetic and genealogical ancestry are different things. We emphasize that genetic ancestry pertains to DNA, and is very different than the ancestry of which Scripture and traditional theology are speaking. In truth, everyone had missed this for a long time, and we wonder if fixing this error sooner could have reduced confusion in the Church about the impact of evolutionary science on Adam.

Considering Other Options for Understanding Adam and Eve

For those that find value in affirming the traditional de novo view, they might be drawn to a Genealogical Adam (as proposed by S. Joshua Swamidass). Here, we only need to allow for God having created biologically-compatible people outside the garden, with whom Adam’s offspring would eventual breed, thereby becoming ancestors of us all. Adam and Eve would be ancestors of all “humans,” and could have lived as recently as 6 thousand years ago.

Still, we also want to dignify the full range of views on Adam in the Church. Theology of Adam was never added to the creeds, because the Church Fathers have, traditionally, indentified the foundation of our faith with Jesus, not Adam. For this reason, it is in the spirit of traditional theology on Adam to consider other options too, as this reminds us our foundation is in Jesus, not Adam too. We feel there are several options open to those who desire to remain faithful to Scripture and take science seriously.

Some Christian leaders (such as Billy Graham) are open to models that see evolution as compatible with Adam and Eve as real historical people. In one version, John Stott suggests that God entered into a special relationship with a pair of ancient historical representatives of humanity about 200,000 years ago in Africa. Genesis retells this historical event using cultural terms that the Hebrews in the ancient Near East could understand.

In another version (defended by Denis Alexander) Adam and Eve are recent historical representatives, living perhaps 6000 years ago in the ancient Near East rather than Africa. By this time humans had already dispersed throughout the earth. God then revealed himself specially to a pair of farmers we know as Adam and Eve—real people whom God chose as spiritual “recent representatives” for all humanity.

Other Christians, such as Alister McGrath and C.S. Lewis have suggested a non-historical model. In this view, the early chapters of Genesis are symbolic stories in the genre of other ancient Near Eastern literature. In this view, Adam and Eve were not historical figures at all, and the early chapters of Genesis are symbolic stories in the genre of other ancient Near Eastern literature. They convey important and inspired theological truths about God and humanity, but they are not historical in the sense people today use the word.

Of course, there are still important questions that arise. In this spirit of all great theology, including traditional theology, BioLogos is actively promoting dialogue and scholarship on this issue. While Christians may disagree about how and when God created the first humans, we can all agree that God made humanity in his image, all people have sinned, and that salvation is found in Christ alone.

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11 posts were merged into an existing topic: Homo sapiens dropping down to zero?!

Just added this note to the top:

I am very pleased to give credit to BioLogos for beginning the effort of fixing this page. At the current moment, you can see the changes they have made here: https://www.diffchecker.com/3ezd9flT. These edits go a long way towards fixing this post, though there is still much to do. Given that there are many edits being made to this page, THE CRITIQUE BELOW IS OUT OF DATE, and I’ll look forward to them fixing the remaining problems.

At this point, we should hold off litigating this further. Let’s see how their edits settle down. I also give them credit for changing the page, even though it did take them over 1 year to do so.

A post was split to a new topic: Which Scenarios of Adam Will be Helpful?

Deborah Haarma’s comments on this are notable.

As our history expert Ted Davis mentioned to me in a recent email, common ancestry and separate de novo creation have nearly always been seen as contradictory ideas. So, this idea is new to all of us; we’re getting up to speed on the picture of a de novo Adam and Eve having descendants interbreed with other human-like creatures. Since it is so new, I wasn’t ready to highlight it in the response to the Moreland et al book, and merely used “genetic” to be specific about what is ruled out by scientific evidence. Josh has done important work on recent universal genealogical ancestors that we’ve affirmed as good science and inside the BioLogos “tent”, with the peer-reviewed publication only last month at Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith; the de novo arguments are even newer.
https://discourse.biologos.org/t/a-flawed-mirror-a-response-to-the-book-theistic-evolution/38357/7?u=swamidass

It does seem that BioLogos is beginning to adjust. This is good news.