The First "Textual" Humans


Thanks to @John_Harshman’s alertness, I went on a search for a sentence like the one her from you:

Perhaps there is a typo and you are missing a “not” somewhere?

@swamidass’ Genealogical Adam scenarios do not propose that Adam and Eve were the first humans to walk on planet Earth.

You should check in with Joshua for clarifications.

EDITORIAL NOTE: @swamidass caught up with me and clarified how @jammycakes was right about how he described Joshua’s views.

So I have acknowledged the correction, and I put this note here to alert the new readers that there will be a “surprise reveal” later in this thread!!!

Tip: It’s based on definitions, and the multiple scenarios use multiple different definitions as possible starting points!

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@gbrooks9, that is not true.

My point is:

  1. There are many legitimate definitions of “human,” it is a polyvalent or polysemous term.
  2. By some definitions (e.g. scientific definitions) Adam and Eve are not the first “humans”
  3. By other definitions (e.g. a textual definition) Adam and Eve are the first “humans”

Yes, we are working out or own definitions, and we cannot expect universal agreement.



While your three points seem to broadly cover the possibilities… do any of your “Geneal.Adam Scenarios” propose that Adam & Eve are the first?

I am talking about YOUR group of scenarios… not the entire Universe of possible scenarios…

Please advise.

It all depends on how you define “human”. It appears that @swamidass now chooses to define it in such a way that GAE are indeed the first humans. Though I admit he’s being vague on that, probably on purpose.

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Yes they do. I propose a “textual” definition of human that does just this. I also point to work by many others that do this in other ways.

This is important because it enables us to affirm the doctrine of monogenesis, in even its strictest forms.

The textual definition is not vague. It is precise and clear. You don’t like it, but it is clear.

The reason I point to this definition is because it accommodates all the rest as variants.

No it isn’t. That’s why there are so many varieties of it. It covers anything any theologian might say.

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Can you state the textual definition of “human”? If not, how would you even know if it was precise or not?


I guess I didn’t see that one coming.
But it all does depend on how each scenario defines humanity. And I suppose it is quite conceivable that a definition of humanity (for example, based on theology or metaphysics) can be construed … while at the same time recognizing that this doesn’t change the anatomical or archaeological aspects of the definition of “what is human”.

This section of your book promises to be a tumultuous one … but it is good to explain some of the “motions” in your writings, that some would not have expected from a Pro-Evolution Christian.

Oh, and I owe @jammycakes an apology and withdraw my comment from above. Let’s just say, I didn’t expect Joshua to be working so hard on the non-scientific side of the discussion. @Greg, I don’t even know if you understand these past 3 or 4 postings, but you should be quite delighted!


I thought I could. The only definition you’ve given recently, which is what I thought you were talking about, is that it’s “human” is defined by a theologian. If that isn’t the textual definition, what is the textual definition?

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No. That is not the textual definition. That, rather, is a statement that theologians can legitimately use whatever definition they want.

The reason I’m reticent to explain more is because I already have explained it to you several times. I think the issue is that it is a definition that is unusual to you. So before, I attempt repeating it, let me make a few observations.

  1. I think you are looking for a “substance” definition, based on the attributes of a person, by which we can classify if they are human or not. An example of a “substance” definition would be, for example, to define a species based on its attributes.

I’m not giving a definition like this.

  1. I am giving a “relational” definition, that is independent of differences in substance. An example of a relational definition is your “wife”, who has this classification because of a particular relationship she has with another person (you).

It is possible that a particular relational definition could entail a difference in substance, but not necessarily. I’m making a relational distinction, that does not entail a substance distinction.

Once we can on the same page about this, perhaps I will remind you again what the textual definition of “human” is.

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This is a link to a more fulsome description of “textual human” by Joshua:

Prior to his posting, Joshua wrote this:

“It is just a fact that Scripture doesn’t consider people in the distant past.”

And then, John, you asked him:
“But it does consider people who aren’t textual-human, right? Cain’s wife, all those non-textual-human people Cain was afraid of, who knows how many folks at the time of the flood. I feel for those poor folks who weren’t considered human.”

No, that is not the “textual” definition. It is, rather, my description of people outside the garden.

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But isn’t this odd phrase “Textual Human” a reference to the humans that are mentioned in the texts?

@John_Harshman writes this:
“But it does consider people who aren’t textual-human, right? Cain’s wife, all those non-textual-human people Cain was afraid of, who knows how many folks at the time of the flood.”

So, Joshua, these people outside the garden are NOT Textual-Humans… right?


As I have explained many times, the text of Scripture binds itself to Adam, Eve and their descendents. Others, such as Cain’s wife, appear in the peripheral vision of Scripture, but are not those to which it is pointing. Of course, this group includes every Homo sapiens across the globe by AD 1 on (or even earlier). This is a “relational” definition, focusing on the relationship between Scripture and the people of the text.

Therefore, by definition, the humans of the text are Adam, Eve, and their descendents. They arise by monogenesis from a single couple.

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NICEEEEEE!.. Clever use of wording and semantics… I have no problem standing behind that …

I’m sure @John_Harshman will find that helpful in the long run…

Do we have a section where we can propose or nominate “Best Posts on a Topic” ?

I would love to meander down a list of links of some of the best worded, and most elegantly conceived postings… by you, by Creationists, and even by Atheist/Agnostics…

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OK, I get it. Textual humans are defined as Adam, Eve, and their descendants. Adam and Eve are the first humans by definition, because that is the definition. Are there any people or tribes or nations that are given names in the bible who are not textual humans? There are apparently a fair number of nameless people who aren’t.

(I will note parenthetically that I don’t find this a very interesting or useful definition of “human”, and I’m curious why you do.)


Yes, it is monogenesis by definition, derived from Scripture.

There are not thay many unnamed people.

I cannot think of any named person or group in the Bible (except maybe in Genesis 6) that does not descend from Adam and Eve.

It is not very helpful as a scientific category. Perhaps even totally useless. Science is more concerned with the substance of things and inheritance of substance.

It is useful within in theology, perhaps in similar ways as it is useful legally. We need to know who is identified, for example, in a will to correctly apportion wealth from an estate. We can’t do a DNA test of individuals to determine what is in the will, which might apportion wealth to adopted children or friends, or disinherit biological children. The beficiaries of a will are not important biologically, but from a legal point of view they are (hopefully) a well defined group of high importance. So it is with this group of “human” in theology. There are many details to fill in of course, and these details can be filled in different ways (which is why I don’t fill them in much). Whatever the case, this satisfies the strict doctrine monogenesis, and that is why it becomes particularly valuable in reducing conflict between science and traditionalist Christians.

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I believe Joshua’s clarifications indicate that he has several definitions… and that some of his GAE scenarios are able to use the “first humans” themes…

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I’m curious. Do we know that all “textual humans”, meaning those mentioned by name in the bible, are descended from Adam and Eve? Are, for example, the various ancient Egyptians descended from them? How do we know? Are all the textual humans mentioned after the flood descended from Noah?

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The first textual humans are described textually far before the Genesis story in the Bible. There are written and oral human creation stories thousands of years before the Hebrew bible story.

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