What if Adam was just a character in an Ancient Creation Story?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #121

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Don’t Provoke the Unnecessary Conflict

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #122

4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Don’t Provoke the Unnecessary Conflict

(Guy Coe) #123

@jongarvey , here’s a video resource on the history of the misappropriation of the sequential view of reading the first two chapters of Genesis by Michael Heiser.

Of course, you and I know such misappropriation is not defensible.

(Jon Garvey) #124

@Guy_Coe Funnily enough, I reminded Josh of that book yesterday or the day before, regarding his chapter on racism in GA.

I reviewed some ideas from it back in 2013, but it looks like I never got round to the follow-up piece on “pre-adamite racism” I promised there.

The point regarding Genealogical Adam is that the scientific work on which it was based was intended, largely, to show the nonsense of racism (since the world’s most recent universal common ancestor is just a couple of thousand years ago), so it’s a little ironic that certain opponents have repeatly suggested the idea to be racist.

The race card becomes a little strained when applied to the situation in Genesis 2. It implies that God is being racist to show undeserved grace to the human race gradually through Adam… just as he did gradually through Abraham… just as he did gradually through Moses… just as he did gradually through Jesus!

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #125

I may “steal” that line…

(Jon Garvey) #126

Even Newton had to stand on the shoulders of giants sometimes (he said modestly…):grinning:

(Ashwin S) #127

It’s actually an interpretation that God is doing so.(We know for sure that Abraham was not the only recipient of God’s grace in his time… there is Melchizedek as someone blessed by God and doing the work of a priest already).

The consequences of such an interpretation could be racist. Especially if there is a difference between Adam and pre Adamites in terms of having a soul and not having one while maintaining there is no observable physical/biological difference.
It’s probably such an interpretation that led to behaviour such as not mixing too much with gentiles that Paul castigated Peter for.
It’s a genuine danger.

(Jon Garvey) #128

But who are you going to identify to discriminate against? Time travel to China in 4000BC?

(Ashwin S) #129

People are usually very imaginative when it comes to discrimination. And it’s not 4000 BC… It’s the time taken to travel all over the world … estimated as something like 2000 years… so it might be anytime between 4000 BC and 2000 BC…
The Chinese often trace their civilisation to 5000 years ago. There is archeological evidence of pottery and such from 10000 BC. The oldest empire is pegged at 2000 BC.
Like Indians there is a sense of continuity from 1000s of years. There are families which have lived in the same area for 1000s of years.
Pointing to a big chunk of this history and saying that the people of these times had no capacity to know or worship God in any real sense could be seen as racism and an attack on their history.
The Indian story is similar and I definitely would see it in such a way with respect to Indians 4000 or 5000 years ago.

Edit: Let me also add that there is a propoganda in India which tries to peg Christianity as a foreign religion. Ideas like this will only reinforce such arguments.

(Jon Garvey) #130

Swamidass has more recent Indian ancestry than I, so he is probably more qualified to comment.

But the bad use people make of ideas is always a tenuous reason to reject the ideas. Biblically, whatever the date Adam was formed somewhere near the Tigris and Euphrates, which would make him a middle eastern foreigner to anyone wishing to see their own traditions as indigeneous (including Westerners who are anti-semitic or “Islamophobic.”)

And the exclusive claims of Jesus - a Jew - to be the only way to know the Father are both far more recent and more critical of existing ancient religions.

At least a significant part of the oldest layers of Hinduism can be traced back to the Indus valley civilisation, which had strong trade (and therefore genealogical) links to Mesopotamia at least as far back as the mid-third millennium.

The Sumerians themselves had traditional king-lists going back 20,000 years, so perhaps they’d have regarded Adam as a johnny-come-lately as well.

(Ashwin S) #131

I am an Indian who lives in India …

The way I see it, the idea that Adam came into existence 6000 years ago has very little direct biblical support. Its significance is that its accepted traditionally by some churches.
So why make such claims which have no basis in the bible when all it does is exclude fairly recent populations from a share in God.
It also involves making negative claims about their ability to worship of have a relationship with God.

What is the justification for this?

I don’t see any basis for such a theological claim. It’s not only baseless but also harmful.

(Ashwin S) #132

Talking about Jesus. He provides us another way to look at humanity while avoiding the trap of the language in Genesis.
Philippians 2 teaches us that Jesus took on the likeness of a human being…
His humanity is repeatedly compared with that of Adam.
I don’t see how people without an ability to have a relationship with God can be called human. It’s not how the bible approaches humanity.
You need to look at this more deeply. The fall Broke something in humanity… yet, we retained some of the image of God… a conscience that pushes us towards God. A space for God in our hearts… we may ignore it and crush it. Let me call it the human soul. This is what makes us human. Paul called it the Law written in our hearts.

If neanderthals had this Soul, then I would call them human. If there are biological human beings who don’t have it, I don’t see how they can be human… and I don’t see any such humans described in the bible.

(Jon Garvey) #133


Don’t forget that the story of Adam is not about the ability to worship God, but about the ability to know, and serve Yahweh. Genesis is not talking about generic religion, but covenant-faithfulness.

(Ashwin S) #134

How is worship possible without “knowing” Yahweh?

Genesis is not talking about religion at all… it’s talking about God’s purpose for humanity. And man’s rebellion.

(Jon Garvey) #135

Ps 96:5? Matt 11:27? John 4:22? Acts 15:15-16? Acts 18:29-30?

That rather depends on what you mean by “religion.” It has a cosmic Temple modelled on (or modelling) the Hebrew tripartate sanctuary in ch 1. It has a creation ordinanace/promise in 1:28. It has the sabbath instituted in 2:2. It has a divine law in 2:17, and sin by disobeying that law in 3:6. It has divine covenant punishmnent in 3:17-19. It has acceptable and unacceptable sacrifice in 4:4-5. It has Noah offering priestly sacrifice, and a resulting covenant promise in 8:20-22, and a renewal of the creation promise in 9:1.

And it starts the story of salvation from Adam’s rebellion through Israel (and ultimately through the new Adam, and true Israel Jesus Christ) by a renewal of the promise, then a covenant, then an oath, through Abraham and the patriarchs from 12:1 on.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #136

How do you know that ancient people thousands of years before Abraham in Africa, Asia, Europe, Austrialia, South and North America didn’t get even more blessings than Abraham did?

(Guy Coe) #137

Great summary, @jongarvey ! It also has a visitation by the Malak YHWH, Who seemed to relate on more of a casual, friendly basis in evening strolls through the garden than you’d expect fom a more aloof, distant “King.” God is indeed, “good.”
Lots of surprises in these early passages!

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #138

Once again, I’m not saying this. The main objection I have to your objections @Ashwin_s is that none of them are inevitable. Just rewire your question as a proposal instead, purpose that those outside the garden had a “share in God” and it obviates your objection. Now the question arises: what was their share and how was it distinct from Adam? Now you are on the right path to actually make progress.

Almost all your objections fit this pattern. They really aren’t sensible as legitimate objections, but are instead legitimate as prompts for deeper reflection by you.

(Ashwin S) #139

My discussion on this subject was with @jongarvey. I know you are not proposing what he is.
As to having a share in Adam, someone has mentioned this before… I think it was @Guy_Coe if I remember correctly.Adam being the chosen representative of all humanity and humanity falling in Adam. I.e he would be a type of Christ.
I personally think this makes sense if Adam is chosen from or specially created to represent a small population of the first humans… of course this would have to be much earlier than 6000 years ago.

But it’s much better than having a bunch of pre Adamite human beings who have nothing to do with God by God’s choice. It brings issues of election to the forefront which has been argued in the church for centuries and you will find many people disagreeing.(including me).

(Ashwin S) #140

We can’t say… that’s my point… they could have had a relationship with God… I believe some probably did.
The Bible’s description of Abraham’s story does not make any claim that he was the only person God Interacted with in his time or before. That’s why I mentioned Melchizedek who was a contemporary of Abraham and a priest of God.