What is Your Model?

@Revealed_Cosmology and @jongarvey I had a question. I know that you are both working through different genealogical Adam models. That is great. I wanted you to each lay out the key features of what you are putting forward. Having htat information straight would be helpful to me. I want to be able to point to some diverse ways of making use of this in some coming talks.

If possible, try and explain in a post these things:

  1. Where do you place Adam in geography and time (e.g. 10 kya, in Persian Gulf Oasis is one proposal).
  2. Are Adam and Eve de novo created? Why or why not?
  3. What is the Image of God? Is it also on those outside the Garden?
  4. Do you affirm original sin? What is its affect on people outside the garden, and how does it transfer?
  5. Is universal genealogical descent from Adam theologically important or not? Why or why not?
  6. What are the other key features of your theology?

Also, @Revealed_Cosmology can you give a few sentence bio too. @jongarvey I already idenitfy as a retired physician and indigenous theology from a reformed prespective.

Joshua, here are some hurried thoughts as far as permitted by a house full of grandchildren!

1 Where do you place Adam in geography and time (e.g. 10 kya, in Persian Gulf Oasis is one proposal).
2 Are Adam and Eve de novo created? Why or why not?
3 What is the Image of God? Is it also on those outside the Garden?
4 Do you affirm original sin? What is its affect on people outside the garden, and how does it transfer?
5 Is universal genealogical descent from Adam theologically important or not? Why or why not?
What are the other key features of your theology?

1 Following most modern “literal Adam” scholars, I treat Gen 2.4-11 as “proto-historical” or “mytho-historical” in genre. That is, despite the abundance of mythically-expressed motifs, such as a talking serpent, eternal life and illicit knowledge linked to trees etc, there are many features suggesting a specific place and time, and genealogies linking to clearly historical figures. Additionally there are both cultural and literary links to Mesopotamian stories like Eridu Genesis and Atrahasis, which can be dated and situated.

Accordingly I place Adam in either southern Mesopotamia or the Anatolian highlands to the north, a countable number of generations before the “Shuruppak” flood of c2900BC that is the best candidate for the epochal flood of Sumerian history. I attribute normal lifespans to his line, considering the great ages in the text more likely to be for literary or mathematical reasons rather than supernatural vigour - which the text itself doesn’t seem much interested in. That leaves a few centuries leeway, but I’m unwilling to tie Adam to any particular human beginnings, such as making him the founder of the Neolithic or agriculture: there is no need, as he is, like Abraham later, is a representative, not a cultural torchbearer.

2 De novo creation: this is a sticky question, in that (in my view) there is both continuity and discontinuity between the adam created in Gen 1, and the Adam taken into the garden in Gen 2. I’m sympathetic to Richard Middleton’s idea that the breath God breathed into Adam’s nostrils constitutes a new supernatural empowering, like that represented in Egyptian rituals to “divinise” an image. This would constitute a true act of divine creation, even if Adam was taken from an existing mankind (the text itself, of course, has Adam created from dust, not ex nihilo, so transformation is already in view). An Adam re-created and empowered in this way is a product of more than biology - and that might explain the propensity for disaster due to his rebellion: man returned from Eden with a sense of the lost eternal (Ecc 3:11), and a perverted sense of his own importance, as well as (probably) a new and perverted moral sense and general cognitive skills.

3 This does not mean that pre-adamic mankind is not an “image bearer” - a phrase which is actually misleading, since man was not created to bear an image at all , but to be an image. It is the royal/religious sense of “image” that makes more sense than any particular human endowment like reason, though since “imageness” is intrinsic to what it is to be human, all human qualities are part of it. That applies whether the original (palaeolithic) men were specially created or created through an evolutionary process: God “designed” mankind to be what he is, reflecting the likeness of Christ, the true Image of God (as those like Irenaeus stressed).

It follows that there is no theological problem in pre-adamic man having advancedc culture, language, and even religion as history and archaeology suggest: what they lacked was what Adam gained, possibly through the divine breath, and definitely through the whole Garden episode. One way of considering this is extending the pagan temple analogy: before an Egyptian “god” was empowered by ritual, it was nevertheless made in order to be a divine image. It looked like Ptah before it “became” Ptah. And so early man was created as an earthly creature in God’s image, always with the purpose of becoming God’s true representative at the proper time, through Adam.

4 The nature of original sin is still a work in progress on my model. Central is the understanding that Adam’s sin begins with disobedience to the specific command of Yahweh, and however it later generalises to lack of love for fellow man and God, it must always retain the key feature of revolt against God’s command. That’s why evolutionary accounts of sin fail: they redifine sin in purely moral, rather than religious, terms. Adam is the federal head of the “new” humanity, as well (under Genealogical Adam) as its physical fountainhead, and so his sin becomes ours (see below).

That leaves the question of the moral nature of man before there was a covenant in Adam. A few points:

  • To be sinless is to be true to your created nature - and that is why lion infanticide or chimp warfare are not sinful. God surprises us with the range of creatures he has made, and all “very good.” The given nature of mankind doesn’t, therefore, necessarily require congruence the law God intended for the children of Adam.

  • As C S Lewis points out, artifacts usually reveal little of the inner life of man. We cannot assume from tools or burials that pre-adamic man was like “primitive” adamic mankind today. The Garden changed everything. It is quite possible to endorse the traditional view that Adam was endued with a gift of original righteousness, appropriate to the “new mankind.” It is also possible that before Adam sinned, mankind had a natural tendency to what we understand as righteosuness. However, some probabilities come out of the ground.

  • Sapiens and Neanderthals bones show signs of butchery - but that tells us only about a taboo: even good Catholics have eaten human flesh when starving after a plane crash in the Andes: and they were not in an ice age. Burial honours may reflect belief in an afterlife - but they may not. The Bolsheviks who embalmed Lenin so carefully to this day had no belief that he would rise again: just respect for his achievements. Evidence of murder maybe equivocal, like the very ancient skull showing marks of two blows, or possibly two teeth. Even kings have been killed by arrows in hunting accidents (and even an Archbishop of Canterbury accidentally killed someone that way). More telling are remains of massacres with identical injuries - the oldest discovery of which, so far, seems about 13,000 years old. Adam rather older than my model? A violent pre-adamic nature? Faulty dates? It’s too early to be certain - but behind it all, remember that it was disobeying Yahweh in sacred space, not a universal moral law, that brought death and sin into the world.

As to the pervaseivness of sin and original sin, To me there is so much emphasis on genealogy in the Bible, not only in the Genesis genealogies, but in the unique Table of Nations, in the genealogies of Christ, in the theology of Paul, in the analogies of new birth and inheritance of the New Testament, etc, that being physically “in Adam,” though irrational to modern minds, is still important.

I believe in the forensic Reformed idea of federal headship, but that idea requires a legitimate participation in the head. In the case of the Davidic kings, he represented the nation by divine anointing and popular consensus. Likewise Christ is divinely appointed, and we participate by making him our Lord, by faith. Physical descent from Adam gives us a true solidarity with him, which seems to be absent from other models (and especially those where he doesn’t actually exists!).

I believe (despite objections about Augustine and mistranslations) that Romans 5 does teach imputed guilt for Adam’s specific transgression. But the propensity we have for sin - the our bondage of our wills, may also be due to the fact that we only become true humans through enculturation: rational beings are the product of (sinful) society, and not vice versa. Adam’s corruption is a very potent leaven in human society.

5 I think the above shows the importance of genealogical descent from Adam in my position, as far as sin goes, but I would just stress (as it sometimes isn’t) that sin was only the spoiling of what Adam received through his encounter with Yahweh, and passed on to his descendants. We have ancestral knowledge of God, of the possibility of eternal life, of our accountability to God, and even of the high calling received (and for the time being lost) by Adam to rule not only the earth, but the angels and all that God has made (Ps 8, as interpreted in Heb 2). We are (as Blaise Pascal said) both of heaven and earth, and that (I beleieve) we receive from Adam, and not merely through Cro-Magnon man.

Accordingly, a major theme of what I’m working on is the narrative structure of the Bible, which it seems to me is, from first to last, about the struggle to bring about the New Creation - the transformation of the first, good but natural, creation into that in which spirit empowers all and God’s glory fills the heavens and the earth. The Genesis 1 creation is merely the backdrop for that drama, which begins in Gen 2 with Adam, has its first reiteration in the call of Israel, and its successful culmination in the work of Christ… which reveals to us that achieving it through and for Christ was God’s secret intention from the first.

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I was born in Houston Texas, but moved to rural Arkansas at age 14. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Quantitative Analysis and upon graduation served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. I spent thirteen years teaching science after that, mostly at the public middle-school level. After that I went into sales, and now negotiate energy infrastructure agreements with individual landowners and government entities.

I dabbled in politics. I was Ron Paul’s official campaign spokesman in Arkansas in 2008. I also helped a State Senator win two statewide primary elections. He told the papers that I was “the best policy guy in the country.” Alas, my policy acumen was geared toward restoring equity rather than finding ways to skim the many for the benefit of the few, so there was no possibility of turning my skills into a paying gig.

I have authored several books, including the one most germane to this topic, Early Genesis, the Revealed Cosmology. I live with my wife and three children ostensibly in Pea Ridge, Arkansas but our projects take us all over the heartland. For the next few months we are in Quincy, IL.


As to your questions, brevity is not my strong suit, and on this subject in particular there are so many layers of what I feel is misunderstanding that my brief answers are going to raise more questions. You can’t see it starting with what you think you know about it, because that is looking at it through the lens of “theology which is not in the bible”. Still, I will try to be brief.

  1. Where do you place Adam in geography and time?

By using the “long way” to read the genealogies with no gaps in time: thirteen-thousand-four-hundred years ago, give or take, in the Anatolian or Armenian highlands.

  1. Were Adam and Eve created de novo?

Yes, per the text. So was the original human (Adamic) race though what that means as regards to methodology is more open to debate. God’s goal from the very beginning was Christ and the Church. He started with the human race. Adam was the beginning of His plan to get mankind from where they were to Christ and the Church.

  1. What is the Image of God? Is it also on those outside the Garden?

God the Son, Christ, is the image of God. The scriptures make this abundantly clear. Not even Adam claimed to be “in the image of God” after his fall, just God’s likeness. So the church has been looking at this completely backwards. It is not a question of “How did Adam get his ‘image of God’ status to the rest of humanity”? He didn’t have it either after the fall. It is God’s intent, the original condition, and what will be again in heaven, but it is only reality here to the extent that we are “conformed to His image” by the Holy Spirit. Whether we are from those inside the garden or those outside it, or some mix in-between, we all have to go to the same place to fulfill God’s intent and become what we are created to be - and that place is in Jesus Christ.

  1. Do you affirm original sin? What is its affect on people outside the garden, and how does it transfer?

I do affirm original sin. The act of disobedience by the one whom Yahweh-Elohim had given a direct command was the first human rebellion against God. However it was not the first act that God disapproved of. Humanity was not in a condition of moral perfection, but moral innocence. God had not given mankind any “thou shalt nots” until then. He had put no law on them, therefore no matter how badly they behaved, it was not rebellion against Him.

After the fall, their moral conscience was awakened- both inside the garden and without. They knew that certain things not only seemed wrong, but were wrong. They were against the nature of the Holy God who made them. And they continued to do wrong anyway, because we can’t live up to God’s standards without being in Him and Him doing it in us. We are like a light bulb disconnected from the power source. No matter how hard we try, we will never produce light in ourselves, nor were we designed to. We are designed for good works, but only in communion with Him. Those who try ‘good works’ according to their own standards are some of the worst sinners in history, for we need to be saved not only from our sins, but also what we imagine to be our virtues.

Now probably the most controversial aspect of this question is the vast gap between what much of the church says about the method of transmission of the guilt for original sin and what the bible actually says about it. I regret to say that this part won’t help you with “genealogical Adam” per se, except to show how even those who do not see the necessity of it are still with you on your larger model of the human race coming first and then at the right time, quite a bit later, Adam comes along.

The bible never, ever, not one single time, says that inheritance from Adam is where we get our sin nature. I think the whole doctrine is an artifact of when we thought that Adam was the sole progenitor of the human race. Now that we know better we should call upon theologians to re-examine the issue of the method of transmission. The process by which sin came to be in humanity first mentioned in Romans chapter 5 is fairly well described if one just keeps reading onto chapter seven.

  1. Is universal genealogical descent from Adam theologically important or not?

Though I think your larger work is important because it demonstrates via evidence from the natural universe that Adam is not the sole progenitor of the human race, I don’t see the necessity of his being a universal genealogical ancestor- though by now that is likely true that he is. The genealogy was important in that it established that the human side of Christ was the seed of Eve prophesied in Genesis 3. He was qualified to be the last Adam. Ephesians 2 is in the context of Jews and Gentiles but from verse 11 on it is a beautiful passage of scripture demonstrating the principle of how “in groups” and “out groups” are no longer of paramount importance. The end and purpose of the “in group” was to produce Christ. Since He came He has broken down the barriers and made the two groups one. Thus the “in-group” and “out-group” is determined by who has faith in God vs. who wants to be “like God” determining for themselves what is good and evil. Being “in Christ” or “in Adam” is not a matter of genetics or descent, but of faith.

I did say this was the “Christ Centered Model”.

  1. What are the other key aspects to your model?

The two other biggest aspects are a “Regional Flood with Global Consequences” model (what I have to say about the flood is about of the same magnitude as what I say about Adam and the two models operate on the same basis, the explanation is harmonious) and a model on the Theophanies where the second person of the Trinity is not hopping in and out of human form throughout the old Testament but rather it happened once, in the beginning. He was not in corruptible flesh as when He incarnated, nor was He born of a woman until then, but the anthropogenic form of God which appears throughout the old testament is this same person who would incarnate.

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@Guy_Coe curious your model too? Would you like to add it here too?

@vjtorley can add his here too! Maybe even @Agauger might join in.

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Hi; honestly, just now saw this invitation, @swamidass . Will work something up.
The article I linked to today in another thread is close, in some respects, to my own position, although it covers different ground than I have here, yet.
I’ll see if I can repost that link againYep; here it is: https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2015/PSCF3-15Davidson.pdf

By the way, I was at a conference this weekend, and ran across Lee Strobel, @swamidass . I invited him to contact you, and perhaps join the blog. I tried to fire him up by suggesting he write a “Case for Adam and Eve” book. Here’s hoping he follows up when he gets a break in his schedule. He’s a former investigative journalist, and will easily take to the Geneaological Adam model, I believe.

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Here’s one reason why I place Adam and Eve earlier in time than the Neolithic revolution; the Persian Gulf location was most likely underwater by then. I place them at 15-13kya, when during the late paleolithic, the location and situation of the Persian Gulf area was perfectly situated to be the “lab” in which humabs first learned, specifically, IRRIGATION agriculture and animal domestication, and began passing these skills off to others.

Later, during the early neolithic, as the earth continued warming, you have the kinds of conditions which inhere to create massive local flooding, as ice dams break, tectonic forces are at work, and tundra defrosts. Much like the descriptions in Genesis chapter two and forwards. This makes Adam and Eve ancestral to all the cultures which arise from Mesopotamian roots.
My two cents.

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21 posts were merged into an existing topic: In YEC, WHEN Was Adam?