William Lane Craig on The Genealogical Adam and Eve Workshop


(Jon Garvey) #81

This clearly isn’t accurate, as the very specific temple role of mankind in the cities in which these stories arose shows. You’d have thought that WLC would appreciate that, having shown to his own satisfaction the geographical localisation of the “Babylonian World Map” in other work.

The situation is much the same - not only in ANE literature, but in a large part of ancient anthropology, “man” designates your own people, the ones who matter, in the land that matters. The astonishing thing about Genesis 1-11, especially the table of nations, is that it is concerned about the spread of Adam’s line amongst the nations.

Arguably, given the cosmic context of Gen 1, the creation of mankind there may be taken as universal, though I wouldn’t want to press the point without being certain of the concept of the world being referenced there: it is certainly not the same as our Greek metaphysical concept of a self-contained “cosmos,” and arguably might be as geographically restricted as the Babylonian world map, though I don’t think so.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #82

Well, I hope you make that case very clearly in your book. Did I handle Enkidu correctly?

(Jon Garvey) #83

I didn’t have WLC in mind when I wrote that chapetr! However, he has a copy of the m.s., so either hasn’t read it or doesn’t agree with it.

I’ve not interacted with the Enkidu story, but it does seem to be another example of the way the ANE handles creation motifs. Clearly Enkidu, at least, isn’t intended as either a first human, nor a universal figure. Gilgamesh is a figure assumed to be within civilised history.

The scholarly speculations on Enkidu’s mythic role are just that - speculations. All we can really say is that, in its cultural context, the “meaning” of Adam has to be assessed carefully as an individual case, not as a foregone conclusion.



Nice work with the story of Enkidu. It’s a good response.


It seems to me that Paul broke with 2nd temple Judaism over things that would effect his Christology and make it weaker. I don’t see why he would break with the tradition over something like this. If anything, Adam being the first man IN THE STORY strengthens his parallel between the universal effect of sin and the universal effect of Christ’s resurrection.

I feel like if Tremper Longman and Craig had a long talk together, they would probably find a kindred spirit in the other. Longman is the most conservative evangelical willing to say Adam might not be historical, and defends the view while also defending genre inerrancy. I think Craig might go in a similar direction if the two of them talked. Can’t wait for Longman’s new book in September, I think.

(George) #85

@jongarvey and @swamidass,

And let’s not forget that the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is hardly universal…

Native Americans (North or South) are certainly not in there… No Chinese, No Japanese. Do we even have a credible proxy for India or Australia?

(Jon Garvey) #86

I deal with that in my book! More significantly the table doesn’t include all the nations known at any plausible time for the composition of Genesis. That is positive evidence that it isn’t intended to be universal, and ergo that the line of Noah (and probably Adam) is not intended to be universal.

So the table is univeralist in the sense that it describes the dispersion of Adam’s line at the time of composition, rather than homing in on one nation, and that is consistent with the Genealogical Adam paradigm. But it is particular in that it makes no attempt to account for all the known nations with whom, for example, Babylon traded (notably in the lack of nations to the East of the Caspian and Persian Gulf).

(John Harshman) #87

It’s almost as if Genesis was written by people who didn’t know much beyond the local area and imagined that there was nothing else.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #88

@John_Harshman that is the opposite of what @jongarvey is saying. He is saying they knew th world was larger but made a choice not to discuss the entire world they knew.


(John Harshman) #89


(Jon Garvey) #90

Not so. There was a resident trade community from the Indus Valley in Mesopotamia from the 3rd millennium - even, it seems, transliterations from the local language into Indus Valley script. Yet that region is not represented in the Table of Nations. The reason? Clearly there was no semitic presence in the Indus valley, though the area was a longstanding trading partner.

(Jon Garvey) #91

Incidentally, that pattern reflects the spread of neolithic culture, which I would place well before the biblical narrative begins. Rapid spread north and west, and south to northern Africa from the Levant, but much slower diffusion eastward - which is all to do with the terrain.

(John Harshman) #92

Or perhaps the Hebrews didn’t know everything that any Semitic speakers knew. Perhaps different Semitic speakers had different degrees of geographic knowledge.

Are you assuming that neolithic culture spread from a single point of origin?

(George) #93


I was marveling at this illustration:

[ Be sure to click on image to maximize legibility! ]

(Jon Garvey) #94

Or it’s possible that everybody in the world knew about the trading nations around, except the writer of Genesis, who was particularly uneducated. No, I’ll go with the evidence of widespread trade against speculative special pleading.

In terms of the middle east, that appears to be true from archaeology. There is a cluster of neolithic sites in the West (broadly similar to the Table of nations) and another cluster around the Indus Valley far to the east. But once dating evidence is applied to all, there are very clear signs of diffusion from an original area, which centres on Gesher in southern Israel, over several millennia - the newest sites are the extreme eastern ones. Dates for the eastern group are 10K-6K, and those in the east from 6.5K-4K.

That of course does not mean there are no older sites than Gesher, but a single area of origin is pretty clear. Neither does it mean population spread - the genetic evidence seems to suggest mainly cultural diffusion to the east, whereas the spread north and west is associated with strong genetic signals indicating group migration - hence one of the last-reached outposts to the north, Britain, has asiatic genetic input dating to around 4K (all dates BCE). Neither does it deny that agriculture may have arisen separately elsewhere in the world, but that is not the point at issue in this discussion.

(Jon Garvey) #95

Yup - it gets mighty complex, don’t it. It’s necessary to try and map the changes to waves of migration, and that shows a pretty complicated pattern from early on.

That being the case, genetics is of somewhat limited value in placing Genesis in space and time, and it seems to me that it works best in combination with archaeology, anthropology, linguistics and history (including the Bible).

What is undoubted, though, is that it confirms the pervasive mixing that one would expect in Genealogical Adam, and not (a) a young mankind, sole progenitor model or (b) an idea of separable racial groups.

(John Harshman) #96

Why? Why should the Hebrews know who people living far away in the Persian Gulf traded with?

By “all”, what do you refer to? Are you including the Indus Valley?

This would be the Anatolian farmers, right?

(Jon Garvey) #97

If the story was a tradition of the Patriarchs, they came from Mesopotamia. If it was a late composition round the time of the exile, they lived in Mesopotamia. If it comes from the time in between, Israel always had strong cultural and trading links with Mesopotamia. And there is a good possibility that Solomon’s “Ophir” was actually the Indus region.

Yes. Dating in the study was both by radiometric and archaeological chronology, and shows a more or less steady rate of diffusion of neolithic culture west to east.

Yes. Conventional wisdom is that the European neolithic involved large-scale migration from there.

(John Harshman) #98

Yes, but long after the time of the Indus civilization, no?

What’s the evidence for that?

Could you cite that study?

(George) #99

The question is: what the Jewish scribes knew, and WHEN they knew it.

Once in the Babylonian Exile, Persian took control of their captivity in less than a generation. And the Persian Empire, while lasting only 200 years, had trade routes intersecting the Silk Roads at multiple points.

Brahmin priests from India were known to mingle with royal court guests from all over the ancient world!

(Jon Garvey) #100

You’re suggesting that the neo-Babylonian empire had lost all contact with eastern cultures?

Mainly the match of products to origin. Apes, peacocks - not easily available in Saudi.

Gangai K., Sarson G. & Shukurov A. The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia. PLos ONE, May 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095714 · Source: PubMed.