Thursday, June 23, 2011

Did Adam and Eve Exist? (Part IV: Conclusion)

[Note: This is the fifth post in a multipart series. The Introduction is at this link, Part I is at this link, Part II is at this link, and Part III is at this link.]

We have come full circle in our investigation into the historicity of Adam and Eve. We have seen how the biblical account was taken as factual by persons in Christian history as important as St. Paul. And indeed, it is probably true to say that all Christians until the nineteenth century, with the possible exception of a few enlightenment theists, such as Voltaire and Jefferson, believed in the historicity of the original pair.

Therefore, in questioning whether such a belief is still rational, in light of what science now tells us, I am raising the issue: what has science disclosed since 1800 that would make a Christian have to question whether Adam and Eve actually existed?

I have gone through the science and the theology in the previous posts. I will not summarize those here, in order to save space -- I simply ask of anyone who wants to challenge this post to do me the courtesy of reading the previous installments, linked in the first lines above. For I expect, given that in this post I am going to lay out a scenario for the historical Adam and Eve, there will be a fair number of challenges to my thesis -- which is fine, because that is how it will be tested against what others believe to be the case.

The scenario has been tested somewhat already -- as I will show below, I believe it squarely meets the four criteria for a theologically acceptable Genesis scenario laid out by Prof. C. John Collins in this article cited earlier (at pp. 159-60) and restated in his recent book on Adam and Eve (pp. 120-21):
1. To begin with, we should see that the origin of the human race goes beyond a merely natural process. This follows from how hard it is to get a human being, or, more theologically, how distinctive the image of God is.

2. We should see Adam and Eve at the headwaters of the human race. This follows from the unified experience of humankind, as discussed earlier (pp. 155–8). How else could all human beings come to bear God’s image?

3. The Fall, in whatever form it took, was both historical (it happened) and moral (it involved disobeying God), and occurred at the beginning of the human race. The universal sense of loss described earlier (pp. 155–8) makes no sense without this. Where else could this universality have come from?

. . .

4. If someone should decide that there were, in fact, more human beings than just Adam and Eve at the beginning of humankind, then, in order to maintain good sense, he or she should envision these humans as a single tribe. Adam would then be the chieftain of this tribe (preferably produced before the others), and Eve would be his wife. This tribe “fell” under the leadership of Adam and Eve. This follows from the notion of solidarity in a representative. Some may call this a form of “polygenesis,” but this is quite distinct from the more conventional, and unacceptable, kind.
Let us now proceed to see how this could be so.

Begin with this very astute observation centuries ago by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal (quoted also in Dr. Collins' article [text at n. 58], which should be read from start to finish), in his deservedly famous Pensées (see n. 58 in Collins for the full references):
Man’s greatness is so obvious that it can even be deduced from his wretchedness, for what is nature in animals we call wretchedness in man, thus recognizing that, if his nature is today like that of the animals, he must have fallen from some better state which was once his own.
Precisely -- what we call "sin" in man is regarded as natural in animals. This insight is key to the understanding of Genesis' account of the Fall. For it leads to the natural question which all pure evolutionists should have to answer: At what precise point in your scenario of hominid evolution resulting in Homo sapiens did the lights go on? When did hominids become aware of their own moral culpability, and why, and how?

There will be as many answers to that question as there are pure evolutionists, and that is just the problem -- from a purely evolutionary standpoint, it is impossible to say. There will be speculation about brain size, the evolution of consciousness, and so forth, but without a written diary or record (and writing came long afterward), the "evolution" of Moral Man will be forever enshrouded in the prehistoric mists.

The scenario I wish to propose, however, gives a precise answer to that question -- that is, precise in the sense of we may know what happened and why; the details of just when and where are less clear. We begin by satisfying Dr. Collins' very first criterion, and posit that God created two unique individuals whom the Bible calls Adam and Eve, and placed them in an earthly paradise where all their needs could readily be met without effort. (The physical location of the "Garden in Eden" [Gen. 2:8] is not as important as is the fact that, as Creator, God could create any kind of earthly paradise He wanted, at any location, and at any time. Having created it, He could just as easily have removed all earthly traces of it, although there are some who think they know just where it was.)

Adam and Eve thus did not evolve from any primeval ancestor in the Darwinian sense; they were unique and one-time special creations of the Creator -- let us call them Homo praecipuus (from the Latin for "extraordinary, distinguished"). (They nonetheless shared enough of the Homo sapiens DNA to be able to interbreed with them, as we shall see.) Without any evolutionary experience or ancestry, and brought into the world as fully formed adults (as one wit remarked, "they were the only humans without tummy buttons"), they were unaware of sin at first -- and probably, as Genesis describes them, incapable of discerning right from wrong, or good from evil (which is why they were such easy targets for Satan, who in the Genesis version approached them as a talking serpent).

God's plan for them is not laid out in Genesis, but we can conceive that He may eventually have wanted them to grow to full maturity and then, with their offspring, take dominion over the earth. They would not suffer death as long as they could continue their connection with God and the Garden of Eden. However, the fact that Satan could also enter the Garden, and tempt the first pair as he did, implies that God must have foreseen that His creations would thus fall short of His plans for them, due to their gift of a free will to choose as they chose. Try viewing salvation in that light, whereby -- if God knew that Adam and Eve would succumb to Satan's temptations, He had determined ultimately to send His own Son to redeem their fallen state.

Note that Adam and Eve, again as portrayed in Genesis, were given from the outset the gift of language and speech, so that they could communicate with each other and with their Maker. (Soon after leaving Eden, they quickly acquired other skills: husbandry, farming and the manufacture and use of tools -- another fact which indicates the degree to which their genes were more advanced than that of other humans at the time.) But their Maker endowed them also with a gift far more precious than mere language -- as Genesis 2:7 relates, he breathed life into them, and they each became a "living soul." With the Catholics and the Orthodox, then, I posit that Adam and Eve were the first creatures on earth to have souls -- and further, that their ability to procreate would result in any of their lineage having souls, as well. It is the human soul, in my view, which gives meaning to the phrase "made them in His own image", and which gave them their capacity to become morally responsible individuals.

It is useless for evolutionists to ask the question: "What part of the human genome codes for souls?" Not being physical or corporeal, souls are not subject to the biochemistry of DNA, and not a subject for scientific investigation. But the irreducible fact for Christians is that we do have souls, and that they constitute most of what we mean when we say we are made in God's image. The consequence is that Christians do not have to be concerned that their core faith might be undermined by some future advance in evolutionary science.

When did the Fall take place? At this date, we cannot be precise, but we know something of what was going on elsewhere in the world. Genesis chapter 1 tells us that God created all the plants and animals before he created the first human pair, and even evolutionists agree with that timeline. (Genesis also says that God created all of the plants and animals, "each according to its own kind". I do not take a position here on the accuracy of the Darwinian hypothesis which goes by the name of "macroevolution"; it may be so, or it may not; either possibility fits into the scheme. God equally well could have created the genetic forerunners of each species [or family, or phylum] and then allowed evolution by natural selection to do its work. Until more evidence of macroevolution accumulates, it is not necessary to decide that point.)

In another of his books on Genesis (pp. 121-29), Dr. Collins shows us how the timeline of Genesis 1 may be fit together with the events narrated in Genesis 2-4, and I will not go over that here. Suffice it to say that, when Adam and Eve were first created, the earth was already teeming with plants and animals -- including the first "anthropologically modern humans" (who were not, however [and by design], inhabitants of Eden). Unlike Adam and Eve, those specimens of early humans had not yet acquired the capabilities of higher language -- and they did not, I posit, have "souls" as Christians understand that term.

The scenarios that I discussed in this earlier post, as well as still others described by Dr. Collins in discussing his four criteria, all have in common that they try to account for the acquisition of these defining human characteristics by the species Homo sapiens through some sort of evolutionary means. And that is where they break down logically, it seems to me. An earlier comment on this series cogently argues the problems with such scenarios:
Now, I'm not sure what you're going to argue here exactly: let's say that somehow 10,000 early humans "evolved". (Logically, you've got the problem of where those 10,000 came from, exactly -- why start there, after all? Did 20,000 almost Homo sapiens suddenly reach the same evolutionary point at the same time and mate to produce 10,000 Homo sapiens? Shouldn't there be an easier explanation?)

But leaving that aside, let's say two of those 10,000 named Adam and Eve ate the apple and created Original Sin. What of the [9,998] who didn't? Why didn't they convoke some prelapsarian version of an ecumenical council (especially since they were still perfect and unfallen) and correct Adam and Eve? Or are you arguing that 5,000 of that group were Adam and 5,000 Eve, and 5,000 serpents chatted them up, and they had an apple-ducking contest all at once? That seems less credible than Genesis, frankly.
These difficulties stem from getting the logic backward, in my opinion. We modern humans cannot see ourselves as like Adam and Eve, who are so remote from our world; we identify our origins instead with Cro-Magnon man, the cave painters, and all the early humans whom we resemble. So when we ask how and at what point sin and death came into the world, we tend to start from our own viewpoint, which is the wrong starting point.

It was Adam and Eve who were originally without any awareness of sin, and who had the ability to live as long as they wished without suffering death. Although sin as we term it was not yet in the world when Adam and Eve were created, the animal behaviors which -- in morally responsible humans -- we regard as sin (see the quote from Pascal above) were certainly in the world, as was suffering and death. So we do not have to account for the "entry" of sin and death into the world outside of Eden -- they were already there. It is just that there were not yet any morally responsible humans with souls in God's image, who could be held accountable for sinning.

God, in this scenario, created just two such humans -- and he gave them (in the Genesis account) simple instructions, which at some point they proceeded on their own (with the serpent's [Satan's] prodding) to disobey. Once they disobeyed God, they acquired moral culpability for their acts -- they knew they had done wrong, and they tried to hide from God in the Garden.

"For on the day you eat of that fruit, you shall surely die" -- not die on the spot, but become certain to die at some future point, just like any other mortal creature. The punishment for eating the forbidden fruit, and thereby acquiring moral culpability, was Adam and Eve's banishment from the paradise of Eden, where they could have remained free of death (and all moral responsibility). And so this scenario satisfies the third of Dr. Collins' criteria quoted above -- under it the Fall literally happened, due to Adam and Eve's disobedience of God's command.

And not only does this scenario satisfy Dr. Collins' third criterion, but it also furnishes a natural basis for the universal longing that man still experiences for a state in the distant past which is now "lost", or "fallen". As well expressed by G. K. Chesterton (again, quoted in the excellent article by Professor Collins [text at n. 60, which see for source]):
The Fall is a view of life. It is not only the only enlightening, but the only encouraging view of life. It holds, as against the only real alternative philosophies, those of the Buddhist or the Pessimist or the Promethean, that we have misused a good world, and not merely been entrapped into a bad one. It refers evil back to the wrong use of the will, and thus declares that it can eventually be righted by the right use of the will. Every other creed except that one is some form of surrender to fate.
A man who holds this view of life will find it giving light on a thousand things; on which mere evolutionary ethics have not a word to say. For instance, on the colossal contrast between the completeness of man’s machines and the continued corruption of his motives; on the fact that no social progress really seems to leave self behind; … on that proverb that says “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” which is only what the theologians say of every other virtue, and is itself only a way of stating the truth of original sin; on those extremes of good and evil by which man exceeds all the animals by the measure of heaven and hell; on that sublime sense of loss that is in the very sound of all great poetry, and nowhere more than in the poetry of pagans and sceptics: “We look before and after, and pine for what is not”; which cries against all prigs and progressives out of the very depths and abysses of the broken heart of man, that happiness is not only a hope, but also in some strange manner a memory; and that we are all kings in exile.
We are, in Chesterton's magnificent language, "kings in exile". How can that be, under an evolutionary scenario? The very idea of "the Fall" implies a reverse kind of evolution -- the opposite of progress. We (our precursors) were at some point in a more evolved state, and then we fell to a worse one, due to our precursors' own grievous fault. That is the point of the story in Genesis chapters 2-3, and there is no reconciling of that point with a purely evolutionary theory -- according to which "progress" is in only one direction, i.e., forward, to ever more advanced states of existence. Therein (in that insight, in other words) lies the key to resolving the apparent conflict between purely evolutionary and Christian "fundamentalist" viewpoints -- if, by the latter term, we describe a belief that Adam and Eve were actual humans, as described in Genesis.

Thus we now come to the hinge-point on which this scenario depends: Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden, and forever prevented from returning (Gen. 3:24). Where could they go?

Precisely -- into the world outside of Eden, with its population of plants and animals -- and a small (3,000 or so) group of anatomically modern humans, according to the genetic evidence discussed in this earlier post. Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel. Their sons grew up, and being morally culpable (with souls of their own), they became subject to sin, like their parents. As God warned Cain, in Genesis 4:6-7:
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
Cain was unable to do so, and slew his brother Abel out of jealousy. He had to leave Adam and Eve, and go into the world with a mark of some kind to keep him from being killed -- by other early humans, who as yet, we posit, had little in the way of speech, language, or moral conscience. But Cain took a wife, also from among these other early humans (no, he did not marry his sister and have to begin the human race with an act of incest) -- and then we are told he went and began to build an entire city -- of other early humans, again (Gen. 4:17). Being able to found and build a city is a further indication of the skills with tools which distinguished Homo praecipuus from ordinary members of Homo sapiens at that time.

Cain himself had the Homo praecipuus genes of his mother and father. But once he married an early Homo sapiens, his genes recombined with that species in all his offspring, and passed on to their descendants. Cain would have taught his wife and family the rudiments of speech and communication, husbandry, and the manufacture and use of tools -- which they in turn passed on to others in the city he started. Cain's branch of the family may have been responsible for all the people of Africa -- if so, the group which Cain joined after leaving his parents was the small pool of 7,000 or so individuals which, according to the latest data from population genetics, made up the strain which originated in Africa. (Or it may have been one of the descendants of Adam through Noah who did so -- see below.)

Cain's children -- but not his wife (!) -- would also have been born with immortal souls. (Perhaps God's grace intervened even then -- at least, we may hope so.) As each of those in turn married still others, the number of descendants with souls would have multiplied geometrically. (Speaking from an evolutionary standpoint, Cain's tool and language skills, passed on to his descendants, would have given them each a selective advantage over other early humans, meaning that natural selection would eventually take care of the phasing out of any Homo sapiens without souls. It would be mischievous to ask whether there may be any such specimens still around. N.B.: It appears after all that we may hope there are not.)

Back with Adam and Eve, matters progressed similarly, but with a smaller starting population. Adam and Eve had Seth, and perhaps still others, all of whom would have spread the Homo praecipuus genes among the Homo sapiens population, and conferred thereby an evolutionary advantage on their descendants. In this way, the scenario satisfies the second and the fourth of Dr. Collins' criteria.

With the onset of the Flood, Genesis says that all other strains of human and animal life with the exception of Noah, his family and the animals saved on the ark were destroyed. (And if so, that event alone would account for the extinction of humans without souls, apart from the inexorable mechanism of natural selection.) The scenario sketched above does not have to go that far to make the point that all the current humans on earth stem from a "tribe" originally begun by Adam and Eve and their children. From the third generation of that tribe onward, the genes of Homo sapiens recombined again and again with those of Homo praecipuus, with the result that the latter became dispersed throughout the gene pool of the group, and are now lost to scientific study as such.

When the logic is viewed from Adam's perspective, then, and not from our own, he was responsible for the introduction of sin and death into his world -- which then necessarily became ours, as the generations after Adam increased. He and his progeny all had souls, which in turn gave them moral capability. From the first commingled generation onward (the generation after Adam and Eve's children), humans became aware, for the first time, of the fact that their animal instincts and origins (from the non-Adam side), when combined with a soul and a conscience (the heritage from Adam and his children), made them subject to sin --i.e., to "miss the mark" set for them by God (and later, by the laws He gave them). Thus the human dilemma of the Fall: man is made in God's image (he has an immortal soul, and knows right from wrong), but he has an innate tendency ("corrupted nature") to fall constantly short of the standard which being made in God's image sets for him.

We thus come to the conclusion of the scenario, but not to the end of the story. For man is still, many thousands of years later, trying to be Godlike in himself, while at the same time denying any need for God. The beliefs that there is no God at all, or that everything alive on earth today resulted solely from random mutations and natural selection over many billions of years, are just a few current-day examples of such long-standing, and apparently ingrown, attempts to do without God. Isn't it ironic, in consequence, that one could accurately define "man" as "that species which, made in God's image, spends nearly all of his time and effort trying to deny it"?

In summary:

1. Adam and Eve, far from being two "specially selected Neolithic farmers", were a one-time and unique creation of their Maker, Homo praecipuus, who made them body and soul, breathed life into them, and gave them dominion over an earthly paradise in the Garden of Eden.

2. But they disobeyed God's simple command, became through that disobedience morally culpable and aware, and were banished from their paradise to the world outside -- this was what Christians mean by "the Fall." "Original sin" thus refers solely to the act which caused God to expel Adam and Eve from paradise -- it does not, in the Augustinian sense, refer to Adam and Eve's conduct as having made all subsequent humans accountable for their sin (and so is fully reconcilable, as best as I am able to determine, with the concept of "original sin" as understood by the Orthodox Church).

3. Once outside, Adam and Eve gave birth to their children, who in turn had no alternative when it came time to procreate but to interbreed with the existing small pool of Homo sapiens into which they had come from Eden. Over time, the evolutionary advantages conferred by the Homo praecipuus genes made their descendants -- each of whom had souls -- dominant, until today there is not a single human whose genetic origin cannot be traced back to the original tribe headed by Adam and Eve (or perhaps the larger, African one joined either by Cain, or by one or more of Noah's descendants).

4. The instinct to "sin" has always been in the genetic makeup of Homo sapiens, inherited from their evolutionary ancestors in the animal kingdom. But until individuals were born with souls, and thus made in God's image, they were not capable of moral awareness of their sins, any more than animals are. The birth of humans with souls was the unique inheritance bestowed upon the human race by their equally unique ancestors -- Adam and Eve.

5. Our inbuilt genetic longing for the world as it was before the Fall -- i.e., in the Garden -- is an inherent remnant expression of the Homo praecipuus genes which our ancestors, Adam and Eve, bequeathed to us through Cain, Seth, and their other descendants.

The version of the Genesis story presented here has been inspired by the firm belief that God's revelation to us in the Bible is not in vain -- that God, all-powerful as He is, has the full capability to convey to us mortals that which we need for our salvation. "Salvation" is a Christian term for -- there is no avoiding it, if one is truly a Christian -- deliverance from Hell. Because we are all fallen humans, by reason of the events narrated in Genesis as explained above, we require the salvation of Christ, if we are not to be left to our own devices. Our "own devices" promise us nothing beyond eternal darkness or worse, because mankind is not divine, and has no power over death. Only Christianity promises us life eternal with our Savior, with our Creator, and with the Holy Spirit -- one God in three persons, for ever and ever, world without end.


  1. I like the hypo though the thought of people mating with souless people and thus having souless mothers or fathers sort of icky and troubling.

  2. Thank you for being the first to comment on this hypothesis, James H. Up until now, the silence has been deafening.

    We have to be careful not to read our own 21st-century notions of family into our conceptions of how Cain and Seth and their children might have perceived the reality back then. Life was brutal, nasty and short (except, perhaps for the patriarchs), and full of lots of surprises. We do not even know whether there was any kind of marriage "ceremony", let alone a sacrament, back then -- as opposed to the caveman stereotype of simply carrying a woman off from her family to make her a wife. (I can hear the hisses of "Patriarchy! Detestable patriarchy!" coming through my monitor.) And just as God continued to make exceptions, as with Enoch, He could easily have done so here.

  3. I have enjoyed reading all the installments of this series. However, it seems to me that you have introduced an unneccessary level of complication when you talk about the genes of Adam and Eve ( your postulated Homo praecipuus) being added by interbreeding to those of the soulless Homo sapiens. Isn't it likely that the "image of God" is non-material entirely, for example, consisting in having a soul or being an individual with an eternal component (the soul) that enables the transformation of the material component (the body) and its animating principle (the spirit, or life force)? In such a scenario, God could have created Adam and Eve, genetically identical to the other Homo sapiens, but created by God with immortal souls. Being genetically identical, the children of Adam and Eve could intermarry with the other humans. Their children would receive souls the same way children do now (whatever that is, whether at the moment of conception, or at the "quickening in the womb" at a later point, or with the first breath at birth). And might not the humans taken as mates by the children of Adam and Eve, in becoming one flesh with beings that have immortal souls, receive souls themselves from God? The Apostle talks about wives saving husbands and husbands wives, after all; is it not likely that God provided for those humans as well? I don't insist on any particular theory, but I think it is not necessary to postulate a genetic difference between Adam and Eve on the one hand and the other few thousand humans from whom the scientists say modern humans derived their genes.
    But thanks again for spending the time to writes these very interesting posts.

  4. VB, thank you very much for your comment. The only reason I posited slightly different genes for Adam and Eve was to accommodate their immediate facility with speech and language, and (soon afterward) with tools, farming and husbandry. Obviously, God being their Creator, He could have made them with whatever they needed; but given the state of evolved hominids at that point (with minimal skills in these areas), I hypothesize that Cain, Seth and any other children of Adam and Eve had to instruct their Homo sapiens mates in these things, whereby they themselves were born with those skills in their genes. And don't forget -- we need to posit some mechanism by which the Homo praecipuus genes were able to gain an evolutionary advantage over many succeeding generations -- but not so great (or different) that they could not interbreed.

    I agree, as I did with James H, that God in His grace could easily confer immortal souls on their Homo sapiens spouses -- that's not a point that need deter us.

  5. I suppose you are right on how nasty this was and how bad the FALL actually was. I guess in my mind I am seeing how easy a sort of Slavery could have formed between the intelligent and well the non soul people with less skills which is sort of troubling too. But maybe that was natural in that fallen state.

    Regardless this theory does seem to explain some of these other people that are running around that are strangely described and come out of no where in the Bible

    I have never thought about the age issue as to this . I have thought in the past that the EXTREME long ages that these people lived was just some form of symbolism used by the author. Is it possible that there was actually something to these people living long lives and that we got to our current lifespan because eventually the inter mingling caused it? That is the "fall" the life in exile , the going back included that and occurred over the successive generation.

    That would explain perhaps how over a life time a SOUL human could have many different husbands and wives over their lifespan and thus we see in a relative short period of time with the numbers involved how quickly "soul" people could come on the scene.

    Again not sure this is making sense since it is late but just thinking off the top of my head.

  6. Your hypotheses or theologies of the Fall and of Adam and Eve really make sense both rationally and Biblically. In many decades of churchgoing, I've heard many variations of these, even that there were two separate creation stories between the first and second verses of Genesis or that the Creation and Fall were summarized in the first two verses and then enarged in the first chapter, then more details given later on in the book.

    The idea of the selection of a male and a female to be given the spirit, His very breath, above all others, makes sense because of Cain's later marriage outside of the First (Holy Spirit-filled) Family.

    There is a theme throughout Scripture of God trying to make an exemplary race/nation governed by His Word (His spiritual Kingdom, Zion) and connected to Him through true whole-hearted worship (Jerusalem)...a nation God could prosper and bless that would witness/reveal God's True Likeness to the world.

    Your theology in this section fits with the whole of Scripture in this regard. You describe God's method to use Darwin's terms of 'origin of the species homo praecipuus, God's of 'selection' and 'evolution,' which are not like Darwin's - but are intentional, purposeful and not accidental or random at all.

  7. I Thessalonians 5:23 states that, presumably the regenerated, reborn Christian, is a triune being - spirit, soul and body.

    Dallas Willard says the soul has three parts, mind (cognitive/analytical) will (decisions, discernment) and emotions (impulses, feelings) and that these have been conditioned by the world, culture, family environment and influences, our flesh which carries the tendencies or iniquity of the fallen nature and by the devil and his spiritual forces as an effect of the Fall. All of these must be continually re-oriented, re-attuned and ruled by God.

    As I commented in the next part of this series, your theology/theory of Adam, Eve, Creation and the Fall is very exciting, new and unique (?) and is congruent with Scripture.

  8. When I read this section, the Scripture, Genesis 6:4, came to mind about the sons of God (I have heard it taught that these were fallen angels or demon spirits inhabiting the earth) marrying the daughters of men, caused a giant race, a different kind of human being to be created.

    Scripture seems to say that there are only two spiritual kingdoms, the good Kingdom ruled by GOD's Word and Spirit and the kingdom of evil and that God's Kingdom should not be compromised by dual allegiance with the other or evil kingdom.

    Jesus said, 'You are either with me or against me. You are either gathering with me or scattering.'
    Jesus said to his disciple, 'You do not know what spirit you are of,' when that disciple wanted to call down fire to destroy those who refused to listen.

    Romans 1 shows us what happens when we refuse to worship and acknowledge God; there is a devolution or downward spiral of instincts and behavior shown in those who do not wish to live under God's law and reign - the effect of such lawlessness, unnatural affections, confusion, disorder, futility and death.

    King David pleads, 'Take not Your Holy Spirit from me.'

    Again, I like your theology.

  9. Dear Curmudgeon,

    I do hope sometime to read these postings about Adam and Eve; this looks like very interesting material.

    In the meantime, I found a cantata by Schelle on the fall of Adam which might interest you: Durch Adams Fall - text: here

  10. Forgive me, I was not clear about why I brought up the idea of humans and their souls each having three parts and the Christian believer having a restored trinitarian nature.

    In some theologies I have heard/read, man and woman in Eden were originally triune beings made in the Image of Triune God. The spiritual part died or was separated from abiding communion with God. Their spirits and all creation came to live under the reign (or born into the fatherhood) of the enemy of God whom Adam and Eve had chosen to obey.

    Some theologians teach that there are several versions of the story of The Fall repeated within the first chapters of Genesis, even between the first two verses. Somewhere, somehow, everything turned inside out and upside down. Scripture tells us (not right there in Genesis, but the whole counsel of Scripture says) that all creation fell and that man's kinship to God, to each other, the laws and kingdom, our allegiance, parentage and very nature were all radically changed by the act of disobedience. (ref: 'You are of your father the devil.' John 8:44, John 3:8; 'Get thee from me, satan.' Matthew 16:23; 'You are his servants, whom you obey.' Romans 6:16; 'You do not know what spirit you are of.' Luke 9:55)

    Your 'homo praecipuus' may be one of God's efforts of restoring humanity from the Fall. It certainly fits God's motivation, purpose, way of working. All God's words, commands, covenants, dealings and miraculous births have been designed to accomplish the redemption and restoration of humanity. God always works to save, heal, deliver, to teach and reveal, to restore His Holy Trinitarian Image in us and His union with us miserable, hopelessly sinful wretches.

    God's work and revelation only fail by our disobedience. For example, there is the Genesis 3:21 account of God's priestly act of substituting the blood of animals for the lives of Adam and Eve and clothing them with the skins to cover their nakedness. This was an act of mercy and revelation. It set up a law - the consequence of sin is death. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Then follows the story of Cain presuming to break this pattern, to invent another way - his own way and to offer plants and grains instead of the animal sacrifice. He was in denial about his sin and rebellion about God's word and the need for blood of animals to cover sin.

    People in the Old Testament had special manifestations of the Holy Spirit, but not all or at all times. David must have had the Spirit that he dreaded losing (Psalm 51) as did other prophets throughout the Old Testament. Thus, restoration and spiritual rebirth would be of the human being Jesus speaks of in John 3. The Spirit coming at Pentecost and to believers when they are spiritually regenerated, accomplishes the restoration of the trinitarian nature that was a special manifestation of God in the Old Testament, but that makes all the Church equipped to spread the Good News under the New Covenant made in His Blood.

    Your theology fits very well.

  11. Adam and Eve are indeed at the "headwaters" as the First Parents of Abrahm's Kushite ancestors. That is their Biblical meaning.

    However, we have a problem. Analysis of the king lists of Genesis 4 and 5 indicates that Kain and his brother Seth married the daughters of a Kushite ruler. This ruler would have to be a contemporary of Adam if we read Kain as the literal son of the First Parents. To do so is to needlessly create an contradiction. The term "son" is sometimes used to mean descendant.

    Kain is the first ruler in the Bible. His existence can be hisotrically verified. Adam's existence can't be verified in the same way. However, both are regarded as real and are paralleled in Psalm 8, which in Hebrew reads:
    What is Man (Enosh) that you are mindful of him,
    the son of Man (ben Adam) that you care for him?

    The ancient Kushite rulers were called "sons of God."

  12. With the onset of the Flood, Genesis says that all other strains of human and animal life with the exception of Noah, his family and the animals saved on the ark were destroyed. (And if so, that event alone would account for the extinction of humans without souls, apart from the inexorable mechanism of natural selection.)

    One pushback: doesn't this reintroduce a genetic bottleneck of less than 7,000 people?

  13. Alice Linsley, thank you for your clarifications of the chronology. I also do not read Genesis as setting out a literal timetable, but probably a greatly collapsed one which spans many, many generations. Readers who want much more detail on the Kushites should visit Alice's Just Genesis blog.

    Deuce, I take your point. However, don't forget that the genetic evidence points to a smaller bottleneck of just 3,000 or so for the Near Eastern gene pool. I am not one of those who believe that the waters of the flood literally covered the whole surface of the globe -- just that flooding in the Near East at some point disrupted the lives of a lot of early humans, leading to flood legends in multiple cultures.

  14. There was a wet period in the Late Halocene that was devastating to Abraham's Kushite ancestors. Noah was one of those Kushite rulers according to Gen. 10 and he lived in the area of Lake Chad in Bor-No, "the Land of Noah." This is the only place on the surface of the earth that claims to be Noah's homeland.

    I'm pointing to the verifiable climatic changes that involve wide distribution of water in what are today some of earth's driest regions from the Sahara to Pakistan, India and the Iranian Highlands. With the close of the last sidereal cycle (June 1989) dry places that were formerly under water may be returning to wet conditions. Indeed Pakistan experienced historic flooding this year and there was rain in the desert of Niger. In another 25,000 years these wet places may be dry again. (The sidereal cycle is between 25-28,000 years depending on Earth's wobble.)

    This change from wet to dry about 2200 year ago is a factor in the Afro-Asiatic rulers' loss of control of the major water systems that enabled them to forge the Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Of course, this didn't happen overnight and climate wasn't the only factor.

    Between 10 and 12,000 years ago the Nile river system filled with waters from the Angolan Highlands, the result of geological uplift which created Lake Victoria and directed its excess flow north into the White Nile. The White Nile provides most of the Nile's water during the dry season.
    Between 12 and 10 thousand years ago, the Nile connected to the Chadic and Niger water systems through a series of shallow lakes in the Sahara. Because of this, a common plant and animal species is found in all three river systems.

    The now dry Botswanan basin was once a sea. Some of Africa's earliest human populations lived on the edges of this great body of water as evidenced by thousands of stone tools found there. The tools include maceheads and date to between 80,000 and 100,000 years.

  15. Sorry! That should read June 1998.

    The relationship of earth's climate and hydration to the planetary and lunar precessions is still not fully understood.It is dynamic! Genesis provides some insights into climate change and how it affected the rulers listed in Genesis 4 and 5 and 11:10-32.

    The term “general precession” applies to two gravitational factors: planetary precession and lunisolar precession. Planetary precession is due to the small angle between the gravitational force of the other planets on Earth and its orbital plane (the ecliptic), causing the plane of the ecliptic to shift slightly relative to inertial space. Lunisolar precession is about 500 times larger than planetary precession. Other planets also cause a slight movement of Earth's axis in inertial space.

    Precession has an effect on hydrological cycles in the hemispheres. These cycles appear to reverse at times, and there is some evidence that the reversals are hemispheric.

    Evapotranspiration, the movement of water from the land to the atmosphere, increased from 1982 to 1998 about 1 inch per year. However, when the Earth completed its axial precession in the summer of 1998, evapotranspiration slowed dramatically in some parts of the world. Areas that began to dry include southeast Africa, much of Australia, central India, large areas of South America, and parts of Indonesia. At the same time, parts of Pakistan, areas of Australia and the Sahal, such as central Niger, experienced flooding from excessive seasonal rains. The same is true for parts of North America.

    This has been a fascinating discussion. Thanks so much.

    I don't agree with most of what is posted at BioLogos though I support the forum because we need to discuss creation as Christians. The Darwin devotees often go overboard in attempting to make their case for a gradual process of speciation, but the complexity of creation isn't explained by this process, even when you introduce divine supervision.

    Additionally, I'm not convinced that the folks at BioLogos have delved very deeply into what Genesis says. They seem to be reacting more to the Young Earth Creationists than to the Biblical text.

  16. Mr. Haley,

    An interesting event has occurred in that there was published a few days ago, an article on the blog of Mike Flynn, a Catholic SciFi author, on the subject of Adam and Eve in relation to the population size indicated for humankind which seemed to offer a number of thoughts parallel to your own hypotheses. I stumbled on it via the blog of a fellow parishioner, and as I was reading it, thought immediately of this series of posts on the topic. Mr. Flynn's article is entitled Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice. The piece which directed me there is here and also links to an article in the National Catholic Register, in the event that you might be interested.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  17. Thank you, Mr. Töpfer, for calling our attention to this. You might be interested in this article in which I mention Hitchens, Dawkins, Hawking and Coyne:

    Best wishes to you,
    Alice C. Linsley

  18. Keith Töpfer, thank you for the links. Mr. Flynn has very carefully and skillfully laid out a sketch of the hypothesis that Adam evolved from the hominids, as a member of the species homo sapiens -- which could have continued to evolve for thousands of more years until God distinguished Adam by making him the first human on which He bestowed an immortal soul. His and Eve's progeny then mated with the other evolved members of homo sapiens around them. He makes the valuable point about the need to make a careful distinction between using "one" to mean "only", and using it to mean "one out of many."

    My problem with the Adam-out-of-homo-sapiens hypothesis is that it does not sufficiently account for the human race having fallen as a result of Adam's transgressions. Their life would already have been pretty nasty and brutish if they were always outside the Garden of Eden, and never had a taste of Paradise in that way.

    But I like his showing how Adam and Eve still could have started it all without everyone's genes today showing descent from a single pair, as contrasted to a gene pool with 10,000 or so members. Thank you for sharing your find with us.

  19. The Deuce, I am sorry -- upon going through these posts again, I see that I neglected to answer your "pushback." In effect, you are asking whether or not there would have been a second genetic "bottleneck" created by the Flood's devastation, and leaving only Noah and his extended family.

    Given that the Bible has only 950 years between the generation of Adam and the generation of Noah, we could not expect the gene pool following Adam to have looked much more different, thousands and thousands of years later, than it would have following the generation of Noah, assuming that the pool largely had to start over at that point. In other words, two "bottlenecks" only 950 years apart would be practically impossible to discern separately in the statistical analysis of the pool after so many thousands of years. It's like looking at a distant planet with a telescope whose biggest power of lens is inadequate to resolve the details of the planet's surface -- no matter how much you try to bring the image into focus, the resolving power just isn't there.

  20. Allan,

    The men listed in Genesis 4-6 (Cain to Noah) were rulers over territories. They ascended to the thrones of their biological fathers (firstborn son of the sister wife) and maternal grandfathers (firstborn son of the cousin wife). This is what analysis of the Genesis king lists reveals and I believe that this represents an authentic (and unique) pattern. The king lists are older than the narratives found in Genesis 1-3.

    The span between the rulers in Genesis 4 and 5 and Noah and his sons may be 950 years, but there is a much greater span between Adam and Cain and Seth. Adam represents either the historical or ahistorical first man created by God, fully human and in the divine image. As such, he would have lived around 3 million years ago, since the oldest human fossils are at least that old.

    Must Adam have been historical to believe that the Fall happened? We only have to look around for evidence that we live as sinners in a sinful world. In the Eastern Church the Fall doesn't mean that each of us inherited Adam's guilt, since the Bible teaches that each of us will receive that which our own lives deserve. Instead, the Fall means that we all are subject to death since by Adam's sin, death entered the world.