Tuesday, September 22, 2009

12 reasons that affirm that Adam was a real historic individual



Brandon said...

I'm gonna be a bit of a devil's advocate here in my responses to each of those points. Although as I went through each of the 12 points, I realized that there were actually only 2 arguments that he made. First, that Genesis is a historical narrative. Second, that other passage of scripture, both OT and NT, seem to refer to Adam as a historical figure.

I don't want anyone to think that I deny that Adam was a historical figure. Like Longman, if you watch the video the other blogger linked to, I think that the jury is still out on this one. This is not my attempt to prove these points wrong, simply to show that they are not as conclusive as they're made out to be.

1. The sweeping statement that Genesis 1-4 is only historical narrative is a bit of an over statement. First off, Genesis 1 is clearly written differently than the following chapters, making it seem very much like a poetic approach at giving a theological fact. 2 and following does read a bit more like a historical narrative, I'll grant, but this isn't a modern historical narrative, its not even Josephus or Tacitus, so can we really expect to read it like a modern historical narrative?

2. I don't want to bring too much science into this whole thing, but do we really think that the human body was ever able to actually live 900 years? If anything, the fact that these ridiculous huge ages seems to just prove the fact that the first part of Genesis is actually mytho-historical as opposed to historical narrative.

3. Genesis is anything but a "seamless" historical account. I'm not talking about P's and Q's and such, I'm talking that there is a very obvious break between 11 and 25. The stories after ch 11 get more and more specific in their details and less and less "mythic," if you will. There is purpose to the arrangement, 1-11 clearly sets the stage for the appearance of Abraham, but the stories in 1-11 are way different than the ones in 12 and following...

4. He seems to suggest that it is perfectly acceptable to claim that there are gaps in the genealogies, but would that not contradict his claim that the numbers in Genesis 5 are so specific?

5. Hosea 6:7 would still make sense to say Adam, even if Adam was not a historical figure. For example, if I said, "The American soldiers, just like Luke Skywalker, fought bravely," are the hearers to assume that I reckon Luke Skywalker a historical figure? (There is a whole in this analogy, because I DO believe that Luke Skywalker was a historical figure).

6. Luke, not the Jedi, the biblical author, goes back to Adam, which means "Man," and calls him the Son of God. Now Adam was not actually the Son of God, Jesus was the Son of God. Even the guy who wrote the response to Longman's video would have to agree that Luke's use of "Son of God" is "figurative" right there... the point is to trace Jesus' lineage back to the beginning, and that happens regardless of the literalness of Adam.

Brandon said...

7. Jesus does not necessarily assume that Adam was a literal person here, the point can be just as valid assuming that Jesus understood Genesis 1 and 2 to be teaching broader theological truths about the way things were created to be and using those theological truths to make a point.

8. If Adam and his story is not literal, it must teach a theological point. That theological point is clearly that humans individually and humanity corporately has sinned against their Creator. This is the point regardless of Adam's literalness. Paul's argument is valid either way and does not fall flat.

9. Even if Adam is nonliteral, there is still a chronology in Genesis. And although Adam was a metaphor for mankind, "beginning" would be implied. So if I said "from Adam until now" most people would easily infer that I meant, "from the beginning of humanity until now," regardless of their beliefs on Adam's literalness.

10. I already mentioned this in number 8.

11. Jesus makes quite a few arguments based upon fictional stories, yet their veracity is not negated by the fact that they are not historical events. In other words, part of the theological point of Genesis 2 is the created order, men are to be the head over their wives. Once again, this truth holds true regardless of the historicity of Genesis 2 and 3.

12. The point of Jude saying "seventh from Adam" is not to suggest that Adam was definitely a historical figure but that this prophecy that Enoch makes is really, stinkin old. God's judgment was clear even way back then.

jim thompson said...

i VERY much agree that his 12 points were repetitive.