Adam and the Genome– The Dialogue, Part Two


Q.  At one point you lay out 6-7 things you take the phrase ‘the historical Adam’ to mean, and the proceed to suggest that at least most of them were not in the mind of Paul or other early Jewish writers when they refer to Adam.  Why this kind of approach?  Are you simply trying to deconstruct some of the fundamentalist views of Adam and creation?

A. Yes, Ben, I am trying to show that what many believe is so biblical about the historical Adam is not in fact biblical but a theological construct largely owing to theological science like Origen, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin,Luther and others. The historical Adam construct entails elements that are not as clear to the Bible as some things; they are also not taught in Judaism. Perhaps I could say that maybe Paul believed that construct but never told us.

Q.  What do you mean when you say that the writers of Genesis use the current ‘science’ of their day, as evidenced elsewhere in other ANE creation stories? 

A. That’s perhaps a rhetorical expression, Ben, as you know. I’ve identified with people who think the ancient world had a science (which it did, it just wasn’t like ours or as accurate and it was based on their limited observation skills that have been improved by so much technology today). Some say there is nothing below that building but new technologies have revealed there is plenty of very important information under that building and we need some permits to get under that building without ruining it. That is, their science was superficial, sometimes wrong, sometimes aiming in the right direction, but we know so much more now.