How Many Adam?

I have often said (in particular with reference to the creation account in Genesis 1) that one can read a text with great frequency and still fail to notice something for a surprisingly long time.

We can also fail to notice what the text does not say, and what we are reading into it.

Yesterday in a Facebook group I participate in, it was pointed out that, unless one has the Genesis 2 creation account in mind, when one reads Genesis 1, one will not necessarily get the impression that God, creating Adam (which means humankind) male and female, made only one of each.

What do others think? If one doesn’t already have the “Adam and Eve” story in mind, could it be read as God creating a tribe of humans?

Creationist depictions of Adam and Eve concerned to cover their private parts with hair, leaves, and when necessary lily pads, could also be used to argue that there must have been other people around. And of course, some have gotten that impression from Genesis 4:14 as well.

  • http://www.itsallrandommostly.com/ The Shape

    I’ve never thought of that before. Recently, I was thinking about who is God talking to when he says ‘let us create’. I had always assumed it was angels, or the heavenly council, or a throwback to Canaanite pantheon religion. Someone pointed out to me that God may be talking to Earth in that he says ‘let us create’ and the Earth brings forth.

    So, yes, sometimes over familiarity of a text can shield us from seeing it in new ways.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      My favorite interpretation of the plural there, even though I am pretty sure it wasn’t what the ancient author had in mind, is that God is speaking to the animals he had just created, indicating that human beings would be both in the likeness of animals and in the likeness of God.

      • arcseconds

        Aren’t we so sophisticated these days we don’t care overmuch about authorial intent?

        Anyway, even if we do care about it, it’s a highly problematic concept with a text like Genesis, I would have thought. Who are we to take as the author? The final redactor? The more distant but still detectable authors of the two different creation accounts? The person, possibly the same as one of the former, who cleaned out the polytheism? The people who originally told each of the probably several separate stories, possibly deep in pre-history?

        The original author of the flood story may have been recording an actual event. The reason for retelling the story orally would quickly have deviated from that. The reason for including it in Genesis or one of its predecessors might have been different again. Preserving ancient tradition becomes a goal at some point that the originators couldn’t have had.

    • anastasia

      the “us” refers to the trinity. jesus, himself, said he was there with the father before/during the creation, and that the holy spirit hovered over the earth.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        The doctrine of the Trinity had not been formulated when the book of Genesis was composed, and so it was not what the author had in mind.

        • anastasia

          when did the trinity come into existence?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            Are you asking when the doctrine was formulated? It is a response to New Testament data as well as other considerations. Maurice Wiles’ The Making of Christian Doctrine does a good job of outlining those factors concisely and clearly. Tertullian was the first to use the term, which of course was simply the Latin word for “threeness.” It still remained for the church to have extensive ongoing debates about three what, and how that related to monotheism.

            • anastasia

              no, i’m not asking when the doctrine was “formulated.” i’m asking when God the Father, Jesus Christ the Word, and the Holy Spirit (the three entities that we refer to as the Trinity) came into existence. from what i understand, you’re trying to assert that it wasn’t until our understanding of the Trinity came to be that the Trinity itself didn’t exist. this is like saying that until we discovered a new species of plant and learn of any of its complexities, it never existed and neither did its nature. the author of the bible is God, through man. God always knew of himself being “three in person, one in essence.” our perception doesn’t change God’s nature of always being. he always was, is and will always be. furthermore, the NASB and ESV (which are the most accurate word-for-word translations of the word to date) capitalize the “us,” making it a proper noun (obviously). and finally, the human author that penned the first 5 books of the bible is Moses.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                The author of Genesis lived at a time when it was necessary to offer clarifications such as “at that time the Canaanites were in the land.” How could that be Moses?

                From the perspective of Christian theology, it is heresy to claim that God “came into existence.” As for me, I was talking about the origin of the doctrine of the Trinity, which was not around in the time of Moses, nor in the time of the exile when scholars conclude that the Pentateuch reached its final form, and so is not what any of its authors would have had in mind when the words in question were composed.

                • anastasia

                  re your first sentence: is it possible that the author wrote this with the intention of future generations reading it, therefore needing such clarification? that would be my interpretation, as well as the interpretation of others quite possibly. what other disputes are there against the authorship being moses’? who do you think wrote genesis?

                  also, again, why does the doctrine of the trinity need to have been formulated by man for God to be able to refer to Himself in the plural form? before the doctrine of the trinity came about, how should God have referred to himself in the plural form?

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    Here is a playlist with some lectures on the authorship of the Pentateuch and the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, which you may find useful: http://m.youtube.com/#/playlist?list=PLCCEF0FD9C2D05CA3&desktop_uri=%2Fplaylist%3Flist%3DPLCCEF0FD9C2D05CA3

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Also, you are discussing this in an unhelpful manner. The question is not about how God referred to God’s own self, but how human beings who wrote these texts depict God as speaking and refer to God.

                    • anastasia

                      am i to take it that you don’t believe the Word to be God’s own word? and this doesn’t answer the question as to why, in the most accurate word-to-word translation of the Word to date, is the “us” capitalized. you seriously think God was speaking to the animals when he said this? also, you’re discrediting the fact that Jesus Himself spoke of being with the Father at this time, and in genesis 1:2 where it says “…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the Earth.” what is the Spirit of God if not the Holy Spirit Himself? and futhermore, you discredit the occasions in which Jesus referred to Moses having given the laws in Leviticus. there are always ways to poke holes in the bible – such as with genesis 1 & 2. i know people like to think they’re two different accounts by two different writers, but i believe it to only be a more detailed description of what happened on the 6th day. not that God rested on the 7th and then created man. on issues such as these, i tend to cast my lot with theologians like RC sproul. and also, no, i don’t think it’s important to wonder about what *humans* who wrote the text meant. i think it’s important to wonder what GOD’s intention was through the text, as it is His Word. if one believes it is His Word, why would i worry about what humans meant? that’s where misinterpretation comes in.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you prefer the Bible as you imagine it to be to the real Bible, written by human beings in human languages using human words, then there isn’t much basis for us to discuss things. But it has to be said that saying what you consider to be complimentary things about the Bible, when they do not actually correspond to what the Bible is, is not praiseworthy. It is merely self-deception.

                    • anastasia

                      what do you believe the bible to be? do you believe the original manuscripts to be the infallible Word of God?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Why would I believe that? You do realize that these texts were composed long before they were placed on a list of certain scrolls that were approved by religious authorities for reading in congregations, right? Why does it make sense to think that these works were originally composed as infallible, but only given that status later when those allegedly infallible originals were gone?

                    • anastasia

                      are you a christian?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Yes.

                    • anastasia

                      so why would you then believe what the bible tells you about your salvation through Christ?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Umm, what?

                    • anastasia

                      as a christian, how’re you going to Heaven?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you are a Christian, why are you focused on going to heaven?

                    • anastasia

                      among my concern of sharing the gospel, i long for the day i meet my Maker and my Savior. i am merely a pilgrim, earth is not my home. as a christian, how could you truly anticipate anything but that? as a christian, what are YOU focused on??

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You said that your faith is based on the Bible. How much focus is there on human beings going to heaven there? Have you perhaps misunderstood what Matthew’s phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven” means? It is a way of saying “Kingdom of God” while being more reverent and not referring to God directly, as was common in the Judaism of that time.

                      If you are going to say that Christian faith ought to be focused on the Bible and what the Bible emphasizes, don’t you think that familiarizing yourself with it would be a good place to start?

                    • anastasia

                      and what is your faith based on?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Why approach this as an exercise in foundationalism? Why not take the historic Christian view that faith should be in God, rather than “based on” something, as though faith is constructing a system of doctrine, rather than trust in God?

                    • anastasia

                      i don’t think you’re fully grasping what i’m saying. first of all, i DO have faith in God, but faith in God comes by hearing the Word (romans 10:17). if you don’t believe the foundation of the Christian faith to be the Word of God, what makes you a Christian as opposed to a Muslim or a Jew? and my question was a simple one: if you question everything else about the bible, including creation, what makes you TRUST what it says for your salvation? and no, my christian point of view is far from the “modern” and “progressive” one. one may describe me as a calvinist. furthermore, i interpret the bible with perspicuity and avoid any eisegetic interpretation.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      That is very amusing. Your comments thus far lack perspicuity. And you claim to be avoiding eisegesis, yet all conservative viewpoints, with all their disagreements among them, naively claim to be merely reading the text without reading anything into it. Everyone claims that, and it simply shows that one has not given enough thought to what is involved in Scriptural interpretation, nor fully grasped how difficult it is for us to understand the nuances and connotations of ancient writings within their cultural, historical, and linguistic context.

                      When you say that faith comes by hearing the word, do you think Paul thought he was referring to his own letter? Is that what it sounds to you as though he meant?

                    • anastasia

                      lol. you’re becoming increasingly hostile. have a good night.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I don’t feel hostile. More bemused, at least in part by the fact that I once would have said similarly naive things.

                      Good night!

                    • anastasia

                      also, if it is just a way of referring to God with reverence, it still leaves the question – what is the kingdom of God? certainly not earth.

                    • christopher
                    • anastasia

                      with all due respect, I would maybe give the book more thought if the most accurate translation to date was used in the title. I don’t know which versions uses “within” (perhaps NKJV or KJV or NLT), but the NASB uses “midst.” pretty big difference.

                    • christopher

                      That would be quite an achievement, given that The Kingdom of God Is Within You was published in 1894, Tolstoy died in 1910, and the NASB wasn’t published until 1971. The English title appears to be a fairly natural translation of the Russian, although the specific choice to use “within” rather than “inside of” might well be influenced by the phrasing of the KJV. I would presume that Tolstoy himself was using the Synod Version, but I can’t say that for sure.

                    • anastasia

                      lol that would be quite an achievement. but my point is that changes the context entirely. furthermore, given the context of Luke 17:21, I’m fairly certain of what Jesus meant by his statement, so I don’t find it necessary to get tolstoy’s point of view. I’m fairly certain he was a brilliant man, but being a Christian anarchist sounds like an oxymoron.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you wish to focus on the original question, we can. But the problem is that you adhere to such a strange modern point of view, at best distantly related to what the Bible actually says, that it is hard to address your views on ine subject without tackling your presuppositions.

                    • anastasia

                      also, i really fail to see how any of what you said is relevant lol. it really seems as though you’re trying to distract from the original subject. you keep dancing around my questions and trying to bring the focus back to me.

                    • christopher

                      Given that Hebrew doesn’t have letter case, any decisions about capitalization when translating Hebrew manuscripts are judgement calls on the part of the translators. Given that the judgement in this case is theological, I’m not sure that those translators’ skill at word-for-word accuracy is particularly relevant.

                    • anastasia

                      “Let Us make man in our image…”
                      was God saying to the animals that they make man in both His image and theirs? really? do you think God puts Himself on the same plane as animals?

                    • christopher

                      I’m an animist, so I don’t think your god exists at all, much less said those particular words. But for the sake of argument, I’ll point out that that language doesn’t actually imply equality or even comparability – if a professor says to her lab group “Thanks to all of our hard work and talents, the paper has at last been accepted,” does that mean that she’s “putting herself on the plane as” the undergraduate research assistant who did the data cleaning? No, it just means that everyone present has played their part.

              • Mike Arienti

                They didn’t “come into existence.” They’ve always been.

        • dj

          The doctrine of the trinity wasn’t formulated, it was revealed progressively through the scripture and finally confirmed by Jesus Himself during his ministry. The term formulated implies a man made doctrine. The old testament uses plural forms to refer to the deity through out. If God determined to identify Himself as a plural being the Jewish sages never questioned.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            You are free to view it as revealed, but anyone who knows the history of the church’s debates and discussions of the topic will not find “formulated” an inappropriate word.

            If you are referring to the use of the plural Elohim, Semitic languages use plural forms to indicate what we do by abstract nouns. So the best rendering into English is “Deity” or something along those lines.

            • dj

              Thanks for this tid bit, it does sound reasonable, but the title” Deity” lacks the implicit personal identity of the God of the Bible.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                If you compare Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, you’ll notice that that distinction corresponds with precisely what you suggest. Genesis 1 emphasizes divine transcendence, has God create through commands, and has the Earth and sea mediate the production of life. In Genesis 2, which uses the divine personal name YHWH, God is depicted as forming human beings from soil, as though doing it with his hands.

                • dj

                  Gen. 2;7 the Lord God formed {the man} from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and {the man} became a living being NIV. Does not suggest the creation of the woman from dead elements. This is legally necessary in order to condemn the entire human race because of one mans sin, and redeem same because of one mans perfection. Conservative theology of original sin. Do you agree?

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    Conservative Christian theology of original sin is not found in Genesis.

                    • dj

                      Evangelicalism ( which I affirm) is a branch of conservative theology. This doctrine of original sin described in Gen. 3, referenced by Paul Rm. 5;12 identified Adam as the federal head of humanity. Adam’s sin and ultimately death is imputed to all humans as David writes Ps.51;5 ” I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”. Conservative evangelicals believe we are all born with an inherited sin nature, this is why we sin. If this were not so we would need no redeemer, in Jesus Christ, who forgives sin and imputes His righteousness to those who believe. Some liberal theologians my have a problem with this one, but it’s their problem.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I don’t consider it a problem at all to recognize when a theological edifice is built upon texts that do not provide an adequate foundation for it. Notions like Adam’s federal headship have to be imported into the text, and the turning of the Psalmist’s poetry into a statement that us almost about genetics is no better.

                    • dj

                      Here we go again with your interpretive acrobatics. I will grant you that the statement “Adam is the federal head of the human race” is not found in the Bible, but the implication in Rm. 5 ;12 is clear. It could be noted that the words Bible, internet, dinosaur, America, or Federal Government, is not there either.
                      When you speak of the conception of a baby and it’s inherited traits, you’re speaking of genetics, whether, in poetry or science.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      So Jesus is the cure for a genetic ailment?

                      When you read something into a text for long enough, it is easy to fail to realize that you are doing it. Time and again, I encounter people who have trouble even with something as basic as that the snake in Genesis 3 is really a snake.

                    • dj

                      The New Testament abounds with accounts of miraculous healings performed by Jesus and the Apostles a number of maladys that very well may have been genetic in origin. The prophesies promise a world to come where desease, and death no longer exist.

                    • dj

                      The account in Gen. 3 most translations say serpent, what is so incredible about a literal serpent, many ancient cultures esp. Central & South America have serpent deities incorporated in there temples,cultures, and beliefs. If you believe in the literal personality identified in scripture as Satan, or the Devil, why would you question Gen. 3? Jesus spoke of this diabolical person (Satan) many times during His teaching.Of coarse one would have to accept Jesus as a real person in time and space, believe He was who He claimed to be. In the famous writings of C.S. Lewis,(paraphrased) you can write Jesus off as a lunatic, reject Him as a liar, or bow down and worship Him. You don’t have the option to affirm Him merely as a good philosopher/teacher. When you accuse me of reading things in to scripture, I chuckle, the liberal interpretation not only reads things in that aren’t there, it take things out that are there and alagorizes the rest.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Genesis 3 does not talk about a serpent deity, it talks about a serpent, one of the beasts of the field that YHWH God had made. You can read more into the text, but you cannot find it in there already.

                      The famous trilemma does not work, since it assumes that Jesus actually said everything that is attributed to him in the NT, which is historically unlikely,

                    • dj

                      If it’s reasonable to believe, and I think it is, the serpent beast, what ever beast is referred to was inhabited by Satan. Since God doesn’t give us all the details pertaining to Satan, or his exploits, it’s reasonable to deduce he presented himself in other places, to other cultures and became a deity that was an object of worship. This was satin’s primary goal. When one sees sculpted, carved, illustrations of winged serpents adorning pagan temples around the world what is the most logical conclusion? If one discounts the supernatural world, and unseen powers that Paul and others write of, this phenomenon will have to be alagorized as liberal theologians so aptly do.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      In saying this, you are basically saying that the Bible alone is not sufficient, correct? There is no mention of Satan in Genesis, and that concept would not be found in writings until some time later, and so you are saying that the appropriate way to approach the Bible is to read into it things that are not found in the text. Have I understood you correctly?

                    • dj

                      If you may note, I used the word deduce. I would refer you to Ezk. 28; 11-19 The king of Tyre was clearly not in the garden of Eden, however the subject person identified in vv 14 was. This is why I can deduce that an evil spiritual entity possibly Satan is the real inspiration in pagan cultures around the world.
                      2Tim. 3;16 adequately defines the approach to scripture. When one uses scripture to explain scripture reasonable deductions can be made, especially when abundant archaeological evidence is available.
                      Your implication that I read into scripture what is not there frankly is laughable (your own word to me) when I consider the interpretive method of liberalism.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Ezekiel 28, depicting the king of Tyre as like a celestial entity dwelling in paradise and being driven out, may be the source of that idea later being applied to a figure called Satan, rather than reflecting it. But either way, your attempt to justify twisting the meaning of Genesis by reading things into it that were only written centuries later shows the utmost disrespect to the text. You are more interested in making it say what you want it to say, than understanding it on its own terms.

                    • dj

                      The lament over the King of Tyre is most definitely referring to the spiritual authority empowering the human king, the direct reference to eden, perfection, anointed cherub, all descriptions of Lucifer, who became Satan after his rebellion. Jesus even rebuked Peter Mat.16;23 addressing him as Satan as if Satan had influenced Peter at that time.
                      You can pursue this ridiculous argument based on the wordsmiths of progressive christianity if you wish, but you can’t explain away the truth. The Bible was written by inspired men (40 plus to be accurate) as the Holy Spirit led, over a period of 1500 yrs. and the message is in unity from Gen. to Rev. The 20,000 plus manuscript fragments, the surviving sermons and commentaries from 1st & 2nd century Church, including Qumran writings 200 B C are in near perfect harmony with the Bible we have today.
                      God conveys His message to His human authors, we read and discern meaning in the same way as anything else.Progressives eliminate any cogency and distort the meaning to suit themselves, exchanging God’s truth for the errors of men putting themselves in the place of God. Rm.1; 18-22

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      So do you think that the planet Venus is literally Satan, or do you think that Lucifer is a metaphor or analogy?

                    • dj

                      I think Venus is exactly what astronomers have said based on the best available science. If you’re referring to the Roman god Lucifer, or light bearer, it seems reasonable to equate ancient Hebrew texts to dub Lucifer as a pagan god since the Hebrews were ardent monotheists, they classified all pagan deities as idols,satanic or other false gods.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      So you don’t know what the term Lucifer was referring to? Don’t you take this discussion seriously enough to consider it appropriate to inform yourself?

                    • dj

                      I did enough research to verify that Lucifer is associated in ancient mythology as the light bearer, morning star and the planet of Venus. What’s your point? Is it unreasonable to assume the Hebrews made the same connection? Later in the New Testament he makes appearances as the angel of light, the devil, the dragon, the father of lies , a murderer, the accuser of the brethren, beelzebub, etc. A number of persons are identified by a multiple names.Does this some how prove they weren’t real?
                      Are you going to answer my question about liberal /progressive doctrines or are you dodging?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I believe I answered your question. There is not, in my experience, greater or lesser diversity among progressives when it comes to doctrine. There is just less focus on doctrine as opposed to action, in general.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I am talking about viewing sin as a genetic malady.

                    • dj

                      If you consider the longevity of Old Testament patriarchs, it’s not unreasonable to associate disease and shortened life with genetically inherited maladies. Significant amounts of modern diseases can be traced to genetic sources.Considering approx. 100 harmful, genetic mutations are passed on by each human generation, the cumulative effects are prevalent in today’s humans. Your secular geneticists have not identified even one beneficial mutation to date.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Doesn’t your conscience bother you even in the slightest to tell lies like that?

                    • dj

                      creation.com/mutations-are-evolutions-end Not if the geneticists who did the research don’t feel guilty. The research shows that accumulation of mutations will cause extinction in a very short time, compared to old earth theories.

                    • Mary

                      No beneficial mutations?

                      From Wikipedia:

                      “The E. coli long-term evolution experiment is an ongoing study in experimental evolution led by Richard Lenski that has been tracking genetic changes in 12 initially identical populations of asexual Escherichia coli bacteria since 24 February 1988.[1] The populations reached the milestone of 50,000 generations in February 2010[update].

                      Since the experiment’s inception, Lenski and his colleagues have reported a wide array of genetic changes; some evolutionary adaptations have occurred in all 12 populations, while others have only appeared in one or a few populations. One particularly striking adaption was the evolution of a strain of E. coli that was able to use citric acid as a carbon source in an aerobic environment.[2]“”

                      Of course you probably just think that this is something that geneticists just cooked up and ought to feel guilty about.

                    • dj

                      creation.com/bacteria-evolving-in-the-lab-lenski-citrate-digesting-e-coli -After 20yrs. and 40,000+ generations, do you really think this represents microbes to molecular biologists? If you go to the link you can see a reasonable explanation. Most mutations are deleterious or simply not manifest, usually represent a loss of genetic information.

                    • Mary

                      “After 20yrs. and 40,000+ generations, do you really think this represents microbes to molecular biologists?”

                      I am sorry but I do not understand the question. They are microbes and I am sure that molecular biologists agree.

                      A quick read of the site I found interesting, but speculative. I will have to do more research to determine it’s reliability. It is very common for creationists to try to poke holes in scientific studies. Since basically all it said was that it is possilble such and such happened then there is really no proof of the assertion. But I will take a closer look later.

                    • Mary

                      I checked out that site and I have to chuckle because it actually unwittingly PROVES that there are beneficial mutations!

                      ” In medical circles, mutations are universally regarded as deleterious. They are a fundamental cause of ageing, cancer, and infectious diseases”

                      That last part about infectious diseases. While getting infectious diseases is deleterious to US, it isn’t to the disease! To them a mutation is ADVANTAGEOUS..

                      Another problem with that statement is that we are not talking about aging, we are talking about reproduction. What matters is what information is in the reproductive cells. Cancers can be either genetic or environmentally induced but the only thing that matters in evolution is whether the person can pass on their genes. Since cancer usually strikes after a person has passed on their genes then as far as evolution is concerned, it is a neutral trait.

                      There is no doubt that there are bad mutations, no one denies that. But there are also good ones and neutral ones. In both cases the mutations would be small enough to not cause the organism any damage to it’s survival and they would be cumulative over many generations.
                      Genetics is actually showing us that it doesn’t take a huge mutations to create big changes. We are virtually genetically identical to chimpanzees because we have a common ancester. The difference is in how those genes are expressed. My arm is bigger than a chimpaneez’s but it is basically the same genes involved, but they are expressed differently. Also genes switch on and off. There are documented cases of human babies being born with tails. It isn’t a new mutation, but rather the activation of an old gene.

                      I am sorry, but like every creationist site I have been to it just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. What is sad is that even people without scientific degrees could easily refute this. Creationism is not a real science because it does not use the scientific method and it denies even observed science. It’s sole purpose is to try and poke holes in real science. Creationists do not conduct research of their own because they know it will fail. They use regular science and often even quote traditional scientists out of context to try and make it sound like they agree. These are not honest people at all.

                      The bible was disproved scientifically hundreds of years ago. The bible says that the earth is a flat circle surrounded by the ocean. The sun, moon and the stars are suspended in a solid dome over the earth. Not only does the bible say this, but we have proof of this from maps from Ancient Near Eastern cultures.

                      I am not an atheist. I don’t believe God has a religion. I am practical enough to realize that the bible was written by people whose understanding of the world was very different than today.

                    • dj

                      So what kind of science do evolutionists use?What Is “real science” as opposed to “unreal science”? When your talking about unobserved events of the past, your still referring to historical science instead of empirical science, which can be observed repeated or refuted. The creationists and the evolutionists practice the same methods. Special creation nor evolution has been observed by scientists. They look at the same forensic evidence and make interpretations.

                      http://www.icr.org/article/210/ Here’s the explanation of the tail. It’s not a tail not in the correct location with no caudal tissue or spinal bone as a normal tail.

                      When you take the reading out of context and apply a faulty hermenutic you distort the intended message. Obviously the Biblical authors didn’t have access to the same scientific knowledge as modern readers. Even moderns speak of the sun rising and navigate using 2 dimensional flat maps. Your argument doesn’t hold water since archaeological, historic discoveries in the last 200 yrs. only confirms Bibical claims. I might ask what God you believe in?

                    • Mary

                      No creationists do not do any science at all. They can’t follow the scientific method because they have already decided what the outcome should be. If it isn’t in line with the Bible, then they discard it. Even Ken Ham admits that he considers what the bible says to be true and so by extention any science that conflicts with that is wrong.

                      Actually as far as I can tell, no creationists have ever done any experiments of their own. You claim that you can’t observe evolution which is completely false. If creationists wish to be taken seriously then they should do the experiments and have them peer reviewed just like every other scientist does.

                      As far as fossill records are concerned again the creationists have not gone out in the field themselves to look and have not learned the ways of evaluating the strata. All I have heard is speculation that this might be the result of the flood. However that does not fit any possible kind of scenario especially since it is impossible that the flood happened in the first place. After all we had civilizations that existed AT THE TIME of the supposed flood that were not destroyed. Aside from that is the absurdity that somehow you could gather up all the animals in one small boat and then magically return them to their proper homes later on. Even with the idea of “kinds” it does not work.

                      “Obviously the Biblical authors didn’t have access to the same scientific knowledge as modern readers”

                      Of course, that was my point. What part of the Bible do you decide is scientific and what part do you decide is not?

                      “Your argument doesn’t hold water since archaeological, historic discoveries in the last 200 yrs. only confirms Bibical claims”

                      Please cite.

                      “I might ask what God you believe in?”

                      There is no “what God” just God. Do I believe specifically in the Christian God as depicted in the Bible? No. The bible is flawed on so many levels that it is impossible to say that it is infallible. I see it as a record of man’s continuing and unfolding understanding of God which exists in other religions as well.

                    • Mary

                      I looked at your site and I will take a closer look later but again I want to do more research to see if in fact this is correct. However we DO have a tail-bone which at least hints at the idea that we used to have tails. Beyond that we have vestigal organs that have no known function, such as the appendix. If appears to be a left-over reminent of a herbafore digestive system. The tonsiles are a mystery also.

                    • dj

                      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v5/n1/losing-vestigial

                      Setting the Record Straight on Vestigial Organs – Answers in…

                      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v3/n1/setting-record-straight-vestigial

                      In a recent article, New Scientist discusses five supposed vestigial organs in the human body, but as Dr. David DeWitt shows, there’s more to the story than evolutionists will admit.

                      Here’s some other links on vestigial organs. It has been shown that tonsils and appendix are part of the immune system, tail bone is a support structure for abdominal muscle attachment. The human appendages that appear to be tails are really deformities more closely related to moles or skin anomalies like birth marks.

                    • Mary

                      You have GOT to be kidding me. Do you realize AIG believes dinosuars were fire-breathing dragons? Ken Ham has decided that if the facts are inconvenient, then he will make up new ones to suit him. I have read some of the articles there and they are good for laughs, but that is it.

                    • dj

                      Are you aware that a little bug called the bombardier beetle has the capability to eject explosive chemicals from jets in his posterior? Have you read Job 40;15, or Job 41;18. This is where Ken Ham gets the idea of fire breathing dragons / dinosuars. Have you seen cave drawings and petrographs of creatures that look like saurapods and T rex? They do exist. Ancient literature abounds with dragon stories. Where does all this stuff come from?
                      When you read these bizarre accounts in Job you will notice that God is the speaker and Job the listener. If you assign any credibility to Old Testament or other ancient literature these anomalies are hard to ignore.

                    • Mary

                      “Are you aware that a little bug called the bombardier beetle has the capability to eject explosive chemicals from jets in his posterior?”

                      Yes, it is hot gas, not fire. It does not ignite.

                      People have been finding fossils of dinosauers for thousands of years and that is where the dragon legend comes from. They have even told us where to find them and sure enough, they are there! They not only invented dragons but other creatures like one-eyed gorgons because they did not know how to interpret some skulls with atypical features.

                      I have not seen any drawings or petroglyphs of dinosuars. But supposing they actually exist we also have strange figures that look like aliens and space men. Therre are Native American sandpaintings and petroglyphs that show people with rectangular heads. I own some. It is called abstract art and they have been doing that for thousands of years.

                      So lets turn this around. If fairies don’t exist then where did our ancesters get the idea if they weren’t real? Where did they get the idea of Medusa if she didn’t exist?

                      These legends are symbolic. Ever here of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung?

                      Since we have gotten into the bizarro-world of Ken Ham I really think it is best to terminate this conversation. I am not going to debate with someone who refuses to use logic.

                    • dj

                      I hadn’t heard of J. Campbell or C. Jung so I looked them up. I’m not familiar with their work since I’m not into science fiction or psychiatry, I don’t believe in fairies either since they are not mentioned in the Bible; however, dragons, sea monsters, and levitation are, so I research claims of ancient accounts including Biblical.The word dinosaur was not even coined after the time the KJ Bible was translated into English. So what other word would the translators use?
                      I consider myself to be a very logical person, and an avid student of Christian Apologetic’s. I read and research all the truth claims of the Bible. Since the Bible claims to be the inspired word of God and Jesus Christ claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life, the resurrection, and God incarnate, as a Christian I need to know if these claims are based in facts. I’ve discovered there’s more and better ancient documentary evidence for these claims (of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection) than the existence of Julius Cesar, or the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Archimedes combined. Jesus believed the Torah to be true since He quoted it frequently.

                      If you care to pursue the dinosaur claims, check out a book “After the Flood” by Dr. Bill Cooper, he spent 25 yrs. tracing the ancient history of European civilizations through languages, literature, and historical documents.

                    • Mary

                      I love the way you dance around the issue of scientific evidence. So I am going to put it point blank. Creationism cannot be called a scientific discipline without doing any actual science

                      A bug farts hot gas and then so that means…DRAGONS???

                      Even without Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell it is universally acknowledged that symbolism is real. Even Jesus used it, That isn’t science fiction, however fire breathing dragons are.

                      You have already admitted that parts of the creation story are not true. Why defend dragons then?

                    • dj

                      The little bug in question actually has two separate storage compartments where the caustic chemicals are stored. When threatened by a predator, he ejects them simultaneously through a common directional opening in his posterior, When they are combined they cause a violent chemical explosive reaction to deter predators .If God would design and install a complex defense mechanism such as this in a bug, create venomous reptiles and insects, & high voltage fish, what would be so unbelievable about a flame thrower equipped dino. I know this sounds like a stretch but not beyond possibility with God.
                      The creationists do the same kind of science that evolutionists do. They look at the things that are and postulate what probably caused them. Its called historical science.Macro Evolution has never been observed since it all supposedly happened in the past, there’s no evidence to substantiate it. What is observed is Micro Evolution which is merely adaptation within a species. There are no transitional forms (one taxon to another) in the fossil record,no evidence that life can emerge from non life , even at the molecular level (read Darwin’s black box) by M.ichael Behe. Behe was a former evolutionary molecular biologist and atheist until he performed extensive research in molecular biology. He was professor of biochemistry, Lehigh University.
                      Creation also happened in the past according to Gen. God finished His work of creating on the 6th day, so it can’t be observed either, but it obviously happened.
                      Genetic mutations do occur, both by chance and design (as in domestic animals)but they are usually not beneficial and always represent a loss of information. You can (by selective breeding & multiple generations) get a genetically deprived little chahaha from timber wolves, but never a cat, or a reversal back to wolves. Charles Darwin wasn’t even a scientist, he was a theologian and a armature naturalists, didn’t know what a cell or chromosome was.

                    • Mary

                      “Charles Darwin wasn’t even a scientist, he was a theologian and a armature naturalists, didn’t know what a cell or chromosome was”

                      Thanks for the laugh of the day! NOBODY knew what a cell or a chromosome was at that time. But he made good observations and his theories have been confirmed over and over again.

                      You might as well say Newton was not a scientist because he couldn’t explain what gravity was, only measure it. In fact EVEN TODAY we don’t totally understand it.

                      A scientist does RESEARCH so no creationism is not a science. A scientist would look at the bug, figure out how it works and then examine a dinosauer skull to see if there is evidence that a similiar system might work with a reasonable idea of basic physiology of animals. It would have to fit in the mouth, not in the rear as in the bug. And it wouldn’t be ACTUAL fire.

                      Darwinism by the way does not address how life came to be. That is a completely separate issue. We do not have enough info to figure it out at present.

                      Evolutionary science is both based on observation of historical facts PLUS research and experiments. There is no doubt that the fossil record is conclusive that evolution has occured. The only disputes are in tweaking the theory

                      “God finished His work of creating on the 6th day, so it can’t be observed either, but it obviously happened.”

                      No it isn’t obvious and why is it that you consider parts of the creation story true and other parts not true? This is the second time I have asked,

                    • dj

                      Truth or untruth of creation story.I’ll address your last question first. I don’t know what I said that made you question my truth claims about creation. I read Gen. as a historical narrative, a chronological account either given to Adam, by God and recorded by him or revealed to Moses either by God or written documents or verbally told stories.
                      I did mention that the Bible authors used a variety of contextual and literary contrivances to communicate the truth message, but they are easily discernible..

                      What Darwin observed was normal adaptation with in a species ie his finches, He saw no macro-evolution, neither do modern evolutionists. They are committed to their hypothesis because they are (in their own mind) absolutely sure that evolution is fact. They use ultra scientific words like “suppose,” “I think” “may have branched off from” “probably”. All one needs to do is read some of their papers. No one has ever dug up a fossil critter that is transitioning into a better critter that has with stood scrutiny by their peers. Ever see a evolutionary tree of life? those dotted lines connecting the ancestor with the modern creature represents transitional forms that no one has ever found, Darwin’s evolutionary theories are not even original, they go back to 3rd century Greek philosophy, Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus wrote papers on evolutionary theory years before he was born.

                      Newton was a scientist in the same sense as Pascal, Bernoulli,Coulomb, and Kepler. They made observations of natural law, put their observations in to equations, & were repeated by other scientists. An evolutionary paleontologist finds a fossil, interprets it imaginatively, and dates it according to the (so called geologic column) would you call this science? No different for a creation scientist. He looks at the same fossil and interprets it according to the Biblical creation account, neither can be repeated or disproved. Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism , Creationism either young or ancient earth can be proven by empirical science. It’s all circumstantial evidence interpreted by whom ever.
                      Would you care to provide any Darwinian theories that you say have been confirmed?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      The discovery of DNA itself showed that characteristics are transmitted by a “digital” means, as would have to be the case for evolution to work. It also allows us to trace the relatedness of living things independently of other evidence such as from paleontology. Your depiction of what scientists conclude and why they conclude it is either dishonest or delusional. Why would you make such assertions without first looking into the topic?

                    • dj

                      What has digital information contained in DNA/RNA molecule to do with evolution? Where’s the logic? Don’t try to tell me that new digital information is some how added during cell replication to make better critters. Even Niles Eldredge (Columbia) and Stephan Gould (Harvard)don’t believe that, that’s why they came up with the theory of “punctuated equilibrium) It’s never been demonstrated that mutations add new information for better critters. The dishonesty and delusion is characteristic of the evolutionary crowd.

                      Evolutionary scientists conclude exactly what their pre-dispositions are in spite of the evidence. Human genome is 60% similar to bananas, does this mean bananas are becoming human?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you do not know enough about evolution to understand what someone who is just an informed layperson and not a geneticist says about it, why do you dispute it, and do so publicly? What sort of deceitful individual are you? Do you have no sense of shame, of morality, of truth? You have been wasting so much of my time as I have been trying to get through to you, and you clearly don’t know the first thing about this topic. And when something comes up that you do not understand your reaction is not to say “I clearly need to learn something about this” but to keep spouting nonsense because your aim is not to learn. What would it take to get you to repent of your total lack of willingness to educate yourself before trying to “teach” others? If you will not read about science, couldn’t you at least try reading the Epistle of James? Seriously, what is wrong with you?

                    • dj

                      I’ve done all I can to open your eyes to the truth but you have chosen to reject the truth of God for the lies of men, heaped to yourself false teachers that say what your itching ears want to hear. I offer my sincere apology if any thing I’ve said has offended you. I pray that the grace and mercy of my Lord Jesus Christ will be with you, but I will officially brush the dust off my sandals and leave you to your own delusions, final one final thought, you might read 2 Pet.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You have spouted lies here and displayed ignorance while at the same time asserting your own understanding. And yet you have the audacity to surround your departure with Biblical references and allusions, casting yourself as an apostle and turning those who try to correct your errors into enemies. You are a deceiver and a fraud. Shame on you!

                    • Mary

                      “I don’t know what I said that made you question my truth claims about creation”

                      I am talking about the flat-earth, and dome over the earth containing the moon, sun, and stars and the “firmament” which was understood as an ocean in the sky.

                      “Would you care to provide any Darwinian theories that you say have been confirmed?”

                      There are many people, including me, who have given you evidence and there is no point in continuing this indefinitely. You don’t have to ask because it has already been answered. You might also want to get a science book and read it for further information. Scientific American is online now and you can get a subscription to peruse through issues going back several years, IF you are actually interested in learning more about evolution.

                      Have a nice life.

                    • Nick Gotts

                      Your combination of ignorance and arrogance would be truly astounding if it were not absolutely typical of creationists. I’ll just deal with a single point. Darwin was not, at any point, a theologian: he began training for the Anglican ministry, but did not complete it. He was a scientist of high repute – as a geologist and taxonomist (principally of barnacles) – before he published a word on evolution. His scientific reputation began with the publication in 1839 of his journal from his round-the-world voyage in The Beagle, and grew until he was awarded the Royal Society of London’s “Royal Medal” for his three volumes on the Beagle voyage and his work on invertebrates in 1853. These are not esoteric facts or disputable opinions, but simple matters of record. I assume you are repeating lies you have been told rather than inventing them yourself, but you should still apologise for retelling them without any attempt at verification.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you read and trust the equivalent kinds of sources to the ones you quote, but in the domain of history, you would believe that the Holocaust never happened. Simply giving credence to charlatans and propaganda is no better than being one yourself.

                    • dj

                      If you read much of the modern revisionist history you might be led to believe that the root cause of the civil war wasn’t slavery, or Jimmy Carter was a great president. Propaganda is the trademark of modern liberal / progressive agenda. Simply assimilating it into your world view as fact puts one in the same compromised position as the charlatan merchants.

                    • susan burns

                      Jimmy Carter WAS a great president.

                    • dj

                      If you had been serving in a deployed military unit Indian Ocean, 2nd fleet, you would not have such a high opinion of Jimmy Carter. He was to stupid to realize how stupid he was, the Obama admin. is the only admin. to exceed Carter’s incompetence. You probably think the Ovomit admin. is great also.

                    • Mary

                      I know of no liberals who believe that slavery didn’t cause the civil war. Since liberals are very big on eliminating racism then that is highly unlikely. Now the conservative southerners will tell you different, that it was caused by economic factors. I know that for a fact because my parents were from the south and in fact there were still some civil war veterans around when they were children.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      The suggestion DJ makes that it is liberals who exclusively offer revisionist history, while mentioning the civil war, makes me think that perhaps he is simply a troll and teasing us. Surely no one could write that seriously…

                    • Mary

                      Or he might have his facts mixed up. The southerners at the time of the war were democrats. But people don’t understand that the party did not stand for what it does today. It was not liberal. The south has always been filled with conservative bible thumpers. The republican northerners were the liberals.

                      Thus you have republicans correctedly saying that the KKK was started by democrats. But the ideology was conservative Christianity as it existed at that time. I am not saying all conservative Christians were racist and violent, but this was part and parcel of their culture and in fact is obviously still true today among many Christians. especially in the south.

                      The conservatives who want to throw stones really need to look at their own past. It absolutely amazes me how many people think that slavery was a liberal idea when in fact it came from the bible-thumpers. What is even worse is when they lie and say that the bible was only talking about indentured servitude. That was only true for the Hebrews. But they were allowed to purchase foreign slaves and keep them for life.

                      What. very much disturbs me is that while I realize that many Christians are not aware of these passages, there are many people who have studied the bible and then tell their flock lies about it. The two passages about indentured servitude and buying foreign slaves ARE RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER. There is absolutely NO WAY that you can miss it. So who is doing the revisionist history? Why are Christians compelled to lie about this?

                      Anyway that is my history lesson for today ;) .

                    • dj

                      I was speaking of the mostly liberal media, I did not exempt the spin that comes from conservatives. Everyone presents an argument that defends their particular ideology. The emotionally based, agenda driven, shreaks coming from the MSNBC’s and CNN’s of the left intolerable.
                      Will you ban me from the blog as a troll simply because I have a different point of view?

                    • dj

                      You judge an entire religious system (Christianity) by it’s abuses. I don’t deny that colonial America esp. the pre-civil war south wrongly used misinterpreted Biblical texts to justify slavery, however slavery was a way of life in Old Testament history. The fact that slavery existed in that culture is recorded by the Bible. Rape and murder existed and is duly recorded, but forced slavery was never condoned by God.
                      The “slavery” practiced by the Hebrews is more appropriately termed as bond servants, or indentured servants,& was a voluntary arrangement similar to contractual agreements or employment contracts. If you read enough Levitical law you will discover that servanthood in ancient Israel was strictly controlled & generally terminated by the seventh year.
                      The best illustration of 1st century slavery is recorded in Paul’s letter to Philemon, who was a slave owner, before his conversion to Christianity. The Apostle Paul ,in accordance with Roman law, returns Onesimus, a run away slave, to his owner Philmon. Both had become Christians, Paul pleads with Philmon to receive his slave back as a brother in Christ.
                      God is a loving, patient, forgiving God, He tolerates sinful behavior of godless humans and godless governments temporally, to allow time for repentance, and faith in His only Son Jesus Christ.

                    • Mary

                      I knew it. I was waiting to see if you knew your bible and you don’t..

                      However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who
                      live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners,
                      including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your
                      property,. PASSING THEM ON TO YOUR CHILDREN AS A PERMAMENT INHERITANCE. You may
                      treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must
                      never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

                      Notice how it says that they should not treat their own people that way, just the foreigners. That is racism.

                      I was wrong about one thng, the verses are not together. However this is what you are thinking of:

                      If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free
                      in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was
                      single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go
                      free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then
                      his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a
                      slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh
                      year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave
                      may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would
                      rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God.
                      Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an
                      awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus
                      21:2-6 NLT)

                      One thing that is bothersome about this is that the slave is being held hostage if he wants to stay with the wife that his master gave him. His wife and children were the PROPERTY of his master. In order for him to be with them then he had to give up his freedom PERMANENTLY. So they didn’t even treat their own people well.

                      As far as the NT is concerned it still supported slavery. A kinder and gentler slavery is still slavery.

                      Do you still think the Christians who had slaves misinterpreted the bible?

                    • dj

                      You some how interpret these passages as an endorsement of of slavery, which it is not. I would refer you to Mat.19;7-8 Jesus speaking to pharisees, the law Moses authorized the Israelites to divorce their wives but never endorsed by God. Jesus makes this perfectly clear in Mat.19;8. The fact that God tolerates sinful man and doesn’t execute immediate retribution should never be construed as license to sin.
                      The Levitical law you referenced Lev.25;44 instructions given to the Hebrews were designed to keep the Israelites a distinct, separate people, and ultimately to place limits on the potential for abuse of a conquered, subjugated people of the conquered land. Much different than the norm of that age and geography. (kinder and gentler slavery) The slavery revealed in the New Testament, and other literature of the era (1st century Roman Empire) was way more brutal than even our pre civil war south. I absolutely do think the slave holding Christians not only misinterpreted, but abused the scripture. Human kind has always been sinful, rebellious creatures. If God gave us what we deserve, we’d all be toast, but in His long suffering mercy He sent His only Son to pay our penalty,and if you put your trust in Him as your Lord and Saviour you will receive the gift of eternal lifeJn.3;16. Have you done this?

                    • Mary

                      Okay I see quoting scripture is equivilent to “abusing” it. That is rich coming from a literalist. You have no problem at all insisting that others take the Bible literally but then you go ahead and decide not to take scripture literally?

                      Your logic is so distorted I can hardly believe it. Allowing slavery was about placing limits on how to treat a conquered enemy? In other words it was to protect them?

                      Does this qualify as protection?

                      “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the
                      slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave
                      survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own
                      property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB

                      So you can beat your slave brutally as long as he is still alive after two days. Nice,.

                      Yes I know it was a common practice in nearby cultures. That doesn’t make it right. Their laws were supposed to represent God’s will. Obviously it didn’t which means it didn’t come from God, It came from man.

                      And keeping the Israelites as a separate and superior
                      people is racist. They obviously did not always do that since Ruth was a foreignor.

                      I won’t even get into the ethics of genocide here.

                      It is a nice touch to change the subject by trying to convert me. No need. I did that as a child. I still do believe in God. But saying the Bible is the perfect Word of God is patently false. If we stop trying to whitewash it then amd only then can we get to the point of finding what is worthwhile in it.

                    • dj

                      You accuse me of being a literalists, that depends on what you consider a literalist. I understand the different types / styles & various literary devices used in scripture. I read it exegetical ly in context taking into consideration the authors & historical/ geographical setting. If this is your idea of literal-ism I’m guilty, but I try to glean the meaning of the message as is intended by the writer.

                      You speak of ethics or the presumed morality of the instructions God gave the Israelites as if God was not the source of morals and ethics. You may not agree with His instructions but He repeatedly used one group of people to carry out judgment on another, including the Israelites.
                      God declares from cover to cover He is holy,loving,& forgiving,but just in all His ways. He doesn’t have to justify His actions to us. The only reason a lot of folks reject the veracity of scripture, is they can’t reconcile a good God with the existence of evil and the harsh judgments we read about. This is usually because we don’t fully understand the true nature of God’s Holiness or human sinfulness. The good news is that God has already taken care of our sin problem in Christ so we can be forgiven and justified in His sight.
                      Our secular humanist counter parts exacerbate the problem of scriptural accuracy with their dubious theories of origins in the attempt to de-God the universe. It’s hard to present the simple gospel, effectively, to a skeptic who believes nothing exploded into everything and their ancestors were monkeys
                      There are some extra Biblical writings that helped me better come to terms with Bibilcal texts. (ancient book of Jasher & book of Enoch,) both referenced in scripture

                    • Mary

                      I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree, Like most conservative Christians, you do not believe in moral absolutes. You would rather say black is white, instead of actually examining these things in an honest way.

                    • dj

                      What have I said that has lead you to believe I have no moral absolutes?

                    • Mary

                      Honestly I have no idea on how to make it any clearer. If murder is wrong, then it is wrong. If genocide is wrong then it is wrong. If slavery is wrong then it is wrong. If rape is wrong then it is wrong. If sex slavery is wrong, then it is wrong. If human sacrifice is wrong then it is wrong.

                      These are moral absolutes and yet you say that they are okay in some circumstances.

                      As I said we must agree not to agree I only am clarifying what I meant. I have heard your arguments and they are no different than others I have heard and I have no wish to continue further with this.

                    • dj

                      On eliminating racism, was Lincoln a liberal,I think not. Have you ever heard of the Dixiecrats of the Jim Crow south? All opposed to the civil rights amendment,& desegregation. Do you remember Sen. Robt. Byrd West Virginia Senator who finally died in office, a former Dixiecrat and former KKK member, a liberal.The southern democratic liberals fought tooth and nail against civil rights initiatives, don’t try to revise the politics of the of the deep south in the 50′s and 60′s. Their opposition to civil rights is historic & never would have passed if not for Republican members of congress.

                    • Mary

                      As long as I have been alive I have seen the republicans fight civil rights. Who always objects to desegregation? The republicans.. They have been trying to derail that for years and years and also other civil rights legeslation. And they are STILL doing that! Every civil rights movement has been opposed by conservatives. Women still are not payed the same as a man. And what happens when a woman brings that up? Conservatives call her a slut.

                      The KKK has always called themselves a conservative Christian organization.

                      How can you call a region that is dominated by bible thumpers liberal?

                      All you have to do is listen to Rush Limbaugh to know that conservative bigotry is alive and well.

                      Conservatives are always in the news making all kinds of racist and sexist comments. The liberals always call them on it.

                      Abraham Lincoln was a rare guy but he went against the prevailing ideology at the time. He had a personal revelation that slavery was wrong when he saw a married couple being torn apart from each other as they were sold to different masters.

                      As long as I have been alive, since 1964 It has always been the liberals that have champeoned civil rights and continue to this very day. You should be thanking us but of course you won’t because it doesn’t fit with your idea that liberals are evil.

                    • dj

                      Since I’ve got an easy 20yrs on you, you haven’t personally experienced the segregated south of the 50′s &60′s, I have vivid memories of the political, social, & economic environment during the civil rights movement. The white southerners were primarily conservative / democrats, the black population were republican (the few blacks that were allowed to register to vote) I attended segregated schools, patronized segregated businesses, I was there.
                      The demographic you see today doesn’t even resemble the political climate then. If it weren’t for the wealthy, white power-broker mostly republicans, the civil rights movement would have been squashed. The southern democratic president LBJ, knew the score. JFK wasn’t even a liberal as we know liberalism today.
                      I never implied that conservatives are squeaky clean unhampered by bigotry, nor that liberals are evil. Rush Limbaugh is full of himself, although he does make some reasonable arguments, if Rush is your only reference to conservatism you don’t have the whole picture.
                      The left wing of the democrat party,(progressives) seem to have the loudest voice now, and this particular group is only counterbalanced by the extreme right (Rush ) Your ad-hoc statement about conservative comments are unsubstantiated by the facts unless your facts only come from Chris Matthews MSNBC. You might sample a variety of news outlets including FOX.
                      The Bible thumpers you mentioned are usually southern republicans, but are generally as misguided in the faith as the liberal Protestants and Catholics of the New England states of the N.E.
                      The liberals you claim champion civil rights are actually promoting big government, big taxes, nanny state mentality, it keeps them in office. They cater to their constituency of poorer Americans and keeps them in poverty & voting for liberal democrats.

                    • Mary

                      Thank for your perspective on things that I did not personally witness. I will acknowledge that maybe things were more complicated than I thought. I will have to do more research. However I still have seen the pubs fight against equal rights for minorities for years and years.

                      As far as FOX is concerned, any news outlet that claims that teaching algebra is a communist plot because of the DISTRUBUTIVE PROPERTY has no credibilty at all. And recently they did some creative editing to make it sound like under the new Common Core Standards it would be okay if a child said that 3 x 4 =11. In fact THAT WAS NOT what the teacher said at all She was saying that she would want to know the steps the child took to get to the answer and then correct him. The emphasis would be on learning the steps but that did not mean that they would accept a wrong answer as FOX claims. I think the full video is on youtube.

                      Unfortunately this kind of creative editing goes on on both sides. The website RAW STORY was caught doing that too. They are off of my list of credible sources also.

                      I really do not agree with your portrayal of democrats because I don’t think you have a clue what they represent. But I am not going to argue that point.

                    • dj

                      I confess I do have predispositions both political and bibical, but I might add to a previous comment about slavery. The 5th grade (public school) American History I was exposed to skewed the cause of the civil war to states rights of succession and presented the slavery issue as secondary. Even at the age of 10 I knew better.

                    • Mary

                      It may just depend on the publisher. The southern states did in fact see it that way. They saw it as an issue of economics and states rights. Technically Lincoln actually broke the law by keeping the Union together.

                      Of course I am not saying that they were morally right at all, just making an observation.

                    • dj

                      Some southern state’s constitutions retain a right to succeed. Texas is one of them.

            • http://www.itsallrandommostly.com/ The Shape

              Ah, thanks for explaining that. My Hebrew isn’t the best so I’ve been wondering about that. In response to Anastasia you are reading later Christian theology into the Jewish text and the trinity is not what was intended by the author. If it was, you would expect much more explicit references to such an entity. However, as a non-Christian I have enjoyed these comments immensely.

    • little lady

      The Shape — when God said “let us create” he was referring to himself. He is a triune God, The Father, The Son, (the Word) and the Holy Spirit. It confirms this in John 1 and in Genesis when you read about creation it talks about God’s spirit or breath over the earth, He is three in one like water, can also be ice and snow.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        The Trinitarian explanation does not work since the doctrine of the Trinity was not formulated until much later and was not the view of the author of the creation account in Genesis 1.

        Your modalist analogy for the Trinity is heretical anyway, by the standards of classical orthodoxy, and so I am not sure what the point is of affirming the doctrine while denying its substance.

      • http://www.itsallrandommostly.com/ The Shape

        As pointed out in the lengthy thread above, that makes some vast assumptions.

  • Jason

    This is a little tangential, but it does have to do with the question of “Adam and Eve” in a way. I thought you’d be interested: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-08/new-dates-humanitys-last-common-male-and-female-ancestors

  • Pat & Jim Barton

    Interesting. I thought the meaning in Genesis one is very clearly creating the species of humans–male and female–but obviously not an individual. I had assumed creationists would reconcile this, like the rest of the story, as an example of Genesis one being more general and the Garden of Eve narrative being more specific.
    Of course, I don’t think I started looking closely at these stories until after reading Bishop Spong. So, I guess I had my own biases going into it.

  • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

    The first part of Genesis (roughly up to Abraham) is the result of the combination of two different accounts, somehow merged by a third author. One account is characterized by the use of “God”, the other by the use of “Lord”, both names for the same ultimate divine entity.
    Genesis 1 & 2:1-3 (“God”) has God creating humankind. From Genesis 2:4, the story of Adam & Eve (“Lord”) has the Lord creating Adam (2:7) and then Eve (2:21-25).
    Cordially, Bernard

  • Lothars Sohn

    I personally have no problem to reconcile the existence of a historical Adam with the theory of evolution.
    And over history, they’ve been people with quite a high view of scripture who believed there were pre-adamites, as you pointed out.

    My biggest problem concerns the meaning of the story. I find the traditional interpreation that God gave humanity a sinful nature after having driven them out of the garden ignoble.

    But if this is not the true interpretation, what’s the real meaning of the tale?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I have never heard anyone suggest that God “gave humanity a sinful nature after having driven them out of the garden.”

      From my own perspective, it seems to be about human experience, and the fact that we go from running around naked unabashed and not being morally accountable, to wearing clothing and held accountable, and the transition is lost to our adult memories, which is why myth is the way we explore such things in stories like that in Genesis 3.

      • Mary

        You and I are on the same page. It has to do with the development of a conscience and the consequences of our actions. Getting kicked out of Eden is a apt symbol of losing our innocent state into one that is much more difficult because we have to think of others. One of the best symbols has to do with being naked as any dream interpreter can tell you it is a symbol of shame and feeling “exposed” It is like the whole world knows your secrets. To just suddenly realize that they should wear clothes is a little strange but they were hiding their shame from God. Another symbol is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It implies that they did not know the difference between the two. There is nothing wrong with knowing what is good and what is evil because that is what we need to know to be moral beings.

        I like the ideas of symbology of Carl Jung and I see this has having classic archetypal imagery.

  • EBLiu

    Quote from Arcana Coelestia (Potts) n. 478

    478. The reason why he is called “Adam” is that the Hebrew word “Adam” signifies “man;” but that he is never properly called “Adam” by name, but “Man” is very evident from this passage and also from former ones, in that [in some cases] he is not spoken of in the singular number, but in the plural, and also from the fact that the term is predicated of both the man and the woman, both together being called “Man.” That it is predicated of both, everyone may see from the words, for it is said, “He called their name Man, in the day that they were created;” and in like manner in the first chapter: “Let us make man in our image, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea” (Gen. 1:27-28). Hence also it may appear that the subject treated of is not the creation of some one man who was the first of mankind, but the Most ancient Church.

  • Tenmiles

    Gen. 4:16-17 says Cain moved to Nod and took a wife. Seems to make it pretty clear there were other people around.

    • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

      In Genesis 2, before the creation of the first man (2:7), there was no man on earth (2:5). When the Lord tries to find a helper for Adam, He says that Adam is alone (2:18). Finally, the Lord is making a wife/helper (from a rib of Adam). That shows there was no other women around.
      We are far from a whole humanity created by God in Genesis 1:27-31.
      Cordially, Bernard

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        I think that there are two distinct points to be made. On the one hand, the J source does seem to envisage the creation of only two individuals – although it goes on to assume that others are around.

        But that is a separate question from whether the P source, if it was written independently, could have had the creation of a multitude of humans in view, just as one presumes that a multitude of each other sort of living thing was created.

        • http://jamesdowden.wordpress.com/ James Dowden

          I don’t think we need to posit P’s independence. It’s enough for the author of P merely to dislike the JE story in some way. The dislike needn’t be on a serious level (e.g. the E/P squabble over Moses and Aaron), although one could see the author of P objecting to a creation account that could be read as necessitating incest; he may just have thought it a bit too legendary for his tastes.

          • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

            Hello, James Dowden,
            I think you are on the right track implying P knew about the J’s Genesis and tried to correct some “problems” with it. That’s also obvious in the two renditions of Noah’s story.
            Cordially, Bernard

  • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

    I hadn’t noticed that either. Very interesting.

  • arcseconds

    I had that pointed out to me a long time ago.

    More recently, I saw a blog post (probably not far from here, link-wise), with someone giving their own take on Genesis, based on a close reading. They definitely thought Genesis was the literal truth, but weren’t afraid of deviating from received wisdom. From memory, I think they had some Hebrew, and (not that I’m any judge) their reading, while rather idiosyncratic, seemed both interesting and reasonably supported by the text.

    Their take on this was that there are two incidences of human beings being created.

  • Vic

    Yes, I think you can read it as a whole tribe of humans being created.

  • newenglandsun

    It could be read as that. At least Genesis 1. We know from the male and female statement that it’s at least two humans God has created.

  • newenglandsun

    Breaking the two accounts up though, I think that Adam and Eve are symbols of their own. The man is named Adam to indicate something about men and the women is named Eve to indicate something about women. Women as nurturing, men as aggressive. Ground and life is what their names come from.

  • newenglandsun

    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2011/09/adam-and-eve-and-ted-and-alice.html

    An interesting post I found.

    http://newenglandsun.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/monogenism-refuting-racism-sin-of-beastiality-aka-why-catholicism-cant-say-goodbye-to-me/

    I wrote this. Although I have been told Pius XII’s statement is being used to silence those who were using polygenism to deny Original Sin.


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