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In Quest of the Historical Adam— Part Six

In Quest of the Historical Adam— Part Six October 6, 2021

Q. Let’s talk about the two creation accounts in Gen. 1 and Gen. 2. The former is more universal in scope and on the face of it suggests a creation of male and female at the same time whenever and wherever. Gen. 2 is focused just on human creation, and I emphasize the word creation. The verb bara is only predicated of God’s activity in any case and cannot easily be read as comporting with evolutionary theory. Interestingly, in the end you have to posit divine intervention. You say (p. 370): “If we envision a miraculously wrought event, which the infusion of a rational soul may require…” or you say “the radical transition effected in the founding pair that lifted them to human level plausibly involved both biological and spiritual renovation, perhaps divinely caused”.  Now the problem with this sort of reasoning, which I’ve heard from various Catholic theologians along the way, depends on this whole notion of the rational soul. The Genesis narrative however knows nothing of a two-stage process—- millenia of evolution followed by an infusion of soul at some juncture, but still millenia ago, despite the social ethos of Gen. 2-3.   The Genesis account knows nothing of the Greek notion of the rational soul. It is talking about the making of a physical being into which life breath is breathed. Can you unpack how you envision all of this a bit more for our readers? I know you think this involves history not least due to the toledoth or genealogical features that follow.

 

A. My claim is not that the reality of a rational human soul is taught in the narratives of the primaeval history. But by the time of inter-testamental Judaism and the New Testament, anthropological dualism had come to be the standard view. Thus dualistic language permeates the New Testament, and Paul teaches body-soul dualism (II Cor 5). In the final part of the book I offer a number of philosophical arguments for affirming anthropological dualism. Given the teaching of the New Testament and the soundness of these arguments, an organism cannot be a human being if it does not possess a rational soul.


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