Sunday, October 11, 2009

Genesis 1: Plenty of room on the slippery slope

Justin Taylor over at his new Between Two Worlds blog over at The Gospel Coalition has highlighted the fact that Dr. Tremper Longman, a "professor of OT at Westmont College, author of numerous commentaries, and co-author of the acclaimed An Introduction to the Old Testament", "explains in the following video that for him it’s an open question as to whether or not Adam was a literal, historical figure, and that to “insist” that Gen 1-2 conveys this is dependent on a “very highly literalistic” reading."

Rick Philips over at the Reformation21 blog has commented on this issue as follows:

When I was in seminary, I learned from my professors that even though Moses believed the days of creation were normal week days (as evidenced by his application of Genesis 1's chronology in the fourth commandment, Ex. 20:11), God was just using Moses' primitive cosmology to teach us something different from what the text said. I was not surprised, therefore, when one of these professors recently appeared on the internet insisting that we need not maintain a historical Adam and Eve. The slippery slope is broad enough for us all, my friends, not just for known "liberals".

I wholly concur. The fight for 6-day creationism is the fight for the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. Concede it, and one might as well be a liberal/neo-orthodox. As Justin Taylor mentioned in one of his comment:

  1. Jesus and Paul both believed in a literal, historical individual named Adam.
  2. Jesus and Paul based arguments on this belief and intended to convey this belief in teaching the implications of it (for covenant headship, marital headship, the marriage ideal, common humanity, etc.).
  3. If there was no [sic] literal, historical individual named Adam, then Jesus and Paul were not only mistaken in a belief, but taught an incorrect belief.
  4. If so, Jesus and Paul were in error on this, and so is the Bible.

See also Was Adam a real historical individual?


Beng said...

National Geographic is undertaking a Genographic project with very intriguing initial findings - we are all VERY CLOSELY related genetically.

PuritanReformed said...


well, the Out of Africa theory has been there for some time. I am sure Joel should know more about this.

Anonymous said...

Here's another. *wince*

PuritanReformed said...


one wonders who is her Hebrew lecturer...

Beng said...

Well, the point I was trying to make is that they posit that we humans only started separating genetically a very short time ago. In other words, we ain't been around a very long time.

A quick spreadsheet calculation shows that at an average replacement rate of 1.5 for every individual (ie each couple produces 3 kids), we only need 57 generations to exceed today's world population of 6.69 billion.

That's pretty doable I would say. If we've been around much longer, you'd think we'd all be standing shoulder to shoulder by now.

PuritanReformed said...


well, you didn't factor in war, famine, drought, pestilence and natural catastrophe. =) But yes, we do get your point.

Joel Tay said...

Yea. Longman is the textbook I used in TTC. I believe that SBC uses it as well. My lecturer actually calls Longman a conservative which, in my opinion, is unbelievable. I won't even call him evangelical. At least not using the historical definition of evangelical.

The out of Africa theory has been there for a long time. It seems that the news has been digging up a lot of old stuff and parading them as new. E.g. the recent uproar over Ardipithecus. Nothing new. Has long been seen as being completely ape.

If you want good research on genographic, try looking at some of the research work being done by Robert Carter. The evidence for a genetic bottleneck after the flood a few thousand years ago near the fertile crescent is amazing. I can't really remember the details, but the evidence does point to a place closer to the biblical record than the Out of Africa theory postulates... or something like that.

PuritanReformed said...