Were Adam and Eve the First Humans?

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John Bauer
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Were Adam and Eve the First Humans?

Post #1

Post by John Bauer »

In the thread "Genetics and Adam and Eve," DrNoGods claimed that the creation narrative in Genesis describes Adam and Eve as the first humans. He said that
  • Adam and Eve have an "explicit role in the biblical creation myth as being the first humans."
  • "Their explicit role as the first humans [is] described in Genesis."
  • "According to the biblical creation myth there was (...) only two" people originally.
  • "Genesis very clearly does describe Adam and Eve as the first humans that this God created."
I would appreciate DrNoGods substantiating this claim of his, for I don't agree that Genesis says this. I would like to see this explored further.

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Re: Were Adam and Eve the First Humans?

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Post by ttruscott »

John Bauer wrote:I would appreciate DrNoGods substantiating this claim of his, for I don't agree that Genesis says this. I would like to see this explored further.
Excellent. State your case and let's proceed.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: Were Adam and Eve the First Humans?

Post #3

Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to post 1 by John Bauer]
I would appreciate DrNoGods substantiating this claim of his, for I don't agree that Genesis says this.

Then how do you interpret Genesis 1:26-31?

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.


This account (King James version) very clearly states that man (and woman) were created on day 6 in the sequence, and as there is no mention of man or woman prior to day 6 then obviously the first humans (according to this particular creation myth ... there are many others of course) were the two that were created on day 6 of the biblical creation account.

So presumably you believe that these two people were not called Adam and Eve, correct? Then how to you interpret the text in Genesis chapter 2:

Genesis 2:8

8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Is this not the man created in Genesis chapter 1? If not, then who is it? The later in Genesis chapter 2:

18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.


In verse 19 the man who had been placed in the garden of Eden is referred to as Adam. Is this not the same man "created" in chapter 1? If not, then who is it as there is no mention to this point of any man besides the one referred to in chapter 1, and no mention of any woman until the verses above from chapter 2.

Then in Genesis chapter 3:

20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

So my "claim" that Genesis describes Adam and Eve as the first humans is based on a simple and direct reading given in the creation myth described in Genesis. Please explain how you can read that same text and conclude anything different. It looks pretty crystal clear to me.

(Edit)
This is a stretch, but I suppose you could claim that Genesis 1:27 mentions creation of both man and woman. However, Genesis 2:18 states that Adam had no helper, so obviously woman was not created prior to Genesis 2:18 or else Adam would have had a helper. So I stick with my claim that the Genesis creation myth offers up Adam and Eve as the first humans. I don't see how it can be interpreted any other way. Of course, the whole story is known to be a myth (science has proven that conclusively) so it is sort of moot to debate this issue in the first place. But the text is pretty clear that, according to this myth, Adam and Eve were the first humans.
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Post #4

Post by John Bauer »

DrNoGods wrote: Then how do you interpret Genesis 1:26-31?
That is not relevant. You were asked to support your claim.
DrNoGods wrote: (Re: Genesis 1:26–31)

This account (King James version) very clearly states that man (and woman) were created on day 6 in the sequence [...]
Your claim is that this is a literal interpretation of Genesis. That raises some pretty important questions. For one thing, are you interpreting the passage literally if you completely ignore the original language of the text, especially its linguistic, historical, and cultural setting? Have you interpreted it literally if you've ignored what the author and intended audience would have understood according to their historical setting and cognitive environment? I don't think so. As I understand it, those are fundamental concerns for a literal interpretation (through historical–grammatical exegesis). But here you went straight to the King James Version, which is an English translation written in the 17th century. See, that's one hint right there: It's a translation. Of course you know that Genesis wasn't written in English, and I doubt that it had 17th century categories of thought in mind. If you claim to present a literal interpretation, you're off to a fairly weak start.

Yes, it says that God "created" mankind in his own image, male and female. What does that word mean in its literal sense? And I'm talking about the word in its original language (Heb. bara). Apparently you think that to "create" is to bring something into material existence ex nihilo in terms of physical properties. Did the Israelites of the ancient Near East think in those kind of terms? Was that their ontological view? Certainly we think of existence in those terms, but if you impose our understanding on the passage then you haven't interpreted the text itself at all, much less literally.
DrNoGods wrote: [...] as there is no mention of man or woman prior to day 6 then obviously the first humans [...] were the two that were created on day 6 [...]
That is an argument from silence, which is logically invalid. From the fact that it doesn't mention anyone else we cannot validly conclude that there was no one else. Additionally, there are hints later on that other people were around who were not previously identified, showing up suddenly in the text.
DrNoGods wrote: So presumably you believe that these two people were not called Adam and Eve, correct? Then how to you interpret the text in Genesis chapter 2 [...]
My beliefs are not relevant to your claim and its substantiation.
DrNoGods wrote: (Re: Genesis 2:8)

Is this not the man created in Genesis chapter 1? If not, then who is it?
Sir, this is your claim. You tell me. It seems like you want to argue that Genesis 2 is a synoptic account of something in Genesis 1. By all means, go ahead and make your case.
DrNoGods wrote: (Re: Genesis 2:18–23)

In verse 19 the man who had been placed in the garden of Eden is referred to as Adam. Is this not the same man "created" in chapter 1?
Again, this is your claim. You tell me. Make your case.
DrNoGods wrote: (Re: Genesis 3:20)

So my "claim" that Genesis describes Adam and Eve as the first humans is based on a simple and direct reading given in the creation myth described in Genesis.
Well, what you did was read and comprehend the text in a modern language and modern categories of thought. You have not "interpreted" the text at all, much less literally. What you did amounts to eisegesis and a kind of cultural imperialism.
DrNoGods wrote: Please explain how you can read that same text and conclude anything different. It looks pretty crystal clear to me.
Your claim of a "literal interpretation" is still unsubstantiated. We're not ready to move on just yet.
DrNoGods wrote: So I stick with my claim that the Genesis creation myth offers up Adam and Eve as the first humans. I don't see how it can be interpreted any other way.
That is a conclusion you have imposed on the text, it's not one you've drawn from it. As such, your claim thus far remains an unsubstantiated assertion. (And anyone who has paid attention to the footnotes I often include should be able to see other ways it can be interpreted.)

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Post #5

Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to post 4 by John Bauer]
You were asked to support your claim.
Which I did by referencing the text (ie. Genesis) that tells a different story than you are imagining. You can make up stuff all you like, but so far all you've done is present your unusual opinion without any support from Genesis, which is where the story is told.

"Argument from silence." Really? Have you never heard of deductive reasoning? Good thing you're not a detective or a lawyer.

Why don't you try some offense and support your claim that there were millions of other people around (post 97 of the parallel thread ... why did you even start a new one?) when Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden. There is no evidence for that in Genesis, yet you throw that out as if it were something to take seriously and debate.

You are the one offering up an unusual and unsubstantiated (so far) interpretation of the text. It is your job to support this unusual claim, not mine. All I am doing is supporting the actual text in Genesis as it is written, and you've presented nothing at all to show that the usual interpretation (ie. Adam and Eve were the first humans according to the creation myth of Genesis) is incorrect.

I won't bother replying in the other thread ... nothing in the latest comment there (post 101) but more dodging of the issue and unrelated ramblings.
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Re: Were Adam and Eve the First Humans?

Post #6

Post by AgnosticBoy »

John Bauer wrote: In the thread "Genetics and Adam and Eve," DrNoGods claimed that the creation narrative in Genesis describes Adam and Eve as the first humans. He said that
  • Adam and Eve have an "explicit role in the biblical creation myth as being the first humans."
  • "Their explicit role as the first humans [is] described in Genesis."
  • "According to the biblical creation myth there was (...) only two" people originally.
  • "Genesis very clearly does describe Adam and Eve as the first humans that this God created."
I would appreciate DrNoGods substantiating this claim of his, for I don't agree that Genesis says this. I would like to see this explored further.
For now, all that I see you arguing in general is that the text should not be interpreted literally. I can agree with that when evidence justifies it, but I tend not to agree with it when it's more clear that the "non-literal" designation is used as a tactic, like only in the areas that Christians have a hard time reconciling with modern scientific thought. As such, nothing is ever "wrong" in the Bible, the alleged wrong parts are just "not literal". I'm not accusing you of the latter tactic, but just saying that I'm well aware of this tactic by many liberal Christians.

Now on to this issue. To be hypothetical, I'm willing to grant you that your biblical view that Adam and Eve were not the first humans. So why did God choose this couple as opposed to any other couple?

How did the actions of this couple effect all other humans, presuming that not all humans are derived from Adam and Eve?

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Post #7

Post by John Bauer »

DrNoGods wrote: by referencing the text (ie. Genesis) that tells a different story than you are imagining.

So you intend to support your claim of a literal interpretation by not presenting a literal interpretation, as it turns out. By this you demonstrate a complete disregard for not only hermeneutics but even basic reasoning and critical thinking skills. I daresay you don't care to be taken seriously. (Or maybe you're under the illusion that simply reading a modern English text through twenty-first century categories of thought is a "literal" interpretation. I suppose that's possible, as young-earth creationists operate under the same illusion.)

DrNoGods wrote:
All I am doing is supporting the actual text in Genesis as it is written [...]

No, you're not, for you quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. In case the point is not clear enough, "the actual text in Genesis" was not written in English.

DrNoGods wrote:
You can make up stuff all you like, but so far all you've done is present your unusual opinion without any support from Genesis, which is where the story is told.

Since my claims were primarily scientific in nature, I made scientific arguments (and I'm willing to expand on them)—without any support from Genesis, yes, because it's not a science text. I also don't use bananas when I want to detect and measure ionizing radiation.

DrNoGods wrote:
"Argument from silence." Really? Have you never heard of deductive reasoning?

Yes, I am familiar with that form of reasoning. Is that the form your argument took? I must have missed that. My apologies. Please state your deductive argument syllogistically.

DrNoGods wrote:
Why don't you try some offense and support your claim that there were millions of other people around [...] when Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden. There is no evidence for that in Genesis, yet you throw that out as if it were something to take seriously and debate.

I did support my claim (in that other thread) by pointing to paleodemography and referencing encyclopedic sources on prehistoric world population estimates. But you're under no obligation to take scientific arguments seriously or debate them. If you want to guffaw and throw popcorn from the sidelines, please feel free.

True, there is no statement in Genesis about the population of the world at the time of Adam and Eve. That has a lot to do with why I didn't cite Genesis as support.

I'm not sure why you think that this idea of there being several million people in the world 7,000 years ago is an "unusual" claim. It is not unusual but in fact a commonly accepted estimate. But your accusation that it's an "unsubstantiated interpretation of the text" is just wildly mistaken because this claim wasn't drawn from the text.

DrNoGods wrote:
[...] and you've presented nothing at all to show that the usual interpretation (ie. Adam and Eve were the first humans according to the creation myth of Genesis) is incorrect.

I don't need to show that it's incorrect. Since it is your claim, YOU need to show that it's correct. (Please see the argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy.)

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Post #8

Post by John Bauer »

AgnosticBoy wrote: For now, all that I see you arguing in general is that the text should not be interpreted literally. I can agree with that when evidence justifies it, but I tend not to agree with it when it's more clear that the "non-literal" designation is used as a tactic, like only in the areas that Christians have a hard time reconciling with modern scientific thought. As such, nothing is ever "wrong" in the Bible, the alleged wrong parts are just "not literal". I'm not accusing you of the latter tactic, but just saying that I'm well aware of this tactic by many liberal Christians.
It seems that I have not expressed myself clearly enough. In fact I do think the text should be interpreted literally. However, a plain or straight-forward reading of a modern English translation is not a literal interpretation of the text in any meaningful sense. Textual interpretation (exegesis) is a very disciplined field with clearly defined rules (and it applies far more broadly than just to biblical texts).
AgnosticBoy wrote: I'm willing to grant [...] your biblical view that Adam and Eve were not the first humans. So why did God choose this couple as opposed to any other couple?
No one can answer that because his reason has never been revealed. As an evangelical Christian (with Calvinist leanings), I am comfortable speculating that it was a matter of grace, that there was nothing particularly unique or special about Adam and Eve or anything they did that would inform God's choice of them. As such, they could not boast of themselves in any way but had to chalk it all up to God alone. (Again, this is my theological speculation, not a conclusion drawn from anywhere in Genesis.)
AgnosticBoy wrote: How did the actions of this couple effect all other humans, presuming that not all humans are [descended] from Adam and Eve?
It was only Adam's actions that affected all other humans through federal headship, insofar as he represented all mankind before God. In theological parlance it is referred to as covenant union (we are said to be "in Adam"). It is rather like how the righteousness of Christ can be imputed to believers even though no one is descended biologically from him, by virtue of covenant union as the federal head of the church (wherein believers are said to be "in Christ"). Much of this is explicitly taught by the apostle Paul in his letters to the church in Roman and Corinth.

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Post #9

Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to post 7 by John Bauer]
So you intend to support your claim of a literal interpretation by not presenting a literal interpretation, as it turns out.


I can read the King James translation, which is one of the most common English translations, and it is very clear what it says about Adam and Eve in the literal sense, which is that they were the first humans god created. You can beat around the bushes all you like with your deflection attempts, but I'd be willing to bet that the huge majority of people reading this would agree that the creation myth of Genesis describes Adam and Eve as the first humans, simply because that is exactly what it says in Genesis.
By this you demonstrate a complete disregard for not only hermeneutics but even basic reasoning and critical thinking skills.


No critical thinking skills are needed to read a straightforward story like the creation myth of Genesis and conclude that Adam and Eve are described as the first humans created. You seem to be using your imagination skills to arrive at some different interpretation, and then claim that anyone who doesn't agree with you can't think properly, or read properly. That doesn't make your unusual interpretation any more valid or reasonable.
Or maybe you're under the illusion that simply reading a modern English text through twenty-first century categories of thought is a "literal" interpretation...


You think it is an illusion to read a modern English text and interpret it literally? How else does one interpret something literally? Is reading something into a story that isn't there, as you are doing, somehow a better alternative? Do you know what the word literal means? Here is a dictionary definition for you:

lit·er·al
adjective: literal; adjective: literal-minded

1. taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory.
free from exaggeration or distortion.
synonyms: strict, factual, plain, simple, bare, exact, straightforward, stark, unvarnished, unexaggerated, unembellished, undistorted, unadulterated; objective, narrow, correct, true, truthful, faithful, accurate, genuine, authentic, veritable, veracious, gospel.
antonyms: metaphorical, figurative, loose, approximate
informal
absolute (used to emphasize that a strong expression is deliberately chosen to convey one's feelings). "fifteen years of literal hell"

2. (of a translation) representing the exact words of the original text.
synonyms: word-for-word, verbatim, line-for-line, letter-for-letter.


So my reading of the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, and taking it literally, is literally the dictionary definition of what I am doing. Yet you claim just the opposite because you have imagined a different interpretation and are trying to support it (still without any evidence) by arguing that my literal interpretation is not a literal interpretation evidently only because it doesn't agree with your imagined interpretation.
No, you're not, for you quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. In case the point is not clear enough, "the actual text in Genesis" was not written in English.


Of course it wasn't, that is why various translations have been made including in English. But this is an irrelevant point. This forum uses English as the language for communicating, and the King James translation of Genesis is in English. Are you trying to argue that if we were discussing the issue in ancient Hebrew it would somehow be different? This is just a weak attempt at deflection.
But you're under no obligation to take scientific arguments seriously or debate them. If you want to guffaw and throw popcorn from the sidelines, please feel free.


If you have any scientific arguments to support your claim that there were millions of people around during the week that Adam and Eve were created please put them out here since you have done nothing of the sort so far. Guffaw and throw popcorn from the sidelines? Resorting to 7th grade stuff are you?
I'm not sure why you think that this idea of there being several million people in the world 7,000 years ago is an "unusual" claim.


I never made any such statement and this is just another example of you intentionally misrepresenting what I said in an effort to support your claim of there being millions of people on Earth during the week that Adam and Eve were created according to the Genesis creation myth. The discussion is not about how many people were living on Earth some 7,000 years ago independent of the Adam and Eve story ... it is about your claim that there were millions of people on Earth on the 6th day of the creation account of Genesis, which is when Adam was "created." Misrepresenting my comments and/or rephrasing them to suit your argument is not fooling anyone.
I don't need to show that it's incorrect. Since it is your claim, YOU need to show that it's correct. (Please see the argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy.)


I'm not claiming anything that isn't directly derived from a literal reading of the creation account in Genesis. It is you who are making an unusual claim (ie. that there were millions of other people around on day 6 of the Genesis creation account), and continuously trying to deflect from having to justify that claim as you've done yet again in this post. The Genesis creation account clearly states that Adam was created on day 6 of creation week. Are you trying to claim that this is not what a literal reading of Genesis states (in any language)?

The only support for your unusual claim so far is that you have a personal interpretation that leads you to believe that there were millions of people around on day 6 of the Genesis creation account (taking that account literally as described in English translations). Your repeated attempts at deflection don't change the fact that this is your unusual interpretation, presented without any evidence to support it. It is irrelevant that the original text was not in English if you can't provide a "correct" translation in the language of this forum, and so far you haven't done that.

Why don't you provide this "correct" translation if it can somehow support your unusual claim? Or can we safely assume you don't have any such translation and the King James or other English translations are the best available, and therefore suitable as a basis for this kind of discussion (ie. a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account)? Deflection attempts such as telling me that my claim is the unusual one, or even a claim at all (it isn't ... it is just the direct, literal interpretation of the text and certainly the most common one among Christians) just make it appear you don't actually have anything to support your interpretation other than that it is a personal opinion.
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Post #10

Post by Difflugia »

John Bauer wrote: Since my claims were primarily scientific in nature, I made scientific arguments (and I'm willing to expand on them)—without any support from Genesis, yes, because it's not a science text.
Yet I think you're saying that the scientific claims are consistent with the account in Genesis, at least if one correctly interprets the Hebrew, which the English in the King James translation does not.

That is an interesting claim. Please tell us more about it.

Whether or not you think DrNoGods has supported his case, his isn't the one that I find interesting. You've said (in the other thread) that most Christians support the idea that millions of people existed at the time of Adam and Eve. If so, I suspect that most of those Christians don't claim to be Calvinists that consider Genesis to be literally true as you do (I think). If you are saying that the majority of literalist Christians actuallly does believe that millions of people were alive during the time of "the man" in Genesis 1-3, that would itself be interesting. But I don't think that's what you're saying. Is it?

I just reread Genesis 2-3 and I don't see a way for הָֽ�ָדָ֖� in Genesis 2:5-6 to be other than the first and only (at this point) man. I may simply lack enough imagination to see what you mean, but I don't. Please tell us.

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