Was Adam a Real Person?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Marcia, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. Marcia

    Marcia
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    This came up on the evolution-related thread where many said that Genesis 1-11 is mythical or just an allegory. It seems that some believe Adam was not a real person or that it doesn't matter whether he was or not. So I am asking about these Adams:

    If Adam was not real, then these verses are deceiving or misleading.

    Also, we have the geneology of Christ in Luke 3 to deal with:
    If Adam isn't real, is Seth real? Is Enosh real? Is Jared real? Did Jesus have an unreal ancestor?
    How about the others named starting in verse 23 and going through the last verse of 38? Amos? Nahum? Zerubbabel?

    How do you determine, if you think Genesis is an allegory, who is real and who isn't? Strange that God would include an unreal person along with real people.
     
  2. Bro Tony

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    The denial of Adam as a real person negates the purpose of the Scripture, that being to reveal Jesus the Messiah. The Bible takes great care to speak of the man Adam. Sin in this world is a result of this real man being disobedient to God. The answer for sin is found in the "second Adam", Jesus. If Adam did not exist geneologies in the Scripture become meaningless including the one that lead to the birth of Jesus.

    Bro Tony
     
  3. Archeryaddict

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    The Bible says that Adam was the first living Human Created by God and eve was the first living woman created by God made from one of Adams rib
    that is what the Bible says and that is what I believe.
     
  4. Amity

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    AMEN!!!!!
     
  5. Charles Meadows

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    I believe Adam and Eve were real people. I think one can still be a Christian and hold to a more liberal OT theology however.
     
  6. Marcia

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    But Charles, don't you believe that the creation account is an allegory?

    How can a real person be in an allegory?

    Either Adam is not real and Gen 1-2 is an allegory, or Adam is real and Gen 1-2 is an historical narrative.
     
  7. Johnv

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    Whether one has s literal or nonliteral view of Gen 1, I think most would agree that the first man would have been a real person. Interestingly, we call him Adam, but in Genesis, he is not given a name. That's a product of transliteration from OT Hebrew to English (the Hebrew word adam, meaning "the man", was transliterated into a proper name in Genesis.
    I would think that if Gen 1 / 2 is nonliteral, that the persons denoted were still real people.
     
  8. Archeryaddict

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    either the whole Bible is Accurate God breathed or none of it is worth reading.

    why do so many "Christians" find it so difficult to take what the Bible says as literal fact and means exactly what it says just as it was written. why does so many feel it nessessiary to put a spin on what the Bible actually says?

    how do people read into something that is plainly not written down.

    see spot
    see spot run
    run spot run

    Interprit this please?
     
  9. Johnv

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    No one has said that the whole Bible is anything ther than God-breathed. Those who believe in that Genesis 1 is possibly nonliteral believe that it is God-breathed any less than anyone else. We should refrain from questioning peoples' faith regarding scripture, simply because their interpretation differs.

    To be fair, Scripture itself does not claim to be literal fact in every single jot and tittle. It does, however, claim to be truth.

    Even the most hyperconservative hyperfundamentalist does that. No one is guiltless.

    I ask that very question whenever people claim that the behemoth and leviathan must be dinosaurs, or when people claim the KJVO is the only acceptible translation, or that Jesus didn't drink wine, etc. I guess that arguement only goes one way with some people.
    As jokingly as you put it, some will say that it's an account of spot running, while others will say it's an account of a person talking about spot without regard to what spot is doing. Some will say that spot is a dog, while others will say that we have no idea what spot is, or what spot is doing. Spot could very well be another person.

    How that for overanalyzing? [​IMG]
     
  10. Charles Meadows

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    Marcia,

    How many times have we been through this? I see Adam as a person. God interacts with him and genealogies represent him.
     
  11. Charles Meadows

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    Archeryaddict,

    I hope you're not insinuating that one cannot be saved without believing in a literal Genesis. If you are then you deny the power of Christ's blood alone to save.

    Regarding spot - if you want to know how to analyze such things, try "studying" - this is how we are to show ourselves approved.
     
  12. Rachel

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    What Christian can believe Adam was not a real person?? Very odd.
     
  13. Craigbythesea

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    Ernest F. Kevan wrote,

    "The difference between the presuppositions of conservative theology and the presuppositions of the other groups is that those of the former are provided by the Scripture itself, whereas those of the other groups are not."

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Craigbythesea

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    I interpret these lines to be very similar (if not identical) to lines found in the Dick and Jane Reader series, a work of fiction to help children learn how to read. Are you suggesting that the Holy Bible is a book of fiction just because it was used in America from colonial times down to the late 19th century as a reader for children?

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Anleifr

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    I have given this subject quite a bit of thought. After consulting the texts used in Genesis 1-11, I consider 1-3 to be “apocalyptic” in nature. I do not consider the text to be “allegorical” or “mythological”. “Allegory” is more like what one finds in Galatians 4 or in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. And “myth” has too many connotations that denote “untruthfulness” in the English language. I think that “apocalyptic” is a better term to use. It is one that seems to fit all the requirements and is much more soothing to our thoughts. One Old Testament scholar suggested to me that the Genesis 1-3 story is similar to that of the last parts of Revelation: the author was not there to witness the events first hand; the events had to be “revealed” to him. The end of Revelation takes place in “eternity” and does the beginning of Genesis. In order for the author to know what had happened and what was to happen, God “revealed” the information to the author. In both scenarios, the author wrote in “apocalyptic” fashion, employing symbolic language and imagery that could be comprehended by the believers at the time and still be understood by us today. In this regard, I think we should treat the text as we would the books of Daniel, containing both narrative and apocalyptic formats.

    If you take the first four chapters of Genesis as “literal” then you begin to run into a few difficulties: the different chronologies of chapters 1 and 2, the appearance of Cain’s wife (4:17), Cain fearing that others would kill him (4:14) (How could others kill him if the only other people were Adam and Eve?), the poetic language of chapters 2 and 3 that only makes since in Hebrew (a language that did not develop until “thousands of years” later, and, well, macro evolution and geology. If you take the text as non-literal then the problems dissolve away but the meaning and truth of the God-breathed scripture remains.

    If Paul and Jude are using an “apocalyptic” figure in their writings, it is no more deceptive than Jesus equating Himself with the “apocalyptic” Son of Man figure in Daniel 7. It is the meaning behind the usage that is important.

    Also, the intent of the writer’s point is not lost. What is lost is a secondary conclusion far removed from the point the author is making. For example, you quote Jude 14. This is Jude, the brother of Jesus, quoting from a non-canonical, pseudo-apocryphal work. The book was not written by Enoch and no one believes that it was. Can an apostle quote from a fictional work and make a theological point from it? I think he can. Paul quotes a pagan Greek in Titus 1:12 to make a point from it: “The Cretans are always liars.” Does this mean that Cretans never tell the truth? It does if we take it literally. Jude is not claiming that Enoch really made this particular statement; he is referring to a fictional account to make a point.

    Furthermore, just because we misinterpret a verse does not mean that the author has been deceptive. We read in Revelation 13 of a beast with ten heads and seven horns. If I take this “literally” then I must believe that the anti-Christ is REALLY a ten-headed monster. If the anti-Christ is not really a ten-headed monster then has the author of Revelation deceived me?

    Paul uses Sarah and Hagar in an allegory in Galatians 4. Paul uses typology quite often (1 Cor 5:7, 1 Cor 10:1-11, Rom 5:14). Christ was not literally the Passover. Christ was not literally the rock in the wilderness. In Rom 5:14 Adam is used as a type of Christ. Paul is using Adam as a typology for Christ. I think that Paul is using the literary figure of Adam as he is used in the third chapter of Genesis, a representative of all men. The author of those passages is attempting to explain the situation of man. We each have our “fall”, many times a day unfortunately. It was Christ who did not fall to temptation by the devil. It is Christ who claims victory over sin and saves man from his fallen nature.

    Again, just because our interpretations are not accurate does not mean the Scriptures are not. Just because the Scriptures do not meet our assumed expectations does not mean the Scriptures are inaccurate.

    Many people believe that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. The text does suggest that possibility but a good, close look at the text strongly suggests otherwise. The predominate conservative view is that the author of Ecclesiastes is using the historical figure of Solomon as a literary figure to convey the meaning of the book. While many people maybe left thinking that Solomon actually wrote it, the author was not trying to deceive anyone and it is doubtful that anyone during the time of the book’s admission into the public was deceived. They probably understood what the author was doing and recognized it as Scriptural.

    Here is another example. The book of Job recalls the events surrounding Job’s trials. Now if we believe these events to be historical it is beyond reason to believe that Job and his 3 or 4 friends actually spoke each “phrase” the way it is recorded in the book. Why? Because the story is written in poetry. Did Job and his friends speak poetry in their anguish? Of course not. But if we believe that Job said each word as it is written but such is not the case then it is not the Scriptures that are deceptive.

    One last example. The Synoptic Gospels have Christ cleansing the Temple towards the end of his ministry while the Gospel according to John has the Temple cleansing at the beginning. Were there two temple cleansings? Or, rather, is John rearranging the chronological order of the events to make a theological point? If we are led to believe that Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning of his ministry but this, in fact, is not the case, then it is not the Scripture’s fought that we are deceived. Rather, it is our traditional interpretations that are deceptive.

    I think this quote is unfair with regards to this particular topic. One can be conservative and not take the accounts in Genesis 1-3 as “literal”. If the reading of the text suggests that the account is “non-literal” then it behooves the conservative scholar to consider it thus.

    It is quite bad when a scholar rejects the meaning of the story because he rejects the literalness of the story. It is just as bad when a person who believes in the story’s literalness nevertheless gets the meaning wrong.

    One can get the meaning of the story and believe in either its literalness or un-literalness. What is important is its meaning.

    I have read various theories that, in Genesis, we are dealing with two or three different Adams in two or three Adamic stories. The first is in chapter one, the second is in chapters 2-3, possibly 4 or the Adam in chapter 4 being a third Adamic story. It is possible that the Adam in chapter 4 was a real person in the literal sense.

    There had to have been a first man. Man exists now but this has not always been the case so there had to be a first person who was regarded as a man. Who this person was or when this person lived will remain a mystery until glory. Regardless, the meaning of the story is not changed by our ignorance of the historicity of the events.
     
  16. Craigbythesea

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    Anleifr,

    Thank you for your very fine post and the spirit in which it was written.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Debby in Philly

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    There had to be a first one, so why not Adam?

    Jesus and others in the NT took OT people as real - Adam, Jonah, etc. Why shouldn't we?
     
  18. Johnv

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    We call the first man Adam by name, but in Genesis, he is not given a name. That's a product of transliteration from OT Hebrew to English (the Hebrew word adam, meaning "the man", was transliterated into a proper name in Genesis.

    I thought that was interesting.
     
  19. Marcia

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    We call the first man Adam by name, but in Genesis, he is not given a name. That's a product of transliteration from OT Hebrew to English (the Hebrew word adam, meaning "the man", was transliterated into a proper name in Genesis.
    </font>[/QUOTE]But "Adam" is given as a proper name. He is not just a symbol. The ESV has this note on "Adam:" __The Hebrew word for man (adam) is the generic term for mankind and becomes the proper name Adam.__

    He is called Adam as a proper name in Gen 3.17 (possibly in 2.20) and referred to as a real person. Also, he is referred to as Adam as a proper name in the NT.

    Adam is also clearly referred to as a real, distinct person in other parts of the OT, such as Hosea 6.7
    You cannot have a real person in an unreal story.
     
  20. Marcia

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    No offense, but this is one of the lamest theories I've ever heard. There is nothing apocalyptic about Genesis. It's about the past, not the future. Apocalyptic means having to do with a coming cataclysmic event in which God destroys evil. Yes, Genesis was revealed to Moses -- that does not make it apocalyptic.
     

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