Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Kurieuo » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:47 pm

I disagree with Heiser. Seems like he is creating hearsay to muddy RTB. And, he's ignoring the broad shoulders they do actually stand upon, who have an adept understanding of Hebrew and the like much better than he himself would. I mean we're talking Gleason Archer! You'd know his credentials. It also sounds a little pompous if you don't mind me saying -- like what often happens to "educated" folk who often start thinking themselves superior in knowledge. I'm sure you're very aware as a previous RTB follower, Ross and Archer participated in The Genesis Debate book together. RTB have had contact also with Geisler and likely helped influence him in his views of allowable creation positions (to the discontent of YEC organisations like AiG).

With interpretation, I wouldn't say they twist interpreting the text. Rather, RTB are overenthusiastic, and overstate, and overplay on interpretations. For example, their article, Big Bang - The Bible Taught It First!. Their raw interpretation can be taken as valid regarding God stretching. Yet, then, to make such a scientific statement like the Bible is teaching Big Bang cosmology.... err, yes, perhaps the concept can be found within when understood as merely a stretching, but would the authors have originally been teaching "Big Bang" cosmology? I don't think so. The Bible isn't really teaching such, but where the "stretching of the heavens" verses they use exist, the author has some other goal in mind. This is where interpretation (valid) becomes scientific interpolation in their excitement (often invalid).

In a way, it's kind of like how different cultures mould Jesus, Christianity, the Catholic faith even to their own audience. RTB delves into science, and so is reinterpreting Scripture in new light, to give a different perspective. In doing so, they often interpolate. This doesn't mean their interpretation is invalid, but rather the interpolations they make based upon such I see as overreaching. Whether these insights are valid or not, such is up for discussion, and discussion is something I've always seem them (Ross, Fuz) happy to enter into, in their enthusiasm for their views.

Re: Heiser, I must say I'm not quite as impressed with his views. I have analysed his page on Gen 1-3, and as an unintended consequence had several pages worth of my own comments on it (which I'll first structure and go over further before posting here).... really, it left me thinking him passionate, but rather less than honest and misleading. Re: Genesis 1-3, I'd expect someone like him, pushing the boundaries of interpretation to pre-Adamic human races, to also deal with JEDP. I dare say most of these scholars would laugh off his interpretation. In such, as I understand, Genesis 2:4-3:3 is said to have come from the north in Israel, and Genesis 1:1-2:3 the south. Some even posit that 2:4 actually belongs at the beginning of the Genesis 1 creation, as a prescription to it. Yet, when Genesis 1-3 was composed, the stories were recompiled and essentially placed back-to-back. So there you have your differences. One account describes God is very almighty, powerful and impersonal yet poetic terms (Gen 1:1-Gen 2:3), such that God merely has to speak and it is done. The other account describes God in a very personal way, such that He has to form man from the ground, mould him, and breath life.

So then, Heiser's view on 2:4 is very much old-school traditional as I see, and even a common view. Yet, he makes it out to be something new. In doing so, he ignores much of JEDP scholarship, of which I entertain little and discourage in my own thinking, but nonetheless should be given treatment. Heiser mentions it nowhere, because he's trying to maintain that his translation is a new look, contemporary, new, fresh, "naked", and the like over and against some ambiguous more conservative "traditional" view never referenced which prevents further investigation by the reader into such. JEDP scholarship would just rain in on his parade, with the contemporary gloss he's trying to paint his view with. I'm often left puzzled even as to what he considers "traditional", it seems to be a label he attaches to whatever view he sets up in opposition to challenge and knock down. There's a term for that in philosophy, it's called strawman. Heiser just does it a whole lot more convincing-like, but it doesn't go by me unnoticed.
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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby DBowling » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:24 pm

Kurieuo wrote:I'm often left puzzled even as to what he considers "traditional", it seems to be a label he attaches to whatever view he sets up in opposition to challenge and knock down. There's a term for that in philosophy, it's called strawman. Heiser just does it a whole lot more convincing-like, but it doesn't go by me unnoticed.

I think Heiser's definition of "traditional' is pretty straightforward.
There are positions held by Christians and Christianity that proceed directly from the Scriptural text.

Then there are positions held by Christians and Christianity that do not proceed directly from the Scriptural text, rather they depend upon extrascriptural presuppositions being imposed on the text.
Those extrascriptural presuppositions may be right, they may be wrong, but if a position is not supported directly by the Scriptural text then that position falls under the category of "tradition".

I disagree that his approach to "tradition" is a strawman. I may or may not agree with his categorization of a certain position as "tradition", but that doesn't mean that he is arguing against a strawman. It means I need to go back to the position in question and check the Scriptural text to see if it really does proceed from Scripture text, or if it proceeds from extrascriptural presuppositions that are imposed upon the text... ie "tradition".

I do think Heiser does a good job of pointing out areas where positions that we thought proceeded from Scripture could possibly be functions of "tradition" instead.

And then if another Hebrew scholar (say Walton for example) independently comes to a similar conclusion as Heiser, then I have a valid reason to reevaluate my own position to see if it is based on the Scriptural text or "tradition".

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Kurieuo » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:38 pm

@Phil, I am quite surprised Heiser goes after Norman Geisler. You couldn't have someone, more experienced with a plethora of interpretations and positions, who is really one of the best evangelical Christians who has done much to defend the faith and Scripture. On such shoulders, many Christans today owe a lot to.

He's rubbed shoulders more with all sides of Evangelical scholarship, liberal scholarship and what-not. I don't think he can seriously be challenged, especially not with a hand-waving away without any real justification. Geisler has helped lay very strong foundations for correct doctrinal boundaries re: Scripture. One just needs to look over the books he has authored and co-authored to date.

If you can't tell, I have the utmost respect for Geisler, and if he says something, you know you can at least trust the guy with his knowledge and way he conducts himself in life, to at least take seriously what he says as a Christian. So Heiser has some gall there, and his self-importance seems apparent to me. It seems Heiser thinks there's some magic pixie dust so far as interpreting Scripture is concerned, and only he has 10/10 vision which others who disagree with his "direct reading" lack.

Perhaps Heiser might be raw, that his position would be flatly rejected by those apart of the ICBI, which had many respectable Hebraic scholars? I'm sorry, but Heiser can't argue from a position of authority here. No matter his credentials, there are those no doubt greater than him who would disagree with his views.
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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Kurieuo » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:06 pm

@DB, Scripture itself forms "tradition". You just cannot separate Scripture from Christian tradition, or vice-versa.

Constructing an opposing position and labeling it a "traditional" view in contradistinction from one's own views, it is really a red herring (something intended to mislead or distract). For Heiser himself cannot escape tradition, but is just as much a part of it also. Any position taken today, has tradition attached to it in some form. Such possibly shows the lack of attention he pays to his own sources which shaped his thinking, the lens that he now carries when performing his work, which actually isn't free from tradition (and can be seen even in his own interpretations here and there).

To really understand what I am saying here, it is important to understand different theological sources, particularly in this situation the relationship of "tradition" and "Scripture". Please read my old paper on sources of theology to understand more deeply I'm getting at, reading through to my concluding statements.
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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Philip » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:27 pm

Geisler is one of my favorite theologians. I can tell you Mike Heiser thinks highly of him. He was once a student of Geisler.

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Kurieuo » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:34 pm

Philip wrote:Geisler is one of my favorite theologians. I can tell you Mike Heiser thinks highly of him. He was once a student of Geisler.

My words were just based off your quote of Heiser. I'm puzzled by some things said then, but I'm sure he's had his disagreements. It'd be interesting to hear a discussion between Heiser and Geisler (lol, just realised their names are very similar).
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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby DBowling » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:52 pm

Kurieuo wrote:@DB, Scripture itself forms "tradition". You just cannot separate Scripture from Christian tradition, or vice-versa.

I profoundly disagree with that assertion... and so does Geisler.
A Defense of Sola Scriptura
http://www.equip.org/article/a-defense- ... scriptura/

BTW... I like Geisler too. :)

Please read my old paper on sources of theology to understand more deeply I'm getting at, reading through to my concluding statements.

I had to get up to do some work in the middle of the night so I looked at your paper.

To summarize my position
I agree with the following from your article:
"In defining Christian tradition, Bradley Hanson writes that it “generally refers to Christian teachings and practices outside of the Bible that are handed down from generation to generation.”
"Vincent is saying that tradition should be accepted as a valid theological source, but not as authoritative as Scripture."

I profoundly disagree with the following:
"So if Scripture originated from tradition (that is, from the development and passing on of early Christian beliefs), it would seem to be a logical conclusion that Scripture is authoritatively beneath tradition."
"So rather than Scripture being something separate from tradition, it appears to be a deposit from early Christian tradition."

I do not believe that Scripture is a function or deposit of tradition.
I believe Scripture is a function of:
- The inspiration of the Holy Spirit
- The Authority of Jesus
- The Authority of the Apostles.
The early Church did not make Scripture Authoritative.
I believe the early Church recognized the Authority already inherent in Scripture.

This is why I agree with Heiser regarding the difference in the authority of Scripture itself, and the authority of "tradition".

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:31 am

You/Heiser might have an argument against "Traditionalism", but to distance from all "Tradition", Scripture is a deposit of an Apostolic tradition the Apostles themselves established in early Christianity. This obviously gives it a higher corrective value, then say traditions that came after. But, simply because something is "traditional" cannot be used as a reason to be be dismissive of another position. Each position, really comes via tradition, yet perhaps what Heiser more means is some sort of dogmatic attitudes felt during his studies.

If what Phil says is correct of Heiser (being a student of Geisler), it helps to see what it is he might be is reacting to (at least, that I feel he is). I do detect reactionary talk mixed in with the substance of his words (the substance of which must be dealt with separately from any causative reasons or prejudices behind his views). While Heiser might resist and protest against such, he is actually an end product of tradition, even an evangelical tradition.

In particular, being taught under Geisler and as such no doubt within a very evangelical context. I don't take that as a bad thing, and it makes me interested to know where he started differing. So now, I might have a better understanding of what Heiser is reacting to when he labels something "tradition" -- I do detect the dogmatism often found within Evangelical scholarship which could impinge upon one's freedom to just freely read text without checks and balances of whether such "complies" with some statement on Biblical Inerrancy (like Gundry and Licona felt the hammer of from Geisler).

Yet, such dogmatism is I believe more correctly understood as "Traditionalism", which can set in in dogmatic attitudes, rather than necessarily "tradition". I quite like how McGrath frames it, to quote from my paper:
McGrath, after noting a concerted effort by Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches to distinguish between “traditionalism” and “tradition”, explains:

[Traditionalism] is understood as a slavish and wooden adherence to the doctrinal or moral formulations of the past, whereas [tradition] is understood as the living faithfulness of the church to the faith it expresses.14

Within McGrath’s explanation, it appears that “traditionalists” fail to realise that “tradition” is something which is alive and changes. As leading Orthodox theologian John Meyendorff writes:

True tradition is always a living tradition. It changes while remaining always the same. It changes because it faces different situations, not because its essential content is modified.15

Clearly then, Heiser, and even Biologos, looks to be developing an Evangelical tradition towards a different end than many might feel uncomfortable with. Whether they are right or wrong, can only be had via reasonable debate, toing and froing. I personally don't like some of Heiser's views, obviously, but then once presented, they must be reasonably dealt aside from any dogmatism that may have set in to the contrary.
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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby DBowling » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:42 am

Kurieuo wrote:But, simply because something is "traditional" cannot be used as a reason to be be dismissive of another position. Each position, really comes via tradition

I agree 100%.
I identify with a specific Christian Tradition, Protestant Evangelical. And as part of that Christian Tradition I embrace many "traditional" positions.
I frequently appeal to tradition in my posts. When I appeal to Heiser, Walton, Geisler, Ross, or any source other than Scripture that is in essence an appeal to "tradition".

The important thing for me is where "tradition" sits on my hierarchy of authority. My personal hierarchy of authority goes something like this.
1. Special Revelation
2. General Revelation
3. Tradition

So while "tradition" is important and even "authoritative" in a sense, from my perspective the authority of "tradition" is subject to the authority of both Special Revelation (ie Scripture) as well as general revelation (history and science).

If a particular tradition comes into conflict with Scripture, science, or history, then I have no problem taking another look at the tradition in question and potentially abandoning that tradition.
If a particular tradition is consistent with Special Revelation and general revelation, then I am inclined to accept and embrace that tradition.

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Philip » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:04 am

Note Heiser's respect of Geisler:

By the way, I love Norm Geisler - had him as a prof. He has little to contribute when it comes to semitics, though. And I think you sell him a bit short - Norm doesn't have a problem with non-literal views of creation. I also know Hugh Ross, and he's the same (more obviously). The issue is that both these scholars know that in places (their lists would differ) they MUST adopt a non-literal hermeneutic to make the Bible appear to be adaptable to science. I don't oppose that in principle, but I think it's much easier to side with Calvin here and affirm something equally obvious: In communicating with humanity, EVERYTHING God tells us is in some way an accommodation to our limitations. Scientific precision really wasn't the point of the divine communication, so I have no trouble with God not bothering to correct the pre-scientific conceptions of the men he chose to write the Scriptures - and if he had, no one but them (and maybe not even them) would have understood it (until perhaps now, but that takes some hubris as well). So, they would have had a frequently obtuse revelation from the get-go, which sort of undermines the whole enterprise.

Heiser on Ross:

And I'm well familiar with Hugh Ross. He's a brilliant scientist, but he's like the rest of them: he will bend the text to his will when he needs to (and I say that not judging his integrity). He's being consistent with his approach. He just isn't informed as to a lot of the detail of the text since that isn't his focus.

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:43 am

Tradition is important to help us understand what others BEFORE us thought of these things.
Tradition should NOT be viewed as authoritative however, simply to enlighten us to the views of those before us.

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:51 am

Philip wrote:Note Heiser's respect of Geisler:

By the way, I love Norm Geisler - had him as a prof. He has little to contribute when it comes to semitics, though. And I think you sell him a bit short - Norm doesn't have a problem with non-literal views of creation. I also know Hugh Ross, and he's the same (more obviously). The issue is that both these scholars know that in places (their lists would differ) they MUST adopt a non-literal hermeneutic to make the Bible appear to be adaptable to science. I don't oppose that in principle, but I think it's much easier to side with Calvin here and affirm something equally obvious: In communicating with humanity, EVERYTHING God tells us is in some way an accommodation to our limitations. Scientific precision really wasn't the point of the divine communication, so I have no trouble with God not bothering to correct the pre-scientific conceptions of the men he chose to write the Scriptures - and if he had, no one but them (and maybe not even them) would have understood it (until perhaps now, but that takes some hubris as well). So, they would have had a frequently obtuse revelation from the get-go, which sort of undermines the whole enterprise.

Heiser on Ross:

And I'm well familiar with Hugh Ross. He's a brilliant scientist, but he's like the rest of them: he will bend the text to his will when he needs to (and I say that not judging his integrity). He's being consistent with his approach. He just isn't informed as to a lot of the detail of the text since that isn't his focus.

I didn't read the link so didn't see Geisler, I'm sure there's more respect there. I have respect for some of my lecturers, though I disagreed heavily with some of their views. I think I can understand what he identifies as "tradition" though, specifically "traditional" Evangelical scholarship if such was the culture of his own education.

Re: Ross, I don't feel it. It's rather shallow, like he's just being charitable before being not -- but I don't think it really matters. I personally don't believe his criticisms on either are really founded re: their interpreting Scripture. With Ross/RTB, I see that they interpolate science into Scripture, yet their actual interpretation are often legitimate or passable even if their correlations are exaggerated. I elaborated on what I think previously. Perhaps it's splitting hairs.

So then such to me are really his opinion, but it doesn't add up to what I know about either, so really it's a matter of "what is freely asserted is freely dismissed."
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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby Philip » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:21 am

Just to say, I have tremendous respect for Hugh Ross / RTB. Absolutely Geisler and Archer. But if Ross and co are wrong about what the Genesis accounts are truly addressing, then they're gonna be off the mark.

K, you read that book yet?

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby thatkidakayoungguy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:52 am

Didn't Michio Kaku say life was programmed to live and not die?

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Re: Did All Humans Come From Adam & Eve?

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:00 am

I think that you can TRY ( and at times succeed) in reading science back into scripture BUT there is really no reason to.
I don't think that it is unfair to state that the bible was NOT written with science in mind nor is it unfair to state that the creation stories were theological ( God created all) and not scientific observations.


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