Genesis 1:27 BDC: Were Adam and Eve Allegorical or Historical Persons?

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EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 160 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Critical Scholars either consider Adam and Eve as a myth or symbolic persons, representing humankind. The evidence from the Bible, on the other hand, is that they are real historical persons. Before looking at the biblical evidence, let us note that Hebrew manuscripts are archaeological evidence that gives us the historicity of humanity. The oldest manuscripts date to the 3rd century B.C.E. In addition, Greek New Testament manuscripts give us how Jewish Christians from the first century, as well as the Son of God,  views the Hebrew Old Testament and the historicity of Adam and Eve, and these NT MSS are archaeological evidence, some even dating as early as the second-century C.E.[1]

REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ FEARLESS-1

Scriptural Evidence

(1) Genesis 1-2 is a historical narrative that expounds on Adam and Eve’s creation and events within their lives. (2) They are recorded as giving birth to children, as do the others mentioned in the early genealogies. (Gen 4:1, 25; 5:1) (3) The Hebrew word toledoth, often translated “generations,” should be translated “history” at Genesis 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; as well as five other places in Genesis. Regardless, it shows that toledoth is used all throughout Genesis, in speaking of descendants of so-and-so, and has the same meaning in its use with Adam and Eve at Genesis 5:1. (4) If we look at the chronologies throughout the Old Testament, Adam starts the list. (1 Ch 1:1) (5) All early humankind did not father Seth. No, Adam fathered him at the specific age of 130 years. (Gen 5:3) (6) Luke places Adam at the start of human history. (Lu 3:38) (7)Jesus viewed Adam and Eve as real historical persons. (Matt 19:24-25) (8) The inheritance of sin and death came from a literal Adam. (Rom 5:12-14) (9) Jesus is contrasted with Adam, which means if we deny Adam as a historical person, we deny Jesus Christ and his sacrifice as well. (1 Cor. 15:45-47) (10) Again, Paul comes to the stage as a witness, when he informs us that Adam was created first and then Eve. (1 Tim 2:13-14) (11) Was Enoch the seventh in line from all early humankind? (Jude14) Reasonably, humankind had to of started from just two people at some time. The fact is that the Bible, as a reliable book and archaeological evidence of human history, gives us those two individuals, Adam and Eve.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

Has Science Now Caught Up With the Fact That All of Us Descended from the Same Original Parents?

Dr. Purdom explains:

The genetic evidence is consistent with human DNA being “young” and the human race beginning with a very small starting population (the Bible tells us the starting population was two people!).

The International HapMap project endeavors to study a select group of DNA similarities and differences between humans known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).[2] The SNPs are believed to be representative of the genome (total human DNA) such that what is true for them would be true for the whole genome. These studies and others have shown that the difference in DNA between any two humans is amazingly low . . . only 0.1 percent.[3]

Reflecting on this very low percentage, some scientists posited, “This proportion is low compared with those of many other species, from fruit flies to chimpanzees, reflecting the recent origins of our species from a small founding population” (emphases mine).[4] They also stated, “[Certain genetic estimates] tell us that humans vary only slightly at the DNA level and that only a small proportion of this variation separates continental populations.”[5]

These findings are consistent with the Bible’s history that humans were created several thousand years ago; in other words, a short amount of time has passed, so there is little genetic variation.

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

The Bible Concurs

Acts 17:26 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

and he [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

How does the Bible View Adam?

Jude 14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 It was also about these men that Enoch, the seventh one in line from Adam,[6] prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with tens of thousands of his holy ones,

Note here that Jude makes a historical reference to Enoch being the seventh in line from Adam, not all, early mankind.

Luke 3:23-38 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, . . . 31 son of David . . . 34 son of Abraham . . . 37 son of Adam.”

Both David and Abraham are well-known historical persons, so why would Luke go through the genealogy of all many historical persons to get back to an allegorical person? Would not the Jews know if Adam were an allegorical person? Would it not make a genealogical list look quite silly if one took it back to an allegorical person?

Genesis 5:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became[7] the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

So, if Adam is allegorical, standing for early mankind, how do we reason that early mankind fathered Seth, specifically at 130 years of age?

WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WAITING ON GOD WORKING FOR GOD

Can the fact that we have a serpent speaking to Eve be used to argue for an allegorical story?

Genesis 3:1-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[8] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat,  3 but from the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God said, ‘You shall not eat from it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die.

John 8:44 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. That one was a manslayer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

We see here that Jesus, whose historicity is settled states unambiguously that Satan the Devil was the one behind the first lie in the Garden of Eden. Satan, a powerful angel (specifically a Cherub), spoke through the serpent, just as a ventriloquist can make his voice come through a dummy.

Revelation 12:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

If we say the first man Adam was allegorical, what does that mean for Jesus Christ, as we know he is not allegorical, making the contrast in Corinthians meaningless.

1 Corinthians 15:45, 47 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit … 47 The first man is from the earth and made of dust; the second man is from heaven.

If we deny the historicity of Adam and his sin, a rebellion against God, it would mean the denial of the purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming. Such a rejection is a motive for the anti-miracle Bible critics, activist atheists, who want such a rejection to be a repudiation of the Christian faith.

How did Jesus himself view the Genesis Account?

Matthew 19:4-5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And he answered and said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Clearly, Jesus viewed the Genesis account to be factual and historical. If we look at the entire sixty-six books of the Bible, which covered 1,600 years of the history of the Israelite nation, written by forty+ men, all of which a belief in a historical Adam, it would seem that while we do not have archaeological evidence for the historicity of Adam, we have archaeological evidence that references him as being a historical person that goes back to the third century B.C.E. up unto the sixteenth century C.E., i.e., well over 33,000 manuscripts. The irony is, those same secularists would not reject a real historical person, with far less evidence.

Sumeria

The first recorded name given in an actual writing system can be found on clay tablets dating from the Jemdet Nasr period in Sumeria between 3200 and 3101 BC.[9]

Jemdet Nasr cuneiform

Example of Jemdet Nasr cuneiform (Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The tablets are not profound treatises on human thinking, but accounting ledgers for tallying up goods and possessions! Some of the first names are those of the slave owner Gal-Sal and his two slaves Enpap-x and Sukkalgir (3200-3100 BC). Another name is that of Turgunu Sanga (3100 BC) who seems to have been an accountant for the Turgunu family. There are many more names from this period but none that appear much before 3200 BC.[10]

What Is Recorded History?

Recorded history or written history is a historical narrative based on a written record or other documented communication. Recorded history can be contrasted with other narratives of the past such as mythological or oral traditions.

Historical Method

The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. Primary sources are firsthand evidence of history (usually written, but sometimes captured in other mediums) made at the time of an event by a present person. Historians think of those sources as the closest to the origin of the information or idea under study.[11] These types of sources can provide researchers with, as Dalton and Charnigo put it, “direct, unmediated information about the object of study.”[12]

Historians use other types of sources to understand history as well. Secondary sources are written accounts of history based upon the evidence from primary sources. These are sources which, usually, are accounts, works, or research that analyze, assimilate, evaluate, interpret, and/or synthesize primary sources. Tertiary sources are compilations based upon primary and secondary sources and often tell a more generalized account built on the more specific research found in the first two types of sources.[13]

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

It should be mentioned again that the Hebrew manuscripts that date to the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st centuries B.C.E. are copies of what came down from the originals, which date to as early as the middle of the 16th century B.C.E. Moreover, the Dead Sea community believed and wrote that Adam was a real historical person, based on their earliest manuscripts.

Manuscript 4QMMT (also known as the Halakhic Letter or the Sectarian Manifesto, later called Some Precepts of the Law) states, “We have written to you so that you should understand the Book of Moses and the Books of the Prophets and David.”

This is one of if not the earliest reference to the custom of subdividing the Scriptures into three parts—‘the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.’ It supports Jesus’ words, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Lu 24:44) The Jewish historian Josephus is in harmony with this text as well (I, 38-40 [8]) around the year 100 C.E., as he confirms the close of the Hebrew Scriptures cannon at the time of Malachi. He wrote, “We do not possess myriads of inconsistent books, conflicting with each other. Our books, those which are justly accredited, are but two and twenty [counted as thirty-nine today] and contain the record of all time. Of these, five are the books of Moses, comprising the laws and the traditional history from the birth of man down to the death of the lawgiver. . . . From the death of Moses until Artaxerxes [i.e., 475-424 B.C.E., who succeeded Xerxes as king of Persia, the prophets subsequent to Moses wrote the history of the events of their own times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life.”

Defending God's Word_02 (9)

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[1] Common Era: B.C.E. means “before the Common Era,” which is more accurate than B.C. (“before Christ”). C.E. denotes “Common Era,” often called A.D., for anno Domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord.”

[2] HapMap Homepage

[3] Lynn B. Jorde and Stephen P. Wooding, “Genetic Variation, Classification and 
‘Race’,” Nature Genetics 36 (2004):S28–S33. Quoted in “Were Adam and Eve Real People,” chapter 20 of How We Know the Bible is True volume 2, Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 2012.

[4] IBID

[5] IBID

[6] Following the genealogy of Genesis 5:1–24; 1 Chronicles 1:1–3, Enoch was the seventh in the line of Adam. – MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 66202-66203). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[7] Lit begot

[8] In Hebrew you is plural in verses 1–5

[9] Who Was the First Named Human? – The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sten-odenwald/who-was-the-first-named-h_b_56798 (accessed February 17, 2016).

[10] Who Was the First Named Human? – The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sten-odenwald/who-was-the-first-named-h_b_56798 (accessed February 17, 2016).

[11] User Education Services. “Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources”. University of Maryland Libraries. Retrieved 10 Jul 2013.

“Library Guides: Primary, secondary and tertiary sources”

[12] Dalton, Margaret Steig; Charnigo, Laurie (2004). “Historians and Their Information Sources” (PDF). College & Research Libraries. September: 400–25, at 416 n.3, citing U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2003),Occupational Outlook Handbook; Lorenz, C. (2001). “History: Theories and Methods”. In Smelser, Neil J.; Bates. International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavior Sciences

[13] User Education Services. “Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources”. University of Maryland Libraries. Retrieved 10 Jul 2013.

Amsterdam: Elsevier. p. 6871

“Library Guides: Primary, secondary and tertiary sources”

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