Biblical Pre-Adamites - Historical Adam - Creation and Evolution

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Biblical Pre-Adamites - Historical Adam

English > Fields of Research > Genesis Interpretation

P. Rüst (2010), manuscript, 14 p. (492 kB),
or text only, without pictures, 12 p. (201 kB),

The German version of this paper
has been posted at the same time:
P.Rüst (2010), manuscript, 14 p.,
"Biblische Präadamiten - historischer Adam

Trying to build a bridge between
defenders of inspiration
- who reject science
defenders of science
- who reject inspiration


1. More focus on integrating science with Adam and Eve
2. Science meets theology
3. Was Adam a real person?
4. Archeological data: first modern Homo sapiens before 35,000 YBP
5. Geological data: Noah's flood recent and local
6. Historical data: Adam's world Neolithic and local
7. Old Testament data: distinguishing between man and Adam
8. New Testament data: Adam is never said to have been the first human
9. Harmonious Scriptural theology
10. All Scripture inspired by God
11. Scripture unites all humans as created, free, accountable, eligible for salvation
12. Conclusion

- A concordant interpretation of early Genesis, compatible with both the historical Adam required by Scripture and pre-Neolithic humans required by science, is possible. The text is interpreted within the ancient linguistic and cultural environment. God gently guided the writers, within their own thinking, such that their texts avoid explicit conflicts with the reality learned by science, even if then unknown.

- Christian bible-and-science dialog is in an impasse due to the dominance of radically divergent views about Adam. Most of those defending plenary inspiration of Scripture insist on a literal Adam having brought sin and death inherited by all humans, while most of those defending science insist on Adam as a mythological figure. The lack of robust ways of integrating science and Scripture impedes evangelism.

- Both young earth creationists and liberal theologians think there is conflict between science and the bible. But the bible supports confidence in both the biblical text and scientific endeavor. Apparent contradictions between them must be due to misinterpretation somewhere. Rejecting the possibility of concordance may lead to disastrous results for those burdened by apparent conflicts. How about early humans before Adam?

- Apparently, Genesis narrates the history from creation to Adam to Joseph, with all patriarchs as real persons. This constitutes the essential foundation on which the entire bible is built. The Adam story suggests a Neolithic time and a place in Mesopotamia, but science knows of modern humans in Africa and Europe ten thousands of years earlier. Compatibility will be tested in the relevant scientific and biblical fields.

- Archeology suggests that modern humans originated in two unanticipated, rapid steps, after 200,000 YBP in eastern Africa with uniquely derived skeletal structure, and between 100'000 YBP in southern Africa and 35'000 YBP in Europe with clear symbolic and communal behavior with language in a very small bottleneck population. May this correspond to God creating the spiritual dimension in modern Homo sapiens?

- Noah's flood can be identified as a local Mesopotamian flood around 5,000 YBP, strengthening the placing of Adam's Eden at around 6,000 YBP in southern Mesopotamia. Both Eden and Noah's place lie on top of 200 million years worth of sedimentary rock, proving the necessity of interpreting early Genesis in concordance with scientific dating, a flood restricted to Mesopotamia, an old Earth, and a recent Adam.

- Early Genesis and some clear parallels in Accadian, Babylonian, and Sumerian texts go back to the same events and persons, but Genesis must be closer to historical reality, being mostly continuous narrative with very few mythological or symbolic elements. Adam's story shows that he squarely belonged into the Neolithic of Mesopotamia, and that he came into a world already populated by other people.

- In the Old Testament Hebrew, 'adam means either "man" or Adam, the context showing which is meant. Its use in Genesis 1-5 is clearly compatible with 1:27 speaking of the earliest humans, rather than of Adam. This also applies to the Greek Old Testament translation Paul often used, which virtually always correctly has anthrôpos for "man", although the ancients could not know about man considerably earlier than Adam.

- The NT nowhere explicitly presents Adam as the first man, even where Paul refers to Adam's story. In Romans 5, he said death came to all because all sinned, even those without the Law. He contrasted Adam, the representative of fallen humanity, with Christ, the head of the redeemed. In 1 Corinthians 15, he contrasted death with resurrection, applying Christ's bodily resurrection to those "in Christ".

- Scriptural theology aims at a concordance between what is known from God's revelation and from his creation. Both the originals of the canonical biblical texts and the facts behind scientific observations need to be carefully investigated, tested, and interpreted. Contradictions between claims of the two realms (or within them) indicate some remaining misinterpretation. In science and in theology, prejudices need to be rejected.

- Moses and the other OT prophets claim divine inspiration, and Jesus confirms these claims to a most extraordinary extent, followed by all NT authors who deal with the topic. The 66 canonical biblical books are therefore normative for any bible interpretation. Any derived theological statements must remain provisional, rather than being fixed into ostensibly infallible dogmatics.

- God created the first humans in his image, making his first covenant, valid for all humans. For every child, being a real, free personality, a moment of responsibility arrives, and none is able to definitely refrain from sin. So all humans need salvation, wether or not they descend from Adam. God therefore devised the propitiatory death of his own Son from the beginning, to expiate the sin of those accepting God's salvation.

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