The First Adam: The Material Origins of Humanity as Recorded in Genesis 1-2

In his two-volume commentary on Genesis (1990), Victor P. Hamilton well-summarizes the opening volume of Scripture: “Genesis is obviously a book concerned with origins – the origin of the earth’s creation, of humankind, of institutions by which civilization is perpetuated, of one special family chosen by God as his own and designated as the medium of world blessing.” Unfortunately, the consensus of current scholarship is split on the first two emphases as evidenced by the recent Four Views on the Historical Adam (2013) and other similar publications. While such division is not new (witness, for example, the differences between Augustine and Calvin on the doctrine of creation), the various viewpoints appear more polarized than before. The proposed paper, reflecting the young-earth creation view, will examine Moses’ statement concerning human beginnings and conclude that the material origin of Adam and Eve is taught and supported by the Biblical data contained in Genesis 1-2.

While the views of both Augustine and Calvin will be considered, the proposed paper’s primary discussion partner will be John H. Walton. Walton’s archetypal and functional emphases concerning Adam are fairly well-known as they have appeared in his “Lost World” series as well as the aforementioned Four Views on the Historical Adam. His claim, “If Genesis 1 is not an account about material origins, then it offers no mechanism for material origins, and we may safely look to science to consider what it suggests for such mechanisms.” At issue is the compatibility of this statement and Genesis 2:7 in particular.

The proposed paper finally rests on the nature of Scripture as divine revelation. It is further guided by the four attributes of Scripture: its authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency. The apostle Peter reminds us that not all Scripture is easily understood (2 Peter 3:15-16). However, given that God is the Great Communicator, we can be hopeful that solutions can be found to the thorniest of problems.

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