FAITH: Adam and Eve might have had some neighbours
After I became a committed Christian, I puzzled over how to reconcile the fossil evidence I learned about in college with my belief in a God-ordained creation.
Was Adam the first “man”?
If not, who was he?
The Bible is primarily about God’s spiritual relationship with man.
With that as an operating premise, I think we can more clearly see Adam’s role in the story of creation.
After God had created the animals, he said, “Let us make man in our image.”
This is a key statement because, while no one can presume to know what God looks like physically, we can be certain His “image” is a spiritual one.
In other words, God endowed human beings with something not afforded to other creatures —a spiritual capacity.
The King James version of the Bible states God “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
But, if “men” were created on the sixth “day,” why is there a second creation story detailing the creation of a specific person — Adam?
I remember reading a futurist type of book a few years ago which involved interviews with some of the leading artificial intelligence/robotic scientists of the day.
The interviewer asked one: “What is the ultimate ability you would like to see as result of your work with intelligent robots?”
His answer was telling.
He said: “I would like it to know that I was the one who made it.”
This is what I believe Adam’s role in creation was — someone with not only a spiritual capacity, but also one who was intended
to have a personal relationship with God.
And, is that not what the Christian concept of salvation is — a personal relationship with God?
But, what about Eve?
In the second version of the creation story, God says “a suitable helper” was not found for Adam.
What I believe this to mean, is God considered the previously created female humans as biological mates for Adam, but rejected that idea in favour of the creation of Eve.
In other words, God wanted a biological couple that had an identical spiritual capacity to know him.
I don’t think it is an accident the name for our species is homo sapiens, the “man who knows.”
What is it we know, apart from knowledge of the natural world?
We have knowledge of the supernatural world, moral knowledge and the knowledge of God.
Like many believers, I had difficulty accepting the entire human race arose exclusively from Adam and Eve, which would necessarily require some intrafamilial incest for reproduction.
But, frankly, I don’t think that was the case.
When Cain was banished for his fratricide of Abel, he was worried he would be killed.
My guess is the non-Adamic humans who lived around them, from whom Cain selected his wife.
Scripture says Cain “built a city.”
The word “city” implies many people and this only makes sense if there were a substantial number of non-Adamic humans living in the same area.
Why I believe this to be the case lies in clues later in Genesis.
The sixth chapter opens with a curious phrase: “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.”
Why this differentiation between “sons of God” and “daughters of men”?
I believe it is a biblical recognition that the descendants of Adam (sons of God) intermarried with the non-Adamic “daughters of men,” basically following Cain’s example.
Indeed, in Luke’s geneology of Jesus’ line, he ends with “Adam, the son of God.”
The dual creation stories are also a metaphor for our present state — we all start our lives as “natural” humans and become the spiritual “children of God” through baptism and a profession of faith.
Some people think we evolved from pond scum or meteor dust without any involvement from a Creator.
Others think Adam is our ultimate biological progenitor and there were no humans before him.
I think the answer is more nuanced.
Opinions will always differ on the exact nature of our biological origins, including among Christians, but there is one thing of which we can be certain.
Adam is our spiritual forebear and the first to have a direct relationship with God the Creator.
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