Did Adam & Eve Only Have Sons? And Were Adam & Eve the Only Hominids at the Time?

QUESTION:  Did Adam & Eve Only Have Sons?

No.  The idea that Adam & Eve had three sons and no other children is a popular myth cultivated by those who haven’t read Genesis 5:4.  The Genesis text says that Adam and Eve had many OTHER sons and daughters in its genealogy section. It only names three of the sons, but that doesn’t negate the existence of the other sons and daughters.

QUESTION:  Were Adam & Eve the Only Hominids at the Time?Furthermore, although a forbidden hermeneutic among YECs, some Christians who have read the early chapters of Genesis very carefully have realized that, in fact, (1) Genesis doesn’t actually state that Adam and Eve and descendants are the only hominids.  It says that they are the only creatures endowed with the IMAGO DEI (“The Image God”), which theologians have said for centuries is largely a set of SPIRITUAL and spirit-related attributes, because God is a spirit, not a biological organism. So, technically, that means that there could be other hominids, even other Homo sapiens perhaps (?) but just not ones which have the Imago Dei attributes in them.

Now, before you complain that that sounds far-fetched, ask yourself if there are OTHER HOMINIDS mentioned in Genesis.  If you say no, then what of (a) the wife of Cain, who he may have found in some other area, even though Adam & Eve aren’t said to have had other children until perhaps later, and (b) there surely had to be more than a few siblings for there to be people who inhabited the city that Cain built after the murder of Abel.  Furthermore, (c) a mark was put on Cain to designate him as a murderer so that others would not kill him.  Now if the only hominids in the area who might kill Cain were the brothers and sisters of the murdered Abel, does it really seem likely that Cain would have to be MARKED so that the avenging brother or sister would know which one was Cain?   Yes, there LOTS of little clues of other hominids outside of the lineage of Adam and Eve.  They just can’t have the IMAGO DEI endowed upon them or whatever that means.  (Actually, theologians have debated for centuries exactly what “The Image of God” means. They usually say it involves having “a will” and “emotion” and “a sense of conscience; the ability to distinguish right and wrong, though not until after they failed the fruit test.”  Some even say it includes the attribute which makes man inclined to worship and seek out a connection to god/gods/God.)

Lastly, if you still don’t think there could be other non-Adamic hominids in the area, (d) what about the mention of “the sons of God” and “the daughters of men”?  These have been variously interpreted through the centuries, but one hypothesis is that the “sons of God”: were non-Adamic hominids (the Nephilim) who were larger and strong than the Adamic descendants who had the Image of God.  After all, in many ancient cultures, there is a tendency to call larger and strong individuals (or even entire tribes) “sons of God”, meaning they are like one would imagine the children of gods to be!  Accordingly, “the daughters of men” could refer to the Adamic females, who being smaller and more petite would hardly be a disincentive to those great big “sons of God” tribesmen!   Indeed, the Genesis text says that the sons of those “hybrid” unions were “the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”

I could write much more on these topics (and I’ve spent years doing so, in fact) after careful studies in the Hebrew Tanakh.  The general public forgets that even though the YECs have very narrow, and selectively literal, interpretations, other Genesis readers approach the text without insisting on imposing traditional baggage into it. Indeed, one can even take a VERY literal interpretation of Genesis and see the early chapters entirely compatible with the Theory of Evolution and even suggest that Adam was born to a mother in the conventional—and that what was unique about him was that God decided to endow him with the Imago Dei, and that attribute was passed on to Eve and all descendants, including those who had non-Adamic ancestors.  Accordingly, for example, Cain (an Adamic human) married a wife from another area (a non-Adamic human, and therefore, no Imago Dei), but their children might be assumed to have inherited the Imago Dei from their father.

Now before you think that interpretation is too far-fetched, be aware that IMMEDIATELY after the strange verses which tell of the strange couplings between Adamic descendants and the NEPHILIM “giants in the land”, we see the beginning of the Noah story. And how does the Noah pericope begin? The text says, “But Noah was pure in all of his generations.”   Now the text there is tricky and so translations very in how to render the Hebrew words.  But I appended above one of the traditional translations—-and we obviously are prone to wonder: What did it mean for Noah to be PURE IN ALL OF HIS GENERATIONS?  Some think it refers to a kind of “racial purity”, a mixing of the “Sons of God” and the “Daughters of Men” to where there was intermarriage between Adamic and non-Adamic creatures. In other words, those humans who had the Image of God in them were taking mates who were NOT endowed with the Divine Image!   So perhaps it is saying, “Noah had a 100% blood-line of only Adamic ancestors.”

Yes, the racist implications have caused that translation variant to fall into the background in recent years—-but some believe that is the best way to understand the Noah text.  Indeed, the PREFACE to the Noah’s Flood account seems to be saying that all of those hybrid marriages had produced a lot of unruly giants, unable to relate to God and have good ethics—-because, after all, they weren’t endowed with the Image of God within them!—–and so the Great Flood was sent by God to wipe out all of those “hybrid humans” and start over again with a “pure” Noahic lineage which was the Adamic lineage.

Now if that is not startling enough, the Nephilim also seem to reappear AFTER the flood.  How could this be?  Well, I”ve got another bombshell for you.   Nothing in the Hebrew text describing Noah’s Flood says anything about the ENTIRE PLANET EARTH being covered by water. Instead, it keeps talking about a flood of the ERETZ, the Hebrew word for “land”, “nation”, “country”, or “region”.   IN FACT, even the KJV Bible usually translates ERETZ as land/country/region except for in the early chapters of Genesis!  Why?  Actually, even the KJV Bible was largely COPIED (often word for word) from prior English Bible translations—-and the ERETZ=”earth” rendering in the early chapters of Genesis was already established and expected.

Now here’s another bombshell: Translating ERETZ as “earth” is not necessarily an error or a poor equivalence.  You see, in 1611, the English word “earth” did not bring to mind “planet earth”!  Instead, the first meaning that would come to mind for “earth” was “soil” or “dirt” or “the opposite of sky”.  That is, “heaven and earth” was really an idiom for “everything”.  That is, “heaven and earth” carried the idea of “sky above and earth below”—-and that idiom is like using our word for UNIVERSE today.  To them, earth and sky were the totality of their “world”.

So the problem with the KJV 1611 translating ERETZ as “earth”  is that in King James’ day, that “earth” made people think of “dirt” or “the ground” and not a big spherical planet orbiting the sun. But today we do!  And that makes it a very misleading translation today.  [And now you know why most modern translations play it safe by using the word “earth” but also have a footnote at the bottom of the page saying, “or LAND.”] Likewise, YECs see Noah’s flood “covering the earth” and they think “covering planet earth!”, but in 1611 AND in ancient Israel with the word ERETZ, a flood covering the ERETZ was simply covering the ground! Indeed, when the Old Testament refers to “the circle of the earth/ERETZ”, it does NOT mean what the YECs try to claim: “It’s referring to spherical planet earth”. No! The ancient Hebrews didn’t think that way.  They had a very good way of conceptualizing the ERETZ:  “the circle of the ERETZ” is that CIRCLE we call the HORIZON. That is, if one stands in place and rotates 360 degrees, you are looking at a circular horizon bounding a big disk of ERETZ (earth)!  Accordingly, when reading the Noah’s Flood story, it never claims “planet earth” was flooded. It says “everything under the sky” [yes, that circle of the earth again…all the way to the horizon.]

Indeed, if God wanted to tell Noah that a huge flood would cover his ERETZ and all the other ERETZ lands around his country, the text could have used ERETZ in the plural! But it doesn’t.  Now we begin to see why there’s no evidence of a global flood from geology:   There’s no evidence of a global flood in Genesis either!

As you can imagine, YECs hate me when I explain this to them—-and since I’m an ex-YEC anyway, one who used to speak at their conferences and church events and even debate scientists but later renounced YECism, I now have to use a pseudonym and remain in the WPP (Witless Protection Program, for ex-YECs who would be shot on sight.)

Now….you gotta feel sorry for the young earth creationists out there. Think about it.  They not only have all the evidence of modern science weighing against their global flood. The Hebrew Bible scholars come along and show them that the Hebrew text has NO EVIDENCE for a global flood!  So they are screwed by both science and their own scriptures!   No wonder YECs are so cranky. They have everybody—the Bible included—telling them that their favorite and most cherished traditions have no Biblical support!

Some say that a major YEC donor whose identity shall remain nameless promised the late Drs. Gish and Morris that he would triple the bounty reward promised for my “silencing”.  But you just can’t believe everything you hear. (But using a pseudonym on-line can be a very wise idea, just the same.)

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10 responses to “Did Adam & Eve Only Have Sons? And Were Adam & Eve the Only Hominids at the Time?

  1. TomS

    You bring up many topics, and so I will just mention one trivial one involving grammar. An expression like “circle of the earth” does not mean necessarily – either in English or in Hebrew grammar – an appositive (but it can) that is, “a circle which is the earth”, but it can be a possessive, “a circle which belongs to the earth” (the horizon, maybe? or maybe something which contrasts with “a circle of the waters” or “a circle of the sky”?depending on the context). Keep that in mind when reading about the four corners of the earth.

    • The horizon is DEFINITELY what it means, as far as I’m concerned. The “earth” here is ERETZ in Hebrew, and “the circle of the ERETZ” is indeed the horizon and “the disk of land” that it defines. That was Hebrew cosmology—and probably most of the neighboring culture.

      I’ve got articles on that fact and they should end up in this blog archive eventually, if not already. (I’ve not entirely reviewed what has been added here yet.)

  2. >I’d just like to make it clear that my observation does not call into question >what you say.

    Yes. I understood. I just wanted to warn readers of a topic about which I will often be showing a very strong bias. That is, some scholars consider what I summarized as one of multiple reasonable alternatives for ERETZ. But for me, it is the ONLY reasonable interpretation that fits all of the contexts.

    Of course, I emphasize all of this as a strong reminder for the young earth creationists who most need lessons in Hebrew exegesis. I had to discover such information on my own. I so wish I would have been told about Hebrew cosmology and the lexicography of ERETZ years earlier.

    I probably will need to remind blog readers that if I sounds like I’m carefully and emphatically stressing some point, it is probably a concept much like this one in that (1) I consider the concept important for those Christians wrestling with the issue, and (2) I want to make sure that I repeated some of these crucial exegetical and lexicographic points often so that no reader is left confused about the reasons for my position.

    Indeed, if some idea is regularly promoted by young earth creationists, there’s a good chance that I will “hit it hard” here in this blog.

  3. TomS, as I think about the ERETZ issue, I could probably say that if I had to choose just ONE exegetical/lexicographical concept that I could explain in a ten minute video for all of the world’s young earth creationists, it would be to explain the meaning and the translation history and dynamics of ERETZ. It is so important to the creation accounts in Genesis and to the Noah’s Flood pericope as well.

    I also find that virtually every other kind of reader (that is, the non-YECs) who has provided feedback in various Internet venues has been very interested in my explanation of ERETZ.

  4. Albert Habichdobinger

    “Indeed, one can even take a VERY literal interpretation of Genesis and see the early chapters entirely compatible with the Theory of Evolution and even suggest that Adam was born to a mother in the conventional—and that what was unique about him was that God decided to endow him with the Imago Dei, and that attribute was passed on to Eve and all descendants, including those who had non-Adamic ancestors.”
    Was this attribute of the Imago Dei passed on to Eve and Adam’s descendants by supernatural or natural means.

    • “Was this attribute of the Imago Dei passed on to Eve and Adam’s descendants by supernatural or natural means.”

      Scripture doesn’t say. Indeed, I doubt if the original “audience” of the Book of Genesis thought much about distinguishing the two. Indeed, until relatively recently in world history, the mysteries of the world—because they were unexplained—seemed to indicate that “supernatural” (i.e., “magic” of a sort) existed everywhere!

      For that matter, today’s “supernatural” is tomorrow’s scientific discovery. As the old saying (attributed variously to this and that scientist) goes: To an less advanced civilization, the technology of the advanced society is indistinguishable to magic and the supernatural.

      And for that reason, there are plenty of philosophers and theologians who assume that “the supernatural”, including God’s interventions, involved natural processes which we simply don’t understand yet.

      Of course, other philosophers and theologians (and eastern religion scholars who can’t be called theologians because they don’t have a god concept in their religion) would say that the dividing line between “natural” and “supernatural” and even the Creator and the Creation is artificial and simply a human perspective.

      It is also worth mentioning that some think that angels and demons are considered to exist in a “spiritual realm” in the Bible but have the ability to intervene in the our realm—and that that is simply a way to describe existence in dimensions 6 through 9 (for example) and when they manifest themselves in the “natural realm”, they are simply INTERSECTING with dimensions 1 through 4. So, there again, the supernatural is simply the not-yet-discovered and understood reality that we in the first four dimensions have yet to learn how to study under the scientific method. (Or perhaps the scientific method is somehow RESTRICTED to the dimensions 1 through 4.

      YEC theologians, however, rarely talk of these things. They generally don’t like the idea of stepping outside of the Bible’s terminology.

      I find this interesting: Not many centuries ago, humans had little understanding of HOW things work. But after just a few centuries of the scientific method, we know a lot of great explanations for lots of things. But now that we are exploring the quantum physics realm, even with all of the discoveries made, it is such a bizarre “world”. It is as if things operate counter-intuitively all of the time. Some physicists have a grasp but I sure don’t. And it is a realm that reminds us all that we do NOT really know as much as we would like to think we know. (There are plenty of science-illiterate people, including law-makers in Washington, who think we’ve discovered 95% of science—and now we are just working on picky details. They don’t seem to consider, for example, that we have learned 2% with 98% to go. Perspectives like that shape religious thought and philosophy.)

      It is very late and I’m drifting and not handling your question very well….but it is a great question! But at least I can say, this: YECs like to attribute whatever they can to SUPERNATURAL means….because they seem to think that is more “God-honoring”. But plenty of other theologians and philosophers within the Christian academy figure: Why worry? Why does it matter? If God created both supernatural and natural processes, the fact that the Bible leaves it ambiguous matters little.

      I should also mention that YEC thought is heavily controlled by TRADITION—and once YECism favors a particular idea (e.g., Ice Age associated with the Flood), they tend to hold to that idea forever, even though there is NO scriptural evidence nor scientific evidence for such ideas. Indeed, I have challenged “creation science” to show me examples of the CS “academy” ever changing their minds due to new evidence about ANYTHING.

      • Albert Habichdobinger

        Your idea that the supernatural might be located in possibly higher and for now uncharted dimensions is interesting. It does, however, introduce a certain level of ambiguity for the existence of the supernatural since it depends on the scientific findings once these higher dimensions are charted if that is ever an option. It might turn out that no evidence for the supernatural can be found there.

        In my opinion the entire argument is about the origin of humanity. Christianity in general and YEC’s in particular struggle with the problematic of a polygenistic origin of the human species as strongly evidenced by genetics, where the requirements of the supernatural and the natural need to be equally fulfilled. The establishment and breaking of humanity’s relationship with the divine and its consequences need to be compatible with the parameters of evolution theory.

  5. The establishment and breaking of humanity’s relationship with the divine and its consequences need to be compatible with the parameters of evolution theory.

    Indeed. From my own studies, both in evolutionary biology and in scripture exegesis, I’ve found no incompatibilities.

    Of course, most YECs claim The Theory of Evolution incompatible because it “depends on death”. They claim the “original creation” was perfect. But Genesis says TOV, good, and after the six YOM, “very good”. That is not same thing as “perfect”, and even if it were, what does “perfect” mean. One can find many examples in scripture were “perfect” is the idea of complete and exactly what God intended. Obviously, in biology, death is a very useful recycling of nutrients and it improves the genetic stock. In any case, the “death came with the fall” of Paul’s writings in Roman is applied to Adam, not to animals. Clearly, the Genesis account speaks of no death in the garden reserve and the fruit of the Tree of Life was the reason for no death.

    I’ve challenged many Young Earth Creationists to explain how The Theory of Evolution is incompatible with the scriptures. I’ve yet to hear anything in reply that is beyond the usual traditions–and misunderstandings of evolutionary processes.

  6. Albert, you bring up some very interesting points. I’ll focus on this one:

    It does, however, introduce a certain level of ambiguity for the existence of the supernatural since it depends on the scientific findings once these higher dimensions are charted if that is ever an option.

    Surely at some point this discovery process would require a re-definition of what we mean by “the supernatural”. Indeed, what if “the supernatural” is simply the not-yet-known “natural”. Perhaps even the word “transcendent” will be revised to refer to “beyond any detection or understanding when restricted to the first four dimensions”, for example.

    Indeed, the entire “spiritual realm” (God, angels, demons) and the vocabulary that Christians and others have devised to describe them may simply be our efforts to describe that realm (and what is within it) that we could only vaguely “detect”.

    Perhaps phenomena like prophecy, the miracles of Jesus, some visions and dreams, and visits from angels are simply “intersections” of those other dimensions and situations where beings inhabiting primarily those other dimensions “contact” or even visit our own four-dimensional reality.

    Perhaps when the post-resurrection Jesus entered the upper room when all of the doors and windows were shut because “entered” by simply intersecting with the space in the four-dimensional world—just as a plane can intersect a cone, initially appearing as a dot, but the dot grows to be an enlarging circle. What is seen/felt/touched is just the intersecting portion.

    Perhaps when Jesus said that the Holy Spirit couldn’t come and be within them until Jesus returned to the Father, he was describing in limited human terms what was an obvious fact of 10-dimensional geometry for “intersections” between the “spiritual dimensions/reality” and our “physical reality”.

    I have also wondered if concepts like consciousness and the “spirit” or “soul” part of humans could involve some sort of intersection where the brain is that point of intersection and that immortality (eternal life) is simply an ending of that intersection and existence is limited to the spiritual realm—until (in Christian theology) the return of Jesus includes “re-embodiment” in that all departed souls and those not yet dead get new bodies as the New Testament describes.

    Douglas Hofstadter got very interested in a kind of “eternal life” for individual minds, downloading the “person” from their brain to some kind of computer that can allow that “mind” (and personality?) to live on. Our careers diverged long before he developed those interests in the ways described in some of his books, but I would have loved to have discussed the spiritual implications and, perhaps,interpretations of the ideas he developed. I have not kept up with his scholarship in terms of his copious writings on the mind. [In fact, when we discussed my fields of theological research, it was long before he married his first wife, who died at a young age from a brain tumor. Mutual friends have told me that her tragic death led him to explore the idea of “eternal life” through a kind of “mind download.”]

    [To avoid emails on the subject: (1) Douglas Hofstadter was not the inspiration of The Big Bang Theory character of that surname. That dubious “honor” goes to Doug’s late father, Robert Hofstadter, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1961. (2) No. Douglas is not like the fictional character. I never knew Robert. Perhaps we were introduced, but I don’t recall it. (3) For those determined defenders of “creation science” who are trying to deduce my identity, and will look for clues in Hofstadter’s career to determine our intersection, I’ll even give you a freebie: Doug was not only at Stanford for his bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He basically grew up on the campus because his father was on the faculty there. Our CVs also show an intersection of a sort at the University of Michigan. You can add those clues to your “Who is Professor Tertius?” quest, but keep in mind your own “Were you there?” YECist rules: “Evidence gathered in the present can tell you nothing about the past.” After all, just because I am me today doesn’t rule out my being someone else in the past!]

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