09/30/22

Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 1 of 21)

0001 William Lane Craig publishes a work of erudition, titled, In Quest of the Historical Adam: A Biblical and Scientific Exploration (Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, ISBN 978-0-8028-79911-0).  The bibliography contains over 250 references.  

Part One discusses what is at stake.

Part Two covers the Biblical “data” concerning Adam and runs 210 pages.

Part Three covers scientific evidence about the start of humanity (broadly defined) and runs 117 pages.

0002 Overall, the first two-thirds of the book discusses the importance of the historical Adam and explores what types of stories are contained in Genesis 2.4-11.  Then, the final one-third addresses the question, “If humanity descends from a single couple, then where would we locate that couple in the scientific story of human evolution?”

0003 Clearly, this professor would have been assisted by glancing at the masterworks in the Razie Mah series, The Human NicheAn Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define the Word “Religion”, available at smashwords and other electronic book venues.

0004 Why?

Every sentence in this book is well composed and carefully reasoned.  But, Craig’s quest ends at a location that is anything but.  He writes (more or less), “Adam may be plausibly identified as a member of Homo heidelbergensis, living 750,000 years ago.”

The quest ends where the book should have started.

Then, the title could have been, “What if Adam and Eve are really the first humans?”

What if, indeed.

0006 Craig’s argument presumes, all along, that Adam and Eve are the first humans.

In this examination, I do not neglect the opposing question, “What if they are not?”

09/1/22

Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 21 of 21)

0112 This is the last blog concerning this particular book.  I post this blog first, because WordPress places the latest blog closest to the top for each month.  Chronologically, the first blog in a series appears last on the month’s list and the last blog eventually appears first.  There is a certain logic to this, which I appreciate and adjust my posts accordingly.  My goal is to limit my examinations to one-month duration.

0113 I summarize.

0114 First, Part Three of Craig’s book associates to Genesis 1:26, the intention of man.  The time frame corresponds to the period after the domestication of fire and before the speciation of anatomically modern humans.  Our religious sensibilities evolve during this period, as discussed in the e-masterwork, The Human Niche.

0115 Second, Part Two of Craig’s book attempts to define Genesis 2:4-11 as mytho-history.  The attempt turns Craig’s definition into an inquiry concerning the first singularity.  The first singularity associates to the start of the Ubaid culture of southern Mesopotamia.  The hypothesis of the first singularity explains why our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  The consequences of the first singularity are captured by the stories of Adam and Eve.  This is a theme in the e-masterwork, An Archaeology of the Fall, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

0116 Third, Part One of Craig’s book sets a path to a category-based nested form, defining3 the stories of Adam and Eve2as emerging from (and situating) Jewish covenantal history (meaning1), the ancient Near East and Genesis 1-11 (presence1), and the notion that Adam originates humanity’s tragic flaw (message1).  The categorical structure of definition is introduced in the e-masterwork, How to Define the Word “Religion”.

0117 Fourth, Part One presents ten family resemblances characterizing the term, “myth”.  These family resemblances associate to all the elements in a three-tier interscope.  The interscope is a relational structure, presented in the e-work, A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

0118 Fifth, Part Two fills in the interscope of myth with the ten family resemblances, leading to an understanding that Genesis 2:4-11 and the origin stories of the ancient Near East pertain to the same prehistoric events and processes, occurring during the Ubaid, the Uruk and the Sumerian Dynastic archaeological periods.

0119 Sixth, Part Three fails to capitalize on the fact that both the Genesis Primeval History and the origin stories of the ancient Near East portray a recent creation of humanity.  This failure follows a lacuna in the modern discipline of Anthropology, which does not envision that our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Why does modern Anthropology not register the first singularity?

Modern Anthropology self-identifies as science.  Modern Anthropology belongs to the waning Age of Ideas.  

The hypothesis of the first singularity belongs to the dawning Age of Triadic Relations.  Peirce’s philosophy opens a new, semiotic consciousness.  That consciousness calls for a postmodern Anthropology radically different from what modern intellectuals call “postmodern”.

0120 My thanks to William Lane Craig, for demonstrating the beauty of good English prose, even while missing the mark in his quest for the historical Adam.

08/30/22

Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 1 of 22)

0001 In this series of blogs, I examine John H. Walton’s book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate, published in 2015 by Intervarsity Press.  John Walton is a Professor of the Old Testament and has published other commentaries.

0002 I examine this book from the point of views of (A) natural philosophy and (B) the hypothesis of the first singularity.

0003 From the first point of view (A), what Walton calls, “archetypal”, may also be construed as “noumenal”, as opposed to “phenomenal”.   According to Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy, modern science construes each thing as a noumenon and its phenomena.  A noumenon is the thing itself.   Phenomena are its observable and measurable facets.  Science models phenomena.  Science cannot address the noumenon, the thing itself.

0004 So, how we recognize noumena, things themselves?

Noumena are the subject of philosophical inquiry.  Aristotle’s hylomorphe is the first step in philosophical inquiry.  We perceive the thing itself, directly, as a dyadic relation containing two contiguous real elements.  Aristotle calls the two real elements, matter and form.

What about the contiguity?

The contiguity will be placed in brackets.

I will use another one of Aristotle’s terms for the contiguity.  The term has been the subject of a lot of wooly thinking.  So, the choice is rich, in more ways than one.

0005 According to Charles Peirce, the category of secondness, the realm of actuality, consists in two contiguous real elements.

According to Aristotle, the hylomorphe is (basically) matter [substantiates] form.  The verb, “substantiates”, is the same as the noun, “substance”.

Here is a picture.

Figure 01

0006 Human recognition of hylomorphes is immediate and intuitively natural.

Why?

We evolved to recognize noumena, things themselves.

This is how the ancient world thinks.  Greek philosophers ask, “Why are there things instead of nothing?”  The answer ends up with Aristotle’s proposal.  The hylomorphe is the portal to natural philosophy.  Natural philosophy considers things in themselves.

0007  Today, science-lovers fixate on phenomena, such as the observable and measurable aspects of a thing, called “original sin”.  Then, they they build models for how Adam could be the direct cause of this thing.

In contrast, Walton argues that the civilizations of the ancient Near East look at this issue from the noumenal side.  Adam is contiguous with what is wrong with the world.  Paul wrestles with this hylomorphe in his famous letters to the Corinthians and the Romans.

Figure 02

0008 From the second point of view (B), Walton’s propositions appear more and more like a noumenon whose phenomena yield a novel scientific hypothesis.  This novel hypothesis is formally proposed in the masterwork, An Archaeology of the Fall, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

In 2015, John Walton and his collaborator, N.T. Wright, are not aware of this novelty.  The hypothesis of the first singularity changes everything.

0009 In the conclusion, Walton states that his book demonstrates that Genesis 1 is concerned with God’s ordering of a grand sacred space with the goal of coming into relation with us.  Genesis 2.4 starts with God planting humans within a sacred space, within the grand sacred space, only to find that we bite.  We bite into the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Isn’t that smart?

0010 We deceive ourselves.

We introduce chaos into God’s order.

Oh, I meant to say, it is Adam’s fault.

0011 Weirdly, this sounds a lot like all the other origin stories of the ancient Near East, especially the ones recovered by archaeologists from royal libraries that burnt to the ground thousands of years ago.  Cuneiform clay tablets fire into brick.  The bricks retain their integrity even when buried by detritus. Then, they are excavated by modern archaeologists.  Then, archaeologists miraculously find a way to read the script.

0012 Walton has the advantage of these archaeological discoveries.  Walton has the advantage of new scholarship on Paul and the Jewish civilization during the Second Temple Period.  Yet, he writes in the twilight of the Age of Ideas.

0013 This examination brings his propositions into the dawning Age of Triadic Relations.

Walton sets forth 21 propositions.To these, I attend.

08/29/22

Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 2 of 22)

0014 What is proposition one?

Genesis is an ancient document.

Ancient documents simultaneously express esoteric and plain-speaking aspects.

They describe things unseen, as well as things seen.

0015 For sixteen centuries, interpreters of the Old and the New Testaments wrestle with both aspects, producing the great doctrines and codifying the contradictions inherent in Christian revelation.

Then, the sixteenth-century Reformers of northern Europe lobby to jettison the esoteric components and press for plain-spoken interpretations, that anyone can perform.  They do so while retaining the great doctrines.

One hundred years of plain-speaking interpretations later, seventeenth-century Europeans encounter the arguments of the mechanical philosophers.  Mechanical philosophers take plain-speaking to a whole new level.  The scientific and industrial revolutions follow in the next two centuries.

0017 In the nineteenth century, archaeological excavations recover hundreds of thousands of cuneiform texts from tells (or “hills”) throughout the Near East.  This inspires the inquiries that inform Walton’s book.  How do reformers, in their plain-speaking tradition, confront this new evidence about the ancient Near East?

Ancient documents simultaneously express esoteric and plain-speaking aspects.

The esoteric aspects address those-in-the-know.  The insiders hear one aspect.

The plain-speaking aspects address those-who-are-not-in-the-know.  They are not exactly insiders.  They are not outsiders, either.  So, they need a plain message to grasp.

08/1/22

Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 22 of 22)

0187 Proposition twenty-one?

Humans can be viewed as a distinct creation and a special creation of Ged, even if there is continuity, as far as genetics and natural history are concerned.

0188 However, there is a twist in human evolution.

The twist does not alter our genetic make-up.

The twist does not involve any phenotypic alteration.

The twist involves an immaterial change in cultural evolution.

The semiotics of speech-alone and hand-speech talk are radically different.

0189 Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

0190 John Walton writes, in 2015, without knowing about Razie Mah’s three masterworks.  All are available as smashwords and other e-book venues.

The Human Niche covers the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

An Archaeology of the Fall dramatically renders the first singularity.

How to Define The Word “Religion” confronts the nature of our current Lebenswelt.

0191 Every proposition in The Lost World of Adam and Eve is touched upon by these three scientific works.

Walton’s excellent book is published in the twilight of the Age of Ideas.

All the material that he covers asks to be re-articulated, in order to move into the dawning Age of Triadic Relations.

0192 My thanks to John Walton (and collaborator, N.T. Wright) for their engaging effort.  The science has changed.  It is time to put pen to paper, again.

05/27/22

Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 1 of 10)

0001 The overview under consideration appears in 2005 in the Journal of Creation (volume 19(3), pages 14-20).

The article is attractive because it considers affirmations and denials that appear in The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, published in 1978 in J. Evangelical Theological Society (volume 21(4), pages 289-296). 

0002 The author of the article, Andrew S. Kulikovsky, earned a Bachelors of Applied Science (in Computer and Information Science) from the University of South Australia, then a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies and Theology from Louisiana Baptist University.  His Master’s thesis was on biblical theology of creation.  At the time that his overview was published, he worked for his law degree at Deakin University, Melbourne Australia.

Single quotes and italics are used to group words together.

0003 Kulikovsky starts his brief overview, titled “The Bible and hermeneutics”, with the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

0004 But, before entering that first section, I must wonder, “What is ‘hermeneutics’?”

In dictionaries, the term signifies the formal process by which an interpreter derives the author’s intended meaning.

0005 In terms of the category-based nested form, there are two actualities in hermeneutics.  One actuality virtually situates the other.

The text itself2a emerges from (and situates) the potential of the author’s intended meaning1a in the normal context of writing3a.  An interpretation2b virtually situates that text.

An interpretation2b emerges from and situates the potential of the text and a hermeneutical process1b in the normal context of proper reading3b.

0006 The following relational structure is called a two-level interscope.  Two-level interscopes are typical for sensible construction, according to A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

Figure 01

0007 The text2a in question is the Bible, particularly Genesis 1-2.3, the Creation Story, and Genesis 2.4-11, the Primeval History.

0008 I now move to the section on biblical inerrancy.

Kulikovsky recounts articles nine and twelve of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy.  The following table does not report the complete affirmations and denials.  These are in the overview.  However, I hope they are close enough.

Here is a table.

Figure 02

0009 Even though these statements mention the contrast between hermeneutics and scientific narrative, the focus is on the contrast between true and false (Article XII) and honesty and deception (Article IX).  

The Evangelical Theological Society affirms that Genesis is true.  Plus, Genesis is not deceptive.

The denials reject what others may affirm.  One aspect of the denial in Article XII is particularly worthy of repetition.  No scientific hypothesis about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

In order to frame the denial in the most nuanced manner possible, I say, “If the content of a denial is affirmed, then that affirmation may negate the original affirmation.  For this reason, the denial is really an affirmation that must be rejected, because it can be carried too far.”

0010 Of course, the affirmations and the denials of the Evangelical Theological Society proclaim that Biblical exegesis comes first, and stands before, purported scientific challenges.  But, their very structure calls to mind a semiotic construction called the “Greimas Square”, which I won’t further capitalize, unless in a title.  The greimas square is the topic of the next blog.

05/26/22

Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 2 of 10)

0011 The greimas square concerns four bound elements (A1, A2, B1 and B2) and consists of four sets of statements (C, D, E and F).

Here is a picture.

Figure 03

0012 (C) A1 is the spoken word, element, phrase or topic under consideration.

(D) B1 contrasts with A1.

(E) A2 stands against, or “contradicts”, B1.  A2 complements A1.

(F) B2 contrasts with A2.  B2 stands against A1.  B2 complements B1.

0013 The technical term, “contrast”, means, “is different than”, in the same way that a denial is different from an affirmation.

The technical term, “stands against” or “contradicts”, means “is distinct from”, in the same way that true (or correct) is distinct from true (or honest).

0014 If I turn the denials into affirmations that must be denied because they can be carried too far, then Articles IX and XII fit into a greimas square in the following manner.

Figure 04

Surely, B1 and B2 carry their affirmations too far, since they do not give priority to the inspired word of God.

In the following discussion, B1 and B2 will be modified into affirmations that do not go so far as to reject their corresponding affirmations, A1 and A2.

0015 I begin the first statement, C.

(C) The focal word is “inspiration” (A1).  Inspiration is not omniscience.  Inspiration confers truthfulness.

(D) Distortion and falsehood (B1) contrasts with inspiration.  This speaks of false, as opposed to true.  Somehow, the inspired word of God may be incorrect because the authors are fallen, just like the rest of us.  So, even though they may think that they are describing real events, they are not.

Or, maybe the biblical authors have not risen to our modern standards.  Scientism-ists would say that these authors have an ancient, incorrect, magical, not scientific, phenomena-based worldview.  So, of course, if there is an inspired message, then it is locked in the distortion and falsehood of the worldviews of the ancient Near East.

(E) No, Genesis 1-11 is not deceptive (A2).  “Not deceptive” stands against false (B1); in the same way that deceit contradicts incorrect.  Honesty (A2) complements inspiration (A1).  An inspired author is an honest one.

(F) Well, perhaps the honesty extends only to religious themes.  That is to say, the inspired message is hidden in the smoke and mirrors of the worldviews of the ancient Near East (B2).  In short, the inspired authors cannot be honest (A2) because the cultures of the ancient Near East are filled with evil and idolatry and deception.  Consequently, the stories of Noah’s flood are as true as the flood narrative in the Epic of Gilgamesh.  But, Utnapishtim’s flood is a clearly a fictional… er… deceptive account (B2 contradicts A1).  Such fiction (B2) complements the incorrectness of the science of the ancient Near East (B1). 

0016 In sum, the greimas square offers a relational structure that re-articulates the focal concept of Articles IX and XII, the divine inspiration of Genesis 1-11.  The affirmations become more focused.  The denials become more nuanced.  Fallenness (B1) becomes entangled with the world of the ancient Near East (B1a).  Plus, history and science, as moderns (B2) know them, do not exist in this world (B2a).  Rather, the worldviews of the ancient Near East are fictions, about things that may be true, but we cannot know about such truth, because all we know is what the texts say.

05/25/22

Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 3 of 10)

0017 The prior blog allows me to present a modified greimas square of articles nine and twelve, for the hermeneutics of biblical inerrancy.

Figure 05

This modification contains contrasts (B1a and B2a) that do not reject their respective affirmations (A1 and A2).

0018 So, what does modern science accomplish?

Modern science tells us that the worldviews of the ancient Near East are deceptive (B2a) and incorrect (B1a).

For example, one Sumerian origin myth goes like this.

In the beginning, the god of the waters above co-mingles with the god of the waters below.  Later, the latter gives birth to the air god, who then separates the two parents.  Similarly, the dome above the air is solid, just like the dome under our feet.  Clearly, these statements are not scientific.  The first is pure fiction (B2a).  The second is incorrect (B1a).

Questions arise.

Is there a scientific hypothesis explaining why the origin stories of the ancient Near East are inherently flawed (hence, incorrect) (B1a)?

Is there a scientific hypothesis explaining why the origin myths of the ancient Near East veil what may be real historical events (hence, deceptive) (B2a)?

Here is another modified greimas square of articles nine and twelve, for the hermeneutics of biblical inerrancy.

Figure 06

This is what science accomplishes, as of 2005 AD.

0019 What does modern science not accomplish?

Modern science has no explanation for why particular mythological (B2a) and mechanical (B1a) constructions might have occupied the civilizations of the ancient Near East.

0020 Are scientists missing an important clue, such as what all the origin stories of the ancient Near East actually say?

The origin myths of the ancient Near East portray a recent creation of humans by a differentiated (not primordial) divinity (or divinities) (B2a).  

Also, as noted in the e-work, Comments on David Melvin’s Essay (2010) “Divine Mediation and the Rise of Civilization”the origin myths of the ancient Near East depict the potentiation of civilization through gifts from the gods (B1a).

0021 All this changes starting in 2012.

A new scientific hypothesis is proposed, accounting for why our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The proposal is stated plainly The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace and dramatized in An Archaeology of the Fall, by Razie Mah, and available at smashwords and other e-book vendors.

0022 The hypothesis of the first singularity does not reject the affirmations (A1 and A2) of the Evangelical Theological Society.  Plus, the hypothesis addresses questions that modern science cannot (before 2012) wrestle with.

The first singularity explains why the myths of ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia can do not envision their own ancestry, deep in evolutionary time.  

The first singularity explains why the innovations of civilization seem to just appear out of nowhere, like gifts from gods.

05/24/22

Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 4 of 10)

0023 Kulikovsky’s section on biblical inerrancy opens questions of epistemology. Epistemology concerns Scripture and the problem of interpretation.  Epistemology is the logos (word) of episteme (knowledge).

I have already encountered two contrasts.  The first is truth versus falsehood, or correct versus incorrect.  The second is truth versus deception, or honest versus deceptive.

0024 How does the talking serpent in Genesis 2:4-4 fit into this picture?

Science can prove that serpents do not speak, except, of course, for some of my old bosses and co-workers, if you catch my drift.  This proof goes into B1b.

Also, the appearance of the talking serpent in the stories of Adam and Eve must be figurative, not real.  But, the text depicts a real character.  So, the talking serpent is a fiction… er… deception.  This conjecture goes into B2b.

Figure 07

0025 What happens when I consider the hypothesis of the first singularity?

Well, the Genesis serpent ends up crawling on its belly.  This means that it does not have hands or feet. 

Also, the mythical talking serpent in Genesis misleads the naive Eve.

It does so using speech-alone talk.

0026 As it turns out, the hypothesis of the first singularity proposes that civilization is potentiated by a change in the way that humans talk, from hand-speech talk (two fully fledged ways of talking in a single language) to speech-alone talk (where hand-speech talk loses the hand component).  The semiotic qualities of hand-speech and speech-alone talk are radically different.  The change in semiotic qualities explains the potentiation of unconstrained social complexity.

Plus, the first culture to practice speech-alone talk is the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia.

0027 Oh, suddenly, the story of the temptation of Eve makes more sense.

If the serpent has no hands, then it cannot practice hand-speech talk.  Instead, the way the serpent talks makes it an exemplar of speech-alone talk (B1b).

This implies that the talking serpent is both figurative and real.

Plus, the talking serpent implies that speech-alone talk associates to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  After all, that tree is the creature’s hangout. 

0028 What else?

Presumably, hand-speech talk, which starts with the first anatomically modern humans over 200,000 years ago, associates to the tree of life.

0029 Yes, the semiotic differences between hand-speech talk and speech-alone talk are substantial.  They are so great that the speech-alone talking serpent does not represent the traditions of hand-speech talk, characteristic of the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  Instead, the serpent draws Eve into the world that God commanded her not to enterthe world-building milieu of speech-alone talk

Oh, speech-alone talk is the defining character of our current Lebenswelt.

0030 Here is a picture of the greimas square.

Figure 08

Consider the sequence of blogs for January 2022, at www.raziemah.com, titled, Looking at Mark Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil”.

05/23/22

Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 5 of 10)

0031 From the last few blogs, I show that the propositions that the Evangelical Theological Society affirm and deny, in 1978, may be placed into a greimas square.

Initially, this greimas square allows me to see that modern evolutionary science, before 2005, denies the Society’s affirmations and affirms its denials.  So, either the Evangelical Theological Society or evolutionary theorists are correct.

Before 2005, the greimas square, even with modifications, represents a standoff.  The relational structure cannot hold, unless modern evolutionary science comes up with a new discovery, such as the hypothesis of the first singularity.

0032 With the hypothesis of the first singularity, the science-oriented stances that Christian theologians once denied for good reason (B1 and B2), may be now rendered as contrasts to affirmed theological propositions (A1 and A2).

Such a change marks a new age of understanding, hence the title in the following diagram.

0033 Here is a picture of the sensible construction of biblical Genesis 1-11.

Figure 09

0034 Allow me to compare this to the original diagram.

The content-level normal context changes from writing3a, which implies that there are authors, to composing3a, which implies that there are people who are reciting the stories of witnesses2a, reporting on real events1a as best they can.  Scribes eventually record these recitals2a.  These texts are then assembled… or… “redacted” into the canonical text.

Thus, as affirmed by Articles IX and XII of The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, the biblical text is correct and honest2b.

0035 Certainly, there are intended messages1a, but these are locked within the realness of the biblical witness1a.  The history that Genesis 2:4-11 portrays shows a world rife with falsehood and deception, both of which are associated with “world building”.  The intended message of the witnesses1a concerns what is going on during the Ubaid, the Uruk and the Sumerian Dynastic archaeological periods of southern Mesopotamia.

0036 The situation-level normal context remains the same, but now reading3b is more evocative, because a scientific notion is now entangled with the biblical text. 

The hypothesis of the first singularity does not deny what the Evangelical Theological Society affirms1b.  Yet, the hypothesis contrasts with their affirmations.

0037 Now, the truth and honesty that is presumed by theological interpretation2b, plays out against the backdrop of the “world building” in the Ubaid, Uruk and Sumerian archaeological periods of southern Mesopotamia1b.  The reader can envision Genesis 2:4-11 as an insider’s view of the emergence of civilization in the milieu of the first culture practicing speech-alone talk.