Looking at Andrew Ter Ern Loke’s Book (2022) ” The Origin of Humanity and Evolution”   (Part 1 of 22)

0001 The book under examination is published by T&T Clark in New York, London and Dublin, carries an ISBN number: 978-0-5677-0635-5, and presents the full title of The Origin of Humanity and Evolution: Science and Scripture in Conversation.

This examination considers the book from the point of view of Razie Mah’s three masterworks, The Human Niche, An Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define The Word “Religion”, corresponding to the Lebenswelt that we evolved inthe first singularity and our current Lebenswelt, respectively.

Needless to say, in this volume, Andrew Ter Ern Loke is not aware of the scientific proposals offered by Razie Mah’s masterworks.  His goal is to formulate a point of view whereby the role of Adam and Eve in Augustine’s Christian tradition does not contradict the modern view of human evolution, which is surpassed by Razie Mah’s corrective.

The goal of this examination is to show that Loke intimates the proposed scientific corrective, even though he is unaware of its existence.

0002 According to the back cover, in 2022, Andrew Ter Ern Loke is an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.  In the acknowledgements, the author thanks scientists, philosophers, a historian of science, biblical scholars and theologians for helpful discussions.  Among the list is William Lane Craig, whose recent book, The Historical Adam, is reviewed in November 2022 in Razie Mah’s blog.

Loke’s book is dedicated to a computational biologist, Joshua Swamidass, who proposes a technical solution that permits all humans to descend from one male, named “Adam”, and that one “Adam” corresponds to the one mentioned in Genesis 2.4 on.

0003 Technical solution?

There are two stories of human origins in the formerly Christian West, the Christian ones are found in Genesis and the modern Western ones concern the scientific disciplines of natural history, genetics and archaeology.  So the question arises, asking, “How do these match?”

They would match if “Adam” is the first human.  After all, the name, “adamah”, is ambiguous, referring to humankind, the male of the species, as well as one apparently ill-fated fellow once living on an island, in a special place called, “Eden”, near the confluence of four rivers, including the Tigris and Euphrates.

0004 Unfortunately, the scientific discipline of genetics rules out that option. Adam and Eve are not the first pair of humans.  Contemporary human population genetics shows no sharp bottleneck that would correspond to a single pair as the first humans (as proposed by Saint Augustine, over 1600 years ago, during the twilight of the Roman Empire).  This lack of correspondence opens the opportunity for other technical solutions, such as the genealogical approach by Joshua Swamidass and the approach formulated in Loke’s book.  Neither Swamidass nor Loke propose that Adam and Eve are the first humans.  Loke designates Adam as “God’s Image Bearer” and works from there.

0005 Here is a different way to look at the issue.

Imagine a map of the Nile, running up through Africa to the Mediterranean Sea.  Now, pick up a mental pencil and relabel parts of the great river.

0006 The first chapter of Genesis is the upper reaches of the southern Nile, with the great lake, named “Victoria” (to those who speak English).  Genesis 2.4-10 is like the lower reaches of the northern Nile, ending in the magnificent delta.  The Mediterranean is where history begins.

Imagine that there is a great waterfall between the upper and lower reaches, instead of a series of impassable rapids.  Upland from the waterfall is the time of De Nile.  Downland from the waterfall is the time of DeNial.  The waterfall is the first singularity.

A traveler, starting at the falls, can theoretically walk in both directions, along De Nile or along DeNial.  But, there is the challenge of the descent and the ascent.  Looking from the top of the falls, one cannot see the bottom.  Looking from the bottom of the falls, one cannot see the top.  However, at either location, the traveler knows that there must be a bottom and there must be a top.

Well, the traveler does not really know for certain.

The traveler only looks down from the top or up from the bottom and makes a guess about the other realm.

0006 As if to repeat the pattern, Loke’s book takes a turn near the middle of the text, in section five of chapter five, carrying the title, “The Image of God”.

Loke writes that Adam and Eve, labeled by God as “Image Bearers of God”, are the first human beings.  This does not require them to be the first anatomically modern humans or the genetic founders of all humans.  Rather, the key issue is how humans are defined.

0007 It is sort of like that imaginary waterfall.

If one stands upstream, which is highland and south, human beings are defined by the scientific scenario summarized in section 5.1.

If one stands downstream, which is lowland and north, various philosophers and religious traditions offer opinions as to what humans are.  Loke mentions Plato, Aristotle, Upanishadic Hinduism, Buddhism, Marxism, existentialism, sociobiology and contemporary philosophy.  Each has a unique definition of “the human”.

The waterfall is neither upstream nor downstream.  The waterfall is contiguous with both.

How does this division within continuity work?

0008 The Greimas square may assist.  The Greimas square is a purely relational structure that is useful for discerning a constellation of meanings that surround a particular spoken term.

A century ago, the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure proposed that spoken language consists in two arbitrarily related systems of differences, parole (French for “talk”) and langue (French for “language”).  One system is external.  Parolecan be scientifically observed and measured.  Langue is internal, only certain changes in physiological conditions can be observed and measured.

0009 So, the question arises, “How does one define any particular spoken phrase or word?”

That is the subject of Razie Mah’s masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

0010 Happily, for this examination, there is method that respects the purely relational configuration posed by Saussure.

That method is the Greimas square.

0011 Here is a picture.

Figure 01

0012 The focal term goes with A.

The first contrast of A that comes to mind enters B.

Then, a term that contradicts B goes into C.  The term, “contradicts”, may be transliterated into “speaks against”.  So, C speaks against B.  Then, one finds that C complements A.

Finally, a contrast that comes to mind with C goes into D.  Then, one should find that D speaks against A and complements B.

0013 The Greimas square is a probe of the terms that are adjacent to (or metaphorically “near”) a focal term (A).

0014 The following figure applies to Loke’s discussion of Adam and Eve as the first “Image Bearers of God”.

Figure 02

0015 We are the descendants of Adam (A), so we are heir to his title, “Image Bearer of God”.

But, there is a problem.  Adam falls.  So do we.

In contrast, many philosophies and traditions define who we are (B) without regard to God’s original appellation.

Speaking against the philosophers and traditionalists, Adam is the first holding the title (C), which will be passed on to the rest of humanity by means that are not genetic.  So, despite all other opinion, Adam is… er, at least… was… until, you know, the unfortunate incident… the first bearer of this title.  I suppose he never lost the title…

…he just made a bad decision that doomed all of subsequent humanity.

In contrast, the Biblical use of adam (technically, “adamah”) is a pun which means “earth man” or “humanity” (D).

This raises the question as to whether adam as humanity (D) contradicts (A) humans labeled as the Image Bearers of Godand complements (B) “humans” defined by philosophers and other religious traditions.

I suppose that one could argue for “yes”, as well as “no”.

0016 As it turns out, the metaphor of a map of the Nile River, altered by a number 2 pencil, also fits into a Greimas square.

Figure 03

Looking at Andrew Ter Ern Loke’s Book (2022) ” The Origin of Humanity and Evolution”   (Part 2 of 22)

0017 What is a Lebenswelt?

A Lebenswelt is German for a “living world”.

0018 In chapter three, Loke discusses the time spans of creation.  The universe is around 14Byr (billions of years old).  The Earth is 4.5Byr.  If the solar system rotates around the galactic center every 250 million years, then the solar system has completed only 18 orbits of the galactic center.  The solar system is 18 galactic years old.

Does that seem old?

0019 Could there be an eyewitness to the evolutionary construction of our home, the Earth?

Plus, why would an eyewitness portray the vision as a sequence of seven days?

The answer to the second question is straightforward.  The Creation Story, the first chapter of Genesis, is used to establish the sabbath as the day of the Lord.  Work six days and rest, along with God, on the seventh.  If someone loses count, watch the phases of the moon.  The heavens keep track of time.  Time passes on Earth, as it does in heaven.

0020 The Creation Story takes us far upstream the river of time, to long before De Nile.  Loke quotes Saint Augustine, asking what kind of days are these.  They defy our sensibilities and challenge our imagination.  The Young Earth Creations reply, saying, “These are literal days, with evening and morning.”

So, they could belong to a visionary.

0021 To me, the first chapter of Genesis belongs to our current Lebenswelt, yet looks past its beginning (which I call, “the first singularity”) into the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  It is a recital, in speech-alone talk, describing a sequence of… can I say?.. developments that could not be witnessed by a person, except as a series of visions.

Here is a Greimas square where the Creation Story is the focus of attention.

Figure 04

The final term, D, contrasts with C, speaks against A and complements B.

D contrasts with C because it is like a formal cause compared to C as a final cause.

D speaks against A in that the story does not proclaim itself to be a vision.  How can it be a vision if the Genesis text does not say that it is a vision?  Well, some Biblical scholars say that the Creation Story is something like a vision.  It is the construction of the Temple of the Heavens and the Earth.   

Finally, D complements B, because the first chapter of Genesis is one of the oldest written origin stories known to scholars.  In fact, archaeologists conclude that the literary style of the Creation Story is very much in tune with other written religious proclamations of the ancient Near East.  The first chapter of Genesis may be older than writing.

0022 And, that brings me back to the term, “Lebenswelt”.

The animal version of this word is “Umwelt”, technically defined as the world of significance for any particular animal.  The dog’s Umwelt is full of aromas.  The bat’s Umwelt is full of acoustic echoes.  The eagle’s Umwelt includes tiny clues to the motion of animals through grass.  The human’s Umwelt includes all of nature, plus ourselves.  As soon as hominins start walking on two feet, their hands are free to gesture to one another.  So begins the evolution of our Lebenswelt, our world of significance.  Our Lebenswelt includes both nature and culture.  The German word, “Lebenswelt”, transliterates into “living world”.

0023 According to Razie Mah’s masterwork, The Human Niche (available at smashwords and other e-book venues), the human niche consists of the potential of triadic relations.  Signs are triadic relations.  So are category-based nested forms.  Consequently, our Lebenswelt is perfused with signs and category-based nested forms (which can be proto-semiotic).  Sign-processing is one of the key hominin adaptations.

0024 So, a question arises, “Is the first chapter of Genesis a sign of the evolutionary record?”

Loke does not address this question.Nevertheless it bears on his discussion on the time spans of geological and biological evolution in contrast to the days of creation.


Looking at Andrew Ter Ern Loke’s Book (2022) ” The Origin of Humanity and Evolution”   (Part 3 of 22)

0025 Is Genesis 1 a sign of the evolutionary record?

If it is, then it is a sign composed of signs.

In other words, the answer is not straightforward.

0026 Charles Peirce (1839-1914 AD), the founder of postmodern semiotics, defined a sign as a triadic relation.  A sign-relation consists of a sign-vehicle, a sign-object and a sign-interpretant.

Here is a picture of the sign-relation.

Figure 05

An encountered thing (sign-vehicle) stands for the hylomorphe, matter [substantiates] form (sign-object) in regards to Aristotle’s natural philosophy (sign-interpretant).

On the surface, the sign-vehicle associates to Peirce’s category of firstness, which contains only one element (however complex that element may be).  For example, an image or a person belongs to the category of firstness (there is only one of them) and may serve as a sign-vehicle.  Firstness is the realm of possibility.

On the surface, the sign-object associates to Peirce’s category of secondness, which contains two contiguous real elements.  Perhaps the most famous example is Aristotle’s hylomorphe.  Matter and form are two real contiguous elements.  According to my nomenclature, the contiguity is placed in brackets.  In the previous figure, I use the term, “substance”, to label the contiguity between matter and form.  Secondness is the realm of actuality.

On the surface, the sign-interpretant associates to Peirce’s category of thirdness, which contains three elements, one belonging to each category.  Thirdness brings secondness into relation with firstness.  Thirdness is the realm of signs, normal contexts, mediations, judgments and so on.

0027 So, why the qualifier, “on the surface”?

Take a look at the sign-vehicle.  Obviously, the sign-vehicle should belong to firstness, because it makes the sign-relation possible.  At the same time, the sign-vehicle is an encountered thing.  So, it must belong to the realm of actuality.  The sign-vehicle must be so actual as to trigger the operation of a sign-interpretant.  For example, a silver coin (sign-vehicle) stands for the metal silver [substantiating] a round imprinted form (sign-object) in regards to an Aristotelian view of money (sign-interpretant).  Come to think of it, the sign object also belongs to the realm of actuality.

0028 Why is the triadic structure of the sign-relation important?

Both Genesis One and the evolutionary record are actual.  Yet, on the surface, the Creation Story associates to firstness and the scientific evolutionary record associates to secondness.  So, the former should be taken as a sign-vehicle and the latter should be regarded as a sign-object. 

What do these associations imply?

Genesis One is a sign of the evolutionary record.

So, in a day-age association, the day corresponds to a passage in the Genesis text and the age corresponds to a period in the evolutionary record.  The day is the sign-vehicle and the age is the sign-object.  The sign-interpretant will rely on a sign-typology based on natural signs.

0028 To start, here are the day-age associations for days one through three.

Figure 06

0029 Here are the day-age associations for days four through six.

Figure 07

0030 Here are the verse-age associations for the creation of humans in the image of God.

Figure 08

0031 The first chapter of Genesis concludes with a sign of the Developed Neolithic, setting the stage for a second creation of humans, starting with Genesis 2.4.

0032 The Genesis day is the sign-vehicle.  The corresponding scientific epoch is the sign-object.

What about the sign-interpretant?

Peirce identifies three types of natural sign, based on the categorical qualities of the sign-object.

For an icon, the sign-object carries the categorical qualities of firstness.  So, I read a Genesis verse as a picture of the corresponding epoch.

For an index, the sign-object carries the categorical qualities of secondness.  So, I read a Genesis verse as something that points to a characteristic of the corresponding epoch, especially in regards to what the visionary must be wondering about the ongoing revelation.  An index points to the location of the witness.  The Genesis statements about morning and evening are indexes.

For a symbol, the sign-object carries the categorical qualities of thirdness.  So, I read a Genesis verse in terms of convention.  The declaration at the end of most days, where God declares the day, “good”, associates with symbols.

0033 Here is a list of the three types of natural sign.

Figure 09

0034 For example, in day four, the text points to a visionary, located on the surface of the Earth, looking up, and witnessing the haze of the atmosphere of the early Earth clear away as the atmosphere increases in oxygen content.

Here is a picture of the associations, based on sign-typology as the sign-interpretant.

Figure 10

0035 In sum, in day four, the stars, planets, moon and sun become visible.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 13 of 21)

0093  Chapter seven (A’) traces the history of original sin and completes the single actuality2, knitting human evolution2H(4D) to interpretation of Scripture2V (1A) and the doctrine of original sin2V (7A’).

0094 Here is a picture.

Figure 22

0095 Saint Paul, in his letters to the Corinthians and to the Romans, calls this interscope into being.  The elements are fuzzy.  The natural transition is not clear.  It is implied.

0096 Saint Augustine clarifies the theological transition.  In doing so, he posits a natural transition, whereby the rebellion of Adam and Eve passes to all humankind.  Original sin passes to all humanity through direct descent from Adam and Eve.  Why?  Procreation is bound to desire.  Desire is now subject (through Adam and Eve) to concupiscence, which transliterates into “being with Cupid, the love child of Mars, the god of war, and Venus, the goddess of love”.

Yes, that sounds a tad rebellious.  With friends like Cupid, who need enemies?  We can can get in trouble on our own, when we are subject to concupiscence.

Amazingly, Augustine’s position turns out to be unwittingly scientific.  It is so scientific as to be debunked, sixteen centuries later, by modern genetics.

0097 So, the stories of Adam and Eve do not describe a de-novo creation of humans.  Instead, the potential of these stories1V underlies Augustine’s doctrine of original sin2V as it is held, in the single actuality of our current Lebenswelt2, in contact with a twist in human evolution2H, that Haarsma is not aware of.  

0098 In fact, at this moment, no modern anthropologist is aware of the hypothesis of the first singularity2H, arising from the potential of a phenomenal change in one Neolithic culture, manifesting as the Ubaid culture of southern Mesopotamia1H.


Semiotics is not the same as science.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 14 of 21)

0099  These comments frame the first seven chapters of Haarsma’s book as an exercise in semitic textual structure.  The pattern is A:B:C:D:C’:B’:A’.

Haarsma asks the reader to recognize a possibility.

These comments show what that possibility might be.

That possibility is the intersection of our current Lebenswelt.

0100 The natural transition3H is plainly laid out in The First Singularity And Its Fairy Tale Trace.  Implications are discussed in Comments on Original Death and Original Sin: Roman 5:12-19.

0101 The hypothesis is dramatically rendered in An Archaeology of the Fall.

The novel begins with the daughter of an archaeologist recounting the differentiation of Sumerian Gods from a primordial dyad, the waters above and the waters below.  The tale appears in Samuel Noah Kramer’s 1961 book, Sumerian Mythology.

0102 The key is differentiation.  Differentiation implies symbolization.  Purely symbolic speech-alone talk allows the articulation of distinctions.  These distinctions become real as artifacts (such as mythologies) are constructed.  Artifacts validate speech-alone words.  Artifacts validate the distinctions that speech-alone words symbolize.

I know that sounds circular.  But, so does most everything else in our current Lebenswelt.

0103 The waters above and the waters below conjugate, and give birth to the air god.  The air god separates the waters above and the waters below, before stealing everything they own.  He makes their remains the ceiling and floor of his home.

Is this a picture of the Ubaid, Uruk and Sumerian Dynastic archaeological periods?

Is differentiation intrinsic to increasing labor and social specializations?

0104 Is the deception, depicted in the stories of Adam and Eve, another picture of the same archaeological periods?


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 21 of 21)

0130 In chapter eleven, Haarsma raises other difficult questions.

I would like to elevate my own question for examination.

0131 When does sin begin?

Here is an artistic way to appreciate the answer.

Consider the two interscopes of the Lebenswelt that we evolved in and our current Lebenswelt.

0132 Consider the theological actualities2V.

For the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, it2V is humans as images of God.

For our current Lebenswelt, it2V is the tree of life.

Here is a picture.

Figure 25

Consider the tree of life as a metaphor for the roots and the branches of belonging, intuitively nurtured by prehistoric humans living out their lives as images of God, 

0133 … then, in order to appreciate the depths of callousness and total depravity implied by the doctrine of original sin,consider the wickedness of plucking the fruit of the tree of life in order to attain immortality.

0134 Loren Haarsma tries to calm the dissonance of two apparently independent actualities: human evolution2H and original sin2V.

In doing so, he creates a semitic textual structure that allows my comments to suggest that these two actualities belong to a single reality.  Two category-based nested forms intersect.  The intersection of two nested forms offers a message.  Here is a mystery.

It is beautiful to behold.

0135 Haarsma concludes.

God’s answer is still Christ.

Dissonance gives way to mystery.


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?”


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.


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.


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.


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.