Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 10 of 21)

0070 Chapter six is titled, “Adam and Eve in Scripture”.

Haarsma asks (more or less), “What is the best way to understand the Adam and Eve story in Genesis 2-3?”

0071 Surely, this is a question that humans evolve to ask.  Humans want to understand.

We encounter an actuality.  We then ask, “What normal context3 and potential1 applies to this actuality2?”

This is the start of understanding.  We understand when we construct a category-based nested form.

0072 Here is a picture.

Figure 19

0073 The best way to understand the Adam and Eve story2 is to locate the most productive normal context3 and potential1.

0074 Haarsma begins with the normal context3 of historical scholarship of the Bible3.

The corresponding ‘something’ resolves into implications of the words in the text1.

For example, John Walton concludes that the names, Adam and Eve, are assigned names, not historical names.  An assigned name is a name that is assigned by the storyteller.  A historical name may be replaced by an assigned one.

Plus, the word, “Adam”, denotes “a man of the earth” as well as a person.

0075 Advocates for historical scholarship argue that Genesis 2:4-11 (unlike other origin stories of the ancient Near East) offers an unparalleled narrative theology.  The issue is not whether Adam and Eve exist as historical persons.  The issue is the clarity of theological meaning.

0076 The problem?

What about human evolution?

Well, if theologians appreciate the stories of Adam and Eve because of their theological clarity, in contrast to the other mythologies of the ancient Near East, then original sin must be a clear insight that situates the stories of Adam and Eve.

0077 This relationship may be diagrammed as a two-level interscope.

Figure 20

The doctrine of original sin2b situates the potential of the stories of Adam and Eve1b in the normal context of a theological transition to our current Lebenswelt3b.

The situation level clarifies the content level.

The stories of Adam and Eve2a situate the potential of origin myths, as investigated by historical scholarship1a, in the normal context of the ancient Near East3a.

0078 The situation-level is also the nested form that goes into the intersection of our current Lebenswelt.  It constitutes the vertical axis.

0079 It makes me wonder, since the underlying content of original sin2V touches base with the ancient Near East, does the twist in human evolution2H potentiate the formation of civilization in southern Mesopotamia?

Consider Comments on Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight’s Book (2017) Adam and the Genome, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.


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.


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.


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.