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 3 of 22)

0018 What is proposition two?

In the ancient Near East and in the Old Testament, the Hebrew terms for “creating” (bara) and making (asa) applies to establishing order by assigning roles and functions.

0019 In the modern world, “creating” and “making” concern material production of things, irrespective of roles and functions.  Of course, moderns have the luxury of centuries of research into the material sciences.  Modern science follows the dictates of the Positivist’s judgment, which includes the empirio-schematic judgment.

The Positivists take the plain-speaking approach out of the reformed churches and into the natural sciences.  Mathematical and mechanical models eschew formal and final causalities (the stuff of roles and functions) and extol material and instrumental causalities (the stuff that one can explicitly abstract and specify).

0020 The empirio-schematic judgement does not apply to the old Hebrew terms.  Therefore, the Positivists declare, “Genesis is not scientific.”

Walton tries to respond, “But, that is not the point of Genesis.”

Then, the Positivists persist, “Then, are you saying that Genesis is esoteric knowledge?  If so, then plain-speaking interpretations of Genesis are not possible.”

0021 The Positivists, the heirs of the mechanical philosophers, place Walton in a difficult position.  Walton belongs to a plain-speaking tradition.  Positivists say that the only way to speak plainly, is to speak scientifically.

Walton replies, “Okay, let us look at the other appearances of the key words of Genesis 1, bara and asa, and fashion a scientific interpretation.”

0022 The results?

Bara means to create things with roles and functions.

Asa means to make things with roles and functions.

The ancients focus, not on material phenomenal reality, but on things themselves.

Here is a plain-speaking result that appeals to the science-minded.

0023 I would like to associate bara and asa to Aristotle’s hylomorphe, portrayed as an exemplar of Peirce’s category of secondness.  Like the Latin term, esse, being as existent, bara associates to being [substantiates].  Like the Latin term, essence, asa associates to [substantiating] form.

I write esse as esse_ce, the complement of essence.

In the following figure, I portray the Hebrew terms.

Figure 03

0024 In sum, key Hebrew terms in Genesis associate to later Greek philosophical insights.  Esse_ce (the fact that it exists) and essence (the fact that it has form) belong to the noumenon.  The noumenon stands outside the empirio-schematic natural sciences.  So, the noumenon is derided as “esoteric”.  Yet, the noumenon, described as a hylomorphe, is the gateway to natural philosophy.


Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 4 of 22)

0025 What is proposition three?

Genesis 1 concerns functional origins, not material origins.

0026 Positivists expropriate plain-speaking interpretations, the way of the Reformation.  A plain-speaking interpretation must now be a materialist one.

I reply, “Scientific accounts are based on phenomena.  Functional accounts address noumena.  The entrance point to noumena, for Greek natural philosophy, is the actuality of the hylomorphe.”

0027 Here is a picture.

Figure 04

0028 Proposition three instructs me to consider the six days of creation in terms of hylomorphes.

0029 The first three days entail separation.  Separation establishes order and function.

0030 For day one, the light and darkness (esse_ce) separate, yielding day and night (essence).

Figure 05

0031 Following the path established in A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form, this actuality2 calls for a corresponding normal context3 and potential1.

Here is a picture.

Figure 06

0031 The triadic normal context of day one3 brings the dyadic actuality of light & dark [substantiates] day & night2 into relation with the monadic possibility of ‘something’1.

According to Walton, ‘something’1 is the role and function of time.

0032 The second day portrays a second separation.  The waters above and the waters below separate, yielding the vault of the heavens, explicitly, and the location of the witness, on the other.

Figure 07

0033 Day Two3 is the normal conext3.

‘Something’1, according to Walton, is a living space for all creatures1.

Other words for ‘something1‘ are herehome and weather.

0034 The third day presents a third separation and a first constitution.  The land separates from the seas.  The hylomorphe is redundant.  Land, sea [substantiate] land, sea.

Then, vegetative life appears.

Figure 08

0035 Day three3 is the normal context3.

‘Somelthing’1 includes all types of plants, especially familiar ones, as fondly described in detail in the Genesis text.  Plants are food.

0036 Walton concludes that days one, two and three identify major features of human experience: time, weather and food.

Days four through six describe what happens next.

0037 In day four, God places luminaries in the heavens.

Figure 09

0038 In the normal context of day four3, these celestials signs have roles and functions1 that pertain to time (the potential1for day one3).

Day five portrays animal life in the sea and expands from there.

Figure 10

0039 In the normal context of day five3, aquatic life is available for food1.  It is not life that humans can sympathize with.  Fish are very different from humans.

0040 Land animal life appears in day six.

Figure 11

Indeed, humans are created towards the end day six.

No creature is more familiar to humans than humans.

0041 Surely, the Creation Story does not detail the phenomena of creation (that is, the stuff that science is interested in).

Rather, the Creation Story portrays the noumena of creation (and that is very curious, because it reads like an evolutionary scenario).


Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 5 of 22)

0042 Proposition four asks, “Why don’t we refer to Genesis 1 as the seven days of creation?”

0043 An obvious reply is that the key terms, bara and asa, operate during the six days and detail a sequence of noumena.

Figure 12

0044 God rests on the seventh day.  The word, “rest”, means “a state of order”.  If our cosmos is a temple, then on the seventh day, God takes up residence in His house.

In six days, God’s house is built and on the seventh, God makes it His home.

0045 As I see it, Walton’s discussion brings Genesis 1 as close to natural philosophy as the text permits.

In terms of category-based nested forms, each day manifests as a normal context3 and a potential1.

Figure 13

0046 These can be combined into a category-based nested form.

Figure 14

0047 Day seven virtually situates the six pairs of esse_ce and essence.

The Creation Story’s hylomorphe for day seven is typical for the ancient Near East.

Figure 15

0048 Day seven is the day of rest.  Day seven is the day that God resides in the order that He establishes.

Walton notes that the day of rest is not a day of leisure.  Instead, the seventh day is when we put down our own work in order to attend to God’s sovereign work.  After all, the world that we call, “home”, turns out to be the house of God.

Figure 16

Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 6 of 22)

0049 What is proposition five?

In the Creation Story, God’s declarations of goodness provide perspective.

0050 If day seven virtually situates days one through six and if the heavenly chorus proclaims the news of God’s domain, then when God declares, “it is good”, in the Creation Story, there is someone to receive the message.

Now, of course, some members of the angelic choir realize, “it is not good”, for them.  From what I understand, this scenario defines the opening of John Milton’s masterwork, Paradise Lost.

0051 As far as the category-based nested form goes, God’s declaration caps the situation of day seven, as shown in the following interscope.  The three-level interscope is presented in A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

Figure 17

0052 Walton writes that God’s declarations of goodness, which occur after each day (with one exception), must be understood in terms of lexical and contextual inquiry.  This is the closest we can get to plain speaking.

Lexical inquiry explores the way that words are used.  “Good” describes God.  “Good” contrasts with “evil”.  A good thing works the way that it is supposed to.

Contextual inquiry investigates the range of situations in which a word appears.  What would the negation of “good” look like?  Well, Genesis 2:18 offers one example.  God says that it is not good that man should be alone.  Does that imply that there is something unworkable about Adam’s situation?

You bet.

0053 Walton tries to square the circle on day two, where there is no declaration of goodness.  One reason is obvious.  Both the waters above and the waters below are altered in subsequent days.  The waters above are adorned when lights in the firmament become visible… er… are installed, in day four.  The waters below separate into land and sea, in day three. 

0054 But, that is not the controversy.

Today, many project all sorts of meanings, presences and messages into the word, “good”.  These projections lead people to conclude that God’s creation is not good.  I mean, why create the light and darkness before putting lights in the firmament?  Why natural evil?  Why are we born in pain?  Why do we die in pain?

The thought-leaders of our current Lebenswelt spin fantasies around the word, “good”.  They project perfection into the creation before the Fall.  They project the absence of natural evil.  They project a message of a bliss where no-one feels pain.  They say, “If God’s creation does not satisfy the criteria that we project, then it is not ‘good’.”

0055 In response, consider this Jobian thought experiment.

I am in the city.  I conform to my thought-leader’s world views.  Creation is not good.  We must constantly struggle to bring the goodness that “we” desire to life.

After the cognitive bubble of all projections pops, my world falls into ruin.  I flee the city. I learn to live in the wild.  I join others in a band of like-minded survivors.  Life seems to be hard, but God provides.  We learn to run with nature.

Sometimes, I have nightmares of the world that I used to live in, a world far from nature, a world full of pomposities imposing preposterous projections upon the word, “good”.  I wake up and realize, “Right now, I live the way I evolved to be.  I have never been so happy.  Every night I see the stars.  I follow the planets.  I regard the moon.  In their silence, they sing in unison.  The heavens declare the goodness of the Lord.”


Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 7 of 22)

0056 What is proposition six?

In the early chapters of Genesis, the word, “adam”, is used in a variety of ways.

In some cases, “adam” refers to human beings as a specific kind (or “species”).

In other cases, “adam” refers to the male of our species.

In other cases, “adam” serves as a personal name.

0057 Eggheads sort these cases out, based on clues, such as the presence or absence of a definitive article or an attached proposition.

0058 Why focus on this one word?

In speech-alone talk, we project meaning, presence and message into purely symbolic spoken words.  For “adam”, the projection is spectral.  There is a spectrum of meanings.  The effect is spooky.  “Adam” is everyone.  “Adam” is a representative.  “Adam” is a person.

0059 What does this suggest?

Plain-speaking interpretations get scrambled when the story-teller speaks both esoterically and plainly.

0060 Meanwhile, scientific investigations of word-use breaks the term, “adam”, into six classes: generic, archetypal, representational, personal, anomalous and proposition-attached.

Can we model “adam” based on these classifications?

0061 How do we define the word, “adam”?

Well, I can follow the masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”.  “Adam” is an actuality, a spoken word, that is supported by three potentials.

Here is a picture.

Figure 18

0062 One problem with plain-speaking interpretations of Genesis 1-11 becomes more clear when I suggest, as Walton does in proposition nine, that the full potentials of the words are revealed by Saint Paul, thousands of years after the stories of the Primeval History are first told.

The latency of potential of the word, “adam”, is remarkable.

0063 N.T. Wright brings up latency in his contribution in proposition nineteen.  The early chapters of Genesis are not mentioned in the Old Testament.  On top of that, when Adam is discussed in postbiblical Second Temple texts, the subject is a matter of debate and conjecture.

Why is this the case?

One guess can be found in Looking at Mark Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil”, appearing in January 2022, in the blog at www.raziemah.com.


Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 8 of 22)

0064 What is proposition seven?

Genesis 2.4 starts a sequel to Genesis 1.1-2.3.

The other option, of course, is that Genesis 2.4-4 describes the creation of humans in the image of God in Genesis 1.

This other option is not tenable if…

0065 …Genesis 1-11 runs like a movie.

The opening is cosmological, ending with the heavenly chorus3c celebrating God resting in His Creation2b on the seventh day3b, despite backroom drama of the angels who reject the creative project that God initiates.

Then, the camera winds its way down to a little island at the northern edge of the Persian Gulf.  Eden starts as a mudflat.  Then, lush vegetation grows upon the river-deposited soil.  Then, God walks through his strange, spontaneously-formed garden and says, “This looks good.”

0066 Walton’s argument turns on the Hebrew word, “toledot”, meaning “account”.  Genesis 2.4 offers a second account…

… and modern scientists cry, “Foul.”

0067 There are no breaks in human evolution.  The biblical authors cannot have it both ways.  Neither geneticists nor natural historians observe changes corresponding to a bottleneck consisting in a pair of two founders.

In response, intimidated Christians try to place Adam and Eve deep into the evolutionary record.  Adam and Eve live sometime after the domestication of fire and sometime before the appearance of anatomically modern humans in the fossil record.

0068 But, look at the text.  The biblical authors can have it both ways.

Genesis starts with a magnificent overture, expressing the esse_ce and essence of the “house” that we call “home”, which is also God’s abode, which is also “good”, in a way that defies the projections of idealists and elitists into the spoken word, “good”.

Then, Genesis continues with a scene where God creates Adam and Eve like a supernatural craftsman.

0069 The Primeval History is a sequel to the Creation Story.

God creates humans twice.

Here is a plain-speaking contradiction, showing that Genesis 1-11 is not scientifically or historically credible.

0070 Ahem, unless there is a twist in human evolution.

Of course, there are no breaks in human evolution in terms of genetics or human anatomy.  But, in cultural terms, in 7800 years, humans have gone from being completely uncivilized and unwittingly happy to completely civilized and compulsively miserable.  Science cannot deny that.

0071 Yes, there is a twist in human evolution.

Plainly speaking, it is a cultural turn.

The transition is portrayed as a hypothesis in the e-book, The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace, available at smashwords and other e-work venues.

The twist is dramatically rendered in the fiction, An Archaeology of the Fall, which is accompanied by an instructors guide, for those inclined to conduct a seminar on this topic.

0072 What does this mean?

The stories of Genesis are like zircons found in sediments in Archaean cratons.  These zircons contain inclusions holding samples of the atmosphere of the early Earth.  Similarly, the stories of Genesis (along with all the other origin stories of the ancient Near East) contain clues to the earliest developments within our current Lebenswelt, which starts with the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia, around 7800 years ago.

Yes, our current Lebenswelt starts with the Ubaid.  Theoretically, the current year is 7822 Ubaid Zero Prime (or 7822 U0′).  The Ubaid starts around 0 U0′.  (That’s “uh-oh” prime.)

So, the stories of Adam and Eve offer clues, metaphorical zircons, revealing the composition of the atmosphere of the mundane earth (so to speak) as it differentiates from the celestial earth (oh, I meant to say, the house of God).

0073 In the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, the mundane and celestial earths are not differentiated.  This is the world we would call home, if we could return to paradise.

Take a look at the virtual nested form in the realm of possibility for the interscope of the Creation Story.  The Garden of Eden offers a sample of these possibilities.

Figure 19

0074 In our current Lebenswelt, the mundane and celestial earths are differentiated, just like the waters above and below the dome.  We do not live in paradise.  Instead, we live in constant fear that the waters above the dome will come crashing down and the waters below the ground will rupture and drown us.  But, these waters are metaphors for the chaos outside of the world that we create out of our spoken words.  Our spoken words create the societal idols that hold back the waters above the dome.  Our spoken words create the organizational consensus that holds back the waters below the dome.

0075 No, Walton does not discuss these matters.  He writes in 7815 U0′, without awareness of the hypothesis of the first singularity.  


Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 9 of 22)

0076 Proposition eight?

God’s craftsman-like creation of Adam and Eve are not what they seem to be to the modern materialist.

Plainly speaking, Genesis makes archetypal, not material, claims.

0077 “Archetype” is a wonderful word.  It is a composite of arche- (original) and -type (imprint).

0078 If “original” and “imprint” are two real elements, then there must be a contiguity.

Here is the hylomorphe.

Figure 20

0079 Ah, proposition six starts to make more sense.  The scientific ambiguity of the Hebrew term, “adam”, resolves when Adam, the original, is contiguous with adam, the human species.  But, adam is not really “the human species (generally)”.  Adam is us (in particular).  We are human2.

Now, God fashions Adam from the dust of the earth, producing the following hylomorphe.

Figure 21

0080 The esse_ce of Adam is dust.  The essence of Adam is the preceding hylomorphe, which I call, “Adam”.

0081 This complex hylomorphe is the actuality2 in a category-based nested form.

What is the normal context3?

The key Hebrew word is ysr, which I write as “yeser“.

What is the potential1?

One lesson underpinning God’s yeser3 is found in Genesis 3:19.  Adam is dust and to dust he will return.  But, the potential is also described by God breathing into Adam’s nostrils, bringing Adam to life.

0082 Consequently, the corresponding nested form contains a wide, bifurcated potential, including both mortality and receiving God’s breath, which sounds, to me, like body and soul.

Figure 22

0083 God makes the woman from adam’s side or rib.  Even is later called mother of all living.

Here is the hylomorphe.

Figure 23

0084 Needless to say, the woman is more complicated than the man.

0085 What does this imply?

Genesis 2.4-5 presents a view of woman that is far more mature, insight-filled and sophisticated than reductionist modern ideological treatments.

0086 Remember, modern feminism ignores human biology.  Modern feminism denies human nature.  Modern feminism rejects the inherent relationality of the woman as the nexus of the family.  Modern feminism relies on spoken words to “name” the realities that they promote.  They rely on sovereign power to implement these named realities.  This behavior is discussed in How To Define the Word “Religion”.

Perhaps, a category-based treatment of the family is a good place to start the inquiry that will replace every wave of modern feminism.  A Primer on the Family, as well as The First and The Second Primers on the Organization Tier offer starting points for further inquiry.  The family is one of the few organizations that belong to both the Lebenswelt that we evolved in and our current Lebenswelt

0087 Thus, I come full circle, back to Walton’s eighth proposition.

On one hand, the fashioning of Adam and Eve is noumenal, not phenomenal.  Science does not apply, directly.

On the other hand, the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia is the setting for the Genesis 2.4-4.  The hypothesis of the first singularity is the only proposal, to date, explaining how our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  The first singularity starts with the Ubaid.  Science applies.

In this regard, Adam and Eve are historical figures.

Their stories give scientists an insiders view of the realization of unconstrained social complexity in southern Mesopotamia.


Looking at John Walton’s Book (2015) “The Lost World of Adam and Eve” (Part 10 of 22)

0088 What is proposition nine?

The formation of Adam and Eve at the start of the Primeval History as a lot in common with other origin stories of the ancient Near East.

In short, they all are archetypal.

0089 I have already noted that the archetype works as a hylomorphe.  “Arche-” means “original”. “-Type” means “imprint”.  The contiguity is both individual and all.

The wordplay in Genesis is instructive.  There are two real elements, a person (“Adam”) and all humans (“adam”).  But, once “Adam” is created, then “adam” is not simply all humans.  “Adam” is us, humans in our current Lebenswelt.

Here is a picture.

Figure 24

0090 “Us” means “all of us” means “all humans in our current Lebenswelt”.

Once Adam and Eve leave the Garden of Eden, there is no going back.

Similarly, once a culture adopts speech-alone talk, then they travel a one-way street to our current Lebenswelt.

This includes the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia, the first culture to practice speech-alone talk.

0091 The stories of Adam and Eve begin with a second creation of humans.  This second creation is recent.  There is no indication (except in the prior Creation Story) of humans living prior to the second creation.  Perhaps, in the Garden of Eden, there are clues to a deep past.  But, the storyteller cannot see past the first singularity.  The storyteller cannot envision the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

0092 Walton considers eleven literary works from the ancient Near East.  They appear on cuneiform tablets, as noted earlier.  These works come from Sumer, Akkad and Egypt.  Each tells the origin of humans.

They all have one feature in common.  They cannot see far back in time.  The creation of humans is a recent affair, performed by fully differentiated gods, often using tools in an organizational framework.  For example, some stories tell of humans springing like plants from the soil.

0093 Why do all the origin stories of the ancient Near East, including the Primeval History in Genesis, portray a recent creation of humans?

Such is the nature of the first singularity.

Once a hand-speech talking culture adopts speech-alone talk, or comes into contact with a culture practicing speech-alone talk, it tends to drop the hand-component of its hand-speech talk.  The semiotic qualities of speech-alone talk are radically different than hand-talk, so cultural memories held in hand-speech talk traditions are soon forgotten.  It only takes a few generations.

0094 The Ubaid loses its memory of the cultures that fused to create it.  Similarly, the Akkadians and the Egyptians, early adopters of speech-alone talk, cannot remember their once-timeless hand-speech talk traditions.  Those old traditions don’t make sense. They don’t translate into speech-alone talk.  So, features are dreamily re-configured in order to depict what must have happened.

Why does the name of the Egyptian wise man, “Adapa”, sound like the name of the first human in Genesis, “Adam”?  There are many weird coincidences between the eleven origin stories that Walton discusses and the stories in Genesis 1-11.  These coincidences point to fluid conditions, where storytellers attempt to codify events and processes that are (1) evolutionarily recent, (2) unpredictably novel and (3) utterly confounding.

Speech-alone talk potentiates unconstrained social complexity.  Labor and social specialization spontaneously manifest, for no apparent reason.  Innovations cannot be rationalized, so they must be gifts from the gods.  What human, in right mind, would invent the wheel or writing or irrigation or ziggurats?  They are all spontaneously created as speech-alone words produce artifacts and the produced artifacts validate the meanings of the spoken words.  How crazy is that?  Er… I should ask… how stable is that?

0095 In contrast, the hand-speech talking cultures of the North American Plains Indians and the Australian Aborigineshave memories in deep time.  The dance circles and the dreamtime are timeless hand-speech talk traditions.

But, like all previous hand-speech talking cultures who encounter civilization, these cultures are rapidly losing the hand-component of their hand-speech talk.  These cultures are adopting speech-alone talk.  They are now immersed in speech-alone talking civilizations, whose members imagine that, because they are wealthier (labor specialization) and more powerful (social specialization), they represent a superior way of life.