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 2 of 21)

0007 What is at stake in the concept of the historical Adam?

Craig provides insights in Part One.

0008 The issue concerns hamartiology, the logos of hamartia.

What is hamartia?

Hamartia is Greek for a tragic flaw, a horrible error.  The Greek word, in turn, derives from an indo-european root, “hemert”, meaning “to miss (as in missing the mark)”.

The historical Adam introduces a flaw.  Maybe he opens a door to a will to flaw, personified by that talking serpent.

will to flaw?

Well, a more succinct way to put it is found on page 22, “Humankind tends to destroy what God has made good.”

0009 Adam is the originator of humanity’s tragic flaw.


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 3 of 21)

0009 Is it a coincidence that Paul compares Jesus, the Resurrected, to Adam, the Originator of Humanity’s Tragic Flaw?

The contrast is rather shocking, since Jesus is executed as a domestic terrorist after he upsets the business of an established exchange of God.  Does that sound strangely contemporary? 

0010 Well, yes.  Jesus is an innocent man.  He just got carried away.

Jesus’ innocence is revolting to the elites, who make their living by signaling (and marketing) their virtue, as the know-it-alls who know-it-all (that is, the multitude of little commandments that can be teased out of the written scriptures).  Jesus says (more or less), “Forget what the know-it-alls are telling you.  There are only two commandments.  Love God.  Love your neighbor.”  (I am sure that Professor Craig can make this point more eloquently.  But, the lesson is still the same.  Jesus says that the know-it-alls do not know-it-all.)

Did I get that right?

0011 Jesus rises from the dead on the third day, demonstrating that he is more than simply innocent, despite being occasionally cranky.  Yes, He is the Word of God.  The Word shines in the darkness.  The darkness has not overcome it.

And, what is the darkness?

Oh, remember Adam, the Originator of Humanity’s Tragic Flaw?  Isn’t he also the First Human Being?

0012 Saint Augustine diagnoses the darkness.  He calls it, “original sin”.  He could have called it, “humanity’s tragic flaw”.  Then, he might have avoided the… as it turns out… erroneous conclusion that this thing, original sin, is like a sexually transmitted disease, passing from generation to generation, through… you know… the stuff that modern sexual liberators want you to tell them about.  Otherwise, how would they know?

 As the metaphor mixer maintains, “The bed is a seat of compromise.”

0013 Once Adam transfigures from The Originator of Humanity’s Tragic Flaw to The First Human Being, certain scientific questions come into play.  Craig offers a diagram in Figure 1.1 on page 9.   Is the concept of the first human being compatible, or incompatible, with scientific evidence of human evolution?The question moves the terrain of debate into the realm of science.  The answer, according to scientific know-it-alls, basking in the darkness of our day, is that the Biblical authors, as well as Jesus, teach inaccurate science.  The answer, for the ones who still listen to the Word of God, is that the relevant modern science may be… um… how should I say it?… tragically flawed.


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 4 of 21)

0014 How is the relevant modern science in horrible error?

I already promoted the three masterworks, The Human Niche, An Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define The Word “Religion”.

Perhaps, these are places to start.

0015 Meanwhile, in Part 1, concerning what is at stake, Craig contextualizes the stories of Adam and Eve as Jewish covenantal history.

Is Jewish covenantal history key to the meaning underlying the stories of Adam and Eve?

The Creation Story starts Genesis 1-11.  The stories of Adam and Eve come next.  The Primeval History leads to the rest of the book of Genesis.  Genesis is the first book of the five books of Moses.  The Pentateuch depicts Jewish covenantal history within the world of the Ancient Near East.

0016 What is the presence underlying the stories of Genesis?

Oh, it must be the world of the ancient Near East.

0017 What is the message underlying the stories of Adam and Eve?

May I suggest that one important message is that Adam and Eve originate humanity’s tragic flaw?

0018 What am I saying?

Craig defines the stories of Adam and Eve.

0019 What do I mean by the word, “defines”?

I know that definition fits into a triadic structure, as discussed in A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form.

The following picture should be familiar to anyone who has read the masterwork, How To Define The Word “Religion”.

Figure 01

0020 The normal context of definition3 brings the actuality of a spoken word2 into relation with the potentials of ‘meaning, presence and message’1.

0021 Craig defines3 the stories of Adam and Eve2 according to the potentials of underlying meaning, presence and message1.

The meaning1 is Jewish covenantal history.

The presence1 is Jewish scripture within the ancient Near East.  Scripture includes Genesis 2.4-11, the primeval history, within the Book of Genesis, and then within the Pentateuch.

The message1 is that Adam and Eve originate humanity’s tragic flaw.

Here is a picture.

Figure 02

0022 What does this nested form imply?

Presence1 touches base with a world within a world, Jewish within Near Eastern.

Does the presence1 of the stories in the Pentateuch influence their meaning1 and message1?

If so, can we connect Jewish covenantal history to humanity’s tragic flaw by way of the ancient Near East?


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 5 of 21)

0023 Craig labors to define the stories of Adam and Eve.

By the time the reader reaches the section on ancient Near East mythology, Craig sets forth the meaning1, the presence1and the message1 underlying the stories of Adam and Eve2.

Figure 03

0024 The meaning1 is the same as before.

The presence1 focuses on Genesis 2:4-11 and the very ancient Near East.  

The message includes two themes (T1 and T2).  For T1, humankind tends to destroy what God has made good.  For T2, God delivers us from the destruction that we wreak.

0025 Oops.  Did I forget that Adam is the originator of humanity’s tragic flaw?

I wonder, “Where does the historical Adam fit into the above figure?”

Perhaps, I can rearrange the two themes.  I can join T2 with Jewish covenantal history, since this seems to go along with the point that Paul makes in Romans 5:12-21.  Then, I can put the historical Adam (the one who originates humanity’s tragic flaw, bringing sin and death into our world) in with T1.

0026 Here is a picture.

Figure 04

0027 To me, this looks like what Craig aims for, as he enters into the section on ancient Near East mythology


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 6 of 21)

0028 To me, the message1 underlying the stories of Adam and Eve2 brings together a tragic flaw of humanity (originating with Adam) and the theme (T1) that humankind tends to destroy what God has made good.

Meaning1 encompasses Jewish covenantal history and the theme (T2) of God delivering humankind from the consequences of their sins.

These two themes show what is at stake with the historical Adam.

0029 The historical Adam, as the originator of humanity’s tragic flaw and as the starting point of Jewish covenantal history, resides in the presence1 underlying the stories of Adam and Eve2.  The drama of the primeval history (Genesis 2:4-11) associates to the most ancient of ancient Near East mythology.

0030 This makes me wonder, “What are the earliest cultures of southern Mesopotamia? What cultures precede and develop into the first civilization, the Sumerian Dynastic?”

The archaeological periods are named the Ubaid (starting around 7800 years ago) and the Uruk (developing out of the Ubaid by 6000 years ago).  The Sumerian Dynastic emerges from the Uruk (around 5000 years ago). 


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 7 of 21)

0031 At the end of Part 1, Craig considers nonbiblical written mythologies of the ancient Near East and Egypt.

We do not know these mythologies from living traditions.  Rather, Westerners cobble together these mythologies from lucky finds in archaeological excavations.  Miraculously, the ancient Sumerians write on clay tablets.  This practice continues in subsequent civilizations.  Capital cities throughout the Fertile Crescent archive these tablets in royal libraries.  When a capital city burns to the ground, the clay tablets harden into brick.  The brick tablets lay in ruins that are covered over by plant growth, dirt and later settlements.  These tablets lay buried for thousands of years in dusty hills in the Near East.  Then, they are excavated.

The entire story of the discovery and translation of cuneiform tablets is amazing.

0032 Even more amazing, distorted versions of stories in the Primeval History appear on several cuneiform tablets.  On top of that, biblical names are found in the mythologies of Egypt.

In other words, the (recovered) literature of the ancient Near East contains the same genres and storylines as Genesis 2.4-11.

One would imagine that the historical Adam associates with the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia.  Noah associates with a spectacular flood (producing a break in a Sumerian king list) that occurs during the Uruk period. Writing is invented during the Uruk.

0033 As such, the Ubaid should provide the background for a quest for the historical Adam.

0034 However, unbeknownst to the reader, Craig silently harbors an alternate to the potential1 that defines3 the stories of Adam and Eve2.


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 8 of 21)

0035 There is a difference between the following two statements.

Adam originates humanity’s tragic flaw (original-). 

Adam originates humanity itself (alternative-).

0036 Each statement bonds to T1.  T1 is the Biblical trend, where humanity tends to destroy what God has made good.

Craig’s message in Part 1 is org-T1.

Craig’s silent message in Part 3 is alt-T1.

0037 Here is a picture of Craig’s alternate potential.

Figure 05

0038 The difference between org-T1 and alt-T1 is subtle.  In org-T1, the Fall takes precedence.  In alt-T1, the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden takes precedence.

Craig attempts to locate Adam and Eve at the start of humanity itself, leading to a pyrrhic victory in Part 3.  Following the science, a single couple can be the parents of all humanity (broadly defined), sometime before 500,000 years ago.

Yes, Craig locates Adam and Eve several hundred thousand years after the domestication of fire and several hundred thousand years before the earliest appearance of anatomically modern humans.

0039 If that is the case, then why do all the origin stories of the ancient Near East depict a recent creation of humanity?

Hmmm.  That is a very interesting question.

Why do all the origin stories of the ancient Near East agree on this one detail?

0040 Craig’s argument presumes, all along, that Adam and Eve are the first human beings.

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

What if Adam and Eve represent the first humans for all the origin stories of the ancient Near East?

What if Adam and Eve originate humanity’s tragic flaw at the start of Ubaid?

0041 Then, what about Part 3 of Craig’s book?

My suggestion to the Professor follows.

Consider the masterwork, The Human Niche, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  Also, consider Comments on Steven Mithen’s Book (1994) The Prehistoric Mind.

0042 Part 3 is an excellent summary hominin evolution, after hand-talk becomes similar to a team activity.

Say what?  

From the start of the Homo lineage, hand talk is confined to team activities.  It is not a team activity in itself.  Nevertheless, it becomes more and more linguistic, because word-gestures become more and more routine. The domestication of fire changes all that.  Talking around the fire becomes an activity in itself.  The niche of conversationopens up, encouraging a general grammar.  Once general grammar evolves, then nonsensical propositions can be made.  Once grammatically correct nonsensical statements can be made, then social construction follows.  Social construction is highly adaptive.

0043 Part 3 may be re-purposed for a work on a complementarity between the Genesis Creation Story and human evolution.  Part 3 associates with Gen. 1:26, telling of God’s intention to make man.


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 9 of 21)

0044 Does the prior blog indicate that I dismiss all of Part 3?

The answer is, “Yes, it does, even though Craig spends a lot of time and effort, including questioning scientific researchers, constructing the argument that Homo heidelbergensis may be the ancestor to anatomically modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans.”


Craig imagines that they may be the first human beings.

The problem?

Adam and Eve are not the first human beings.  Rather, they originate humanity’s tragic flaw.

0045 This thesis corresponds to the message1 that underlies the actuality of the stories of Adam and Eve2, within the normal context of definition3.

Figure 06

0046 Part Two of Craig’s book addresses Biblical witness.  Clearly, the stories of Adam and Eve concern a relatively recent prehistoric event, occurring in southern Mesopotamia, at the start of the Ubaid archaeological period.

0047 What is the nature of that event?

0048 This question associates to the presence1 underlying the stories of Adam and Eve2, including the ancient Near East and the text of Genesis 2.4-11.

This question also associates to the message1, combining a claim and a trend.  The claim is that Adam and Eve originate humanity’s tragic flaw.  The trend is humanity’s tendency to destroy what God has made good

Both presence1 and message1 are couched in myth.  What is myth?  Myth both memorializes and veils the historical events tied to Adam’s deeds.  The historical Adam associates to a real event that is wrapped in myth.

0049 Ah, is that not the nature of history?

Even so-called “modern histories” contain real events wrapped in myths.

0050 In Part Two, Craig refines the presence1 and message1 underlying the stories of Adam and Eve.


Looking at William Lane Craig’s Book (2021) “In Quest of the Historical Adam” (Part 10 of 21)

0051 Part Two consists of six chapters, arranged into an A:B:C:C’:B’:A’ semitic textual structure.

A:A’, chapters 2 and 7, pair the nature of myth with Adam in the New Testament.  In the New Testament, Adam is treated as a real person associated with something that really happened.  The New Testament is a historical document. But, the stories of Adam and Eve are myths, according to ten criteria proposed by experts on folklore.

B:B’, chapters 3 and 6, pair the first six criteria that characterize myth with the question, “Are myths believed to be true?”

C:C’, chapters 4 and 5, pair the four remaining criteria that characterizes myth with the question, “Is Genesis 1-11 mytho-history?”

0052 According to An Instructor’s Guide to An Archaeology of The Fall, the semitic textual structure asks the reader to recognize a possibility.  That possibility should be apparent by the pairings.  The possibility is a myth, arising in history,while at the same time, veiling the historical events or processes giving rise to the myth.

0053 A mytho-history is more than a myth in history.

A mytho-history tells of something that really happened.

But, we cannot figure out what that something is, without independent information.

0054 I start with A:A’.

The initiation and culmination of the question, “Who is Adam?”, bookends the combined Old and New Testaments.  Even more curious, in the middle, Adam and Eve are rarely mentioned, while the lessons of the preceding Creation Story are frequently celebrated.

One answer to that riddle is found in the January 2022 blog, Looking at Mark Smith’s Book (2019) The Genesis of Good and Evil.

0055 In the beginning (A), Adam coheres to the meaning underlying Genesis 2.4-11.  Adam is the first in the line of the Jewish covenant.  The covenant manifests God saving His people from their difficulties and… yes… transgressions (T2).

0056 In the end (A’), Adam associates to the presence and message underlying Genesis 2.4-11.

0056 For presence, the stories of Adam and Eve are set in the very ancient world of the Wet Neolithic Period of southwestern Asia.  This is the same time when the Ubaid culture gels on the edge of the infilling Persian Gulf.  Four rivers flow into the expanding Persian Gulf.  Two are the Tigris and the Euphrates.  The other two are now dry wadis.

These points are discussed in the February 2022 blog, Looking at Carol Hill’s Article (2021)”Original Sin with Respect to Science”, at www.raziemah.com.

On top of that, Genesis 1-11 reads like a text written on a cuneiform tablet, buried in the ruins of a royal library, and excavated and translated by an enterprising archaeologist.

0057 For message, the stories of Adam and Eve memorialize an apparently historical incident or process in the manner of myth.  Adam and Eve open the door to sin and death.  The door opens further with the stories of Cain and Abel.  The door is wide open with Lamech.  Lamech, who has two wives, kills a fellow, who has no wife.  The door is off its hinges as elitist sons of gods pluck the daughters of men for their desires.  God laments the course of human events.  Then, comes Noah’s flood.

0058 Surely, after Adam, humankind tends to destroy what God has made good (T1).

But, “humankind” is not all humanity.

“Humankind” consists of those doomed to humanity’s tragic flaw.

Genesis 2:4-11 tells of the Ubaid, the Uruk and the Sumerian Dynastic of southern Mesopotamia.

Humanity’s tragic flaw starts with the Ubaid, then spreads across the planet, on the wings of mimicry.

No one can figure out what really happened in the stories of Adam and Eve, without using independent information from archaeology and other disciplines.

0059 Such is the drama of the masterwork, An Archaeology of the Fall, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.