Mammal R358 p24
“we simply cannot have a coherent discussion regarding this topic if you are not going to respect some sort of historic integrity of the narrative. Even if we assume that the Eden story is all a mythical tale, one cannot ignore its biblical milieu and simply move it back into the Palaeolithic in order to serve another purpose. To do so will be intellectually dishonest.”
Because the kind of literature we have here, something called prose-poetry, I think I am respecting the integrity of the narrative. I’m not sure of what you mean by “historic integrity.” There are historic aspects of the writing and I think that I do sufficiently take them into account. You may want to show me how you think I do not (unless you think you have done so with your next statement).
“If we are talking about the Adam & Eve of Genesis, then I am afraid I have to hold you to this critical analysis that debunks each and every genealogical gap theory.”
So far we’ve just been going back and forth with a potentially unending “I’m right, you’re wrong,” “No, I’m right, you’re wrong” kind of dialogue. This will get us nowhere. I say my scholars destroy your scholars’ arguments and you say your’s destroy mine. So I think that our best prospect is to look at some of the arguments from your linked sources.
GAPS IN THE GENEALOGIES?
(Sorry, I just needed a headline so I could more easily find this later if I need to.)
Looking at your first link, AiG (Answers in Genesis) Young Earthers Ken Ham and Larry Pierce first admit that genealogies which use the term “son of”(as in C was the son of B, B was the son of A, etc.) can have gaps. But then they claim that when “yalad,” (“begat” or “fathered”) is used in a genealogy (A begat B, B begat C, etc.), it must always mean a direct father-son relationship. The important genealogies are in Genesis 5 and 11 and they use “fathered.” These are the genealogies they want to make sure have no gaps.
All that Ham and Pierce can show is that it is possible that the genealogies stating A begat B in Genesis 5 and 11 do not have gaps—at least from the passages they consider. They go to great lengths to establish this and though some of their arguments might appear feasible, almost all of them are far from conclusive. But let’s assume they are correct. If they are, then the uncontested fact that many of the B son of A genealogies do have gaps should tell us that the original writers of both kinds of genealogies were likely not seriously concerned about whether their chronologies had gaps or not. If one writer doesn’t seem to care, why should we assume that the other writer must be concerned that his list has no gaps?
William Henry Green in his classic study “Primeval Chronology” (1890) has long disputed the YEC claims. As a very important example Ham and Pierce do not consider, look at Genesis 10.15-18: “Canaan, the grandson of Noah, is said to have begotten several whole nations.” (Walter Kaiser, ed., Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, 20.) This seems to me to be an example leading to disprove their claim very conclusively.
Ham, Pierce, and Sarfati’s (your second reference) are all just question begging. They think they have proven their case if they can show that it is not undeniable that the Genesis 5 & 11 chronologies have gaps and that they are in some way different from the chronologies which do have gaps. Genesis 5 & 11 give the age of A when he has son (or descendent) B and they use the term “begat” whereas the chronologies which unquestionably have gaps say B son of A and they don’t tell the father’s age at the son’s birth. Okay, they’re different in this regard. Why should this difference make any difference? Obviously we have no reason to think it does make any difference and we are still left with the possibility that the Genesis 5 & 11 chronologies do have gaps.
Among some of the arguments Green offers, he points out that the structure of Genesis 5 & 11 suggest that names are missing. “Each genealogy includes ten names. And each ends with a father having three sons, as is likewise the case with the Cainite genealogy (4.17-22). The Sethite genealogy (ch. 5) culminates in its seventh member, Enoch, who ‘walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.’ The Cainite genealogy also culminates in its seventh member, Lamech, with his polygamy, bloody revenge, and boastful arrogance. The genealogy descending from Shem divides evenly at its fifth member, Peleg; ‘in his days was the earth divided.’ ”
Henri Blocher (in his book In the Beginning) lists a number of other similar artificially structured elements in the Genesis creation account. These are some of the things which lead a reader to think it should not be taken as strictly historically accurate. Green then points out that just as Matthew’s genealogy (Matt 1) obviously cuts out names to make a perfect 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Exile, and 14 from the Exile to Jesus, so Genesis 5 & 11 likely did the same kind of pruning.
You said, "I am afraid I have to hold you to this critical analysis that debunks each and every genealogical gap theory." It looks to me as though your debunkers have been debunked.
Concerning some of your other statements on this post, archeology does give us some tantalizing suggestions as to the possible religious and moral awareness paleolithics and other ancients might have had. But it still gives us little more than empty speculation. Nevertheless, just because we put an image in our minds of what a “cave man” is like does not give us reason to think that they could not have an awareness of sin, or of a creator, or of being loved. Just because someone uses stone tools tells us nothing about their religious and moral awareness.