Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, August 14, 2022
Can Opposite Viewpoints Both Be Correct?
The Pre-Adamite Theory (Part 1 of 2)
by Dr. Raymond Finney
EXPLANATION (PLEASE READ): In this two-part RR series, I discuss a creation theory, which many Bible students believe is nuts. I write briefly about this Pre-Adamite Theory, but I am not an expert in this subject. I have read about the controversial theory, but I do not fully understand it (which will be evident to readers). However, I am fascinated by the theory. The theory could answer questions I have about God’s creation of the Universe and humankind.
Why would I write this RR, and why might you read it? Well, the Pre-Adamite Theory, although based on wispy “spider webs” of Scripture, is taught by some Believers– and you should know about it. I have trouble accepting an alternative, the Young Earth Theory. The Young Earth Theory demands we suspend belief in physics, astronomy, and biology. If the Pre-Adamite Theory is true, wide gaps between traditional science (theory of evolution) and conservative Bible interpretation (Genesis six-day creation account) can be bridged. Stated another way, could traditional Earth scientists and literal Bible students both be correct?
Consider this theory, and decide for yourself. There is value in studying alternative viewpoints– even if some viewpoints eventually prove to be false. Your knowledge may be expanded and your faith may be enhanced in the process. Your faith should be secure enough that you do not fear hearing different viewpoints. You may come closer to understanding truth by considering different possibilities, as implied in Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens the countenance of his friend.
INTRODUCTION: NASA estimates the Universe’s age to be around 13.8-billion years (give or take a few billion years), but admits a precise age is unknowable. Scientists estimate the age of the Earth to be approximately 4.54-billion years.
Some fundamentalist Believers hold that the Earth is only a few thousand years old (the Young Earth Theory). They base such belief on a strict reading of the Bible (Genesis 1:1 – 6.8, the Parashat Bereshit). In AD 1650, James Ussher, Bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, published his scholarly work, Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world. Ussher concluded that the Universe, and everything in it, was created at noon, October 23, 4004 BC. (I have not read Ussher’s book, but I assume the precise time of noon was in the time zone governing the Garden of Eden, not any of the other twenty-three time zones around the world.) And, how would anyone know when “noon” was, because day and night had not yet been created? Day and night were not created until “the third day” of creation (Genesis 1:14-19). I confidently disregard Bishop Ussher’s views on this matter.
Many people with a scientific background mock Bishop Ussher’s precise timing and recentness of creation. Such “precision” and lack of age of the Earth create stumbling blocks for them, possibly keeping some scientists from believing the Gospel and more important parts of the Bible. The Apostle Paul warned us to remove stumbling blocks from the paths of our brothers and sisters (Romans 14:13): Therefore let us not judge one another from now on, but rather decide this– not to put a stumbling block or a trap in the way of a brother.
Was the Universe created approximately 13.8-billion years ago or in 4004 BC? The multi-billion year difference in these two dates is dramatic. One view must be wrong. Right? Well, maybe there is truth in both viewpoints, which brings us to the Pre-Adamite Theory.
THE THEORY: The Pre-Adamite Theory (Pre-Adamism, Gap Theory, Pre-Adamic Ruin Theory, Gap Creationism, Ruin-restoration Creationism, Restoration Creationism, etc.) is the theological interpretation that intelligent, non-human creatures resembling humans existed before a man called Adam lived in the Genesis creation account. Note: Nowhere in the Bible is Adam called the first human. The Bible states that Adam was the first human “created in the image of God,” which is a most significant qualifier. The existence of humanoid creatures living before Adam was created “in God’s image” is not excluded.
What is “the image of God?” God is a Spirit (John 4:24). He does not have the physical features you and I possess (face, arms, legs, etc.). He is invisible. Yeshua, with human features, was recognizable as a Man, when He walked the Earth.
Three major human features– soul, body, spirit– are reflected in the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity:
● The human soul reflects God the Father (Adonai Elohim),
● The human body reflects Yeshua the Son (Yeshua HaMashiach), and
● The human spirit reflects the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha-Kodesh).
Of all animals, only humans possess souls. Souls are the parts of humans which distinguish us from other animals. It is Adonai‘s gift of a soul which made Adam– and humans following him, including Chavvah (Eve) – unique and “made in the image of God” (Genesis 2:7): Then Adonai Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and He breathed into his nostrils a breath of life– so the man became a living being.
SIDELIGHT: Let us dissect the preceding verse, Genesis 2:7, a little:
● Adonai created man from something common and worthless (dust) into something priceless (a human created in God’s image with an eternal soul).
● “The man” is Adam (Hebrew adam– אָדָם– translates to English “man”).
● Adonai breathed into Adam’s nostrils a “breath of life.” In this verse, “breath” translates the Hebrewנְשָׁמָה, or nesama (transliterated, nᵊšāmâ || pronounced, nesh-aw-MAH). Nesama is usually translated “breath” or ”spirit,” and sometimes “wind.” We are familiar with the Holy Spirit. In Biblical Hebrew of the Tanakh, this Divine Being is called the Ruach ha-Kodesh; in Koine Greek of the Brit Chadashah, Pneuma Hagios. Both ruach (Hebrew) and pneuma (Greek) have three English translations (“spirit, breath, wind”). When the Holy Spirit was introduced to Believers on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, one of His manifestations was interestingly a “mighty rushing wind” (Acts 2:2).
● That this new man Adam was “a living being” implies, I think, the eternal nature of humans. Plants and animals die, but a human has eternal life.
● I repeat: The Bible makes no claim that Adam was the first humanoid created by Adonai. This claim comes from human traditions. Adam was the first man “made in the image of God” (that is, one possessing an eternal soul, as God is an eternal Spirit). Innumerable humanoid creatures may have existed for many years before Adam. We now find their fossilized remains in the earth’s crust. Such creatures (Neanderthals, etc.) may have possessed humanoid features, but they lacked the one thing that God gave Adam and which was passed to future members of Adam’s race– a soul. END sidelight.
Read the creation of Adam– Hebrew adam ( אָדָם ) = English “man” – (Genesis 1:26a-27): Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness!…. God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. Yeshua was part of God (Hebrew Elohim) in this creation (John 1:1-2). Yeshua confirmed this creation (Matthew 19:4): “Haven’t you read?” [Yeshua] answered. “He [God– Elohim] who created them from the beginning ‘made them male and female.’”
SIDELIGHT: Not being a Hebrew scholar, I am unqualified to discuss the following point, but I will give you my view. In passages previously quoted, the English “God” translates the Hebrewאֱלֹהִים (Elohim). Elohim is a plural noun because of its -im ending. However, the Jews were passionately monotheistic (worshipers of one God). To worship plural deities (Gods) would have been unacceptable. See Deuteronomy 6:4 and other passages. Jews have an alternative interpretation of Elohim as a plural noun (Gods). They interpret Elohim as a plural intensive noun, with a singular meaning (God). Christians/ Believers interpret Elohim as a Triune God (the Trinity), citing John 1:1 and following verses as Yeshua being with Adonai, during creation. END sidelight.
When Elohim (God) said, “Let Us make man in our image,” was Elohim creating de novo a new type of man (a human) or remodeling an existing type of man (a humanoid creature)? Although a Hebrew scholar might nuance the text to show a difference, I read the English translation as making either option plausible.
Note that Elohim made “male and female.” Yeshua affirmed this binary gender creation in Matthew 19:4. The LGBTQ+ community would have us disbelieve the Bible, to accommodate their view of at least eighty-one (81) genders ( 81 Types of Genders & Gender Identities (A to Z List) (2022) (helpfulprofessor.com) ).
THE BASIC SCRIPTURE– WAS “THE BEGINNING” ONCE OR TWICE? The Bible logically starts with the beginning (Genesis) and continues to the end (The Revelation). Interestingly, opening chapters in Genesis, when read forward, mirror closing chapters in The Revelation, if it were possible to read backward. For example, Paradise (the Garden of Eden) was lost in Genesis, but will be regained as Heaven in The Revelation. Genesis and The Revelation have, for this reason, been called “the bookends of the Bible.”
The first two verses of Genesis are most relevant to today’s RR (Genesis 1:1-2): ● (Genesis 1:1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
● (Genesis 1:2) Now the earth was chaos and waste, darkness was on the surface of the deep, and the Ruach Elohim was hovering upon the surface of the water.
I have mentioned in previous RRs that all Bible versions inevitably suffer translation difficulties. The perfect translation of the Bible or any other book probably does not exist, because multiple synonym choices are possible for every translated word. Each synonym chosen may create an opportunity for debate. The Pre-Adamite Theory argues that there may have been two creations– a first creation in Genesis 1:1 and a second creation in Genesis 1:2.
The hint of a second creation is suggested by the translation of Genesis 1:2– …the earth WAS chaos and waste…. “Was” is the English word translators chose to translate the Hebrew הָיָה (transliterated, hāyâ || pronounced, haw-yaw ). Several translations are possible for this Hebrew word, haya, including: “was,” “existed,” “happened,” and “became.”
This translation conundrum raises the questions: WAS the watery Earth “chaos and waste” after the first creation? Or, could a previously created, but destroyed Earth BECOME “chaos and waste?” I am not a Biblical Hebrew scholar, but it seems that either translation (was versus became) of הָיָה (haya) is credible.
RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS THEORY: Following are some random thoughts I have about the Pre-Adamite Theory:
● Divergence from the Biblical text: The Pre-Adamite Theory is difficult to resolve with certain aspects of the Genesis creation account. Genesis 2:7 states God created Adam from the dust of the ground and created Chavvah (Eve) from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2:22). Paul wrote of Adam being created from dust (1 Corinthians 15:47). Such details– whether literal or poetic– are lacking in the Pre-Adamite Theory. Paul also wrote of Adam being created from dust (1 Corinthians 15:47): The first man [Adam] is of the earth, made of dust; the second man [Yeshua] is from heaven.
● Some other Scriptures: Other Scriptures may address this issue:
□ From Jeremiah: This alternative translation of Hebrew haya (“was” versus “became”) of Genesis 1:1-2 is equally ambiguous in Jeremiah 4:23-26: [It is a declaration of Adonai] “I looked at the earth and behold, it was deserted and desolate, and at the heavens and they had no light. I looked at the mountains– behold, they were shaking and all the hills swaying to and fro. I looked and behold, no people! All the birds of the sky had fled. I looked and behold, the fruitful field was a wilderness and all of its cities were in ruins before Adonai, before His fierce anger. For thus says Adonai, ‘The whole land will be wasteland, yet I will not totally destroy it. Therefore, the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow black. For I have spoken, I have purposed, nor will I relent, nor turn from it.”
Here, the translated “was” uses the same Hebrew word הָיָה (haya), which, as previously noted, can be translated as several options (“is/ was,” “becomes/ became,” etc.) Was the Earth originally in ruin, or did it become ruined after a destruction? Traditionally, many commentators interpret this passage as a comparison of the desolation of Judea after the Babylonian siege to the desolation of the newly created Earth described in Genesis.
□ From Isaiah: Isaiah discussed the creation of the world by God (Isaiah 45:18): For thus says Adonai– He is God who fashioned the heavens, who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it desolate but formed it to be inhabited– “I am Adonai– there is no other!” The translation “desolate” (TLV) is better than in some translations, which render the Hebrew as “in vain.” (Is “in vain” a nonsensical translation?) The translated Hebrew word is תֹּהוּ (transliterated, tôû || pronounced, TO-hoo). In English, this word means “formlessness, confusion, emptiness, nothingness, wasteland, wilderness, place of chaos,” etc.). This same word is used in Genesis 1:2 to describe the “chaos, and waste, and darkness was on the surface of the deep.” Does this passage imply that Elohim created a first world (the First Earth Age) teeming with life, which was destroyed and re-formed as a second world that was desolate (beginning of the Second Earth Age– our present age)?
□ From Job: The Book of Job, which many scholars believe is the oldest (first) Bible book written, speaks of creation. Apparently creatures of the Earth lived harmoniously with God in the First Earth Age (Job 38:4): [Adonai asked Job] “Where were you when I laid the foundations of earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” God asked Job then, and would ask us now, if we understand the early Earth (Job 38:5-7): [Adonai continued to ask Job] “Who [Adonai] set its dimensions– if you know– or who stretched a line over it? On what were its foundations set, or who laid its cornerstone– when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? The first Earth apparently neared perfection and was populated with “the sons of God” (angels?).
God may have spoken of dinosaurs (“behemoths”) in the First Earth Age (Job 40:15a): [Adonai said to Job] “Look now at Behemoth, which I made along with you….” Read more in Job 40:15b-24 about this Behemoth. “Behemoth” translates the Hebrewבַּהֲמוֹת (transliterated, bahămôṯ || pronounced, be-hay-MOTH). If scientists are correct that dinosaurs became extinct approximately 65-million years ago, they must have been created before Adam’s creation (that is, they were created in the First Earth Age, rather than the Second Earth Age).
● Six “days” of creation: Almost all Believers know from reading Genesis that God created the Universe in “six days” and rested on the “seventh day.” We observe Shabbat, the seventh day of the week, to commemorate God’s seventh day of “rest.”
This day of rest is called Yom Shabbat (Sabbath Day), and one of the Ten Commandments directs us to keep it holy as a day of our rest (Exodus 20:8-11): [Then God spoke] “Remember Yom Shabbat, to keep it holy. You are to work six days,* and do all your work, but the seventh day* is a Shabbat to Adonai your God. In it you shall not do any work– not you, nor your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, your cattle, nor the outsider that is within your gates. For in six days* Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.* Thus Adonai blessed Yom Shabbat, and made it holy.” *English “day” translates Hebrew yom (translation difficulties discussed elsewhere in this RR).
Of course, this narrative begs the question: Would an omnipotent Adonai get tired and need to rest? And, would a twenty-four hour “day” be a sufficient time of rest after the massive job of creating an entire Universe? Yeshua explained that Adonai made a gift of Yom Shabbat to His children. That is, we (not Adonai) need a day of rest (Mark 2:27): Then [Yeshua] said to [the Pharisees], “Shabbat was made for man, and not man for Shabbat.”
At times in my life, I have worked seven-day weeks (no days off). Mental and physical fatigue result from not having a day of rest each week. Shabbat Shalom is a great gift from Adonai, and should be appreciated more than it is.
● The thousand-year-as-a-day interpretation: The Apostle Peter’s writing fits conveniently with Bishop Ussher’s dating scheme of creation in 4004 BC (2 Peter 3:8): But don’t forget this one thing, loved ones, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. From 4004 BC until AD 2022, approximately 6,000 years have passed (“six days”). Some teach that one millennium has passed for each “day” of creation. The soon-to-come seventh “day” (seventh millennium) will be represented by the Millennial Reign of Yeshua. In Jewish numerology, eight is the number of new beginnings. Hence, the eighth “day” of creation could be considered as eternity spent in New Jerusalem, with Believers being new creatures living in a New Heaven and a New Earth.
● What is Adam’s name? Adam did not have a distinct name. His name is the Hebrewאָדָם (transliterated, ‘āḏām || pronounced, aw-DAM || translated, “man”). Adam was a man made of worthless “dust,” but became a person of great value, after Elohim (God) breathed His eternal breath (spirit) into him. In many funerals, a phrase is recited as the casket is lowered into the open grave: “From ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.” This phrase does not come from the Bible, but probably from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
● How long is a “day?” Could we have another translation problem in Genesis? The word translated in English as “day” is the Hebrew word יוֹם (transliterated, yôm || pronounced, yome). “Day” is a perfectly good translation of yom. For example, Yom Kippur is “the Day of Atonement.” Here, Yom represents a specific, 24-hour calendar date. But, an equally proper translation of yom may be an indefinite period of time, designating an undefined, even protracted period of time (an eon). In this sense, yom could represent millions or billions of years. We do the same thing in English. Consider the phrase, “back in the day.” What day is referenced? Well, no particular day, but an indefinite period of time in the past. Could a yom of creation represent a period of millions/billions of years, rather than a single twenty-four hour day? The Hebrew text does not exclude this possibility. It is man’s uncritical acceptance of Bible translations (King James Version, etc.) that fixes yom as a single day.
● Periodization: Geologists and anthropologists characterize the past into discrete, quantified, named blocks of time (periods), recognizing three general periods– the cosmological time period (time of the origin and development of the Universe), geological time period (time of development of the Earth), and anthropological and historical time periods (time of the origin and development of human civilization, both before and after historical records were maintained). These time periods are consistent with both the Pre-Adamite Theory and the Young Earth Theory. The only difference is the time frame over which they occurred (whether these periods occurred over the past 13.8-billion years or since 4004 BC).
● The fossil record: There are countless numbers of fossils scattered throughout the world. I have found fossils in Knox County. How these fossils came to be (in addition to coal, limestone, and other deposits of formerly living organisms) can be explained theologically by three theories:
□ The Pre-Adamite Theory– the fossils represent the ruins of a luxurious growth of plants and animals which existed in the first (pre-Adamic) age, but died before Adonai re-created the Earth, as the second (post-Adamic) age;
□ The Day-Age Theory– the six days of creation were prolonged periods of time for many, many years (not twenty-four hour days), permitting a large population of plants and animals to grow and die, sinking into the mud and sand to form the fossil record; and
□ The Flood Theory– Adonai’s creation of the Earth was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but humankind polluted the Earth with sin, causing Adonai to destroy evil (Noah’s flood) and depositing plants and animals in the flood sediment.
There is another view that human females, originally descended from Adam and Chavvah (Eve), interbred with demonic beings (Genesis 6:1-2): Now when humankind began to multiply on the face of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were good and they took for themselves wives, any they chose.
Yeshua needed to come from an unpolluted bloodline, through Miriam (Mary). Noah and his family were chosen to carry forward a perfect (genetically unpolluted, undefiled) bloodline, after the flood destroyed the demonic beings. This may explain a strange comment in Genesis 6:9b: … [Noah] was blameless among his generation…. “Blameless” (Tree of Life Version) is not a good translation forתָּמִים (transliterated, tāmîm || pronounced, taw-MEEM). Noah could not be “blamed” for his family tree. This word (tamim) conveys several better translations– “complete, whole, sound, wholesome, unimpaired, having integrity.” Therefore, could Noah’s family tree be traced directly to Adam, without any intermixing of his family’s DNA with demonic DNA? You may have a horse thief in your family’s genealogy, but that does not mean you are a horse thief. Must Yeshua, as Son of Man, be born, at a future date, from Noah’s genetically pure bloodline? It would be unacceptable for Yeshua’s birth, if Noah’s bloodline had been polluted with demonic ancestors and carried to Yeshua through Miriam (Mary).
● Other geological evidence: God is, of course, omnipotent (all powerful) and can create anything He desires to create. However, there are vast geological formations throughout the world (mountain ranges, often volcanic in origin; impressive erosion scars, including the Grand Canyon; deep canyons and very tall mountains beneath the sea surface; massive lava flows; thick beds of limestone and other marine deposits; thick seams of coal; beds of sediment now transformed into sheets of rock thousands of miles in width; and so forth). Did God create all of these features in “six days” (Young Age Theory)? Or, did God create all of these features over vast periods of time, establishing physical laws and allowing natural processes, operating under God’s physical laws, to shape the face of the Earth so familiar to us now (Pre-Adamite Theory)?
● The immensity of space: In the observable Universe, there are an incredible number of stars. Astronomers estimate there are at least 10²² (likely many more) stars in the Universe, and the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes are uncovering even more wonders of God’s creation. And, these findings only cover part of the observable Universe we call home. Theoretical physicists question whether our vast Universe could be only one of its kind. Is our Universe only part of a multiverse– multiple, parallel universes? Just thinking about the multiverse, string theory, etc. is about to give me a headache (and I have not had a headache in decades), so read about these theories on your own.
TO BE CONCLUDED: I will conclude this series in next Sunday’s RR. Until then, marvel at a tiny fraction of God’s handiwork by studying Hubble Space Telescope images at: Hubble space telescope images at DuckDuckGo . Wow! See Psalm 96:4-6: For great is Adonai, and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but Adonai made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him. Strength and beauty are in His Sanctuary. Shalom and Maranatha.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 14-Aug-2022 17th of Av, 5782
De 7:12-8:10 Eze 40 1 Ch 14 (Jn 6:1-36) 2 Tim 1