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The Historical Adam

The Historical Adam

PHOTO:The map shows the dispersion of the R1b peoples. They are of special interest to Biblical Anthropologists because these are Abraham's ancestors. Haplogroup R (Y-DNA) comes from mitochondrial DNA macro-haplogroup L that is at the root of the human mtDNA phylogenetic tree. As such, L represents the most ancestral mitochondrial lineage of humans.

By Alice Linsley
August 25, 2017

A recent convert to Eastern Orthodoxy asks:
It seems reasonable for Adam to have been the first man with the breath of life in him that makes one fully human and having the image of God. That would mean all before Adam did not have this. But then why have them exist at all?

Adam is presented in two different ways in the Bible. He is the founding father of the Horite royal clans whose rulers are listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. In this sense he is historical, but clearly not the first human created on earth.

Were Adam the first created human, he would have lived about 3 million years ago. Clearly, this is not the meaning intended by the writer of Genesis because Adam's royal descendants tilled the ground, created musical instruments, herded sheep and cattle, offered animal sacrifice, and built cities (Genesis 4). These are the activities of people in the Neolithic Period (10,000 - 2000 BC).

Further, in the story of Lamech and his two wives, we already find a well-established marriage and ascendancy pattern for rulers. It was the practice of the Horite Hebrew rulers to have two wives. These wives lived in separate settlements on a north-south axis. Lamech's wives were Adah and Zillah. Abraham's wives were Sarah (his half-sister) and Keturah (a patrilineal cousin). Jacob's wives were Rachel and Leah. Moses's wives were a Kushite bride (his half-sister) and Zipporah (a patrilineal cousin). Elkanah's wives were Penninah and Hannah, the mother of Samuel.

As the ancestor of these historical figures, Adam must be said to be historical also. However, the Apostle Paul speaks of Adam analogically, not historically. He contrasts Adam to Jesus Messiah, the New Adam. This is an analogy, not an assertion of historicity. To make his point, Paul uses Adam as a meta-historical figure, like an archetype. Here we understand Adam to represent all humanity from the beginning of human existence. He is a metaphysical concept, and as such, his existence cannot be proven.

Adam, the historical royal "father"

As a historical founding father of the rulers listed in Genesis, there is substantial evidence for Adam's existence. He is the historical ancestor of Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus Messiah, but not the literal first human created.

In the original Nilotic and Proto-Saharan context of Abraham's ancestors "the blood" simply meant Human or Man. This is why the term 'Adam is often translated "the man" in different versions of the Bible. Examples include Genesis 1:27 and 3:20. In Genesis 1:27, Man ('Adam) is made in the image of the Universal Ruler, as in ancient Egypt where the king was said to rule as the "image" of God on earth.

The name 'Adam is a variant of Ha'dam, meaning "the blood" (dam). The Biblical writers recognized that the people with red skin were of an ancestral line of extreme antiquity. Some of these people were rulers in Edom. These are listed in Genesis 36. Esau the Elder and Esau the Younger were among them. Esau is specifically described as being red in Genesis 26.

The Hebrew word for red is edom and it is a cognate to the Hausa word odum, meaning red-brown. Both are related to the word Hebrew dam, meaning blood. Adam was formed from the red clay that washed down to the Upper Nile Valley from the Ethiopian highlands. These soils have a cambic B horizon. Chromic cambisols have a strong red brown color. In other words, 'Adam's name supplies a clue to the point of origin of Abraham's ancestors and explains why they

Jeff A. Benner, an expert on ancient Hebrew, explains:

We are all familiar with the name "Adam" as found in the book of Genesis, but what does it really mean? Let us begin by looking at its roots. This word/name is a child root derived from the parent דם meaning, "blood". By placing the letter א in front of the parent root, the child root אדם is formed and is related in meaning to דם (blood).

By examing a few other words derived from the child root אדם we can see a common meaning in them all. The Hebrew word אדמה (adamah) is the feminine form of אדם meaning "ground" (see Genesis 2:7). The word/name אדום (Edom) means "red". Each of these words have the common meaning of "red". Dam is the "red" blood, adamah is the "red" ground, edom is the color "red" and adam is the "red" man. There is one other connection between "adam" and "adamah" as seen in Genesis 2:7 which states that "the adam" was formed out of the "adamah".

In the ancient Hebrew world, a person's name was not simply an identifier but descriptive of one's character. As Adam was formed out of the ground, his name identifies his origins. (From here.)

The implication of this is that 'Adam had a red skin tone, like his descendants Esau and David. The chart below shows the Horite rulers of Edom. This is the clan of Seir the Horite. They are listed in Genesis 36. These are Abraham's people. Edom was called "Idumea" by the Greeks. Idumea means "land of red people." The Horite Hebrew were devotees of the Creator and his son Horus. Horite is Horim in Hebrew. Jews call their ancestors Horim.

The red descendants of Adam appear to be the Proto-Saharan and Nilotic peoples in Haplogroup R1. This map shows the dispersion of the R1 peoples. The dark red spot in Central Africa is Noah's homeland. He ruled in the region of Lake Chad which was prone to flooding. The locals call this region Bor-no, meaning "Land of Noah". This is the only place on earth that claims to be Noah's homeland.

Some of Abraham's Horite Habiru ancestors can be traced back to the shrine city of Nekhen. One of the more intriguing discoveries at Nekhen was the recovery of an almost complete beard in association with the redheaded man in Burial no. 79. The facial hair of the man in Burial no. 79 had been trimmed with a sharp blade.

The map shows that the red peoples extended into southwestern China. The Tarum mummies of China had red hair and beards. The oldest Tarum Mummies found in China date from 1900 B.C. The so-called "Ur-David" mummy (shown below) was tall and had red hair. This mummy, also called Cherchen Man or Chärchän Man, dates to about 1000 B.C.

'Adam and Enosh as Contemporaries

Another word that designates a royal founding father is Enosh/Enoch. In Psalm 8:4 the terms 'Adam and Enosh are paralleled.

"What is man [enosh] that you are mindful of him, the son of man [ben adam] that you care for him?"

Both 'Adam and Enoch/Enosh are royal titles. The parallelism of Psalm 8 makes it clear that Enosh/Enoch is considered a royal progenitor along with 'Adam. These are among the archaic rulers. They are called the "mighty men of old" in Genesis and they are described as heroes and men of renown. They are the rulers of the archaic world and they married within their royal houses, as royal persons tend to do even today.

I recognize no theological problems with interpreting the creative process of Genesis in different ways. In many respects, viewing it as a summary of perhaps billions of years makes more sense. God knew that we would need things like oil and natural gas and other resources that take eons to form someday, so he allowed time for them to develop.

Human artifacts dating from millions of years ago to 10,000 years ago indicate that the Creator has been guiding the religious thought of humans to recognition of the incarnation of the Son of God and his death and resurrection. The oldest artifacts show cross designs in stone and shell. Then there is the universal practice of burying elders, chiefs, and rulers in red ochre dust, a symbol of blood. Life in in the blood!

The universal symbolism of the sun as the Creator's symbol or emblem is another example. By 4000 BC there already existed a caste of ruler-priests (Ha'biru or Hebrew) who believed that the Creator has a son. This son - Horus - was to be conceived virginally by the overshadowing of the sun. This was the sign of divine appointment as a ruler on earth. Some would say that this has nothing to do with Jesus Messiah; that the Angel Gabriel's words to Mary are coincidental. Not so! When Mary asked how she would conceive, seeing that she "knew" no man, Gabriel explained that she would be overshadowed and the one she conceived would be the Son of God (Luke 1).

Alice C. Linsley has been pioneering the scientific field of Biblical Anthropology for 30 years. Her research on the primitive understanding of blood is reflected in this article. She lives in North Carolina where she continues to teach Philosophy.

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