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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Adrian Warnock: adamkind

Just as Adrian Warnock takes the big step to defacilitate comments on his blog, he finds himself incapable of expressing the essence of "humanity" in English. It is not good enough to call us "humans" so invents a neologism. Here is how it happened. First, Adrian quoted Mark Driscoll,
    Mark took us to Genesis 1-3 in order to look at our first father, Adam. The race is named man because men rule humanity. We are made in the image of God.
Then Adrian was challenged on this in comments, which I abbreviate to spare you boredom but which have been saved on Peter's blog.
    Charity said…
    The race is named man because men rule humanity.

    What is the basis for this argument?

    18 November, 2007 17:20

    Glennsp said…
    That has been answered elsewhere many times Charity and as such why not go over all that material that already exists. :-)

    18 November, 2007 21:04

    Suzanne McCarthy said…
    Yes, I too would like to know how the word Adam, which God used to name the human race, means only the male, when in Numbers 31 the word “adam” is used to refer to a group of 32,000 women, exclusively women. At that point Bible translations have to translate Adam as “people”.

    In fact, I suspect that Driscoll is quoting from Grudem who once stated that God named the human race Man in Gen. 5:2 and that all translations up until the 80’s had Man/man in this verse.

Adrian posted this comment and a couple more but then decided to end all further comments on his blog once and for all. It was just too stressful for him to decide what to post and what not to. However, on Dave Warnock's blog he was asked if he agreed with Mark on this statement. He responded,

    I do not think that taken alone my notes of Driscoll's phrase expresses something clearly. He was speaking of the fact that adamkind was named after Adam.
So Adrian did recognize that there was a problem. Dave then asked,
    The quote you included from Driscoll seems clear. Is the race called mankind (with male understanding of man) or humankind? When you say adamkind are you referring to humans or male humans? I appreciate your dilemma here. The Hebrew is clearly referring to all humans whereas complementarianism requires a faulty translation so that adam refers to men. Which side are you on? Scripture or Complementarianism? Can't be both.
I am puzzling over whether Driscoll's error here is related to the way the ESV has translated Gen. 5:1-2 in comparison with the way the text appears in a gender accurate translation.
    This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man,(A) he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man[a] when they were created. ESV

    This is the book of the lineage of Adam. On the day God created the human, in the image of God He created him. Male and female He created them, and He blessed them and called their name humankind on the day they were created. Alter
After looking at these verses in a male gendered Bible and in a more literal and gender accurate translation, Alter's, I really don't see how the male gendered Bible can be solely responsible for Driscoll's misunderstanding. However, it is possible that Driscoll understood that only man is made in the image of God, and therefore, only men rule.

Or maybe Driscoll's confusion is due to this piece of writing,
    God gave the human race a name that, like the English word man, can either mean a male human being or can refer to the human race in general.

    Does this make a difference? It does give a hint of male leadership, which God suggesting in choosing this name. It is significant that God did not call the human race "Woman."(I am speaking, of course, of Hebrew equivalents to these English words.)

    Nor did he give the human race a name such as "humanity", which would have no male connotations and no connections with the man in distinction from the woman. Rather, he called the race "man." Raymond C. Ortlund rightly says, "God's naming of the race 'man' whispers male headship.
    If the name man in English (as in Hebrew) did not suggest male leadership or headship in the human race, there would be no objection to using the word man to refer to the huamn race generally today. But it is precisely the hint of male leadership in the word that had led some people to object to this use of the word man and to attempt to substitute other terms instead. Yet it is that same hint of male leadership that makes this precisely the best translation of Gen. 1:27 and 5:2. *
I just thought I would post this insight into the translation philosophy of the ESV. I still can't decide if Driscoll's error is simply an idiosyncratic misreading of the text, or whether it is influenced by the translation he is using.

Update: I haven't done this justice without quoting Gen. 1:27
    So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    (A) male and female he created them. ESV

    And God created the human in his image,
    in the image of God He created him,
    male and female He created them. Alter
It is significant that Alter does respond to Grudem's challenge to have God name the human race after the man, Adam, by simply calling Adam what he was, a "human."

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood. 2002. W. Grudem. page 30


At Fri Nov 23, 01:04:00 AM, Blogger Adrian said...

I thought I would cross-post my explanation here that I also wrote at Dave's place.

I should point out that by my neologism adamkind I do of course mean male and female, but adamkind was named after Adam who was the first and the leader. This quite nicely reflects the original Hebrew , I think.

Driscoll in his talk did indeed state that male and female adams are of course made in the image of God. The naming of adamkind after its founder implies male leadership in the same way that a wife and her children carrying her husband's surname implies his leadership.

At Fri Nov 23, 04:10:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

The naming of adamkind after its founder implies male leadership in the same way that a wife and her children carrying her husband's surname implies his leadership.

Yes, Adrian, in that neither implication is valid. Both of these are little more than naming conventions.

The surname convention of course dates back to a time when the husband's legal leadership was assumed, but its continuing (if diminishing) use today implies little about the legal situation and nothing at all about the morality of patriarchy.

Similarly, in Hebrew humanity is named after the first human, or arguably vice versa, in the same way that nations and cities are often named after their founders, sometimes women (e.g. 1 Chronicles 5:10, the Hagrites are descendants of Hagar cf Psalm 83:6), but this implies nothing at all about leadership in generations following that founding father or mother.

At Fri Nov 23, 08:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It also seems rather unfounded to make this claim about leadership:

adamkind was named after Adam who was the first and the leader.

'adam is the only available Hebrew or even any Northwest Semitic word for humanity. There wasn't any other option for the author. Something I've discussed at length:

'adam in Genesis 1-3

That 'adam implies leadership is dubious at best.

At Fri Nov 23, 09:27:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Mike, thanks for the link.

Adrian seems to simply assume that the Hebrew common noun adam is derived from the name "Adam".

Now I accept that there is some possibility that this is originally true. But by the time that the Hebrew text which we have was composed and written down in anything like its current state (almost certainly no earlier than the time of Moses), even on the most recent creation theories several millennia had passed after the life of the first human beings. During this time, as we have good evidence from cognate languages, adam had become the common Northwest Semitic word for humanity. (Indeed it still is in many languages of the region, even the unrelated Turkish as a loan word from Arabic, whereas the name "Adam" in Turkish is "Adem".)

I think we need to at least allow for the possibility that "Adam" was not in fact the precise form of the original name of any individual, but was a name (perhaps a translation of the original form) given to the first man when the story about him was composed in or translated into Hebrew. But this is not actually important to the argument.

(Note that I am trying to be very non-committal here on issues of historicity as I don't want to have to argue them.)

My main point is that when Moses or whoever wrote down Genesis, he or possibly she was writing in Hebrew and using the stock of words already well known in Hebrew. Among these, we know on good evidence, was adam meaning "human being", gender generic.

In Genesis 5:1-2 the author, whom many of us believe to have been inspired, used the word adam as the name for humanity as a whole, and maybe deliberately as a word play with the name "Adam". Now Adam was a male person, but the text makes it clear that the common name adam refers to both male and female humans.

Thus the author is using a common noun in its normal way, and no implication can be drawn from this entirely normal usage concerning male leadership. Driscoll is wrong, and not for the only time.

At Fri Nov 23, 12:36:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

A further difficulty is that the text actually states that male and female together "hold sway" over creation. Then it says that Eve's curse is that Adam "rules" her. Given that Adam and Eve were "humanity" at that time, it is obvious that "men rule humanity" was a curse.

My major complaint is that on the basis of faulty philology, Driscoll has transformed what the Bible calls a curse, into the gospel.


How can you defend this?

At Fri Nov 23, 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Adrian said...

Tim addresses some of these points here

Sadly, I am out of time on this one right now.

At Fri Nov 23, 03:48:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


Are you hinting that I have not done my homework. I had already gone to Tim Challies' source on that. I found out that it was the book,

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood. 2002. W. Grudem. page 30

which I have already cited in my post.

Grudem cites Ray Ortlund,

"God's naming of the race 'man' whispers male headship.

The source of all this theology is Ray Ortlund's notion that naming the human race adam "whispers male headship."

Do you actually expect to keep women in subjugation with this?

If Ray Ortlund wrote the Bible, good for him.

Every time I ask people to deal with where the bible says for men to rule women I get the same answer "out of time."

Are you even remotely aware that the Olivetan Bible which came out of Calvin's community clearly stated that the curse of Eve was that she would submit herself to Adam.

Clealy you have an anti-Calvinist, and anti-Bible teaching.

I mention Calvin because it is clear to me that the Bible is not acting as an authority in this case.

At Fri Nov 23, 03:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Tim's 10 points:

1. While I do not entirely reject the use of debated passages to make points about other passages, I do not see it as useful at all for convincing anyone unless rigorous exegesis is provided of that passage to defend against critique. Its one thing to use a debated passage and provide argumentation, its an entirely other thing to simply just cite the passage and assume that it doesn't need argumentation. Tim's interpretation conflicts with that of Paul's use of the same picture of creation in 1 Corinthians regarding veils, which all agree is not a universal.

2. Paul discussion of the first Adam and Second Adam is a question of historical context - i.e. that he was writing in a patriarchal culture. Thus Paul's analogy here could just as easily be seen as necessary on the basis that the patriarchy is a result of the fall, making his argument in point number 2, begging the question.

3. Naming has been discussed at numerous points. The idea of naming in the OT is not an issue of authority. Its been discussed here at Better Bibles. You can search for it. As Suzanne has said, Hagar named God.

4. Tim's point here about the naming of the human race has already been discussed in these comments to be found wanting. Moses used the only word available to him in his language for humanity - 'adam. It is not some sort of special theological word, it was the only word available word to use and therefore the most common kind of word possible. Reading significance into it is unfounded.

5. This argument of accountability might be valid if it was consistent through the Bible, but we see in Acts and Sapphira had responsibility for her own sin apart from her husband when she lied to the Holy Spirit. If men had "primary accountability" we would expect to see it displayed consistently in God's dealing with his people.

6. Providing false analogies does not make a word (helper) semantically imply that Adam was in authority above Eve. He rightly notes the word for helper has been discussed at length as a case. And he wrongly accepts that "the person doing the helping necessarily places himself in a subordinate role to the person needing help." His analogy fits his point but other analogies could be given that disprove his point. And even if we do accept what he says, what find is that we now have a valid argument for mutual submission between Christ and the Church based on his definition of what help is (that is of course unless he thinkg that making salvation possible isn't help). So on this point, whether right or wrong, Tim helps the egalitarian position.

7. This point is an assertion that he gives no basis from th text itself. I would ask Tim, "What exegetical reasons make it true that, "This desire is to interfere with or distort the role of her husband." And since this point is supposed to argue for pre-fall submission, its safe to say that this one is very much question begging since it assumes pre-fall submission to begin with.

8. "When creation is restored through the work of Christ we do not find an undoing of the marriage order." Uhm, Ephesians 5.21? Galatians 3.28?
SEE HERE for my argumentation

9. The mystery of Ephesians 5 is not about authority, the allusion to Adam and Even in this passage has to do with two becoming one flesh. Again the assertions in this point are begging the question.

10. I agree with this point and don't think it proves that submission existed before the fall:
The parallel with the Trinity: The triune nature of God provides the perfect example of submission. “The equality, differences, and unity between men and women reflects the equality, differences and unity of the Trinity.” We are blessed and honored to be able to represent that relationship in our marriages.

At Fri Nov 23, 03:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Fri Nov 23, 04:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, the link in the "See here for argumentation" takes you to every post I've written on Ephesians 5.18-33.


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