Original Sin / Salvation without a literal Adam and Eve?
Jews do not believe in original, Adamic sin. This is a Christian invention. In Judaism, the life is always created holy and perfect. Also people do not inherit sin, because everyone is responsible for only its own sin. Jews do not believe that population is responsible for sin caused by Adam and Eve.
I am aware of a critical document theory that states that the first chapter of Genesis was the last portion of the creation narrative to be composed, and that this composition occurred after the Babylonian captivity.
Within the theory is room for that very hypothesis you mention. It isn't universally accepted, but neither is it beyond possibility. The theory entertains that the author's intention was to advance the idea that the Babylonian captivity was punishment from God due to failure to observe the Law, especially the Sabbath. Therefore, the theory concludes, the author's intent was to teach that obedience to the Mosaic Law was the intention of God from the beginning of creation, built into the Jewish culture.
The narrative is composed of a triplet (3 days, 3 days, and the Sabbath), divided into a doublet (the first three days a tableau for the events of the last three), and a finale in observance of the Sabbath. It may have even been the Sabbath prayer used by the Jews during the Babylonian exile or shortly after turned Scripture. It has been used ever since in the Sabbath home service following the candle lighting, recited during Kiddush.
However I don't know how far this has grown into something dogmatic or doctrinal. Most Christians seem to know little about this, even though it is printed in practically all study Bibles of all denominations and found in the footnotes of the Catholic NABRE, the official translation of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Haven't read all the posts on this yet but this is something that really interests me as a christian. I can't refute evolution as a process and believe God has a hand in it somewhere. This rules out a literal Adam and Eve... however. most historians recognize that civilisation started around 6,000 years ago in the Mesopotamian area. Could 'Adam' and 'Eve' have been the change between animal like humans with no 'spiritual' side to humans who became 'in God's image' with a spiritual nature? I believe there was a human rebellion against God with man aspiring to become 'like God'. Leading to the coming of Christ and everything that went with it.
I'm still trying to work things out in my mind as to what I believe and don't believe (which is freeing in itself as I don't have anyone else tell me what I should believe). At the moment I'm open to all thoughts and ideas. Having said that I still believe in God and Christ and still consider myself christian. But science can't be refuted.
Interesting idea. I've a lot of time for theories of things being handed down which may have a truth (of some sort) contained in them. Problem with that idea is that there's evidence of ritual (and worship?) in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A remains which have been found, which takes you to around 8000 BC and places us in Palestine as well as Mesopotamia and parts inbetween too. One of the main sites for them was the biblical Jericho, which was a town of a few thousand people even back then. If Gobekli Tepe is a religious site, and is also related to this culture/set of closely related cultures, then you could push that further back again by 1000 years or so. It's hard to reconcile the biblical narrative with that. Perhaps there was a theme being picked up on with roots in history and pre-history, but Genesis was likely written as far away in time from the start of recorded history as we currently are from when Genesis was written. (ie c.2600 years), so figuring it out from the bible is likely going to be very difficult. Possibly easier to start from the archaeology and work from that?
(Paper on ritual within Pre-Pottery Neolithic written by one of the world's experts on the subject: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Adrian_Goring-Morris/publication/227138426_Foraging_Farming_and_Social_Complexity_in_the_Pre-Pottery_Neolithic_of_the_Southern_Levant_A_Review_and_Synthesis/links/53d888e40cf2631430c32337.pdf )
Problems with Adam and Eve 6 years ago as the start of the humanity are numerous. During interglacial period 30,000 to 18,000 BC there was already well established communities with human activity, pottery, and worship, which were eventually destroyed by the last glaciation in 15,000-to 10,000BC. People in that era left graves, various artifacts (like Venus of Willensdorf), sites; and then they abandoned entire region for 5,000 to 7,000 years. New inhabitants arrived to different climate and habitat after last continental glacier melted.
The theory entertains that the author's intention was to advance the idea that the Babylonian captivity was punishment from God due to failure to observe the Law, especially the Sabbath. Therefore, the theory concludes, the author's intent was to teach that obedience to the Mosaic Law was the intention of God from the beginning of creation, built into the Jewish culture.
It sounds very logical. I did not think about it. But yes, seven literal days of creation were invented to justify the Sabbath. Thanks for sharing this information.
I liked that you said: 'At the moment I'm open to all thoughts and ideas'.
I understand that you are not yet sure what to believe and your post may be part of the process of deciding, but I'm interested in how you rationalise your thoughts at this point. I have read online that a number of Christians hold the view you posed as a question when you said:
Could 'Adam' and 'Eve' have been the change between animal like humans with no 'spiritual' side to humans who became 'in God's image' with a spiritual nature?
Just to ensure I am clear and understand the point, I have some genuine questions.
Are you saying that perhaps at some point in prehistory, in multiple locations, a specific generation of male and female 'apes' who had no soul, mated and gave birth to 'human' babies with a soul? (i.e. these babies were figurative 'Adams' and 'Eves' who were born sinful and whose descendants needed salvation?
Or did you mean that perhaps in one line of apes in the Hominidae family which God chose, the 'soul' gradually and invisibly grew over time in line with their physical and mental evolution, and when this soul was sufficiently evolved, individual apes 'became' human perhaps on reaching adulthood, and were then capable of sin? In this scenario, would you think that different populations of apes around the world would develop a 'spiritual side' at different times perhaps hundreds of years apart due to environmental factors, or do you see it that maybe God activated 'souls' all at once on a certain day, all over the world?
Or do you have in mind some other way that humans "became 'in God's image'"?
Do you think that the first humans with a soul were aware that they potentially had a chance for eternal life but their ape parents and grandparents did not? And would the parents be aware that their offspring was somehow different to them?
How do Neanderthals and other species of the genus Homo fit in with this idea?
I realise you cannot give a definitive answer to these questions, but I'm interested in your current thought processes.
@HB... thanks for all those intriguing questions. I haven't thought about it too much in depth at the moment. I guess it's very hard to come up with some kind of answer because the truth is I don't know. All I know is that from a spiritual point of view man is very different from animals and I believe it came about very suddenly rather than gradually and I think that had something to do with God deciding that these humans should be different.
I have come to believe that the word sin simply was to mean 'not following the law of Israel'.
anyone who did not follow it was a 'sinner', that being everyone 'else', [all the 'dogs on the outside']
I don't think the word sin, or heaven, or paradise, or perfection, or even forever, were words that mean what we think they are supposed to mean.
My Jewish family members have said that the word for "sin" in Hebrew means "missed," as when an archer "misses his mark" when he shoots an arrow. In Hebrew it refers to an incomplete or wanting action, but never to a "condition." You can commit a sin, and an action can be considered sinful, but there is no state of sin.
According to them, a "sin" existed before the Mosaic Law came to be because a person can "fail" to measure up to what is expected of them even according to cultural standards. The Gentiles of Sodom and Gomorrah, due to not treating travelers with the universal standard of hospitality were thus viewed as "gross sinners." (Ge 18:20) And Joseph refused to "sin" by sleeping with Potiphar's wife.--Ge 39:9.
There is no idea in Judaism of people or even God as being "perfect." If not mistaken, the word does not appear in the original Hebrew text (but I will have to check with them to make sure I heard that right.)
And I do know that JWs use the term "everlasting life" instead of the term "eternal life" like the rest of Christendom does. The reason is that JWs believe that God experiences the passage of time as we do, whereas Jews and Christians believe God created our temporal state and is therefore not affected by space or time. Thus there is no "everlasting" for God since that requires experiencing the passage of time. Instead God is "eternal" to Jews and Christians.