The age of Adam, as defined by young-earth creationists, is based upon the age of the earth. Meaning is found in the text of the passage (Arp 2000, p. Young-earth creationists believe that the intended meaning of the words in Genesis 1–3 (and for all of Scripture) can be understood within its context. Paper presented at the Southwest Regional Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society at The Criswell College in Dallas, Texas on March 1, 2002.
A grammatico-historical exegesis (Stallard 2000) and the influence of narrative genre (Boyd 2012) in Genesis 1–11 leads young-earth creationist scholars to conclude that the earth is around 6,000 to 12,000 years old. The opening line of Jud Davis’ article in Answers states as an example that “Top Hebrew scholars all agree that the writer of Genesis intended the word day to mean 24 hours” (Davis 2012, p. He quotes James Barr from Oxford So far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) [the] creation [event] took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by the simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (Davis, 2012, p. Davis supports his idea by quoting Hebrew scholars from Cambridge, Hebrew University, and Oxford, who all concur with Barr.
This would appear to be secondary or even tertiary in importance. Thus as narrative literature—not as poetry—Genesis should be interpreted as such to accurately conclude the meaning found within the context of the historical account. It should be interpreted like one would with the account of David and Goliath—as true history. This is where our discussion will lead us next to comprehend how young-earth creationists calculate the age of Adam with a range of 10,000 BC to 4000 BC. Within young-earth creationists, the dominant perspective is the chronogenealogical perspective; however, worthwhile consideration should be granted to the non-chronogenealogical perspective, especially in light of the influence of Old Testament scholar Dr. There might be some technical wrangling over the exact date of Abraham, but these arguments total only approximately 100 years (Morris 1976, p. This conclusion, then, leaves the major discussion on how only 2,000 years is calculated between the beginning of the Creation event and the birth of Abraham. Two primary views exist within young-earth creationists in regard to the age of Adam: the chronogenealogical perspective and the non-chronogenealogical perspective. The chronogenealogical perspective posits that the normal reading of Genesis 5 and 11 will produce around 2,000 years based upon the “19 sub-time frames,” which they believe are free of genealogical gaps (Ice and Johnson 2002). Within orthodox Christianity, a group of theologians, philosophers, and scientists have affirmed that Adam was created by God around 10,000 BC to 4000 BC. Within the category of young-earth creationists are two subsets: (1) chronogenealogical young-earth creationists who believe that the Bible does not allow for genealogical gaps in Genesis 5 and 11, thus establishing Adam’s creation around 4000 BC and (2) non-chronogenealogical young-earth creationists who believe that the Bible allows for the possibility of genealogical gaps in Genesis 5 and 11 that would not violate hermeneutical rules, thus allowing for a creation date of Adam up to 10,000 BC. This article reveals how young-earth creationists have concluded this approximate age of Adam and to explain the reason for a 6,000 year range between both groups. Those who hold to the chronogenealogical perspective believe that Genesis 5 and 11 contain the names of actual historical figures, but also that those names form a continuous (without generational omissions) linear genealogy from Adam to Abraham (Freeman 2008, p. The non-chronogenealogical perspective holds that Genesis 5 and 11 also contain the names of actual historical figures but also that those names may possess genealogical gaps, which may extend the creation date of Adam up to 10,000 BC (Morris 1976, p. The list is as follows and provides the proper overlap to explain how oral tradition or written tradition (toledot) was preserved through the age of Abraham (and eventually transcribed by Moses): With this particular timeline and linear reading, Adam’s lifespan overlapped all of the patriarchs before the Flood except Noah. This suggests that Adam could have influenced the seed line of Seth to know Yahweh. The young-earth creationist interpretation states that God created humanity on Day Six of the Creation event and that God and the biblical writers left textual clues throughout the Bible to delimit the age of humanity within a relatively tight historical timeline. 117), these men should be placed, at minimum, much closer to the young-earth creationist framework than any other system. has influenced evangelical hermeneutics and states that meaning “is represented by a text; it is what the author meant by his use of a particular sign sequence; it is what the signs represent” (Hirsch 1967, p. Arp conveys that authorial intent is understood “by studying the text in which he (author) expressed that meaning” (Arp 2000, p. The author of Genesis (assumed to be composed by Moses) meant to communicate a particular meaning with his choice of words (Archer 2007, p. This meaning cannot be found outside of the original author, but rather discovered through his intended meaning based upon the meaning assigned to the words in a particular context. Within the Bible, there are two authors—human and divine—and young-earth creationists affirm the duality of both. The purpose of the this article is (1) to reveal how young-earth creationists have concluded this approximate age of Adam, and (2) to explain the reason for a 6,000 year range. How, then, do young-earth creationists arrive at the approximate date for the age of Adam based upon their hermeneutical methods, and how do they obtain this firm belief that the earth and its inhabitants are young? Based upon the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, young-earth creationists affirm that the Scriptures should be Interpreted by grammatico-historica I exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. Stallard and Johnson suggest that this approach is similar to the method when Ezra read the writings of Moses and how Israel heard the law of God based upon the plain or normal sense of the word and then came to understanding (Johnson 1990, p. The meaning is discovered by understanding the author’s words in the context of the entire Bible.