O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?


I thought it might be instructive to introduce an article by Carol A. Hill who has often published her works on the ASA site along with Denis Lamoureux. Carol takes a little different tact to Genesis than Lamoureux and at the Baylor ASA conference she presented her work in contradiction to Lamoureux and Seely’s approach of “Accommodation”. I have listed the slide presentation link and some of her excerpts. I’ve also linked her audio presentation as well as some of her pertinent past articles that she alludes to in this discussion at the end of her excerpts.

One of the interesting approaches that Hill brings in contrast to Lamoureux I believe is a better theological understanding of the first and second Adam’s which full Preterist may find especially interesting. In fact Carol Hill appears to be presenting a Covenant understanding of Adam similar to what Tim and Jeff have in their book. You will want to read the slides and determine for yourself how close Hill is to a covenant creation of Adam. I have selected several excerpts from her slides to give a taste of her work but she will also delve into the Biblical old ages and how they were derived and some other issues.

Over the years I have found Carol Hill a great resource for helping my understanding of Genesis but I do not agree with everything she presents as again she is lacking the full Preterist perspective but with this latest piece from her it seems she has moved closer to some observations of Preterism than she may have formerly held.

I would be interested in any feedback on any of Hill’s points in this presentation.

Norm Voss

By: Carol A. Hill


• The Bible goes to great lengths to establish the genealogy from Adam to Christ in Genesis, Chronicles, Ezra‐Nehemiah, Matthew, and Luke.
• If these genealogies are not composed of historical people, then where do the historical people start and the unhistorical people end? Minimalists deny this historical line up to and including the Exodus and even later.
So what impact does this have on the reliability/credibility of the Old Testament (and thus on the New Testament, which is based on the Old Testament)? An immense impact!
• The basic Christian doctrines of sin, grace, redemption for sin (etc.) are all tied up with this historical time line.

• The people, places, and events in this time line are real. However, the description of these people, places, and events is necessarily colored by the worldview of the biblical authors. To “beget” someone is a physical act – either it happened or it didn’t. But a descriptive interpretation of a real event is a cultural act that stems from a particular worldview.

• The stories in the Bible (especially Genesis) have a dual nature:
(1) Historical: They have a historical base.
(2) Figurative: The biblical author’s worldview is interwoven with this historical base .

• Creation of the physical world and humans could have taken place by a long process of God‐directed evolution.
• “Seven days” of Gen. 1 are not literal days. The number 7 was basic to the numerological worldview of the ancient Mesopotamians. God’s revelation was written down following the literary narrative style of the Mesopotamians: work was done in 6 days (broken down into 2 triads); rest was on the 7th day.

• Pre‐Adamites hinted at in Gen. 4:17 (Cain’s wife) ; Gen. 6:2 (“daughters of men”); “land of Nod” (Nodites), etc.
• Pre‐Adamites are the “male and female” of Gen. 1 that were created in God’s image. All humans have a spiritual awareness and innate capacity to see God in His creation (Rom. 1:19‐20).
• Did pre‐Adamites sin (murder, etc.)? Yes, because all humans have a sin nature. But were they judged by God for that sin? No, because sin is not imputed where there is no (knowledge of the) law (Rom. 5:13).
God did not spiritually confer the “knowledge” of good and evil to humans until Adam.

• God’s first intervention into human history. The story of Adam & Eve is told from the worldview of the creation narratives of that day, but differs significantly because of the revelation of God to the line of Adam.
• Adam: First human to be given a “soul” (spirit) (Gen. 2:7).

• Sin dispensationally conferred on the human race through Adam (Rom. 5:12); similarly, grace conferred on human race through Christ (Rom. 5:15). Grace not biologically passed down because Christ is not the biological father of any of us; similarly, sin is not passed down biologically from Adam. Therefore, all humans (from Adam’s line or not from his line) fall under the dispensations of sin and grace.
• First covenant with humanity set up in the Garden of Eden initiated the following chain of events: sin, judgment of sin, blood‐sacrifice atonement for sin, spiritual death and spiritual (eternal) life.

(1) Historical: Adam and Eve were real historical people.
(2) Figurative: But the text reflects worldview of biblical author; “play on words” typical of early narrative writing.
• adam (“man” = humanity in Gen. 1); Adam (“Man” = 1 man in Gen. 2).
• God formed man (Adam) from the “dust (or clay) of the ground” (Gen. 2:7). Poetic figure of speech, one used by the culture of that time.
• Eve formed from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2:21). Another “play on words.” Sumerian for rib = ti, which could alternately mean “life” in Sumerian; “lady of the rib” = “lady who makes live”, or Eve was the “mother of all living” (Gen 3:20).

(1) Historical: Noah = real person, Noah’s Flood = real flood (but local to Mesopotamian hydrologic basin).
occurred at end of Jemet Nasr Period at ~2900 B.C.
(2) Figurative: Text is based on numerological (sacred) numbers 7, 10, 40, 60, not on real numbers.
Total duration of Flood = 365 days or exactly one solar year.
• Noah = 600 (60 x 10) when flood started. Sexagesimal # 600 used only for very important persons.
• Noah waited 7 days inside the ark for the flood to start (Gen. 7:7).
• It rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Gen. 7:4).
• The land was flooded until the 7th month, 17th (10 + 7) day (Gen. 7:24).
• The ark rested on the mountains of Ararat on the 7th month, 17th (10 + 7) day (Gen. 8:4).
• The waters decreased until the 10th month.
• In 40 more days Noah opened the window of the ark (Gen. 8:6).
• In 7 more days Noah sent forth a dove (Gen. 8:10).
• Noah sent out the dove again in another 7 days (Gen. 8:12).

• The Worldview Approach is a new way of interpreting Scripture in the Science/Origins debate.
• It is similar to “Accommodation” (SA) in that it incorporates the pre‐ingrained scientific worldview of the biblical author(s) into the text. However, it differs from Accommodation in important ways.
• It is theologically important that Adam be a historical person through whom sin was conferred on humanity, just as a historical Christ (the “second Adam”) conferred grace on humanity and the forgiveness of sins. The doctrine of “Accommodation” rejects this historical and theological connection, and thus cuts into the very heart of the gospel message.
• If a “literal” view of Genesis is taken, instead of the “dual” view of the Worldview Approach, then the text becomes mythological and thus unbelievable. This applies to all three of the other positions of biblical interpretation (YEC, Progressive Creationist, Accommodation).

Conrad Hyers:
“Unwittingly, ‘literal’ or ‘concordist’ views are secular rather than sacred interpretations
of the text. To faithfully interpret Genesis is to be faithful to what it really means as it was
originally written, not to what people living in a later time (or coming from a different
worldview) desire it to be.”


The Garden of Eden: A Modern Landscape

Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis

The Noachian Flood: Universal or Local?

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Thanks again for a good reply. You touched on some things I had not thought about for a long time (like ration tablets) I remember seeing the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum when I was younger, where cuneiform was finally untangled. In the same area of the museum I looked at cuneiform tablets which no doubt were ration tablets or some similar type of ancient accounting system done in cuneiform.
No doubt in my mind either that ancient mathematics almost rivaled those of our best modern math. Yet, I have searched for some verification of 7-day cycles as being ubiquitous in ancient mathematics, and all I could come up with was a sexadecimal system (base 6) that the Babylonians and Chaldeans used. I could find nothing about ration tablets and a temple system. Can you provide some references for that? Nevertheless, I think one of the best quotes I found was from a math professor who said:

"The main part of the third millennium, now called the Early Dynastic period, saw the gradual development of Sumerian civilization, based on numerous city states. From the Early Dynastic period comes the earliest Sumerian literature, including the epic poetry about Gilgamesh. The Sumerians lived in a complex, unpredictable and frequently hostile environment. They had to contend with floods, droughts, storms, dust, heat, disease and death. They strove to uncover order and organization in the world to overcome feelings of futility and powerlessness. " (from

So perhaps the stories were told in numbers because numbers themselves are a quantitative measure of something that is solid and unchanging, not given to vagaries of interpretation. Numbers are certain, whereas the natural world is not. Numbers are precise, and language is messy and imprecise.

As you said, the patterns drive the numbers, and the numbers drive the patterns. But I think it is a knowable problem. I think it comes directly from the mind of God, who most assuredly thinks in precise terms. In God, things are certain, not fuzzy. If we are fuzzy-minded about God, the fault lies in us, not in God not revealing Himself. But we MUST be careful about our interpretation of the linguistic data. It is not as cut and dried as many numerologists would have us believe.

I highly recommend Wiseman's book on Genesis. Don Stoner also recommends RM Best's book. My copy recently got here and I haven't opened it yet.

Sorru I wasn't clear. The ancients didn't use a base 7 system. The very earliest writings assumed a 7 day week. Even more so, it was designed around a 7 day week. Don Stoner has a picture of a ration tablet on his web page.

They also used a confusing and inconsistent numbering system which had mixed bases of 6, 10, 60, 100, and 360. It was not merely base 6 as you mentioned. I believe this mess comes from trying to force their 360-day calendar on other things.

Their math was not as great as the fellow you quoted imagined. Yet I still marvel at what they already new at the time they first invented writing. How did they do the math they did without writing things down?

I will try to obtain the book from Wiseman. But this topic holds great interest for me. I am not the most brilliant mathematician (pretty poor actually), but I see clearly that numbers have great power for REPRESENTING things and ideas.
About 8,000 BC, Sumerians underwent an agricultural revolution. This brought people out of a nomadic hunting environment and into clusters of people in city-states who then had to deal with interpersonal transactions. I think the idea of personal possessions partly drove the necessity to account for what people owned. This early accounting system that predated writing was based mostly on tokens. The tokens themselves isn't what is important, but the CONCEPT of tokenism is what is important. Instead of actually HAVING a sheep, for instance, the idea that you could have a stand-in object that represented a sheep meant that people's minds began to think in abstract, rather than concrete terms.
Abstraction is a very important part of human thinking, and one which MUST have been developed before (in my opinion) people could think deeply about God in ways we think about Him today (a metaphysical and supernatural kind of thinking) In fact, our culture is so removed from the superstitous nature of early man in thinking about deity that things like idols as stand-ins (dare I say a more advanced tokenism system?) for God is not even on our radar today. That the Hebrews even thought that a golden calf at Synai could somehow substitute fo rthe true God is nonsense to us today, but I believe that the tokenism of their ancestors contributed heavily towards the idolistic nature of the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt. If the exodus of the Israelites were repeated today, how many people in modern thinking would conceive of making a golden calf? Perhaps that is why certain parts of the 10 commandments don't even register as issues for us today, because man (at least Western man in the Judeo-Christian ethic) has "evolved" past tokenism.
Now, what does that mean for numerical systems for us today? Naturally, it is encumbent on a serious student of theology to first put himself in the shoes of ancient man in order to figure out the motivation for writing things symbolically in numbers. Part of the difficulty is in determining whether a particular number was simply a mundane accounting chore for them, or whether it was an intentional storytelling device. To determine the latter, we must first know how THEY understood any particular number in their daily agricultural accounting methods. Without knowing how their minds would have conceptualized any particular number, I think it is impossible to know how WE ought to conceptualize it. For example, if they used the number 60 in some kind of a story, would that have meant "sixty" as an abstract integer as we look at it today, or would it have meant, say, the approximately sixty sheep that uncle Ahab, who is the richest man in the village, possesses? If so, then the story would be one about rich men, not about the number 60, as we might interpret it today in strictly modern mechanistic thought.
So then, how CAN we know what was in the minds of the ancients in their stories? I think we can only peek, but never fully know, what they were thinking.
When I made my original claim about numerology being suspect, this is what I was talking about - the idea that this or that number in the bible means one particular thing.
So then I got to thinking: If I was God trying to communicate heavenly concepts to ALL people throughout time, I would most likely try to communicate those ideas with numeric patterns. Using words alone would never suffice, because words change meaning through time. But using numbers alone would also be subject to interpretation, because the concept of numbers also changes throughout time, as I just showed. God knew in advance that our species would evolve in its thinking, and He knew that there would, of necessity, have to be some constant in place (a metric) by which ALL men for ALL time would be able to divine the Divine! I believe that constant is the observable universe. I don't see any other source of unchangingness through which the meanings of numbers could be communicated. The moon and the sun are prime examples. They are consistent in their patterns, and their meaning (in a metaphysical way) is pretty constant. In fact, Genesis makes it clear that the sun is considered a "greater light" and the moon is a "lesser light". The sun is also given a metaphysical right of rulership over the day, and the moon over the night. Following this line of reasoning its pretty easy to see that light and dark, day and night, good and evil are all intertwined in the sun and the moon. Furthermore, those bodies have patterns to them, and those patterns can be reduced to numbers. All in all, I see that God purposely appointed numbers as having meanings that are unmistakable.
And yet, some proponents of numerology bastardize the meanings by introducing pagan ideas into the mix. It isn't that the early Hebrews were ignorant of the pagan-ness of those numbers. In fact, they were probably very aware of the meanings of the numbers in storytelling, and how it ran counter to their own God-given understanding of numbers as revealed in the heavens. A good contrast to this is in the plagues that came on Egypt. The frogs, blood, lice, flies, etc., were all statements from God about His contempt for the Egyptian gods. The Hebrews no doubt understood how these plagues were to be interpreted. But when God gave the holy days to the ex-slaves, He definitely established a counting system that was in opposition to the systems of the pagan cultures around them. This was intentional, not accidental.
So then, should a modern student of theology and biblical numbers give much heed to the pagans and how they used numbers? I don't think so, except as a study tool to know how numbers originated in ancient cultures, and how they influenced the minds of the Hebrews. I think it is a matter of faith for a Christian to day to stick to biblical numbers only as a way to understand Godly concepts. Sure, pagans used numbers to stand for things. But the God we worship has consistently told us what HE wants us to know, and He has done it through a numerical system that He established, not the numerical system of the pagans around His chosen people. That the Sumerians had a 7 day week might actually be a statement more about God than about them. That is, perhaps they had a 7 day week precisely BECAUSe God gave it to them. Did God use THEIR system for Himself? I don't think so. I think God made it, they adopted it, and we are studying it. But that doesn't mean that we ought to give equal weight to all ancient numbers, just because they are ancient. I think we need to parse out which numbers properly belong to God's ideas and which properly belong to the pagans.
I hear you.


Responses from Sam Frost on recent PD same blog article.


what do you do with this one: "It is theologically important that Adam be a historical person through whom sin was conferred on humanity" which is Hill's view (against Seely)

For a blast against Seely (accomodationist) see

Oh, and I might add that John Walton does not follow Hill, either.

My response follows

Did you miss Hill’s earlier statements about Adam as a dispensational inference?

Hill …“Sin dispensationally conferred on the human race through Adam (Rom. 5:12); similarly, grace conferred on human race through Christ (Rom. 5:15). Grace not biologically passed down because Christ is not the biological father of any of us; similarly, sin is not passed down biologically from Adam. Therefore, all humans (from Adam’s line or not from his line) fall under the dispensations of sin and grace.”

I absolutely agree with Hill that Adam was a historical person in which “dispensationally” Sin was introduced into the world upon humanity just not through a biological means. The “sin” of Adam’s dispensation was a covenant one that related to the giving Adam/Israel a command or Law for obedience purpose to remain in relationship to God. When that Mode of covenant existence was removed fully at the Parousia and replaced with the dispensation of Grace by Christ the second Adam we simply now come to God through the New Covenant mode. The humanity under consideration though has always been all men but specifically those who seek covenant with the God of the Bible, all others within humanity simply eliminate themselves by remaining outside the City.

Regarding Seely, there are points that he makes that I agree with and there are those that I don’t. He and Hill are always sparing but in regards to your article on Seely the author is just giving their opinion which is fine and some points may have merit and some may not. There is no doubt though that the writer is coming across as one with serious impairments and limitations of their own so the article is really not worth much from that standpoint.

Concerning Walton and Hill, yes I imagine Walton would disagree with Hill but it would be interesting to see what he has to say. However you know that I don’t agree fully with Walton nor do I fully agree fully with Hill on everything. I just thought Hill’s approach was interesting as she comes at Adam independently from those of us in Preterism and arrives at a similar conclusion.
Norm, thanks for posting this. I had somehow missed it earlier. I have yet to study it thoroughly, but I think this part--highlighted in your response to Sam--is especially significant:

• Sin dispensationally conferred on the human race through Adam (Rom. 5:12); similarly, grace conferred on human race through Christ (Rom. 5:15). Grace not biologically passed down because Christ is not the biological father of any of us; similarly, sin is not passed down biologically from Adam. Therefore, all humans (from Adam’s line or not from his line) fall under the dispensations of sin and grace.
• First covenant with humanity set up in the Garden of Eden initiated the following chain of events: sin, judgment of sin, blood‐sacrifice atonement for sin, spiritual death and spiritual (eternal) life.

Significant for the exact reason you mentioned: that she arrives at the non-biological view of sin through Adam independent of preterism, and arrives at a similar conclusion.

Here are a couple of articles that I think you will find intersting by one of Carol Hill's friends. I asked her and she confirmed that they were similar in thinking and have compared notes. Here are some links to Peter Ruest' articles along similar lines.

"First man versus Adam in Genesis"

"Early Humans, Adam, and Inspiration"
Peter Rüst




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