Denis Lamoureux on Biblical Genealogies

Posted By on February 24, 2014

Over at the Patheos blog, Pete Enns has been posting about this short video series by Denis Lamoureux. You’ll recall that Dr. Lamoureux was one of the contributors to the 4 Views on the historical Adam book. His position was “no historical Adam.” He’s an evolutionary creationist.

I think many of you will find this series of interest. I’ve watched the first four videos, but have posted the entire series of six here. None of them are very long and they’re pretty clear. He does a good job showing some of the artificiality of the genealogies without getting too technical. I say “artificial” in the sense that biblical genealogies were not constructed for the same reasons that we construct genealogies. There’s often some sort of theological messaging to them. The videos do a good job of highlighting some of the features that make this evident.

Part 1: Introduction: The Bible and Genealogies

Part 2: Genealogies of Jesus (handout that accompanies the video)

Part 3: Background to Genealogies of Genesis (handout that accompanies the video)

Part 4: Genealogies of Hebrew Patriarchs: Gen 5 and 11 (handout that accompanies the video)

Part 5: Adam and the Biblical Genealogies

Part 6: Conclusion: The Bible and Genealogies

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37 Responses to “Denis Lamoureux on Biblical Genealogies”

  1. chris says:

    Hey Micheal great post . i read somewhere that in the genealogies of the bible , both Greek and Hebrew have numerical value associated with the letters. i did not hear any comparison of Greek gematria against hebrew gematria, in those videos.

    An interesting view i have come across is that the word used in Hebrew and Greek for father is reasonably ambiguous, therefore lets say in Joseph’s case that he may have not actually been the father of Jesus. what are your views on these two subjects? sorry if i come across as an amateur.

    • MSH says:

      I don’t know how “father” in either language would be ambiguous. Maybe you’re referring to polyvalence (?) – but that’s not the same thing as ambiguous. Yes, both Greek and Hebrew had gematria.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry Michael ,i was not clear enough , what i meant is that the word used for father(in both Greek and Hebrew) can and is known to have more than just a biological meaning.

        Also may is ask , is gematria exclusive to Hebrew and Greek ? Did Ugarit, and Aramaic, contain any numerical value to the letters?

        • MSH says:

          I’ve never seen any allusion to gematria for Ugaritic. I’ve run into a few instances for Aramaic.

          • chris says:

            Would the Aramaic, have taken its (letter/word= number/s) from both Greek and Hebrew, or would it be more likely that Aramaic linguists, adopted the idea from later Greek language ( post 70 AD)?

            • chris says:

              Have you come across gematrical value ,in Coptic and Ethiopian? Would you consider the idea that ; Coptic linguists may have been influenced, by Hebrew gematria

      • chris says:

        The videos were great, i became interested in genetics and the bible around age 20, mostly because i experience anaphylaxis, when consuming certain foods.

        There are many factors to consider,….

        1. Time and its relevance.
        2. Mutation/Phenomena.
        3. Bias of research.

        And last of all, the rant : As far as evolution theory goes, it is never void,, from massive amounts of time;compared to, what many would call, “Orthodoxian history time”.
        Mutations in mito DNA can definitely be passed through both, mother and father.

        Although the passing of ‘mito’ paternally is rare ,it does happen.

        • chris says:

          Would gematria be exclusive to Greek and Hebrew?
          Do you know of any numerical value to, Aramaic,Ugarit and Coptic texts?

          my opinion is.

          Cuneiform,Hieroglyphics and phonetics are intimately entwined ; gematria is the result of, mathematical approach to seeing symmetries in nature, picture description and phonetics.

  2. Andrew T. says:

    I don’t understand something (likely many things) but something specifically about evolutionary creationists. Science itself posits a Mitochondrial Eve, a women from whom we all descend – provable through universally shared Mitochondrial DNA. Science also posits a Y-chromosomal Adam, a man from whom we all descend, also provable through universally shared Y-chromosomal DNA.

    Now science, lest it looked like it was agreeing with the bible was quick to point out that Mitochondrial Eve was not contemporary with Y-chromosomal Adam, off by 100,000 years yet still science recognizes a man and a women from whom we all descend. Science has since amended this claim and discovered that in fact Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve did in fact live near the same time historically.

    So why then do ‘believers’, or specifically evolutionary creationist want to believe something that even unbelieving scientists don’t?

    • MSH says:

      I think Lamouruex would say he believes in the idea of evolution, but not one particular explanation for human evolutionary history (that’s just a guess).

    • Anonymous says:

      Mitochondrial DNA is only recently known to be randomly paternal.

      Also it is known now that mutations can skip generations and be passed through paternal mitochondrial DNA.

    • Hanan says:

      Andrew, it still would mean any evolved human appeared over 100,000 years ago, so I don’t know. I don’t think it helps much

      • chris says:

        In genetics , the goal is to find sequence/s with the available information,and therefore understand the mechanics of the genome. Mapping mutations through mito, is paramount to genetic research. As i said previously, paternal passing of mito, has only recently been discovered. i suggest,, anyone wanting to get an idea of how discombobulated the field of genetics is, look into anaphylaxis, prophylaxis and mutation of mito.

    • Mattias says:

      I would be hesitant in putting to much stock in DNA research either way. It is a new science that moves forward really fast, and that which is true today, might be disproved tomorrow. It is better then to look at what the best interpretation of scripture is regardless of natural science. I think that Dennis puts forth a pretty good, but not watertight argument. Adam means human and as such it could be a title for an unknown distant figure, the idea of mankind or the originator of a clan rather than somebodies grandpa.

      • chris says:

        Agreed , yet still not a basis to claim non historical adam, even if the scriptures were of a broader and more general meaning in this case, there would still be an historical adam and the writer/s of said scriptures would have known that.

  3. Keith R. Starkey says:

    The information Denis gives is great, but in the end, with only what he has given here, he hasn’t demonstrated that the retrojection back to Adam proves there is no real Adam. Paul seemed to believe in a real Adam when telling Timothy that Adam wasn’t deceived, but Eve was. Are we to believe that Paul was thinking only conceptually and theologically in his references to Adam (both in Timothy and Romans)? I find it hard to believe that he was. And I can’t just say, “Well, you know Pau, he didn’t have our modern understanding of science in his day.” That just doesn’t work for me smoothly enough to pass by Paul’s hamartiology.

    Denis’s referenced his lectures on his believe about Adam (based on modern science), but the further one moves away from the conception that sooner-or-later a real person sinned and threw the entire world into chaos is only to open more cans of worms than there are fish to eat them…I think, anyway.

  4. Dave Lewis says:

    I watched all six videos. Interesting stuff.

    I need to learn how numbers are written in Hebrew and then see for myself if it would be easy for a reader to pick out all the 5s.

  5. Keith R. Starkey says:

    Denis…Dennis. Thanks heavens it wasn’t a spelling contest! (Sorry, Dennis).

  6. Palladin says:

    I enjoyed that, but, his conclusion at the end about why Adam is a myth didn’t resonate with me.

    As we saw with Dr. Walton’s work, the text actually lends itself to intra species evolution if “to create” really means “make functional”.

    To believe in evolution doesn’t mean Adam needs to be mythologized once you see that and like your polemic demonstrated, Adam may not even be the 1st literal human if we read the text w/o pre conceived notions.

    Anyway, just because the ancient writer believed the flawed cosmology he went over in section 1 doesn’t mean the earth or heavens are a myth, yet it does mean Adam is a myth because of flawed “ancient science”? That’s not a valid conclusion, IMO.

    When Jesus judged Jerusalem, He used the “blood of Abel” as partial justification for 70 AD and that’s why I think Adam has to be a real human. Cause 70 AD was a real judgement.

    I get the geneaologies are theological constructs and appreciate his efforts there. It’s helpful stuff.

    I just think he’s stuck in reacting to the SOP view of Genesis 1-3 and I think that view itself is flawed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Links don’t seem to work.

  8. Hanan says:

    That was interesting. I would just like to ask him a couple of things. On his genealogical framework for Gen. 5,11 & 21 he seems to arbitrarily add and remove names in order for the number to be 25. So for example, he adds in Ham and Japheth (who the Israelites don’t descend from) and he removes, of all people Jacob.

    Second, he says the number is supposed to represent the five books of the Torah, but how does that logistically work? I mean, when they were writing all this stuff, did they KNOW that in the end, all this material would be edited into five books. It’s sort of what came first, the chicken or the egg.

    • MSH says:

      agreed; some of it is a little arbitrary for my taste as well. The five books thing may be legit. Some psalms scholars have made a good case for the Torah being an analogy for the five books within Psalms (the structure). if that’s real, the “five” nature would be pretty old.

  9. Patrick says:


    Totally off topic. The verse below may have some application in your “Myth” book that I forgot was or was not in your 1st draft as support for the gentiles being “allotted” other gods and the Jews not.

    Deuteronomy 29:26

  10. Joe says:

    I read through the comments, and maybe I’m missing some understanding here, but in one of the geneologies, He had Jesus as #13 and Christ as #14. What is the deal with that?

    • MSH says:

      He does that to make the 14 – i.e., he assumes the writer wrote “Jesus, who is called Christ” to make 14.

    • chris says:

      It does kind of remind me of the bible code, many people apply the gematria in a mixed sense ( blending ancient views and modern views together) i know Micheal has talked about letting the scriptures be what they are ,and not placing modern opinions upon them. This should extend to gematria. i am not of the opinion that the scriptures were written for 20th century/30th century readers.

      • MSH says:

        Bible code is much wackier.

        • chris says:

          I agree , those types of books make me shudder !, you may have noticed Dan Brown has a new book about the free masons (in his classic ‘fiction’ style).

          My opinion is, people should be careful when applying biblically significant numbers , to gematria, as numerical value for symbols/letters, is not unique to biblical languages , but does seem to adhere to culture influence.

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