According to Genesis 4, both Cain and Abel were agriculturists, however, modern anthropologists and paleontologists hold that human societies had been around for thousands or millions of years prior to the introduction of agriculture.

How do evangelical scholars address the prevalence of agriculture among the first people in Genesis, especially considering the centrality of the fall of Adam in the gospel narrative?

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    Not to be too obvious, but the YEC view, which is the one that views Cain and Abel as literal children of the first humans, created roughly 6000 years ago rejects an old-earth timeline altogether. So they'd reject the idea that the earth has been around for millions ofyears, rendering the entire question insensible. Those that believe in an old earth would say that Cain and Abel were figurative, or not the literal children of the first humans created. Am I missing something here? – David Stratton May 20 '14 at 4:22
  • Well, one thing you're overlooking is that there are those who believe the Earth has been around for millions of years, but that life was only created 6000 years ago, or so. – brasshat May 20 '14 at 7:33
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    Evangelical scholars do not all hold the YEC view. – Ben Mordecai May 20 '14 at 11:35
  • What exactly is the question here? Are you asking what Adam & Eve did for food before Cain & Able? – Jeff May 21 '14 at 2:15
  • How am I to consider that X occurred X million years ago, before records, as we know them, were established ? What premise could I use ? – V. Rollins May 21 '14 at 15:34

Even among those US Christians who self-identify as "evangelical", there are considerable differences in how they evaluate these matters. An Evangelical scholar who subscribes to the ideas of "Young Earth" creationism would simply say that the proposition that there were any hunter gatherer societies is not worthy of consideration, because any of what they would style "supposed" evidence is just not accurate because the Earth is about 6000 years old, and anything that seems to exist from before that time was created that way 6000 years ago.

On the other hand, there are scholars who self identify as "evangelical" who believe that roughly the first half of Genesis up to Abraham may incorporate distortions which crept in during the first couple of millennia when tradition was passed down orally. One view of Adam & Eve which would be compatible with this interpretation would be that Adam and Eve were, in fact, gatherers, and were created earlier than Creationists accept.

Another, 'scientifically similar' but 'exegetically different' point of view is that the first chapters of Genesis are not to be read as scientific 'fact' (as we would understand fact in the modern western world), but as an expression of the foundational truth of God creating everything in order, and man's place in that creation.

  • I don't think this does justice to the scope of 'evangelical' positions on the matter. Rather than adding another answer, I'll edit yours, accept/adapt as you wish. – Benjol May 20 '14 at 9:51

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