Acts 17:24-28

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24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor* he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God** and perhaps grope for him and find him–though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,

‘For we too are his offspring.’

* Gk From one; other ancient authorities read From one blood
**Other ancient authorities read the Lord

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

Made of/from what? — a summary of Variant Translations (see discussion below)

one — original Gk (probably, see below), Vulgate, Wycliffe, RV, RSV, ASV, NRSV margin, NET footnote, with "(the word “man” is understood)"
one blood — some Gk MSS, Tyndale, KJV, YLT
one stock — REB
one ancestor — NRSV
one man — NIV, ESV, NLT, NET

← prev. . . . references said to Comment on Creation/EC/TE - Bible implications#lit|"accept" a literal Genesis . . . next →

Reconciliation Challenge PQRC 1 — Acts 17:26 – a single male ancestor?
There is a body of scientific evidence that people are not descended from a single male ancestor. Acts 17:26 includes the statement that God “made from one [man/source/stock(?)], every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth”. Can these be reconciled?
Suggested Appraised Formulated Discussed Conclusions
here here here here and here here

The text

Literally "made of one", according to most MSS this verse doesn't specify what the "one" refers to. Thus it can be understood as either one race or one person. Some MSS specify one αἷμα (haima, blood) which can still be understood either way.

Text critical commentary

Strongs:' αἷμα aima
Of uncertain derivation; blood, literally (of men or animals), figuratively (the juice of grapes) or specifically (the atoning blood of Christ); by implication bloodshed, also kindred: - blood.
Black's New Testament Commentaries, The Acts of the Apostles:
"The Western, Syriac, and Armenian texts have 'blood' after 'one', but the other MSS. are probably right, 'one' referring to Adam" - p203.
The Diaglott brackets the word [blood] and refers to the Vatican MS.
Colin (talk)
So Strongs & Black's NTC agree with RSV on the textual question: haima shouldn't be there. The unsubstantiated opinion "referring to Adam" doesn't help with the question of what the "one" actually refers to: one person, or one stock/blood/kind of person/kindred.
Bruce (talk) 05:16, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
Paul — The word " αἵματος " appears in the BYZ (The New Testament in the Original Greek - Byzantine Text Form, 2005) but it doesn’t appear in the BGT (which is a combination of the BNT and LXT databases; BNT - Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Revised Edition 2012 + LXT - LXX Septuaginta (LXT) (Old Greek Jewish Scriptures 1935))

Contextual reading

The Immediate Context

As bro Ken Gilmore points out here, Paul was not speaking to Jews. The audience was Greek. They believed in many gods; they knew myths of special people descended from gods; they believed that as Greeks they were superior to other people; and they knew nothing of the Hebrew Bible or Adam. "So, when Paul says ‘of one he made all nations’, this is not a reference to Adam, since Genesis was unknown to the audience." In other words, if the Greek audience understood Paul to be saying that all nations came from one individual, they would have been more likely to think he was referring to a god than to Adam!

The Speaker and his Purpose

Two further aspects of the context need to be considered. Firstly, Paul's own background: it is hard to imagine that he did not think of the subtleties of Scripture, tradition and legend respecting Adam and adam when he was speaking, or the separation of bnei adam in Deuteronomy 32:8; and equally it is hard to imagine that he wanted to teach the Athenians something about Adam but omitted it. On the contrary, what he said was already shocking enough; and his main focus was to speak about the One God.

The Author's Context

Secondly, Luke's role in documenting Paul's story for Theophilus, and our understanding of Luke's guidance by inspiration. Why does he leave the "of one" ambiguous, if it is true that it might refer to Adam? Why is there no explanation? If Luke understood Paul to be hiding something significant from his Athenian audience, why does he not say so? Does Luke wish to hide it from Theophilus also? There is an important aspect of the Gospel that he does hide from Theophilus, throughout both of his books (viz. blood sacrifice for atonement) — might Adam be in the same category? It is not impossible, but why?
Bruce (talk)
Brother H A Whittaker, writing about the intent of this verse in Studies in the Acts of the Apostles, teaches that the passage has the same significance in context, whether all people are made "of one blood" (as AV and many MSS)? or "made of one man"? or "of one nature" (as certain other important MSS suggest).
Bruce (talk) 10:48, 24 April 2018 (UTC)

Further Biblical Context

Colin's heading: Paul's Areopagus message in Athens and its direct Old Testament basis

This gives a Biblical context which is the more likely to be in Paul's mind in answering the Stoic and Epicurean questions.

When we see the parallels between what Paul is saying in Acts 17and other parts of scripture especially Genesis, it’s not hard to conclude that he has nothing but scripture in mind.

  • Acts 17/24a God who made the world and everything in it
"In the beginning God" - Gen 1/1
"created the heaven and the earth..thus the heaven and the earth were finished and all the host of them" - Gen. 1:1; 2:1
"The LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them" - Ex. 20:11a
"The Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them" - Ps. 146:6a
"This is what God the Lord says—he who created the heavens and stretched them out" - Isa. 42:5a
"To the LORD your God belongs the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it" - Deut. 10:14
"the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth" - Gen 14:19
  • v24b - and does not dwell in temples built by hands.
[Solomon prays:] “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” - 1 Kings. 8:27 & Acts 7:48
"This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” - Isa. 66:1, 2a
  • v25a - And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.
[God says:] “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens [for sacrifices], for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills ... If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” - Ps. 50:9–13
  • v25b - because he gives all life and breath and everything [else].
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” - Gen. 2:7
“If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” - Job 34:14-15
“God ... spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people and life to those who walk on it.” - Isa. 42:5b
“In whose hand is the soul (life) of every creature and the breath of all mankind.“ - Job 12:10
“God who holds your breath in His hand” NKJV - Dan. 5:23b
  • v26 - And from one blood he made every nation of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth; and he determined the pre-appointed times set for them and the boundaries of their dwellings
“And God blessed them and said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” [i.e. Adam & Eve as individuals]- Gen. 1:28
“And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” - Gen. 3:20
“...the generations of Adam…and Adam lived 130 years, and he begat a son” etc. [Adam the individual died ch 5:5 - it wasn’t humankind that died]- Gen. 5:1; 3-32
“These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.” - Gen. 10:32
“…Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” - Gen 11:7-9
"When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples" - Deut. 32:8
“He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.” - Job 12:23
“And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” - Dan 2:21
“…the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” -Dan 4:17
  • v27 - God did this so that they would seek the Lord if perhaps they might grope [in the dark] for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near." - Isa. 55:6
“…to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” - Isa. 42:7b
“Am I only a God nearby”, declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?” - Jer. 23:23
  • V28 - For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” - Job 12:10
  • v29 - “Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine [being] is like gold or silver or stone—shaped by man’s art and thought.
"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." - Isa. 42:8
“Our Father which art in heaven.” - Matt. 6:9
  • v31 - For he has set a day when he will judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead.
"He will judge the world in righteousness…he cometh to judge the earth...with righteousness…” - Ps. 9:8a/ 96:13/ 98:9
"The court was seated, and the books were opened. … I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” - Dan. 7:10b, 13
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:" - John 5:22
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” - Romans 2:16
"and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead” - Acts 10:42
"…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, . . .  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” - 2 Thess. 2:1-10
Colin (talk) 10:53, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

Bruce — There is no doubt that Paul's speech echoes many parts of the Hebrew Bible, especially its teaching that the One God gives life and breath to all, and no doubt that Paul would have had thought of them. I have added a chain of verses showing that God gives the breath of life to all humankind beginning at Genesis 2:7, for the significance of these passages to Genesis. These are the verses cited by W R Horst below, and some of the passages you have cited above could be added to them. Nevertheless Paul surely focussed on the fact that he was addressing the Areopagus, which is the aspect of the speech that is relevant to the claim that what verse 26 omits must be filled in a particular way that leads to the overthrow of the science of human genetics. Bruce, 16 February 2019


Translations interpreting it as one stock, one kindred or kind of person, one blood

[God that made the world and all things therein] . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation . . .
REB in agreement with KJV:
He created from one stock every nation of men to inhabit the whole earth’s surface. He determined their eras in history and the limits of their territory.

Translations interpreting it as one person, a single ancestor

From one ancestor* he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live,
* NRSV footnote: Gk From one; other ancient authorities read From one blood
made from one man
caused to spring from one forefather
Colin (talk) 03:18, 27 April 2018 (UTC)

A quite different translation

From one single principle he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed the times and limits of their habitation.

"one" GK heis, 'one', which is translated 'one' 286 x, 'a'15 x, 'a certain' 6 x, 'other' 7x; (Bullinger). W.E.Vine in Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says the word heis is "masculine (feminine and neuter nominative forms are min and hen, respectively)" which confirms the intention here in Acts 17/26 as being a man, not a woman (in my opinion).

Bruce (talk) 04:49, 27 April 2018 (UTC) writes:
It's not nominative after ἐξ in case you're thinking that rules out γένος — but surely, we don't need all this! Nobody has ever been able to prove that their answer to the question "one what?" is the only correct one, and neither will we. The point is, the verse doesn't necessarily overthrow all of modern biology!

Bullinger and Vine say it is the first cardinal numeral, and emphatically, a single (one) to the exclusion of others, e.g. Matt 21/24['one thing', i.e., a question]; Rom 3/10 ['none righteous, no, not one']; 1 Cor 9/24 ['one receiveth the prize']; 1 Tim 2/5 (2x) ['one God and one mediator']." Being a single one in the context appears not to point to a race, but an individual from whom arose every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth"(ESV). See Gen 5/3; 6/1; 9/19 Footnote: "Or from these the whole earth was populated".

Colin (talk) 15:51, 23 April 2018 (UTC)


Colin (talk) 03:44, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
Bruce (talk) 01:16, 26 April 2018 (UTC) writes:
Surely Vine didn't say the intention of heis "confirms the intention as being a man, not a woman"! It's in the genitive case, either masculine or neuter, and any masculine or neuter noun could be understood depending on the context: see below my comment re " ἐξ ἑνὸς γένους " being a grammatical possibility.

Thoughts about blood

Paul — Not "one man" but "one blood" which appears to indicate a common foundation for life; life being in the blood (sustained by blood)

Lev. 17:11, 14 NKJ 11 `For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.'
14 "for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, `You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.'
Lev. 17:14 NKJ 14 "for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, `You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.'

Paul — The spiritual blood…

Jn. 6:53-54 NKJ 53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Paul — The contrast the spiritual (from the natural) is highlighted in John 1:13 NKJ 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In the context of John 1 this is a new creation of God which is similar but differing in focus and importance to the first creation by God. Paul (talk) 08:19, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

Re Paul's notes about blood above: Is "blood" found in any reputable modern translation? AIUI the Greek says "has made of one every type of man" OWTTE - this would mean the "blood" idea is not relevant. — Bruce (talk) 03:37, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
Answering my own question↑ —yes, quite a few modern translations have "one blood", more than I thought — see at BibleHub. Some of these can be discounted as King James copycats, but perhaps others are using blood as the KJV apparently did, referring to kindred rather than an individual; or perhaps to preserve the ambiguity of the original. It's a particular idiomatic usage in English, though, and exploring symbolism that has to do with blood is not necessarily helpful.

blood again: Vine "(hence Eng. Prefix haem--") It is quite evident there was a starting point for humanity, and Paul would know when and from whom it started from his knowledge of the Scriptures. He knew it was Adam, but to the Greeks this was new information. He refers to one of their own poets to state there was a starting point, despite the Athenian belief they sprang from the earth itself which made them superior to others, as they believed. Had "stock" been meant, Luke should have used the Greek word "genos"', but he didn't. The word stock is used by Paul twice:

Acts 13:26 “Men and brethren, children of the 'stock' of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.” Barnes says "He means here to address particularly the native-born Jews; and this appellation is used because they valued themselves highly on account of their descent from Abraham; and because the promise of the Messiah had been specially given to him." Paul is speaking to the "Men of Israel" at Antioch in Pisidia; also:
Phil 3:5 “Circumcised the eighth day, of the 'stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;"

Both verses use the Greek word genos, coming from a primary verb, ginomai, to cause to be (generate). It means " born, country (-man), diversity, generation, kind (-red), nation, offspring, stock." - Strongs.

Bruce (talk) 21:22, 25 April 2018 (UTC) writes:
It's perfectly possible that γένος was understood here: ἐξ ἑνὸς γένους
But surely this is digging too deep! We don't need to know the answer to the centuries-old question "one what?" — all we need to know is whether the verse necessarily clashes with modern Biology, and we know that it doesn't.
Colin (talk) 02:59, 27 April 2018 (UTC) writes:
Do we indeed?
Bruce (talk) 03:57, 27 April 2018 (UTC) answers:
Yes, we do. The key word is necessarily. Of course it can be read so as to clash with biological facts, and militant atheists would no doubt be happy to do so, but that isn't necessary. (In fact ἐξ ἑνὸς γένους makes good sense in context for reasons that are well known, but according to this page the challenge is not to argue that point.)
Colin (talk) We are told who the one is in Genesis. Allowing man in Gen 1/26 to be a human being, [Very unlikely: see Does Genesis 1:26 refer to Adam or humankind?‎‎ and translations at Genesis 1:26-27User:Bruce ] he was only one before he became two when Eve was formed from him by God, after being removed to the Garden eastward in Eden. When the LORD God declared it wasn't good for the man to be alone, he then made the woman and brought her to him, in the Garden.(Gen 1/22). Verses 23-24 describe the principle of marriage and as a result they became "one flesh". There is no doubt one individual is spoken of in Gen 1/27 with reference to a "male", and as far as the human race is concerned ("created man in his own image"), the creations of both male and female are the outcome of God's creative work to "make man in our image, after our likeness" (1/27), with more detail provided in ch 2. This "one" is given a command (2/16-17) [See "Thou shalt not eat thereof..." - BP] and is the husband who "did eat" (3/6) and thereby sinned, and who is named as Eve's husband, Adam in v8. It is from this union between Adam and his wife Eve that the human race descended, beginning on the male side with Cain (4/1) but the Divine record abandons him with the birth of Seth. And from Seth, born as an appointed "another seed" instead of Abel (4/25-26), the genealogy proceeds (5/3-32) . It is from the union of this "one" with the female "Eve" that all the nations of "men" were made, to dwell on all the face of the earth.
If that was new information to the Athenians, well that's why Athenians gathered to "... tell, or to hear some new thing.)" (Acts 17/21.) They were all ears, to coin a phrase. There, Paul told them about the UNKNOWN GOD and his claims on them (horror - maybe to some), but the outcome of what Paul taught, was that "certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them." (Acts 17/33-34). Acts 14/15-18 describes Paul and Barnabas teaching new things about a living God they hadn't heard of before to the audience at Lystra, in contrast to the vanity of their idols. It was similar to the situation in Athens where Paul observed their devotions to many gods, and proceeded to inform them about things of which they were unaware. So it wasn't new for Paul to explain new things to people about things they hadn't known before. Its the same when we teach the truth to anyone.
Colin (talk) 12:54, 15 May 2018 (UTC)


There is obviously some reluctance to make use of the Greek word Haima by some translators because they are not convinced it is in the manuscripts they reviewed or had to hand. For example, Bullinger refers to the "less probable omission of ‘blood’ in Codex Sinaiticus" (discovered in the Convent of St Catherine at the foot of Mt Sinai in 1844/59 and thought to be the work of the 4th Century AD) "and omissions from later editions of the Codex by Tregelles, Alford" & others.

 inline comment:

Bruce (talk) 21:22, 25 April 2018 (UTC) writes:

"There is obviously some reluctance..." is biased language, suggesting that they should use it but don't want to. The reason they don't use it is not reluctance, it's that the top textual scholars say it's not likely to be original. In any case it doesn't make any difference to our question (whether the verse teaches Monogenesis) because "one blood" might mean "one man" or "one stock".

Here's the score:

one — original Gk (see following), Vulgate, Wycliffe, RV, RSV, ASV, NRSV margin, NET footnote, with "(the word “man” is understood)"
ἑνὸς — SBLGNT with note "note: WH Treg NIV ] + αἵματος RP" (See SBLGNT for key to the codes.)
one blood — Tyndale, KJV, YLT
one stock — REB
one ancestor — NRSV
one man — NIV, ESV, NLT, NET
Not that it matters! — We only need to know whether the verse necessarily teaches Monogenesis

However, Paul uses the Greek poet to argue "all the nations of men" have derived from one and there is no reason to surmise he doesn't have Adam in mind, even though not expressed in Luke's record of the speech.

 inline comment:

Bruce (talk) 21:22, 25 April 2018 (UTC) writes:
"No reason to surmise...?" Never say never! One reason to surmise decide that he doesn't necessarily have Adam in mind is that he's talking about the One God that made the world and all things therein, giveth to all life and breath, and we are his [God's] offspring! (Of course he might have thought of Adam, but that's not the same as saying that he intended to communicate about Adam to an audience that wouldn't have known Adam from Agamemnon. Our question is not "what might we think about what Paul was thinking about?" It's a serious question about whether this verse of the Bible contradicts a central aspect of Biology.) [Added 9 May 2018: Also see below about pagan beliefs about descent of many from one.]
Colin (talk) 15:51, 23 April 2018 (UTC)

Paul — some potential alternative interpretations?

  • God has made many nations of men to dwell on the earth. They all have blood in common. / God created Adam (Gen 1) but previously God could have created say the nation of “Angelo” mankind from whom the Angels may have been drawn.
  • God could have previously created many other mankinds that would probably have also had blood in common.
  • God has determined the various mankind’s habitations, boundaries and appointed times (past present and future). God is in control.
  • All nations of mankind dwell on the face of the earth.
  • Symbolically this can also refer to Abraham and to Christ (we drink His blood).
  • From a scientific basis presumably the variety of mankinds could be evidenced through examining blood.

Paul (talk) 23:06, 26 April 2018 (UTC)

If the word “blood” is not present then literally the verse says that God created from a starting point of ONE, expanding to a multitude of humankind and other life. This also does not limit God from only creating ONE single humankind; God could have created many humankinds. ONE should naturally be interpreted as both sexes, for example as defined in Gen 5:2 (male and female being named as ONE humankind). Paul (talk) 11:21, 27 April 2018

Bruce (talk) Yes, also Genesis 1:26-27 "Let us make adam in our image ..." Told to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, etc in v.28, "and it was so!" in v.30. Genesis 1:1-2:3 is big!

Paul — The emphasis is on God who has fashioned from a single source the populations, boundaries and histories of the world. God is the ONE starting point. The emphasis is not on the single male Adam. It appears to me that the first male Adam would not have necessarily been in Paul's mind as Adam (the first male) would have been a significant distraction for Paul's audience; Paul's focus was on explaining this unknown god to a challenging audience filled with preconceived ideas. Paul, guided by the Spirit, communicated about this new god. Some relevant cross references RSV Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? … and RSV Luke 3:38 … the son of Adam, the son of God. RSV Deuteronomy 32:8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.

Paul — Therefore Paul is describing that this unknown god has given life to all things living from the very beginning until now (v25). This god made from "one" (source, creation, beginning, plan, Word (in John 1), continuation, whatever - however "blood" is not consistently present). This provision of life has spread across the whole face of the earth v26 but this is in accord with this god's time and space / distance constraints. For this god seeks to be worshiped, not with humanly manufactured idols v25 but by acknowledgement of His children's filial relationship and connection and their duty to search Him out v27 and to be like Him in character (for they are His offspring v28). On this basis I don't see that Acts 17v26 is necessarily talking about the single male Adam in Acts 17v26.


Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Ellicott's commentary on the same BibleHub page is soundly based reading in context and pretty interesting in our own context:

(26) And hath made of one blood all nations of men. —Literally, every nation. The previous verses had given what we may venture to call St. Paul's Philosophy of Religion. This gives his Philosophy of History. And the position was one which no Greek, above all, no Athenian, was likely to accept. For him the distinction between the Greek and the barbarian was radical and essential. The one was by nature meant to be the slave of the other. (Aristot. Pol. i. 2, 6.) In rising above his own prejudices of fancied superiority of race, the Apostle felt that he could attack, as from a vantage-ground, the prejudices of others. He naturally accepted the truth as it was presented to him in the Mosaic history of the Creation; but the truth itself, stated in its fullest form, would remain, even if we were to accept other theories of the origin of species and the history of man. There is a oneness of physical structure, of conditions and modes of life, of possible or actual development, which forbids any one race or nation, Hebrew, Hellenic, Latin, or Teutonic, to assume for itself that it is the cream and flower of humanity.

But its fair to say some of those translations do have "of one man". We should include the comments from Gill also here:

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

"And hath made of one blood,.... That is, of one man's blood; the Vulgate Latin version reads, "of one"; and the Arabic version of De Dieu reads, "of one man"; of Adam, the first parent of all mankind, and who had the blood of all men in his veins: hence the Jews (u) say,

"the first man was , "the blood of the world";

and this by propagation has been derived from him, and communicated to all mankind. They also say (w), that

"the reason why man was created alone (or there was but one man created) was, on account of families, that they might not be stirred up one against another;

that is, strive and contend with one another about pre-eminence: and they add,

"that the righteous might not say we are the sons of the righteous, and ye are the sons of the wicked.

And it is a certain truth that follows upon this, that no man has any reason to vaunt over another, and boast of his blood and family; and as little reason have any to have any dependence upon their being the children of believers, or to distinguish themselves from others, and reject them as the children of unbelievers, when all belong to one family, and are of one man's blood, whether Adam or Noah: of whom are

all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth; for from Adam sprung a race of men, which multiplied on the face of the earth, and peopled the world before the flood; these being destroyed by the flood, and Noah and his family saved, his descendants were scattered all over the earth, and repeopled it: and this is the original of all the nations of men, and of all the inhabitants of the earth; and stands opposed to the fabulous accounts of the Heathens, which the apostle might have in his view, that men at first grew up out of the earth, or after the flood were formed of stones, which Deucalion and Prometheus threw over their heads; and particularly the Athenians boasted that they sprung out of the earth, which Diogenes ridiculed as common with mice and worms. But the apostle ascribes all to one blood:,


Thoughts from Colin

Question for the Group:

Is it true to say that the one spoken of in Acts 17/26 is God of whom Paul says "we are his offspring" in Acts 17/28-29? Luke does say Adam was the son of God, for God created him — Gen 5/1; Luke 3/38. It seems to fit the context where Paul points to the many gods of the Athenians (v23 - 'devotions'= 'gods that ye worship' AV mg) and in contrast to the "UNKNOWN GOD" who made all humanity, living with blood coursing their veins. In verse 24 he has explained God made the world (kosmos) and all things therein, referring to His creative work, and in v25, gave to all "life and breath,and all things". The source of humanity is the first man Adam (Romans 5/12; 1 Cor 15/45; Gen 6/1, 21; 9/32(from Noah)).

If not Adam, then who, and what is the Scriptural proof?

Colin (talk) 03:42, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

God. God made humankind: Acts 17:24-29 and Isaiah 45:12.

Bruce 08:43, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

Classical Greek texts as well as the Old Testament behind Paul's thinking

The thesis by W R Horst mentioned here gives more weight to the giving of life and breath than to made of one, and finds strong connections between Acts 17:24-25 and Isaiah 42:5-10 especially clear in the Septuagint, as well as other texts.

the Giving of Life and Breath

Most relevant to our purposes:

While Genesis 2 speaks only of the in-breathing of Adam, Genesis 6:3, 17 and 7:22 confirm that the breath of life is present in all breathing creatures. The same concept of an animating breath of life is reflected in various other texts where breath is associated with life, or where the taking of breath is associated with death (see Job 12:10; 27:3-4; 33:4; 34:14-15; Ps 104:29-30; 146:4; Eccl 3:19- 21; 12:7; cf. Ps 51:10-12[12-14]), so we can speak of a breath of life tradition in the Hebrew Bible that is archetypically expressed in Genesis 2:7 and reflected in other texts, including Isaiah 42:5. In light of this, while Genesis 2 does not specifically say that God gives breath to the people living on the earth, Isaiah 42:5 can be seen as reminiscent of the Adamic breath of life. In spite of the aforementioned differences between Isaiah 42:5 and Acts 17:24-25, the echo indicates the presence of a tradition pertaining to the Adamic breath of life in Paul’s speech. God gives breath to all, creating and sustaining life on the face of the earth. This is congenial to the later statement that in God “we live and move and are” (Acts 17:28), and serves Paul’s purposes in dispelling the perception that he is proclaiming “foreign deities (ξένων δαιμονίων)” (Acts 17:18). The God who[m] Paul proclaims is unknown to the Athenians (17:23), but is not foreign, for God sustains their lives and the lives of all who walk on the earth, and is “not far from each one of us” (17:27).

Horst also finds echoes of the giving of life and breath and (significantly) the descent of many from one in Ovid's Metamophoses speaking about Pandora and Prometheus; in the teachings of Diogenes, Zeno and other Stoics; and in a passage from Seneca's letters; as well as the explicit reference in v. 28 to poetry by Aratus.

In other words, the ideas of the giving of life and the descent of many from one were in the pagan air, and Paul's admixture of Classical Greek concepts to the Old Testament is typical Hellenistic Judaism. Paul was communicating much more than a particular but unspoken view of Adam.

Bruce (talk)
A chain of passages based on those cited by Horst above to establish "a breath of life tradition in the Hebrew Bible" begins at Genesis 2:7 here →

Significance with respect to Origins

See discussion about whether this verse constrains our understanding of Genesis here and other verses which may conflict with Biblical and scientific evidence that people are not descended from a single male ancestor listed here. Also the Discussion page Talk:scientific evidence that people are not descended from a single male ancestor. This passage is cited Comment on Creation/EC/TE - Bible implications#lit|here as "accepting" events of early Genesis as literally true. See comment here. —BP {{#setmainimage:Sutherland logo-icon.png}}