Skip to comments.10 Reasons to Believe in a Historical Adam
Posted on 02/09/2012 12:58:07 PM PST by SeekAndFind
In recent years, several self-proclaimed evangelicals, or those associated with evangelical institutions, have called into question the historicity of Adam and Eve. It is said that because of genomic research we can no longer believe in a first man called Adam from whom the entire human race has descended.
I'll point to some books at the end which deal with the science end of the question, but the most important question is what does the Bible teach. Without detailing a complete answer to that question, let me suggest ten reasons why we should believe that Adam was a true historical person and the first human being.
1. The Bible does not put an artificial wedge between history and theology. Of course, Genesis is not a history textbook or a science textbook, but that is far from saying we ought to separate the theological wheat from the historical chaff. Such a division owes to the Enlightenment more than the Bible.
2. The biblical story of creation is meant to supplant other ancient creation stories more than imitate them. Moses wants to show God's people "this is how things really happened." The Pentateuch is full of warnings against compromise with the pagan culture. It would be surprising, then, for Genesis to start with one more mythical account of creation like the rest of the ANE.
3. The opening chapters of Genesis are stylized, but they show no signs of being poetry. Compare Genesis 1 with Psalm 104, for example, and you'll see how different these texts are. It's simply not accurate to call Genesis poetry. And even if it were, who says poetry has to be less historically accurate?
4. There is a seamless strand of history from Adam in Genesis 2 to Abraham in Genesis 12. You can't set Genesis 1-11 aside as prehistory, not in the sense of being less than historically true as we normally understand those terms. Moses deliberately connects Abram with all the history that comes before him, all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden.
5. The genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 treat Adam as historical.
6. Paul believed in a historical Adam (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45-49). Even some revisionists are honest enough to admit this; they simply maintain that Paul (and Luke) were wrong.
7. The weight of the history of interpretation points to the historicity of Adam. The literature of second temple Judaism affirmed an historical Adam. The history of the church's interpretation also assumes it.
8. Without a common descent we lose any firm basis for believing that all people regardless of race or ethnicity have the same nature, the same inherent dignity, the same image of God, the same sin problem, and that despite our divisions we are all part of the same family coming from the same parents.
9. Without a historical Adam, Paul's doctrine of original sin and guilt does not hold together.
10. Without a historical Adam, Paul's doctrine of the second Adam does not hold together.
Christians may disagree on the age of the earth, but whether Adam ever existed is a gospel issue. Tim Keller is right:
[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority. . . .If Adam doesn't exist, Paul's whole argument-that both sin and grace work 'covenantally'-falls apart. You can't say that 'Paul was a man of his time' but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don't believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul's teaching. (Christianity Today June 2011)
If you want to read more about the historical Adam debate, check out Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? by C. John Collins.
For more on the relationship between faith and science, you may want to look at one of the following:
John C. Lennox, God's Undertake: Has Science Buried God?
Should Christians Embrace Evolution: Biblical and Scientific Responses, edited by Norman C. Nevin
God and Evolution, edited by Jay Richards Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach
C. John Collins, Science and Faith: Friend or Foes
-- Kevin Deyoung is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, and a Council Member of The Gospel Coalition.
Actually I have the best reason....
If NOT then a huge Yarn must be constructed..
Evolution is a well thought out YARN.. a convoluted story..
Science fiction MUST be very logical, else whats the point..
Reality however need not be logical at all.. You know... to humans..
There is nothing to prove with reality.. What is... IS,,, and what ain’t.... AIN’T..
The Bible says I was created “from dust”.
I was also created via cellular processes involving DNA.
Was my creation “from dust” less literal than the creation of Adam “from dust”?
Would anybody know whether Kevin DeYoung is related to Jimmy DeYoung, of Jack Wyrtzen and Word of Life Ministries; like his son or grandson, maybe?
In the Garden of Eden lay Adam,
Complacently stroking his madam;
..And loud was his mirth
..For he knew that on Earth
There were only two balls—and he had `em.
I do believe in an historical Adam, but many of these arguments are fallacious arguments from consequences. Arguments from consequences are relevant to choices regarding policies for future action, but are entirely irrelevant with respect to whether the original propositions are true.
Thus, the argument that “if Adam did not exist then the doctrine of original sin has no meaning” is an argument from consequence. The doctrine of original sin arises as a consequence from the fact of Adam’s actual historical existence. But the fact that we have created or inferred the doctrine of original sin and depend upon it for a great deal of theology does not prove the existence of Adam.
This matters because Christians were given rational faculties to exercise that reason to better understand God and God’s creation. Abusing fallacious reasoning to support our faith rather than exploring sound philosophy and theology through reason is an abuse of God’s gifts of reason.
Fortunatly, there's a great resource for the historicity of the biblical account - at THIS LINK - a page at the Genesis Veracity Foundation website.
Here is a short except from the one page (of many) at this website:
The naysayers of the book Genesis, including old earth creationists, must eschew the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, because if there was no genetic bottleneck at Noahs Flood, with only eight humans (and thousands of syngameons of animals) having survived the global flood on the Ark, then the progenies of the eight, the tribes listed which migrated out from Mount Ararat and eventually around the world, would not have been the only lines of ancestries of humanity, so the Table of Nations then only should be one of many tables of nations, if in fact its true that there really was no genetic bottleneck because of a global flood.
Yet when you look at the ancient place names and patriarchs of nations, its impossible to logically deny the veracity of the Table of Nations in Genesis 10. Noah was Nu to the egyptians, and Manu to the hindu indians, Mannus to the teutons, and Rapanui to the pacific islanders, so is this just all coincidence? Ham was Khem, the most ancient name of Egypt, and Cham of Chambodia and the Gulf of Chambay of northwest India, so just coincidence too? Hams son Kush is the namesake of the Hindu Kush mountains and the Gulf of Kutch of northwest India, and the land of Kush in northeastern Africa, and the city of Kish in Mesopotamia, so its obviously far beyond the realm of possibility that these names are not linked to the repopulation of the earth in the aftermath of Noahs Flood.
Javan was Iawan, namesake of the ionians of Greece, and Elisha was Elis, the elysians of Greece (incidentally Greece was named by the latins after the graeci who had migrated to Italy after the ice age had ended), and the Hittites were named after Heth, a son of Canaan (namesake of the earliest name of the Holy Land), whose other sons such as Sidon (Posidon) certainly made names for themselves, as well as Sidons sons Mneseas (king Menes of Egypt and submerged Menouthis) and Atlas of atlantean fame, so as you digest all this, who can sanely say the Table of Nations has no historical merit, and since its predicated on the genetic bottleneck at Noahs Flood, who then can deny that all the nations came from eight who survived the global flood which the Word clearly indicates destroyed the old world?
My thoughts exactly. I say it a little differently: I want to be right for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons. Our faith comes under enough attack the way it is, using arguments from consequences are not the way to prove our points against mostly hostile doubters.
There’s no shame in not knowing the answers but then research them because there’s a lot to learn but don’t use a “it must be true because I believe it” argument because then any faith can use that argument.
Well said. The sin nature in mankind makes men try to suppress the truth and knowledge of God. Even we, of faith, war against that nature every day util we enter the gates of heaven. So it can be expected that there will be outright hostility over Adam's existence.
And if left to it's logical conclusion and nature, mankind would wipe out everyone and everything that suggests the existence of God, let alone His authority.
Just look at what's happening right now. Fornication is celebrated instead of abhorred. Adultery is fashionable instead of a horrid stain against any nation. False witness is encouraged against ones enemies instead of rational talking within the gates.
Therefore pray for Repentance and Revival. For without them soon we are destined to another form of the Guillotine.
Thank you very much for the link. I’ve been looking for sources of information relating to the subject of proof of mankind’s restart after the Flood.
Read Sichtcin. His is the best explination of Adam I have read.
I've long known about polonium radio-halos through the Bible Science Asso group which absolutely devastates the old-earth hypothesis.
Another great place to keep up with the news in this arena, that I've spend time going to their meetings, can be found at the Creation Evolution Headlines website.
I agree. Frank Turek, author of I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist and host of the TV show of the same name, talks about the alarming numbers of Christian kids who go to college and lose their faith because they were never taught the intellectual and very real reasons behind it. All they learned was, "I believe it because I have faith." I highly recommend his book and his program.
There is good reason to believe in a historical Adam who lived 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Generic Human beings came out of Africa about 60,000 years ago, our species Homo sapiens goes back 200,000 years, our genus Homo stretches back over 2 million years and we branched off our last common ancestor 6 million years ago.
Adam was the first of the covenant, the first man accountable for his actions, the first of the Semitic race and the first historical personality. He was not the progenitor of all mankind. Check out my web site: www.historicalgenesis.com
As a part of what language group?
the first of the Semitic race
What evidence do you have of any Semitic languages existing in Mesopotamia in 5,000 BC?
I recently watched the film The Bible, directed by John Huston circa 1966, and it has a lovely retelling of Adam and Eve.