Christianity & Science

Christianity and Science: Part 3 of 12

Were Adam and Eve Historical Persons?
Christianity and Science: Part 3 of 12

- My assumption: God’s truth revealed in Scripture and in creation will never ultimately conflict.
- What if there is a perceived conflict? Can science ever affect the way we interpret the Bible?
- Yes. Example: sun standing still in Joshua is no longer used to support geo-centrism.
- What about the question of the historical Adam?

The Apparent Conflict
- Traditional view of Adam and Eve:
     (1) Adam and Eve were historical persons.
     (2) They were specially and directly created by God.
     (3) They are the first parents of the entire human race.

- Claims of modern science: human beings today cannot all be the descendants of a single pair.
- Revisionist views of Adam and Eve in light of modern genetics:
     (1) Adam and Eve are literary symbols, not historical persons.
     (2) Adam and Eve were part of a larger group of evolved hominids.
- They were specially endowed with the image of God, but not specially created.
- Adam became the head of all who lived at that time, represented all humanity in his actions.
- The entire human population fell when Adam sinned, but not all today are Adam’s descendants.

- Is this a time to revise our reading of Scripture in light of science?
- No. Unlike the issue of geo-centricism, vs. heliocentrism, too much is at stake.
- I want to address (1) historicity, (2) special creation, and (3) universal parentage of Adam/Eve

I. The Historicity of Adam and Eve
    1. Adam in genealogies
        A. In Genesis
            - Working backwards:
            - 37:2: “These are the generations of Jacob” – historical person
            - 36:1: “These are the generations of Esau” – historical person
            - 25:19: “These are the generations of Isaac” – historical person
            - 25:12: “These are the generations of Ishmael” – historical person
            - 11:27: “Now these are the generations of Terah [Abraham’s father]” – historical person
            - 11:10: “These are the generations of Shem” – historical person
            - 10:1: “These are the generations of the sons of Noah” – historical persons
            - 6:9: “These are the generations of Noah” – historical person
            - 5:1: “This is the book of the generations of Adam” – literary symbol? Wouldn’t fit!

        B. In 1 Chronicles
            - Chapters 1-9: The story of Israel told through genealogies
            - Notice 1:1: Begins with Adam
            - Israel is a microcosm of humanity.

        C. In Luke
            - 3:23-38
            - There is no reason to suppose Adam is different from any other figure in this list.
            - The biblical authors clearly regard him as a historical person.

    2. Adam-Christ parallels
            - Romans 5:12-19: Try reading Adam as “everyman” and watch the argument collapse.
            - 1 Cor. 15:21-22; 42-49
            - If Adam is not a historical person, what of Christ?
            - The story falls apart.

    3. The origin of sin
            - If sin is not a condition we inherit as a result of Adam’s act, where did it come from?
            - Evolutionary theory suggests it is simply part of us from the beginning.
            - But doesn’t that make God the author of sin and his creation inherently defective?
            - The evolutionary story progresses upward, gradually; Bible’s story: creation, fall, redemption

CONCLUSION: Adam and Eve actually lived in history.

But not only so, they were created directly by God.
II. The Special Creation of Adam and Eve
    1. The name “Adam”
            - Gen. 2:7: God created Adam from the dust of the ground. Hebrew adamah (ground)
            - Adam is from the adamah; speaks of his creaturely standing before God.
            - Also of God’s sovereignty over his life: Gen. 3:19

    2. The basis of marriage
            - Gen. 2:21-25: Eve was taken from Adam’s body to be reunited with him.
            - Manner of Eve’s creation speaks to her distinction from animals, equality with Adam.
            - Paul reflects on implications of this in 1 Cor. 11:7-11
            - Jesus refers to the story in Matt. 19:4-6

    3. The basis of church leadership
            - 1 Timothy 2:11-14
            - Order in authoritative leadership determined by order of creation

CONCLUSION: Adam and Eve were specially created by God.

III. The descent of all human beings from Adam and Eve
    1. The name “Eve”
            - Adam’s act of faith: Gen. 3:20 (cf. 3:15)

    2. Federal headship
            - What does it mean to be “in Adam” (1 Cor 15:22)? What unites us to him?
            - Physical descent has always been the answer. Without that, union is arbitrary.

 

3. Universal human equality
            - Acts 17:26: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”
            - We lose a foundational argument for equality before God if we are not all Adam’s descendants.

CONCLUSION: Adam and Eve are the first parents of all human beings.

What About Modern Science?
- Scientific evidence does not interpret itself. It is always interpreted in light of presuppositions.
- Reigning paradigm today: naturalism/gradualism. Is that consistent with Scripture?
- Human Genome Project was only completed in 2003; many discoveries are still to come.
- Stand firm with Scripture. Like Abraham, trust that apparent contradictions will be resolved.

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