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
- 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.