Adam and the Genome– Part Ten


For me, where the problem really comes in in Scot’s presentation is on pp. 107-08 where Scot says that when the adjective ‘historical’ is attached to Adam and Eve it means ALL of the following things: 1) 2 actual persons named Adam and Eve existed suddenly as a result of God’s creation; 2) those two persons have a biological relationship with all subsequent human beings; 3) their DNA is our DNA; 4)those two died and brought death into the world; 5) those two passed on their sin natures to their descendants 6) without 5) happening and involving all humans, then not all human beings would be in need of salvation; and 7) therefore if one denies the historical Adam one denies the Gospel of salvation.

Now as a historian myself, to use a British metaphor this is way over-egging the pudding. I agree with Scot that too often we have read the Bible through the lens of Augustine and subsequent interpreters of the Bible, to the detriment of getting at the truth of what the Bible actually says. My own view would be yes to no. 1 with a caveat, that we don’t fully know how exactly God created Adam and Eve ‘in his image’ and this last clause is the crucial one. The account we have in Gen. 2 is poetic, but it is also some sort of historical account, more like a primeval saga clothed in ANE garb, than a modern newspaper report.

I do not think Scot’s no. 2) is a necessary conclusion from any of the statements about Adam in the Bible; 3) may or may not be true, 4) is true in regard to the death of Adam and Eve, and certainly Paul thinks this affected the rest of our kind. The issue is— are we talking about physical death or spiritual death or both? I incline to the view that we are talking about spiritual death here, which leads in fact to premature physical death in various cases. We will say more about Scot’s sevenfold taxonomy of what historical means in the next post.

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