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A short, interesting, and generous account of Adam and Eve by Alister McGrath:
If, as AM claims here, Adam and Ever are just a generic representation of humanity (and not actual historical persons), what do we do with Paul’s one and the all in Romans 5?
“Eve” not “Ever”!
“Paul is seeing Adam and Christ as representative figures. Adam is the representative, the figurehead—whatever you would like to say—for humanity in general. What went wrong in Adam was rectified in Christ. Basically, what I see here is Paul saying that salvation is in effect a putting right of what has gone wrong with humanity.” http://biologos.org/blog/from-the-dust-pauls-adam
Here’s a picture our daughter sent us today of our granddaughter and her friend Otis. My caption:
He: “Uhh…it was her…she showed me the bookcase.”
Her: “It was your fault…you put this bookcase here where I could reach it…whatcha gonna do ’bout it?”
Uhg. This is just the old early-20th century modernist (as in fundamentalist/modernist) separation of history and theology. Of course Adam and Eve are stereotypical, but they can only be stereotypical if they actually existed! Paul is answering the question, “How can we know that salvation can come to many from one man, Jesus?” He answers by saying, “Look, you can know that salvation can come to many from one man because death came to all through one man, Adam.”
Adam must be a literal, historical figure, who literally fell. Otherwise Paul’s assurance that the mechanism of salvation coming to us through one man, Jesus, fails.
McGrath’s proposal sounds generous, but a generous helping of nothing is still nothing.
Just a few thoughts about whether McGrath’s “symbolic Adam” is actually compatible with Paul’s logic in Romans 5.