Blog Tour Kicks Off

The blog tour of The Evolution of Adam kicks off today with an intro post by me on why I wrote the book in the first place.

“Many Christians are looking for ways to think clearly, deliberately, and differently about evolution and the Bible. There are several angles one can take to talk about this (e.g., theological, philosophical), and they all come into play. But I feel the most pressing issue Christians face is the hermeneutical one: if evolution is true, what do I do about what the Bible says about Adam and Eve?”

To read the entire post, click here.

  • Mike McLeod

    Hi Pete. I am reading through your book and enjoying it. I, too, embrace evolution and continue to explore ways to bring the Bible and evolution into conversation. Do you think the term “myth” is helpful in reference to the Genesis account? If so, how would you define or understand “myth”?

  • Guy Coe

    A lot of the hyperskepticism aimed at the early Biblical accounts comes from not having adequate theories as to the potential source(s) and the presence of common themes among the wide variety of both similarities and differences between the ancient origins accounts.

    First and foremost, we have to deal with the question: did/does God wish to reveal something important and specific about Himself and about us through these stories? Would the first human or humans who had an inkling of an idea about God’s nature and existence been curious, and asked questions which demanded answers? What meaning would they have found in this particular story? How could they have accidentally fabricated an account which we still find fascinating and informative today, even if there are those who doubt its essential historicity? And why would they have fabricated an account which falsely attributes quotes to God which were actually never uttered? Why base the most important parts on a demonstrable fable?

    If “let Us make man, according to Our image” is just imaginative religious fiction, then what are we really?

    If God never “walked in the Garden in the cool of the day” with our first God-aware ancestors, then what reliable indication do we have of God’s original intentions and attitudes towards us?

    I prefer to think of the Bible as straightforward: there was a real Person Who walked and talked with them, answered questions and gave guidance, and eventually revealed a beautiful and easily memorized literary account of His creative actions in forming and filling the heavens and earth in a manner that made them fit for human habitation. The Angel of the Lord, the appearance of God as a Christophany, was there for us right from the beginning, to give us the only “eyewitness” accounts possible of these events.

    This story was passed down, first orally, then eventually put into writing on tablets. Being the primary account, other distortions of it were fabricated by other cultures with other agendas, as the stories were told around countless ancient campfires. The “tablet theory” of the early written accounts collected by Moses in early Genesis explain nicely the features of the text, its divisions and flow, and even reasonable explanations as to its sources.

    There is absolutely nothing in the account which negates the possibility of other, non-human primates (or even non-spiritual hominids, for that matter) evolving at the same time as the emergence of “homo divinus.” John Stott puts it this way:

    But my acceptance of Adam and Eve as historical is not incompatible with my belief that several forms of pre-Adamic ‘hominid’ may have existed for thousands of years previously. These hominids began to advance culturally. They made their cave drawings and buried their dead. It is conceivable that God created Adam out of one of them. You may call them homo erectus. I think you may even call some of them homo sapiens, for these are arbitrary scientific names. But Adam was the first homo divinus, if I may coin a phrase, the first man to whom may be given the Biblical designation ‘made in the image of God’. Precisely what the divine likeness was, which was stamped upon him, we do not know, for Scripture nowhere tells us. But Scripture seems to suggest that it includes rational, moral, social, and spiritual faculties which make man unlike all other creatures and like God the creator, and on account of which he was given ‘dominion’ over the lower creation.

    Call me naive, old-fashioned, scientifically ignorant, simple-minded, or whatever else. Just don’t count me among those who’ve ditched their view of God’s immanence for a postmodern fad.

    Cheers,

    Guy

    • http://littlegreenfootballs.com/pages/freetoken freetoken

      Guy Coe wrote:

      “Call me naive, old-fashioned, scientifically ignorant, simple-minded, or whatever else. Just don’t count me among those who’ve ditched their view of God’s immanence for a postmodern fad.”

      Whatever reviewers conclude about Dr. Enns’ new book, “postmodern fad” is a phrase that is unlikely to apply.

      As for your (Guy Coe’s) own assertions, this idea of Homo divinus (and that term was not coined by you) and how you’ve applied it smacks seriously of (a new variant of) racism, if indeed you believe there were others who were Homo sapiens when “Adam” (the first Homo divinus) was created, over which Homo divinus had “dominion”.

  • Chad

    Hi Dr. Enns,

    I just finished reading your new book and I am grateful for your wisdom and insight into the nature of Scripture. There is one issue from your book that I am not sure that I understand your perspective on very well. I would greatly appreciate any insights you might have on this issue:

    Do you believe that Paul’s explanation of why humans sin and die via his Adam story in Romans 5:12-21 has any root in reality, even if only a metaphorical or allegorical reality? Or is Paul’s Adam story only a vehicle for explaining the “solution” that Christ’s death and resurrection offer without having any correspondence with reality, even if only metaphorical? Do you think that the answer to the sin and death question lies wholly outside of Paul’s explanation?

    In other words, I am willing to accept the possibility that story of Adam used by Paul in Romans 5 may not in fact be rooted in history as we understand it. But based on my own (admittedly very flawed and probably not defensible) presuppositions about Scripture I find it very difficult (if not impossible) to believe that the story of Adam used by Paul is not rooted in reality at all, whether that reality is expressed as parable, allegory, simile, metaphor, etc. In other words, if Paul’s explanation for the origin of sin and death in Romans 5 has absolutely no correspondence to reality whatsoever (even if only metaphorical or symbolic), and if we are to look for an explanation elsewhere, then why is the Adam story there at all and what value does it have, especially when at face value it seems to offer an answer to the very problem that Christ’s death and resurrection solve? A symbol that has no correspondence at all to what it symbolizes loses all meaning.

    Thanks again for the great book.

    Struggling with this,

    Chad

    • peteenns

      I guess one question i would need to ask is what metaphorical yet rooted in reality means.

      • Chad

        What I mean by “metaphorical yet rooted in reality” is that while the Adam narrative in Romans 5 may not in fact be historical, it does communicate a real truth about who we are and why we are the way we are. As an example, God does not literally have an arm, but the expression in the Bible “the arm of the Lord” communicates a real truth about the nature of God, namely his strength or power. Another way to put it is that God has something LIKE an arm, i.e.: strength. Now if God was in fact NOT strong, a metaphorical reference to the “arm of the Lord” would make no sense because the metaphor does not actually correspond to a REAL attribute of God. So what I am asking is if the Adam/sin/death narrative in Romans 5 actually communicates real truth about human nature. I am not so concerned about whether it is HISTORICALLY true but whether it is at least true IN SOME SENSE, even if only symbolically. If not, then why would the story be present at all? Does that help to clarify my question? Thanks, Chad

        • peteenns

          Chad, when you phrase it this way, I see your point and I agree. Actually, there are times when metaphor speaks more loudly and clearly than other means of communication.


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