Just yesterday I finished reading The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. It was writing by Dr. Francis Collins, who holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Yale University. Dr. Collins is most famous for his work as the head of the Human Genome Project. As one of the leading scientists in the field of DNA and a believer, it was very interesting to hear Dr. Collins’ approach to the topic of science and faith. He understood that many Americans have trouble reconciling their faith and science and this leads many believers to become agnostic or atheist. It was his journey in science that actually took him from being an atheist to a Christian.
The main reason for writing The Language of God was to help believers understand that they can hold to both science and faith. Dr. Collins approach however can be a bit confrontational. Instead of aligning science and faith like many Old Earth Creationist do, Dr. Collins instead hold to Theistic Evolution. In his view, God was the cause behind the Big Bang and got everything into motion, and then Darwinian evolution took over and explains the complexity of life. In Dr. Collins’ view, God did not create Adam and Eve. Instead, humans evolved as a result of natural selection. It is for this reason that I wanted to do a deeper study of the importance of a historical Adam and Eve.
What connection do the New Testament authors draw between Adam and Christ?
One of the major problems with theistic evolution and Christian doctrines is the doctrine of man. Those that hold to theistic evolution generally take issue with the Bible’s teaching of Adam and Eve. It is normally believed that Adam and Eve either didn’t exist, or they weren’t created like Genesis 1 and 2 explain. It is for this reason that it is important to understand what the Bible says about the importance of Adam and Eve.
We first have to understand that it isn’t only Genesis that talks about Adam and Eve. Even if we concluded that Genesis 1 and 2 are not strict scientific accounts, we still need to be careful with how we view the first Man. Adam is referred to throughout the Bible. And each time the Bible mentions him, it does so in a way that points to him being a historical figure. We first see this in the genealogy in Luke 3. The genealogy of Jesus is traced back all the way to the beginning where it begins with Adam.
We even see Jesus refer to Adam and Eve in Matthew 19 when he is speaking about divorce. Jesus says in verse 4, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” Jesus is very clear here on the fact that God created Adam and Eve in the very beginning. They did not evolve from a prior species. Jesus then references Genesis 2 in that a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. For these two reasons, it seems like even Jesus believed and taught that Adam was a historical figure. If Jesus believed it, then we can bank on it.
Other than Jesus and the Gospels, Adam is referred to by Paul in Romans and 1 Corinthians. Each of these references refers to how sin came into the world through Adam and that Jesus came to restore the world. 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 says, “’The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit…. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” This also seems to show that Paul believed in the biblical Adam as a historical figure.
Romans 5:17 talks about original sin and how death came through one man. This is speaking about the fall of Adam in the beginning. Paul then goes on to say that as death came through one man (Adam), righteousness will also come through one man (Jesus). Paul repeats this in 1 Corinthians 15:22 when he says, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” It is clear here that Paul makes a very strong connection between Adam and Jesus.
What level of importance should we place on a literal historical Adam and Eve?
If Jesus believed in Adam as a historical figure, and Paul making the connection between Jesus and Adam, then it is important for us to believe as well. If theistic evolution is true, and Adam never existed, then a serious problem is created with it comes to original sin. Scripture is clear that Jesus came as the second Adam to forgive humans from their sins. Without the original sin of Adam, it doesn’t make sense to have Christ be the second Adam. If common decent is true, and Adam never existed, then there are some serious problems with the doctrine of man and salvation. If Jesus referred to Adam as historical, then I’m convinced he was historical.
October 11, 2016 at 2:30 am
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and it appears that the entire theory of evolution is crumbling. It takes about 40 years for that kind of thing to get into the school books which is a shame. The modern American believes in evolution and follows its moral code, which as you point out, is the issue of sin. They believe that the moral law is no longer to be obeyed and the results are what we now have in our culture. Pity.
October 29, 2016 at 7:39 pm
I have heard similar things about the theory of evolution. It seems like more scientists are starting to search for alternative theories.
October 11, 2016 at 12:24 pm
Great points here, Ryan!
I am with you on the historical Adam and Eve. It is nearly impossible to get around considering the fact that, as you concur, Jesus himself believed they were real people.
I have read some articles on BioLogos that try to reconcile the current evolutionary model with a historical Adam and Eve. For instance, they talk about many “humans” existing when Adam and Eve did, but God only chose to make Adam and Eve in His image. But to me their models still do not fit well at all! So I am with you on this one.
October 29, 2016 at 7:38 pm
Thanks for the comment!
LikeLiked by 1 person
October 14, 2016 at 5:11 pm
I have enjoyed Collins book as well and though I am not a theistic evolutionist, there is a growing case from DNA regarding the out of Africa hypothesis which seems to undermine the literal garden of Eden. The other observations concerns the activity of Cain and Abel, a farmer and hearder of sheep would not be expected as we have good evidence for early man as hunter and gathers. This could indicate the Genesis account actually being later in the developement of man. Just something I have been trying to reconcile from my reading of Genesis and history of early man. Marv
October 29, 2016 at 7:38 pm
Thanks for the comment Marv. I have been wanting to respond to your comments, but haven’t found the time yet. My goal is to make my blog this week on the out of Africa hypothesis. I think there are some really interesting things to look at there where it doesn’t undermine the literal Garden of Eden. I’ll be curious what you think about it.
October 30, 2016 at 2:25 am
I have been under the impression that if you gave a specific name to someone, that figure was a real person. Adam and Eve have these- real names. Also when Jesus referred to a “certain person” that was a real individual but not named.
October 30, 2016 at 5:48 am
What about fictional characters that we have named? How does that fit in?
December 14, 2016 at 12:12 pm
I hope it is ok I make a late comment here.
Amos 3:2 KJV: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth”.
The Old Testament is very Israel focused and even the gospel went first to Israel, then the gentiles. Paul tells us the gentiles were once without God and hope but now are offered hope in and thanks to Christ (Ephesians 2:12-13) It is really so far off to suggest that Jesus and Paul was speak of Israel only when dealing with the first man and woman? I believe the answers to questions like: why no Chinese people in the Bible or where did Cain get his wife from, are no mind puzzles. There were other people. But only Cain and Eve had the first recorded covenant with God.
December 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm
I meant to say ” But only ADAM and Eve had the first recorded covenant with God.”