The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

The Historicity Of Adam And The Fall


Questions have been raised as to how seriously we are to take this whole narrative about Adam and Eve (and the serpent in the Garden of Eden) as literal history. Many prefer to regard it as a mere myth or fable (suprahistory, to use the neo-orthodox term) in which the moral downfall of man is described by a fictitious episode designed to illustrate it. (Yet insofar as man is a fallen creature, a moral agent with an innate sense of guilt, the myth allegedly reflects a sublime truth, even though no such isolated episode actually took place.) No decisive objections, however, have ever been raised against the historicity of Adam and Eve either on historical, scientific, or philosophical grounds. The protest has been based essentially upon subjective concepts of improbability.

From the standpoint of logic, it is virtually impossible to accept the authority of Rom. 5 (“By one man sin entered into the world.… By one man’s offense death reigned by one.… By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners”) without inferring that the entire human race must have descended from a single father. In Rom. 5, Adam is contrasted with Christ. If therefore Christ was a historical individual, Adam himself must have been historical (or else the inspired apostle was in error). Again, Paul takes the details of Gen. 2 and of the temptation and fall in Gen. 3 as literal history. In 1 Tim. 2:13–14 he says: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” There can be no question that the New Testament authors accepted the literal historicity of Adam and Eve. The origin of the human race is necessarily a matter of revelation by God, since no written records could extend back to a time prior to the invention of writing. Conceivably the true account of man’s origin could have been handed down by oral tradition (and perhaps it was so handed down until Moses’ time). But apart from revelation, written down as inspired Scripture, there could be no assurance as to which of the bewildering variety of legends of man’s origin known to the many different cultures of earth was the true and reliable account. Here the inspired record tells of a literal Adam and Eve, and gives no indication whatever that the account is intended to be mythical. In this connection note that Luke 3:38 traces the ancestry of Jesus back to Enos, to Seth, and finally to Adam himself (who must therefore have been as historic an individual as Seth and Enos). It was certainly taken as historical by Christ and the apostles.

Archer, G. L. (1998). A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed.].) (213–214). Chicago: Moody Press.

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October 12, 2010 - Posted by | Biblical Studies | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] The Historicity Of Adam And The Fall (kcbrownstone.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by Adam and Eve among the Ancient Interpreters | Unsettled Christianity | December 15, 2010 | Reply


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