Re: Dating Adam

Dave Koerner 818-354-8820 (
Wed, 5 Jun 1996 14:53:23 -0700 (PDT)

Pat I'm afraid I am unfamiliar with your former writings so I will respond
only to your recent comments.

Pat said,

> (1) The denial of a unique human couple who sinned and were banished from
> God'd blessing and to recognize the existential nature of evil and the
> need for redemption is to subscribe to a DUALISTIC approach which
> compartmentalize reality in a long run: the spiritual realm and the physical
> realm become independent of each other.

This sentence is a doozy -- I'm not sure if I get it right -- but I
emphatically deny that belief in a metaphorical interpretation for Genesis 1
implies belief in dualism! This must be true only for some narrow combination
of these views which you are envisioning. My view of the "spiritual" and
"physical" realms only became more unified whan I gave up belief in a
literal Adam. It is your view which is dualistic, since it posits a literal
Adam that is contradicted by physical evidence. So now there must be two
separate histories: the history of the Bible and the history of the anthropol-
ogical record. This dualism is avoided by understanding that the Oriental
writers of Genesis were not recording a history in the sense that we do

> (2) The major weakness of this approach is the inconsistency of allowing
> God to act on a personal level through existential encounter while
> denying God's action in history through creation. The religious truth,
> as revealed by a personal encounter with the incarnate Word through whom
> all of the Scripture should be interpreted, seems to be divorced from the
> historical truth of the Bible. The lack of interaction between the
> religious truth as expressed in mythical language and the historical
> truth as expressed in scientific language seems to imply that reality is
> comprised of several levels of truth that are independent of each other.

It is not necessary to "deny God's action in history" to interpret Genesis
metaphorically. I certainly don't! God is in all and through all.

You are confusing categories of Truth with multiple realities -- Jesus spoke
in parables. These weren't historical, and the most important thing about
them was their SPIRITUAL MEANING, not, for example, the historical question
of whether or not some guy actually buried his Talent or whether or
not a sower actually sowed seed on hard ground. Spiritual truth and
historical truth are certainly different categories of Truth -- as are
mathematical and empirical truths -- but these categorizations do NOT imply
metaphysical multiple realities. The old Sunday School definition, "an
earthly story with a heavenly meaning" does not at all imply that "reality
is comprised of several levels of truth that are independent of each other."
Neither does the belief the early Genesis is a Hebrew creation myth,
largely unhistorical, but important for its SPIRITUAL significance.

> (3) The bodily resurrection is a major demonstration of how religious
> truth is dependent of the historical truth. (I Cor. 15: 17-19)

I'm not sure what you mean by this. ("dependent on" or "independent of?")
In either case, I don't think it's an example relevant to this discussion.

> (4) A major theological conference held at Trinity Evangelical Seminary
> in 1989 where over 600 leading evangelical theologian of N. America
> gathered has produced a theological treatise (Evangelical Affirmations,
> ed. Ken Kantzer and Carl Henry, 1990, Zondervan) in which the historical
> Adam and a historical Fall is affirmed as essential to the evangelical
> faith.

Well then, they follow in the tradition of the Roman Ecclesiasts who, after
exiling Galileo, insisted that the Faithful say Credo to the notion that the
Sun goes around the Earth. And they have as surely established an unneeded
stumbling block to faith in God. Rome has sinced apologized. But the lesson
seems to be frequently forgotten by pontificators of all stripes.

In Respectful Disagreement,