Re: How to interpret Adam (was: Re: Kerkut)

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Feb 26 2004 - 09:11:11 EST

Plowman, Guy (ELSLON) wrote:
> >George said: Do you have to know that Adam & Eve were historical figures
> before you have
> >any sense of your own sin & need of forgiveness? Of course not.
> In direct answer to your question - No, I don't need to know that Adam and
> Eve are historical figures before I have any sense of my own sin and need
> forgiveness. Having said that, nor do you need Jesus (otherwise most of the
> people in the Old Testament couldn't have been saved) to have any sense of
> your own sin and need of forgiveness.

        Your supposed parallel isn't. You do need Jesus to _be_ forgiven - at least if
Christianity is true. The essential law-gospel message - "You are a sinner. For
Christ's sake you are forgiven." - cannot be proclaimed without Christ but it can be
proclaimed with Adam.

> However, if I am being intellectually honest, I struggle to read the
> accounts of Adam and the references to him as anything but historical
> references that have a direct implication on the whole bible itself. Given
> this, do I have to believe Adam was a historical figure to trust the rest of
> the bible? Yes, I do or I am being dishonest to myself (and therefore to
> others). If I am wrong, God will forgive me for my honest mistakes but He
> would, I believe, be most disappointed if I wasn't being honest.

        Your original questions were,

> "If Adam and Eve weren't historical figures, then how can Jesus be descended from them
> in a meaningful way? Isn't the whole life, death and resurrection of Jesus related to
> the fact that he is descended from Adam? If I am not descended from Adam, how have my
> sins been atoned for in the way the bible says?"

        These are real theological questions, & ones that I think I answered
satisfactorily. You are now shifting your ground to your understanding of the literary
character of Genesis. Since the dire theological consequences of not understanding
early Genesis as historical narrative hasn't materialized, you ought at least to be able
to give that possibility serious consideration. Unless, that is, your 1st priority is
not an adequate understanding of sin & salvation but a particular view of the character
of biblical texts.

> I am still thinking about old and young earth histories and don't claim to
> be an expert on any of the arguments used either way. However, here is
> where I am in my thinking:

> 1. My main objection to a young earth is the starlight problem. The
> only close explanation so far has been the Humphries' Starlight and Time
> and, to be honest, this does seem to be choosing specific boundary
> conditions to match one's need. Having said that, I don't think that the
> human conception of (space)time is yet anywhere near the end of its own
> evolution.

        Since H has to invoke a miracle explicitly, his theory isn't science. A miracle
plus natural processes is a miracle.
> 2. Evolution seems on shaky ground to me. The main thing is that it
> seems to me that there is an overall trend of downward progression within
> species. Mutations seem to lead from perfect to imperfect and the empirical
> creationist information argument of 'show me one non-contentious counter
> example' seems to be quite powerful. Sometimes you get new species in the
> biological sense but this is humanly defined and may be within the same as
> the kinds of the ark.

        Your claims of a "downward trend" would have to responded to by paleontologists
&c but I know of now justification for it. The statement that "Sometimes you get new
species in the biological sense" is a concession that evolution has, in fact, occurred.
> 3. For me at least, when I started thinking about the possibility of it
> actually being a young earth, the theology of the bible fell into place in a
> way which it hadn't for me before.

        But the earth isn't young so there's probably something wrong with your
theology. Consistency - things "falling into place" - isn't synonomous with

George L. Murphy
Received on Thu Feb 26 09:14:33 2004

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