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

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Fri Feb 27 2004 - 15:37:03 EST

jack syme wrote:
> So you think that there are "genuine humans" i.e. those created in the image
> of God, theologically defined Man, that were around tens of thousands, or
> more, years before Adam could have existed?

Dear Jack,
yes, I do. You can find a rather concise argumentation for this view in:
A. Held & P. Rüst, "Taking Genesis as inspired", PSCF 52/3 (Sep 2000),
If you read German, you find a more comprehensive (and updated) discussion
P. Rüst & A. Held, "Der Genesisbericht und die Evolution" (2003), Texte aus
dem VBG-Institut 1/03, 28 S. (VBG-Verlag);
> Do you believe that Adam was a true historical figure? Lets assume that is
> the case for a second, and Adam was "created" 7000 or so years ago.

I believe Adam was a true historical figure who lived around 7000 years ago.
But I don't think he was created in the sense of being the first
theologically genuine human. I take Gen 1:27 to refer to this creation,
creation of a spiritual dimension in humans having evolved as far as their
physical and psychological dimensions are concerned (the psychological
dimension having been created according to Gen 1:21 in some animals having
evolved before that). I take Gen 2:7 to refer to the call of Adam to a
special task in God's plan of salvation. That means Gen 2:7 describes
something that happened many thousands of years after what Gen 1:27 refers

Of course, in another sense, Adam was created, just as every human is
according to Isa 43:6-7 "... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from
the ends of the earth - everyone who is called by my name, whom I created
for my glory, whom I formed and made."
> The theological problem with this view, is that sin entered the world
> through Adam, and death through sin. I dont think you believe that all the
> preadamites were immortal or sinless do you? Your scenario would require
> that.

Of course the preadamites were just as mortal and sinners as we are. My
scenario doesn't require that. Sin did not originate with Adam or with the
first theologically genuine humans, but, by inference from various scripture
passages, with Satan. And the bible nowhere says that sin entered the world
through Adam, but Rom 5:12 says "... just as sin entered the world through
one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men,
because all sinned...". Here, "world" is humanity, not the universe or the
earth. The "one man" could be (1) the first human or (2) Adam. You could
argue that (1)=(2), and possibly Paul thought that, not knowing any modern
cosmology, geology, or anthropology. But did God (who inspired Paul) think
that? He obviously didn't let Paul write "through Adam". But if we believe
that God is the Author of both creation and scripture, we seriously have to
consider the possibility of (1)<>(2). And we know today that physical death
has been on the earth for almost 4 billion years.
> Also, I think that the Genesis account of Adam, indicates that he was indeed
> something new. The Hebrew word used in the account of mans creation, is the
> same used to describe the creation of the world. Adam, the first man, was
> created, he was not made. He was created in the image of God. He was
> something new.

I agree that, according to Gen 1:27, humans were created in the image of God
and were therefore something new, like the creation of the universe. But
that applies to Adam only if (1)=(2), cf. above.
> So, to summarize what I think the bible clearly tells us: Adam was a true
> historic figure, he was the first "genuine human", and he brought sin and
> death to all men.

According to Rom 5:12, all men are subject to death "because all sinned",
not because of Adam. But Adam serves as a type to demonstrate how the fall
(of every individual human) happens. Or did sin enter the world through Eve?
1 Tim 2:13-14 "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one
deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." Gen 3:12
"The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and
I ate it." Did God accept this as an excuse? This connection may help us to
understand a little bit better what is meant by "sin entered the world
through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all
men". The doctrine of an inherited original sin clearly is not biblical. And
that Rom 5 is not about inheritance or sequential time at all is shown by
the parallel which is drawn between Adam and Christ, between the old
humanity and the new one. Old Testament believers cannot be excluded form
the new humanity established by Christ's death and resurrection.


Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Fri Feb 27 15:34:49 2004

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