Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam

From: <>
Date: Sun Aug 19 2007 - 01:39:05 EDT


I can't give the kind of definite answer you want, but I have some related thoughts that might help.

First, it has always interested me that the view of Adam especially in reformed traditions seems to involve (or at least permit) some kind of non-locality (space and time)?for humanity in its relationship to the Fall.? When Adam sinned, all sinned.? The minimalist view of this is that Adam was "all" in the sense only that we just weren't there and so HE was all humanity at that time.? The maximalist view is that were were there spiritually in Adam and somehow chose to sin when he sinned, hence when he sinned "all" sinned meaning you and me and the rest of us.? We literally sinned when Adam sinned.? I am not clear on this, but I think there have been some minority streams in the Reformed tradition that take this maximalist view of the Fall.? If so, then this does tend to minimize the need for an individual, literal Adam localized at one place and time, while successfully keeping the theology of the Fall for all humanity.

Second, C.S. Lewis has written some things that tend toward this kind of extra-temporal description of humanity.? You have to read between the lines to see it, but IMO it is clearly there.? I know because I was interested in this topic while reading Lewis and so I was very sensitive to pick up the hints every time he dropped them.? I would be hard pressed to tell someone where to look, though!? (One example is in a later chapter of The Great Divorce where he has a vision of mankind standing outside the chessboard, which represents Time, moving pieces on the board, which represent themselves within time.)


-----Original Message-----
From: David Opderbeck <>
To: asa <>
Sent: Sat, 18 Aug 2007 5:57 pm
Subject: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam

I'm researching Christian theological?perspectives in which a literal, individual?Adam is not central.? Are there major streams of Christian thought / confessional or denominational settings, and/or recognized streams within broader traditions, in which affirming a literal Adam is not an important concern?? I'm aware of some of the specific articles in publications such as PSCF, such as George Murphy's recent article, on this question, but what I'm trying to suss out is the importance of a literal Adam to the Christian tradition generally.??Does the willingness to suggest a non-literal Adam place one outside the flow of every major branch of the tradition?


Ancillary to this, are there any scholars who could be classified as "evangelical" who are willing to entertain a non-literal Adam?? (I take it from my own study and experience that?mainstream evangelical perspectives on scripture and hermeneutics, as well as evangelicalism's generally Augustinian view of original sin, renders the possibility of a non-literal Adam difficult).

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Received on Sun Aug 19 01:39:24 2007

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