Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real person?)

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon Apr 14 2008 - 21:58:20 EDT

George, I wonder in this connection if you've come across the notion of the
fall as a "falling up" rather than a "falling down." I'm not sure if this
resonates with the view of Robin Collins that Don mentions in the next
post. The idea here is that human beings gradually developed the capability
of moral reasoning and of relating intentionally to others and to God. As
this capability developed we continually chose to do that which we had
learned was wrong, and chose not to do that which we had learned was right.
Under this view, the story of Adam & Eve is a representation of humanity's
choices, which continue even today as our sense of morality, as well as our
capabilities for contravening that sense, continue to evolve. But there is
a difference today in that the cross reorients us towards God and changes
our trajectory.

I started reading Jurgen Moltmann's autobiography this week, though I
haven't yet read any of Moltmann's work firsthand --- would I be correct in
sensing that this idea of an "upward fall" that gets reoriented at the cross
resonates with Motlmann's theology of hope?

Here is a question about all this: does it really do justice to the ancient
sacrificial system and the substitutionary atonement? (I trust that in
pursuing this no one suspects me of waiving around any academic body parts.)

On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 8:38 PM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> Well, the small number of responses to the "Who do Adam & Eve represent?
> thread in comparison with the large volume of "Was Adam a real person?" ones
> indicates that not many on this list are interested in pursuing the 1st
> question. I find this unfortunate. Perhaps I could have phrased that 1st
> question better but I think my intention was fairly clear - i.e., what
> do the texts about the 1st man & 1st woman in Genesis mean if those texts
> aren't to be understood as historical narratives &, in particular, if Adam &
> Eve were not historical individuals?
> The fact that folks here would rather debate the 2d question & instead of
> the 1st suggests that they aren't very interested in doing serious
> theological thinking about evolution. Neither those who believe in a "real
> Adam" nor those who don't want to wrestle with questions about what it means
> theologically for human beings - and, in particular, Jesus of Nazareth - to
> be members of an evolved species.
> So I think Gregory is right that most participants here feel safer dealing
> with science than with theology. I find his characterization of theology -
> really his *dismissal* of theology - most unfortunate. Theology is, in
> the classic phrase, "faith in search of understanding." Should Christians
> not want to understand? Or to put it even more simply, theology is just
> thinking about what we believe? Are Christians not supposed to think about
> that? Are we supposed to leave our brains at the church door?
> (Of course the "inevitable mythology" of theology is just Gregory's
> rhetoric.)
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Jack Haas <>
> *To:* Gregory Arago <> ; ASA list <>
> *Sent:* Monday, April 14, 2008 8:01 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real
> person?)
> There you go again Gregory: one more cheap shot about people you know
> nothing about!
> Jack Haas
> Gregory Arago wrote:
> Notice that few at ASA, especially those who don't accept 'Adam [as] a
> real person' are prepared (or willing) to speak about 'Who do Adam & Eve
> represent?' Perhaps people think there's not much 'science' in
> representation. It is much safer to speak about science, after all, as it
> gives a sense of legitimacy that theology doesn't seem to imply with its
> inevitable mythology.
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David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Mon Apr 14 21:59:33 2008

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