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

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Apr 15 2008 - 10:05:51 EDT

Why is the Genesis account of Adam and Eve wrong?




From: [] On
Behalf Of Bethany Sollereder
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 9:51 AM
To: Jack
Cc: David Opderbeck; George Murphy; ASA list
Subject: Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real



I've just finished "God in Creation" by Moltmann. I think he'd feel
pretty strongly about rejecting the idea of "a fall upward". In fact,
in one of his other articles ("Cosmic Christ") he even talks about
evolution itself running counter to redemption.

As for Adam and Eve, I also wasn't quite sure how to answer either,
because if they are not real then they simply represent all that you
would get from Genesis if you read the account simply: the creation of
humanity, humanity's rejection of God, the devastating effects of sin on
the world and on human relationships, the alienation of man from God...
the list goes on. And it gets even more interesting if you start
contrasting the Genesis creation myth with the creation myths of
surrounding cultures (as you well know). The character of God in
Genesis is absolutely unique.

Bethany Sollereder

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 3:46 AM, Jack <> wrote:

I dont know anything about Moltmann so maybe I should keep silent. But
I see the trajectory differently.


As far as I can tell there is nothing about our cognitive abilities that
did not come through evolution. We are animals in that sense. But
whoever Adam was, he was the first one placed into a relationship with
God, and as a result of this was unique, the imago dei, a physical
animal a spiritual being, the first Man. But the trajectory then turned
downward at the fall, and Man became little more than animals again.
Christ was then needed to show us what a spiritual/physical being is
supposed to be. And he is necessary to restory us to that condition.
The difference between my view and the falling up view, is that Adam had
an opportunity that humans since then have never had, but he made the
wrong choice, and condemed us to a condition with the need for


The ancient sacrificial system is a "type" that forshadows Christ's
ultimate atonement.

        ----- Original Message -----

        From: David Opderbeck <>

        To: George Murphy <>

        Cc: ASA list <>

        Sent: Monday, April 14, 2008 9:58 PM

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


        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


        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.)


        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 Tue Apr 15 10:07:29 2008

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