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

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Apr 15 2008 - 12:57:24 EDT

Thanks David. Very commonsensical and close to my own views. It may be,
in addition, that there was a perfect creation with Adam and Eve being
quite different from present day humans. The consequence of the Fall is
then to bring about the present, fallen nature of humans. Of course,
this is quite different from evolutionary thought where there is a
gradual change from simplicity to complexity, rather than from
perfection to imperfection and death. In this sense, the death and
resurrection of Christ creates the opening whereby the Fall is reversed
with humans being restored with God in eternal existence.




From: David Opderbeck []
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 10:28 AM
To: Alexanian, Moorad
Cc: Bethany Sollereder; Jack; George Murphy; ASA list
Subject: Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real


To me, it depends how the narrative is supposed to be understood and
what you mean by "wrong."


The narrative pictures God directly shaping Adam out of dust and forming
Eve out of Adam's rib in a garden in Mesopotamia. Further, the
narrative seems to presume that this pair is the actual fountainhead of
all humanity.


The fossil record and the record of molecular biology, however, seem to
tell a different story of the gradual emergence of a group of people out
of Africa, with no clear deliniation between "human" and "pre-human."


It seems to me there are two possibilities: 1. one of these stories is
true and one is false; or 2. the stories mesh together somehow.


Personally, I very much wish it were possible to argue persuasively that
the "scientific" story is false. But, while I don't think the
scientific story can be "proven" to be true, it seems to be based on
quite reasonable inferences from the empirical evidence.


I also very much wish it were possible to argue persuasively that the
Biblical story is false in the sense of being entirely non-historical
even if true in another sense. Some are persuaded this is possible; at
this point in my personal journey, I find this unravels too many things
that are important to me.


To me, right now, the stories have to mesh together in some sense
somehow. The Genesis story isn't "literal" but it also isn't
non-historical. It describes God's special attention to and
relationship with the first pair to be fully and truly "human," perhaps
even directly created by God. This first truly human pair can choose to
obey God and thereby, in a sense, bring all the creation "into the
garden" through their stewardship. Perhaps this involves also their
headship over the rest of emerging humanity. But they sin, are cast out
of their state of idyllic fellowship and into the slipstream of
biological humanity. Yet they remain spiritually / federally the heads
of humanity and we all are bound to them in this sense, in the same way
that those who trust in Christ are bound to him. All of this is known
to us only by revelation and it is opaque to science. It probably
doesn't compeletly work, but it sort of works for now for me.



On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 10:05 AM, Alexanian, Moorad <>

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.)



                ----- 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


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 12:59:45 2008

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