Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Wed Apr 30 2008 - 12:17:33 EDT

On Apr 30, 2008, at 7:07 AM, David Opderbeck wrote:

> For Terry and David -- so to blend an orthodox understanding of the
> Adam and the fall with the scientific data, insofar as possible, is
> one required to reject the population genetics data, or to find some
> other explanation for that data (were Adam and Eve chimeric genetic
> multiples, like the story I heard recently on NPR of a woman who has
> two sets of entirely different DNA resulting from an absorbed
> siamese twin?)? Or is orthodoxy flexible enough to permit that if
> the population genetics data are firm, "Adam" may represent a group
> of newly fashioned humans?

I'm not sure orthodoxy can handle the idea of "Adam" as "group". (Any
more than it can handle the idea of "Christ" as "group".) And there's
no indication in the text of any such thing. I think that the notion
of an individual who acts for the race in the original probation is
key to the account.

The Westminster Confession of Faith (one definition of orthodoxy)
espouses "ordinary generation" with respect to Adam's relation to the
rest of the human race. I.e. Adam is the common biological ancestor in
addition to federal head. This would prevent any population data of
being valid in my judgment. However, I'm not so sure about the
strength of the Biblical argument for ordinary generation. Thus, views
such as Kidner's Genesis commentary allow for a unique Adam but with a
simultaneously endowed fellow population (all under Adam's federal
headship). But even in this view there is still the individual, Adam,
acting as covenant head.

As I've noted many times "I don't know" is an acceptable answer here
and I'm not willing to twist what I regard to be essential Biblical
teaching to accommodate science, nor am I willing to twist what
appears to be well-done science for the sake of the Bible.


> On a more personal note -- I guess some people find it a little
> easier to deviate from received orthodoxy in discrete areas. All of
> us do this in a way if we aren't YEC because of our views about
> death in the initial creation. Yet we all have to draw lines in the
> sand at some points (if nothing else, for most of us I think, on the
> resurrection of Christ) and I'm guessing that for many of us Adam
> and the fall is or is close to one of those lines. So we might have
> to take a YEC-like stance at some point, right -- "I see that data,
> but it can't be right, because scripture says otherwise...."

I very reluctant to call YEC "received orthodoxy". I'm also reluctant
to say that "received orthodoxy" says that there is no death before
the fall--no human death, of course. I also don't see an intervention
at critical stages (e.g., origin of the human soul) to be YEC-like. It
is simply a willingness to acknowledge that God can act miraculously
or "interventionally". Nothing heretical about that as far as I can

ASA Fellow

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

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Received on Wed Apr 30 12:19:21 2008

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