Re: [asa] biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically inconsistent?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue Sep 02 2008 - 10:51:30 EDT

Just on the unfairness of the recent representative / federal model --
yes -- but OTOH, just about any model of original sin seems unfair in
the abstract, doesn't it? I'm not sure it's any more or less fair to
the Australian aborigines if they were 10th generation descendants of
the original people or person who fell or contemporaries of him /
them. Either way, there is guilt imputed to and / or inherited by
them that they did nothing to earn.

I should be clear that I think original sin is a Biblical doctrine and
that ultimately God's judgments are fair and just. But whatever model
we have for how original sin is imputed / transmitted, it can't elide
individual free will, it can't ignore God's omniscience and
providence, and it probably can't be explained in a way that we in our
finiteness will find totally satisfactory.

The bigger problem for the recent representative model in my mind is
whether those aboriginal peoples, not to mention the widespread
neolithic cultures of the west and near east, were "human" prior to
Adam. Clearly, the unity of the human race -- the fact that every
human being has a unique dignity and responsibility precisely in
virtue of being human -- is fundamental to Biblical anthropology. But
even this is something of a problem for the other models -- at some
point, there were "people" who were not "Adam." Perhaps God's
relationship to those beings is something we can only speculate about,
akin to His relationship with angels. Regardless, that all people of
any race are fully human is a foundational Biblical concept.

On Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 10:25 AM, George Cooper
<> wrote:
> Before something can fall, it must rise. I think the focus should be much
> greater upon the second half of the "dust" verse, where God breathed into a
> very special person (made from dust, mud, clay, ooze, or whatever) that did
> something fantastic gave him (Adam) a "living soul". This established
> an all-important relationship between man and God. God is spirit, and
> spirit is necessary for eternal life. Man was elevated far above evolved
> form, even if prior man had reached a point describable as to appear "in the
> image of God".
> Bethany said: As for how other people think about it, some go to a "federal
> headship" model like Denis Alexander. He thinks that about 6-7000 years ago
> a couple in the middle east were made "Adam and Eve" through an intervention
> of God, and they subsequently fell and all humanity fell with them. I feel
> a little awkward about that because I think it is entirely unfair to the
> Aboriginals known to be in Australia at that time, or to the Chinese in
> Asia, because this would say that they were not human, or say that they
> suddenly began to sin due to the sin of the A&E in the middle east.
> It is unfair and unlikely; 6000 years is far too short a period. Because
> this limited time frame is based on genealogy from scripture, and the
> genealogies do not match (eg Ezra compared to Chronicles), this affords some
> favorable consideration that the 6000 years could be far short of the actual
> number of years to Adam. They had better memorization skills than us, I
> assume, but memorizing a hundred begats would be quite a burden upon each
> new generation. It seems fair that only certain names would be advanced
> for whatever "rhyme or reason".
> Coope

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 Sep 2 10:51:52 2008

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