Tag Archives: historicity of Adam

Scripture or Science?

A commenter (Keith) on my earlier post on the historicity of Adam poses a good question:

Can you comment on the broader theological/hermeneutical/epistemological issues here?

Let’s assume the following for the sake of discussion: (a) there are strong textual (referring to the whole Bible) reasons in favor of a historical Adam; (b) the textual evidence isn’t a “slam dunk” so it is possible that the text doesn’t necessitate a historical Adam; (c) there is a strong scientific consesus that the scientific evidence for evolution is a slam dunk; and (d) somehow evolution strongly undermines belief in a historical Adam. I leave (d) fuzzy because there are probably a number of ways one might think a belief in evolution would undermine belief in a historical Adam. (I can think of at least a couple quickly, but spelling it out isn’t necessary for the question I am asking.)

What should one do in this epistemic situation? The textual evidence is much stronger for a historical Adam (assuming the above assumptions) but it isn’t a slam dunk. Yet the scientific evidence for evolution, which per the illustration undermines belief in a historical Adam, is a slam dunk. Does one count all evidence of the epistemic situation equally or does one first resolve the interpretive issue based on textual reasons and then hold to a historical Adam over against the undermining scientific slam dunk?

I am asking, because I suspect that which side one takes often correlates with how one would resolve the epistemic situation in my illustration.

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Objections? We’ve Adam!

My earlier post on the historicity of Adam has received some critical discussion on another blog. I appreciate the thoughtful push-back from Nick and others, not least because this is one of those debates that can quickly degenerate into anathematizing partisanship. I tried to address the matter objectively, without personalizing the issue, and I hope we can maintain that level of respectful debate. Anyway, here are a few further remarks by way of response.

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Was Adam a Real Historical Individual?

In a video clip that will no doubt stir up some discussion in the evangelical blogosphere, Professor Tremper Longman III has expressed doubts about whether the opening chapters of Genesis commit one to believing that Adam was a real historical individual (in the sense that Jesus, say, was a real historical individual). I’m not going to comment here on Longman’s particular views or his reasons for holding them, but merely offer twelve prima facie reasons why an evangelical view of the Bible commits one to the existence of Adam has a real historical individual.

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