A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Is There Middle Ground on the Existence of Adam and Eve?


PamBG said...

"The existence of Adam and Eve" isn't something that I think matters one jot.

I'm not sure what a "middle ground" would be if we're talking about the actual past existence of two people named Adam and Eve.

Ted M. Gossard said...

While I've come to tend to doubt a literal Adam and Eve, I do find his thought feasible and certainly one possible responsible theological way of looking at it.

Eric Helms said...

I've known multiple people named Adam, and multiple others named Eve--so it seems obvious there there have been not only a historical "Adam and Eve," there have been many.

Seriously though--the historical validity of the creation story and the main characters "Adam and Eve," is, I think, of little consequence. However, his possible interpretation of Adam and Eve as people with a special covenant with God--similar to Abraham and Sarah; even if not the first humans is not Biblical, not helpful theologically, and ultimately doesn't address the concerns of the creationists.

That it is not Biblical is obvious--God created Adam and Even, they were the first humans--in the most historically-literal reading.

Theologically, regardless of whether Adam and Eve were historical people, they are distinct from Abraham and Sarah. The story of salvation is best understood, I think, as an hour-glass. It begins and ends broad and open. God created the earth and all that is in it--all people are God's creatures. They screw things up, and so God get particular--recreation through Noah didn't work, so he establishes the special covenant with Abraham. In Christ, the command to spread the word to all nations broadens the invitation to union with God back to the open, all nations, that it was in creation. Paul describes the telos of Christ's work is the restoration of all of creation. If Adam and Eve are more like Abraham and Sarah than the first man and woman, they lose their theological distinctiveness in the story of salvation.

Finally, for those who are concerned about the literal reading of the creation story are not interested in creative ways of reading the story--at issue is how we can trust that we are indeed creatures of God, and trust that the Bible tells us the truth. Reading Adam and Eve as people with a special relationship to God, though not necessarily the actual first humans does not address those primary concerns.