Monday, June 20, 2011

Search for the Historical Adam

Was Adam real? Can we go to his tomb now? Our prior post dealt with survey results of Christian schools and the truth of Genesis. One pillar of Bible truth under attack is the existence of an historical Adam. Richard Ostling, former religion writer with Time, has written the cover article “The Search for the Historical Adam” for the June 2011 issue of Christianity Today.
Christianity Today has made a neat video on this topic. Thankfully, Wheaton College supports the statement "God directly created Adam and Eve, the historical parents of the entire human race."
In The Language of Science and Faith, Francis Collins (Human Genome Project) and Karl Giberson deny that Adam and Eve were the first couple in a historical sense. Giberson, Physics Professor at Eastern Nazarene College, claims that this is "a secondary or peripheral disagreement that shouldn't cause us to hurl accusations of infidelity at one another." We have responded to some of Collins’ errors here.

Collins claims that humanity came from a group of 10,000 ancestors around 100,000 to 150,000 years ago. That is, mankind came from a group and not Adam and Eve. Elizabeth Mitchell comments, “Search the Christianity Today article much as you will, it never explains how the conclusion that there had to be 10,000 original people was reached. Oddly enough, neither does the BioLogos website.”

According to A. Gibbons, writing in Science, “… researchers have calculated that ‘mitochondrial Eve’ - the woman whose mtDNA was ancestral to that in all living people—lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago in Africa. Using the new clock, she would be a mere 6000 years old.”

Ostling rightly points out what is at stake, “… Christian doctrine on original sin and the Fall, the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, and, perhaps most significantly, Paul's teaching that links the historical Adam with redemption through Christ (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 42-49; and his speech in Acts 17).” Orthodox Protestants who take Genesis as Historical Narrative (OPGHN, “opgane”) present “one option” according to Ostling. It is not one option, but is actually the Bible option:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Ge 2:7).
All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust (Job 34:15).
The first man [Adam] was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (1 Cor. 15:47-49).
Genuine humanity was from made from dust, not a prior hominid (Lucy, Lucky or anyone else). Rather than refer to specific scholars who work with Answers In Genesis, many with Ph.D.’s, Ostling uses the nebulous term “writers with Answers in Genesis.”
Ostling tries to put James Montgomery Boice (d. 2000) into the anti-Genesis camp – this is a mistake. Boice, though not holding to all the tenets of Flood Geology, held that much geologic data “must be explained by a flood of worldwide dimensions.” He also said that, “a flood of that duration [377 days] is not a local flood!” Boice wrote a whole chapter on Flood Traditions and concluded that, “Hundreds of flood stories abound throughout the world in various cultures and are therefore evidence not merely of the historicity of the flood but of its universal extent.”

Ostling points out that Genesis doubters assume that starting with two people, “… would have required God's miraculous intervention to increase the genetic diversity to what is observable today.” Maybe Ostling does not know about Marc Kirschner’s and John Gerhart’s book The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma (2005) who proposed the theory of Facilitated Variation. [1] Modular regulatory mechanisms (switches) allow quick changes to occur.

C. John Collins (not related to Francis) has written Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? and takes a more conservative view. He points out that human language poses a serious problem for Darwiniacs. Evolutionary linguist Mark Seidenberg freely admits, “Humans acquire and use natural languages, and lower primates do not.” [2] Fred Field (Ph.D. Linguistics) points out a further problem with assuming that true humanity started many thousands of years ago: “… it is curious how writing could have suddenly emerged after 30 to 100 millennia of speech. And , if writing had been in existence prior to that of the Sumerians, where is the evidence?” [3]
Consider these powerful words from Lita Cosner, who is working on her M.A. (New Testament) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and who was awarded the Carl F.H. Henry Scholarship (their highest award):

Scripture itself does not allow Adam to be taken non-literally; many passages in Scripture require Adam to be a historical individual. Among them is Romans 5:12 -21, where a historical Adam is contrasted with the historical Jesus. … Paul’s argument [in Rom. 5:12-21] depends completely on a historical individual man called Adam, who committed a real sin bringing real death. Otherwise, why believe in a real historical Jesus who brought justification from sin? No, it is clear from this passage, and many others in both the Old and New Testament, that Scripture itself takes Adam to be a historical person, and the Fall to be a historical event.19 Without these historical facts, the Gospel itself has no foundation (cf. Psalm 11:3).

Tim Keller, who spoke at a BioLogos workshop, provided counterpoint, “[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. … If Adam doesn't exist, Paul's whole argument … falls apart. … If you don't believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul's teaching."
The Ica Stones, made famous by Peruvian physician Javier Cabrera, provide a strong indication that man and dinos co-existed. The Travel Channel made a great video on this. Surely, the Darwinist timescale is wrong. Adam may have had dino pets. Doubt Darwin! Don’t Deny Divine Revelation!

If Adam was an actual figure from real history, what conversations did he have with the Intelligent Designer and what did he think about the age of the Earth?

1) summarized in “Facilitated Variation: A New Paradigm Emerges in Biology” by Alex Williams, Journal of Creation, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2008, pp. 85-92.
2) quoted in “The Language Faculty: Following the Evidence” by Fred Field, Journal of Creation, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2008, p. 75.
3) Ibid., p. 74.

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