The "Historical Adam" Debate

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Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Apr 2 2017 7:06 PM

Does anyone have recommendations for resources on the "Historical Adam" debate?

I've heard Tremper Longman state that he knows the apostle Paul believed Adam was a literal/historical individual, but that he believes Paul was mistaken.  What I haven't heard, is how Tremper works through that or where it leads him in regard to Paul's arguments and theology.

I also noticed that in Moo's Mobile Ed course on Romans (NT331), there's an item in the course TOC titled "The Historical Adam Debate".  I did some searching in Moo's NIC on Romans, but couldn't find any place where Moo addresses the topic, so I'm also wondering if anyone knows Moo's view on the issue.

Please ...don't voice arguments either way here in the forum as that would violate forum rules.  But pointers to good resources on the topic and a simple statement on Moo's view would be appreciated.

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Jacob Hantla | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 2 2017 8:28 PM

From the course, "

Obviously, I’m no expert at all on Gen 1–3, and so I don’t have much stake to comment on what’s going on in those chapters. But very significant in this debate is the way the nt speaks about Adam, and particularly the Apostle Paul. As we’ve seen here in Rom 5, Paul talks about Adam as one who sinned, whose one trespass brought condemnation to all human beings. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says some things that are similar in comparing Adam and Christ as he does here in Rom 5. And in a passage like 1 Tim 2, Paul talks about apparent individuals of Adam and Eve. Adam did not trespass, but Eve trespassed, falling into sin, contrasting Adam and Eve in that way there.

If we posit that there is no historical individual called Adam, does Paul’s teaching in these passages ultimately work? Some scholars think, “Yes, we can still explain what Paul is doing here, and it can still make good sense.” I’m not so sure. Focusing on Romans 5, for instance—the text that we’ve been looking at—Paul certainly appears to suggest that he is reading the ot history in terms of an actual person Adam, who can be compared then to an actual single person Christ. Indeed, a lot of his argument seems to rest on the parallel between the one man Adam and the one man Jesus, whose actions affected all who belong to them.

We’re going to continue to discuss these things. We need to have an appropriately open mind to ask whether we have read Scripture correctly, to seek to honor what scientists are telling us. But we do have to be careful that we do not allow our speculation to move us away from certain things the biblical text is claiming to be important. It seems to me—at least at this stage with my own thinking—that Rom 5 does pretty much require us to think that Paul views Adam as a single human being and that we have to seek ways to explain both Paul and Genesis and science in that light. I am confident as we continue to work on these matters, we may be able to come to a point where we are able, in fact, to do justice to the significance of Paul’s argument here and to the data of Genesis and science.

 Douglas J. Moo, NT331 Book Study: Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Logos Mobile Education (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).

Jacob Hantla
Pastor/Elder, Grace Bible Church
gbcaz.org

Posts 908
David Carter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 2 2017 8:33 PM

I haven't read this resource, but I would have thought the Counterpoints volume on the historical Adam would be a worthwhile title to consider https://www.logos.com/product/54039/four-views-on-the-historical-adam

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 2 2017 8:34 PM

I bought this one with my $20 anniversary voucher:

https://www.logos.com/product/5292/who-was-adam

I've not really started reading apart from the introduction, but I can recommend the author in general. Here's a summary of the book from the introduction:

The material in this book unfolds in what we hope is an intriguing manner. Chapter 1 contrasts David’s and Darwin’s views on man’s significance. Chapter 2 takes a look at the hominid fossil record and at the current evolutionary models to explain humanity’s origin.

Chapter 3 presents the RTB model for human origins using testable methodology and delineating key predictions.

Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the latest advances in genetics, archeology, and paleontology and show how discoveries in these areas impact both models. Chapter 6 analyzes the timing of humanity from an astronomical perspective. Chapter 7 explores how the long life spans recorded in Genesis can be accounted for scientifically. Chapter 8 examines recent genetic evidence from human populations that maps the surprising pattern of humanity’s spread from the Middle East. A look at the geological research and archeological record helps identify the timing of humanity’s migration throughout the world.

Chapter 9 addresses the question “Can human evolution be declared a fact?” Questions about the origin of bipedalism and humanity’s large brain size are examined in chapter 10, while chapter11 and 12 discuss Homo erectus and Neanderthals. Chapter 13 takes a look at the genetic similarities and differences between humans and chimpanzees and shows how this comparison (often cited as evidence for evolution) fits within the biblical framework and RTB’s model. Chapter 14 provides a response to what many consider the greatest challenge to biblical creation: junk DNA. The final chapter reflects on the significance of the latest advances in human origins research.

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 2 2017 11:11 PM

I managed to make it through about 15 readings or so straight through Genesis not too long ago. I need to do that at least another 10-15 times. It so dramatically changed my understanding of Genesis and Scripture in general, that I recommend it without any hesitation.

That probably won't help Logos sell anything, but I think it will help you get a better understanding of a difficult topic.  

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 12:08 AM

David Carter:

I haven't read this resource, but I would have thought the Counterpoints volume on the historical Adam would be a worthwhile title to consider https://www.logos.com/product/54039/four-views-on-the-historical-adam

I have read it and can recommend it. It is based on the common interpretations on the problem.

I expect that utilizing linguistics could add more insights. The word Adam can mean an individual or humankind (or almost anything between: Adam's tribe, human species, etc.?).

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 5:05 AM

Rick Ausdahl:
Does anyone have recommendations for resources on the "Historical Adam" debate?

One idea is searching for articles that have Adam in the title (Heading or Large text) followed by one of these words in title or article: historical,historicity,debate,debated

([field heading,largetext] adam) BEFORE 88 WORDS ([field heading,largetext,surface] historical,historicity,debate,debated)

Noticed search results has false positives.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 995
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 6:48 AM

Veli Voipio:

David Carter:

I haven't read this resource, but I would have thought the Counterpoints volume on the historical Adam would be a worthwhile title to consider https://www.logos.com/product/54039/four-views-on-the-historical-adam

I have read it and can recommend it. It is based on the common interpretations on the problem.

I have the dead tree version, and I would recommend it as well. It provides a nice survey of the most common approaches, with each presented by a proponent of that view. 

Posts 1328
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 8:15 AM

For the Genesis 1-3 end, see

http://www.logos.com/product/43181/the-evolution-of-adam-what-the-bible-does-and-doesnt-say-about-human-origins

http://www.logos.com/product/52907/the-lost-world-of-genesis-one-ancient-cosmology-and-the-origins-debate

Walton's Genesis 2-3 book isn't in Logos yet, see http://amzn.to/2nwAUsm

That includes a short essay by N.T. Wright. This is not directly about Adam, but gets at the major issues involved (also requested but not in Logos yet.) http://amzn.to/2n4jU14 

Different participants, more participants, larger conversation about the same interpretive issues. 

http://amzn.to/2nOVbeh 

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 1356
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 8:24 AM

Thanks to everyone for all the helpful thoughts/comments and wonderful resource suggestions!  I'll be looking into each one. Smile

mab -- one question for you.  Can you clarify for me which Genesis resource it was that you read through?

Posts 1356
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 8:28 AM

Jacob Hantla:

From the course, "

Obviously, I’m no expert at all on Gen 1–3, and so I don’t have much stake to comment on what’s going on in those chapters. But very significant in this debate is the way the nt speaks about Adam, and particularly the Apostle Paul. As we’ve seen here in Rom 5, Paul talks about Adam as one who sinned, whose one trespass brought condemnation to all human beings. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says some things that are similar in comparing Adam and Christ as he does here in Rom 5. And in a passage like 1 Tim 2, Paul talks about apparent individuals of Adam and Eve. Adam did not trespass, but Eve trespassed, falling into sin, contrasting Adam and Eve in that way there.

If we posit that there is no historical individual called Adam, does Paul’s teaching in these passages ultimately work? Some scholars think, “Yes, we can still explain what Paul is doing here, and it can still make good sense.” I’m not so sure. Focusing on Romans 5, for instance—the text that we’ve been looking at—Paul certainly appears to suggest that he is reading the ot history in terms of an actual person Adam, who can be compared then to an actual single person Christ. Indeed, a lot of his argument seems to rest on the parallel between the one man Adam and the one man Jesus, whose actions affected all who belong to them.

We’re going to continue to discuss these things. We need to have an appropriately open mind to ask whether we have read Scripture correctly, to seek to honor what scientists are telling us. But we do have to be careful that we do not allow our speculation to move us away from certain things the biblical text is claiming to be important. It seems to me—at least at this stage with my own thinking—that Rom 5 does pretty much require us to think that Paul views Adam as a single human being and that we have to seek ways to explain both Paul and Genesis and science in that light. I am confident as we continue to work on these matters, we may be able to come to a point where we are able, in fact, to do justice to the significance of Paul’s argument here and to the data of Genesis and science.

 Douglas J. Moo, NT331 Book Study: Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Logos Mobile Education (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).

Jacob, thank you very much for the excerpt from the course.  I was very curious about what Moo might have to say in the course.  You post definitely scratched the itch I had in that regard.  Wink 

Posts 1356
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 8:31 AM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):

Rick Ausdahl:
Does anyone have recommendations for resources on the "Historical Adam" debate?

One idea is searching for articles that have Adam in the title (Heading or Large text) followed by one of these words in title or article: historical,historicity,debate,debated

([field heading,largetext] adam) BEFORE 88 WORDS ([field heading,largetext,surface] historical,historicity,debate,debated)

Noticed search results has false positives.

Keep Smiling Smile

Thanks for the search suggestion.  I had done something very similar but only within Moo's NIC commentary on Romans which didn't really produce what I was after.  I'll give your suggestion a try.

Posts 1356
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 9:02 AM

I've taken a "first look" at all the resource suggestions and my first thought is "Oy vey!  I've got my work cut out for me now!"

I feel like a kid in a candy shop.  Every resource suggested looks well worth the read.  The problem is deciding where to start.  So thanks again for all the great suggestions.

PS:  To Keep Smiling 4 Jesus -- Your search suggestion resulted in a return of 66 results.  Thank you much!

Posts 2171
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 1:31 PM

Rick Ausdahl:

mab -- one question for you.  Can you clarify for me which Genesis resource it was that you read through?

Just Genesis text in the ESV version. Regardless of whatever reference work, or guide, you might use, there's still nothing better than the text itself in trying to interpret what it means.  

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 1356
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 2:56 PM

mab:

Rick Ausdahl:

mab -- one question for you.  Can you clarify for me which Genesis resource it was that you read through?

Just Genesis text in the ESV version. Regardless of whatever reference work, or guide, you might use, there's still nothing better than the text itself in trying to interpret what it means.  

Thanks for clarifying.  Smile

Posts 5232
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 3:00 PM

While not a direct hit on your question, In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in ItsOriginal Context, is a good source to look into. I admittedly have not read it thoroughly since getting it but I believe it will help reframe things. I am reminded of the story of  Barth being asked by one of his students if he believed the snake actually spoke. And the answer was to the effect: It matter's not whether the snake spoke or not, but what was important was what the snake said. Whether Adam existed or not what scripture tells of of God's actions and his have much to teach us. The parables of Jesus after all are stories that tell truths, but few people would declare them to be factual stories. I am not going to say Adam was or wasn't a real person, but the truth we have from his life and experiences are most valuable, and in the end we may never know. It might be a easier for a personal to argue for eve, since science have given us Mitochondrial Eve, although even this must be taken with a grain of salt since M.E. existence doesn't quite make a strong case for Eve of the Bible, just an intriguing fact that some used, although a common mother offers  interesting  possibilities. It also at this point makes me think back to my junoir high schooling and the Blackfoot creation story, similar to the Bible man and woman were made out of clay, although in there case it was mother and son. 

-dan

Posts 1356
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 4:06 PM

Catchy title, Dan.  Looks like another good resource.  Thanks for sharing.  Yes

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LogosEmployee

These two books up on pre-pub/pre-order soon. They are quite relevant to the debate:

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/adam-and-the-genome/381910

http://www.eerdmans.com/Products/7379/evolution-and-the-fall.aspx

Manager, Bible Study Products Department

Posts 3005
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 4 2017 11:18 AM

Ben Amundgaard (Faithlife):

These two books up on pre-pub/pre-order soon. They are quite relevant to the debate:

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/adam-and-the-genome/381910

http://www.eerdmans.com/Products/7379/evolution-and-the-fall.aspx

Ben sir... any idea when they might hit prepub?  The genome one sounds very interesting

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