Adam, Where Are You?
June 3, 2015
Peter Enns blogged this, where he essentially states that church history is not relevant on human origins. Naturally, his views are.
Besides the Apostles and Jesus, theologians and pastors over the course of church history have gotten things wrong, according to Enns. That the history of the church shows a belief in a literal Adam is "irrelevant", says Enns, mainly because recent scientific advancements invalidate the teaching of the church. To say so, argues Enns, "is not a dismissal of the study of church history, historical theology, etc., but to put them in their place."
"To put them in their place" = irrelevance.
If Enns is correct, then orthodox Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, and hamartiology all need serious revising. As Professor Richard Gaffin has said, "It does not overstate to say that the gospel of Jesus Christ loses its biblical meaning and efficacy apart from Adam and Eve as the first human beings from whom all others descend."
Scott McKnight has also written a piece on this topic. Unnamed Jewish sources enable him to use Paul as a wax nose. I fail to see how using Adam as a type at times means a rejection of his literal existence. I would like to see if he can come up with any Jewish sources, pre-medieval, who denied a literal Adam. And I'd love to see Professor McKnight interact with John Murray's treatment of Romans 5 concerning the questions he raises on that text.
For a more reliable perspective, you might consider reading this new book by William Vandoodewaard. In this book, Vandoodewaard shows us how Christians through the millennia have engaged with the questions of Adam's historicity. Written by one author, this book has a coherence that is sadly lacking in many edited books these days.
Besides the book mentioned above, you might also consider reading this post by Doug Wilson against N.T. Wright. Wilson does a good job of rebutting N.T. Wright's chapter in John Walton's book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve.
"Adam, where are you?" Certainly one of the most significant questions for the church today.