Each generation of Christians faces its own set of theological challenges. For this generation of Evangelicals, the question of beginnings is taking on a new urgency. In fact, this question is now a matter of Gospel urgency. How are we to understand the Bible’s story, if we can have no confidence that we know how it even begins?


In terms of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the most urgent question related to beginnings has to do with the questions related to the existence of Adam and Eve as the first parents to all humanity and to the reality of the Fall as the explanation for human sinfulness and all that comes with sin.

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Mohler says "we face a broader assault on the Bible’s main storyline". How do you defend this assault in your sphere of influence?

Tags: adam, albert, beginnings, controversy, earth, eve, genesis, mohler, origin

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So, we are back to the tired old question:

 

The one that was so troubling to Jody Foster's Character in CONTACT,

 

WHERE DID CAIN GET HIS WIFE?

 

and the answer is,

 

Wait for it,

 

Hold your breath,

 

Drum roll,

 

Suspenseful music:

 

. . . . .

 

"I'd tell you if I was Abel."

Great answer Jim. Got a good chuckle. In the end, God is not mocked.

Jim Brenneman said:

 

So, we are back to the tired old question:

 

The one that was so troubling to Jody Foster's Character in CONTACT,

 

WHERE DID CAIN GET HIS WIFE?

 

and the answer is,

 

Wait for it,

 

Hold your breath,

 

Drum roll,

 

Suspenseful music:

 

. . . . .

 

"I'd tell you if I was Abel."

People have been polite to me whenever I talk to them about the Bible so I haven't had to defend the "Adam is real" position. However, I have given it a lot of thought. Once I heard Ravi Zacharias (great teacher!) say that (I'm paraphrasing) if Adam wasn't real, then who was? Atheists and other non-Christians such as Buddists and Hindus have imaginary beginnings for the world and man. Therefore, they may not think much about it but for me, there had to be "first people" and they had to be real (that is, if we are real).

Actually a man named Spencer Wells says that instead of starting from a broad population around 200,000 years ago, modern man is descended from a very small group who left Africa about 60,000 years ago. Wells is in charge of the NatGeo's National Genographic project and his views result from his research on the human genome and haploid groups. Of course he is about ten times too long ago and man did not have to start in Africa but if modern scientists are bringing our ancestors closer to us and not farther away, then why are some Christians ready to accept 20 or 30 year old models and reject the real, not illusionary, first people; Adam + Eve and Noah and his family?       

This is a very interesting topic. Good of you to be bring it up Jennifer. As was mentioned, if the Genesis account of Adam and Eve is allegorical then there cannot be any true basis to modern Christianity. 

Before commenting further, I think it’s best to first take a closer at the article from which this post is based. Mohler’s article quotes Dennis Venema as saying that, according to genomics evidence, humankind could not have descended from a population of two because of the genetic variation that exists among humans today. I would accept this at face value if Venema could say with forthright candour that the genomic evidence existing today represents the ceiling for the ENTIRE genomic evidence there is i.e. there is no more possibility for discovering any further gene information and that what is known now is all that will ever be known. I don’t think Venema or any scientist worth their salt would come to that conclusion. The study of genes and their purpose in living things is still in its infancy. A mountain of information (evidence?) is still to be uncovered and analysed. What Venema and his ilk know now, though impressive, is just the tip of the gene iceberg.

So although the “gene evidence”, in terms of that which is currently known, may point to the possibility of an initial large pool being required to achieve current levels of gene diversity, subsequent discoveries could (will) in all likelihood, reveal that a much smaller group, maybe even just a pair, was sufficient to account for current variations in humans. Could this be a possibility? A look back at the ever-changing evolutionary line of explanations for a myriad of different lines of science (e.g. Neanderthals: initially apes, then half-apes, now humans?) predicts that current explanations of genomic evidence will be changed umpteen times as more information comes to light. So, no loss of sleep over this one then.

What about Schneider’s comments, that “it’s time to face facts: there was no Adam and Eve, no serpent, no apple, no fall that toppled man...” For someone who taught theology, Schneider is ignorant of a few Biblical facts himself. The forbidden fruit is not described as an apple but as “the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”. If he can take liberties with this small fact, what’s to say he won’t take liberties with other facts? The assumption that it was an apple is not the only assumption Schneider makes. He assumes Adam and Eve never existed and that there was no Garden of Eden. The facts he wants us to face are based on his assumption that evolution is true. If ever Mr. Schneider offered me a packet of apples I would be very hesitant to dip my hand in that packet!

As for the utterances of Falk and Applegate taken from their writings in the BioLogos Forum, it is very easy to see where their fallacies stem from. They are quoted as saying “All science can say is that there never was a time when only two people existed on earth”. Really? “Science” said that? It is evident that science doesn’t speak, but scientists interpret the scientific data, and that that interpretation is informed by the worldview they hold. I think anyone appointing themselves as a spokesperson for science should be asked for proof of that appointment.

Karl Giberson’s comparison that the Bible is like a library cannot go unchallenged. Most libraries categorise the type of books they have under such headings as “Fiction”, Geology” etc. So how would he categorise the books of the Bible and what would be the criteria he would use for such categorization? Is the Biblical “library” his? Did he author any of its books or was he given these books to manage? Of course, Giberson is entitled to his opinion, but his contention that the Bible is a library is self serving. It enables him to set up a straw man which he can then demolish with his own opinions.

I would contend that the Bible is no more a library than say the Harry Potter books are or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is, simply because as these latter two have their own authors, so does the Bible have its own author, namely God. The fact that there may be different scribes who wrote during different periods in history and in different places does not detract from the fact that these scribes did not write from their own will, expressing their own thoughts or ideas, but were moved by the Holy Spirit, himself God, who “breathed out” what He wanted the scribes to write. When Mr. Giberson dictates a letter to his secretary, it is not his secretary who takes credit for the letter but Mr. Giberson himself, his secretary being the medium used to write down his words: so it is with the Bible: the various scribes were used as mediums to write what the Holy Spirit wanted them to write, therefore the books of the Bible are rightfully credited as being written by God. And if God cannot lie, then no book of the Bible can be described as fiction.

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