Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adam was a Real Man

Just ask Seth, Enosh, and Kenan.

Kevin DeYoung debunks the recently popular notion that Adam (and therefore, Eve) was not a literal person, by insight-fully stating the obvious: he's the first person in a genealogy of real people (see, for example, 1 Chron 1).
Are we really to think that any Jew reading 1 Chronicles (or any Christian up until very recently for that matter) would have read the genealogies as anything other than true historical truth? The Chronicler’s whole aim is to recount history. And everything in the Israelite worldview underlines the importance of God’s dealing in real time and space. Nothing suggests that 1 Chronicles is mixing in some fantastic ├╝ber-man with blood and guts real men.

That kind of genealogy wouldn’t begin to make sense, not to the Jews and not to us. It’d be like starting your family tree with the Jolly Green Giant and Paul Bunyan. It’d be like writing a biography that begins with Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke and then goes on to his son Hugh Hodge and his son Charles and his son Archibald Alexander. Not very convincing.

And not very encouraging for a bunch of exiles trying to figure out who they really are.
Read DeYoung's entire post here.

Along with a helpfully provocative line - "It'd be like starting your family tree with the Jolly Green Giant and Paul Bunyan" - DeYoung has exposed the underbelly of this issue. When you start to pull on the "minor" threads of Scripture, many not-so-minor things begin to unravel.

So, the next time someone mentions their disbelief in a literal Adam, I'm going to turn to Luke 3:23-38 and ask, "If the last man in this genealogy is figurative, what are we to say about the first?"


(NB, for more on this issue, see Coppenger, Epicycles and Phlogiston: Fanciful Flights from the Historical Adam and Jesus)

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