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.
A report from Barbara Bradley Hagerty of National Public Radio a few weeks ago is an undeniable sign that even the secular world now recognizes that this is a question central to Christianity. Hagerty, a skilled religion reporter, talked to me and several others about this subject. Her interviews were broadcast as a report on August 9, with Steve Inskeep of NPR as host.
Inskeep got right to the point: “For many Evangelicals, a historical Adam and Eve is a critical part of their theology, but now some conservative religious scholars are saying, publicly, that they can no longer believe it.”
Hagerty asked Dennis Venema, a professor of biology at Trinity Western University, if all humans descended from Adam and Eve. “That would be against all the genomics evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all,” Venema said. He explained that there is simply too much genetic diversity among human beings than would be possible with an original reproducing pair. Venema affirmed the standard evolutionary line of argument and explained that, in Hagerty’s words, “modern humans emerged from other primates as a large population - long before the Genesis time frame of a few thousand years ago.”
Hagerty then talked to John Schneider, who taught theology at Calvin College for many years. Schneider took the argument even further. As Hagerty reported: “Schneider, who taught theology at Calvin College in Michigan until recently, says it’s time to face facts: There was no Adam and Eve, no serpent, no apple, no fall that toppled man from a state of innocence.” To read more, click here.
Monday, August 22, 2011
The Controversy Over Adam and Eve Heats Up
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 7:47 AM