NEED WE BELIEVE IN ADAM AND EVE?
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:24-26)
A topic that is in current debate in Christadelphian circles is the theory of Evolution. Folk on either side of the discussion use science – the wisdom of the world – to try and settle the question, whether for or against. However, we believe that the only true way to settle the issue is by appealing to the Holy Writ. Our Creator alone knows what He did—or did not do—to bring about the existence of the earth in which we live, and His Word should settle the issue once and for all.
Advocates for Evolution sometimes argue that the Bible is not a scientific textbook, and so does not detail how God created the earth, and man upon it. It is claimed that just because the Bible does not directly refer to Evolution, it doesn’t mean that Evolution is not true. The Bible does not directly refer to the law of Gravity either—but we all accept that there is such a thing as gravity.
However, in this position (like the most deadly of wrong ideas), there is an element of truth mixed in with error. It is true that the Bible is not a scientific text book—but it is not true to claim that therefore it does not describe how the earth, and man upon it came into being. The first and second chapters of Genesis describe in very precise terms how man and woman began:
“And Yahweh Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).
Notice that the Bible is specific—without engaging in the intricacies of the event: Man was formed from the dust of the ground, following which the breath of life was imparted to him. It is wrong to say therefore, that the Bible does not describe how man came about—it very clearly does, but not in scientific detail.
Another writer summarises the situation thus:
“If God really used evolution, he could have easily explained that to Moses in simple, non-scientific terms. For example, when we read in Genesis Chapter 1 where God described to Moses the creation of the sun on day 4, he didn’t get scientifically technical. He didn’t tell Moses he created a yellow dwarf star comprised of hot gases containing hydrogen, helium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and iron which burns at temperatures of 11,000 degrees at the surface to 25 million degrees at the core, with a diameter of 900,000 miles, suspended 93 million miles from Earth in one of the arms of the Milky Way galaxy. No, he told Moses “I created a great light in the expanse of the sky”
The problem that Evolutionists who also profess to believe the Bible have, is that not only does the Bible describe the origin of man, but it does so in terms which specifically contradicts Evolution. Evolution requires a lengthy process over many millennia during which species gradually develop into other species, leading up to Man. The Bible however, contradicts this, by claiming that the origin of species came about in 6 days. Moreover, rather than species developing from one another, the Bible claims that life began with individual species being specially made distinct from one to another:
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind, and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:25).
It is quite plain that the Bible does not speak in terms which accommodates Evolution: it is directly contradictory to it.
Sometimes it is claimed that Genesis chapters 1-3 were written to simple folk who just would not have understood the complexities of evolution theory, and so the origin of species is described in simple ways that they could understand. However, this will just not do, for if Evolution were true, then either these simple folk would have understood the basics of it from the descriptions in Genesis, or that Genesis is teaching them things which contradict what actually happened from an Evolutionary perspective. Being unable to accept that Genesis is untrue, the Theistic Evolutionist is compelled to claim that the Genesis record is figurative, and not literal, and therefore as a figure it does not contradict the actual process of Evolution.
However, if the record is figurative, then it should be possible to readily interpret what element of the record represents what element of the reality. After all, if the “simple folk” for whom the record was made could have understood it, why can’t our more learned contemporaries? Why can’t the Theistic Evolutionist detail what each element of the figure represent? Can it be that in all their scientific wisdom, that they are not as intelligent as the “simple folk” who understood what the Creator describes in Genesis?
Some time ago, we examined the claim made in the Endeavour magazine that Adam was a representative of an already-existent race of men— a position that would accommodate Evolution (see here: http://www.christadelphian.uk.com/articles/endeavourdust.html). At least the Endeavour writer recognises that there would be a need to expound the figures and symbols, but regrettable he goes no further in explaining the other aspects of the record. Even this suggestion cannot be so, for the alleged “figure” is Adam being formed from the dust itself, not being brought forth out of it, which would be required for an accurate metaphor.
Again, the same writer that we cited above, addresses the “simple terms” argument, that the original readers would not have been able to comprehend the complexities of evolutionary theory:
“God could have simply said: “and God created life in the oceans, too small to see and over long periods of time, they grew larger and more complex and changed until eventually they developed into plants, then animals, then man and woman … and it was good.” That’s all God had to say. Moses would have understood it, it would be in Scripture today, as recorded in Genesis chapter one, and we all would accept evolution as being how God created man. The problem is, that’s not how God told Moses he created everything.”
If He had done so, then it would have been simpler to understand than the complex story of figure and symbol, which even the learned scientists of our day cannot unravel! Why instead present a figurative story, the details of which do not closely match the actual facts?
NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING
The New Testament also describes Adam and Eve as being actual people:
“the first man Adam was made a living soul” (1 Cor. 15:45)*
“the first man is of the earth, earthy” (1 Cor. 15:47).
“death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had no sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (Rom. 5:14).
“for Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression …” (1 Tim. 2:14).
“Enoch also, the seventh from Adam prophesied” (Jude 14).
Then there is the Genealogy of Christ:
“… which was of the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God” (Luke 4:24-38).
Notice also, that the Apostle in 1 Timothy chapter 2, cited above, states that “Adam was first formed”, not first “called out of” the dust.
Sometimes it is thought that the details regarding the origin of man don’t really matter: they are not first principle details, and should not be brought up at baptismal interviews. However, to recognise the actual existence of Adam and Eve as the first human pair is necessary to understand certain doctrines:
“he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female. And said For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What God therefore hath joined together, let not man put asunder …” (Mat. 19:3-6).
This passage from the words of our Master is important in establishing the importance of the marital union, but notice also, that the Master speaks of how Adam and Eve were “made” at “the beginning”, not taken out from an already existent race of men and women, and not being metaphors—i.e. they had to have had a literal existence at “the beginning” for the point being made to hold true.
The Role of Women in the Congregation:-
“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:11-12).
Notice again, the basis for a woman’s role in the ecclesial assemblies is the formation and example of Adam and Eve.
The Law of Sin and Death:-
“ … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12)
“ … death reigned from Adam to Moses” (Rom. 5:14).
An understanding of the events concerning Adam and Eve in the Edenic garden forms the basis of our understanding of the origin of sin and death. If Adam was part of an already existing race of men, how can it be that “death” came by his “sin”? Weren’t the other members of his race also dying creatures? And again, if the earth and it’s contents came about by theistic evolution, how could it be said that “death” came in by one man’s “sin”, when all the creatures before and afterwards were mortal, dying beings?
The Sacrifice of Christ:-
“the first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45).
“as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1 Cor. 15:48).
“… for if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Rom. 5:15).
The point of comparison between Adam and Christ becomes lost, if Adam is not the progenitor of the human race. Christ is the beginning and progenitor of a new creation, just as Adam was the beginning of the earthy creation after the Fall. Our salvation involves passing from one to the other, to be made after the image of the immortalised Son of the Most High.
IS IT CHILDISH?
Sometimes it is regarded as being childish to believe in Adam and Eve, as if we are believing in a fairy story. But what we have seen is that our Creator has revealed the means by which the earth and it’s inhabitants were formed, and true humility is to accept what He tells us. Consider the teachings of Christ:
“Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 18:3)
“verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15)
Rather than to be persuaded by the cunning craftiness of today’s scientific learning, we must rather accept what our Father teaches us, as teachable children. So it is written:
“ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).