Monday, January 20, 2014

Historical Adam - Part 1

Recently it came to my attention that the youth pastor at the local church was having serious doubts as to the historicity of Adam.  Was he a real man?  Or was he a myth?  Is the whole creation story just a fable? 

He also questioned the story of Jonah.

I believe the Bible makes it clear that, not only was Adam a real man, but his existence is essential to many Christian doctrines, including the explanation of creation, the entry of sin, the entry of death, the need for redemption, and the person and work of Christ.  

Below is Part 1 of my argument:

So I've dug through a couple of my books tonight, and opened my Bible, and I want to throw a few things at you for your consideration, as you sort and think:

1. As I mentioned earlier, Luke ("Mr. Detail") includes Adam in his detailed genealogy of Jesus Christ. It's impossible to be descended from a myth. (That's pretty much case closed, for me.)

2. Using the accepted hermeneutic of scripture interpreting scripture, let us consider Romans 5. "Paul uses the fall as the counterpoint for an exposition of Christ's work of redemption. The effects of the 'one' (i.e. 'first') sin of Adam (vv. 16,18) are undone by the 'one act of righteousness' (v.18) of Christ in his death for sinners (cf. 3:25; 4:25; 5:8). It is impossible to sustain this parallel between the work of Adam and the work of Christ if the fall as a space-time event is denied." (KNOW THE TRUTH, Bruce Milne)

3. While there was no law against incest until later, God allowing the first generation siblings to marry each other to populate the earth, man would have inherently known that murder is wrong. They knew from their mother and father that God alone is the Creator of life, and man would surely know (the law "written on their hearts") he had no right to take it. I would agree with those who teach that the risk of genetic defects increased because of the effects of sin's curse, and therefore God later outlawed sibling marriage for our own good (as are all his laws).

4. A closer look at Matthew 12:38-42 sure leads me to continue to believe the "prophet Jonah" was real, the "the great fish" was real, and Jonah really spent three days in it's belly. For Jesus uses these words: "For just as... so will..." (v.40), at least in my ESV, which I trust. It's just not hard for me to believe. And if God actually used the belly of a fish for His divine purposes, it has greater impact, at least on me, than if this were just allegory. I mean, here's a man, who had the crew cast him overboard, God rescues him through the hell of being in the belly of a fish, Jonah repents, and get vomited on the beach three days later all wrapped up in seaweed. And it all points to Jesus! If there was a prophet Jonah but no fish belly, why did he dramatically change his mind and go to Nineveh? Why not tell the real story? Maybe God did?

5. When Jesus told parables, he made it pretty plain that they were parables. Knowing what I know of God and His character, I just can't accept the premise that some of these OT stories are merely parables, or allegories, when they are pretty plainly set in historical literary form. And because we would both agree that the Scriptures are infallible, by definition, they do NOT mislead because it is God's own self-testimony. 

6. Even IF all these things are not literally true in the historical narratives... I'd rather get to heaven and be guilty of having child-like faith, taking God at His Word... than have reason to "be ashamed" because I doubted the historicity of the Holy Writ. 

There is no danger in preaching what the Reformers and Puritans preached, my brother, except from a world that we have no reason to fear. But I believe there is great danger in affirming and teaching the possibilities you suggested. I pray you consider it.

May the Spirit do what He has promised: Guide us into all the truth. I love you, brother.

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