In the interests of getting a conversation started, I thought I would attempt to kick off a discussion on the perspectives found in Zondervan’s “Four Views on the Historical Adam.” For the uniniated, four scientists and theologians explain and defend a range of viewpoints on the historical nature of Adam and Eve. I won’t summarize each position as I couldn’t successfully capture the subtleties in each person’s argument. Thus, such a summary would fail to help someone who hasn’t read the book. Instead, I’ll briefly review what I’ve read thus far and let the conversation proceed from there.
Personally, my wife and I have really enjoyed reading and talking about this book. The arguments are well presented and create a LOT of room of discussion. Now to the authors…
I thought Denis Lemoureux did a fantastic job introducing the topic and creating a solid case as to why it is theologically sound to accept Adam and Eve as fictional examples used to teach larger truths to early Jews. However, I understand his train of thought to then assume that because we can believe that, we must. I was not sold on his argument that ‘consistency demands’ we take this particular viewpoint.
I was most intrigued to read John Walton’s argument on Adam and Eve as archetypes. This to me would most easily fit modern theories about a minimum human population of 10,000 while also allowing for Cain’s wife without the awkward “incest was okay because the DNA was so pure” train of thought. However, I had a hard time with this chapter. He had some strong sections but ultimately lost me with his attempt to define Eden as ‘spiritual space.’ I was never entirely sure if ‘spiritual space’ meant some Narnia type realm, a dream, or a someplace related to the soul.
John Collins writes in a style that is very easy to follow and enjoyable to read. My wife has enjoyed his work prior to this book and he has not disappointed us. We are currently about halfway through his chapter and could easily find ourselves convinced. However, he has yet to deal with that 10,000 minimum number and so I withhold judgement.
We have not gotten to William Barrick yet. Frankly, I have found his counterarguments unconvincing. However, I have found him more persuasive and more sound than other young earth creationists. I’m looking forward to seeing how he fleshes out his position when given the chance.