New book about Adam and Eve by William Lane Craig

Ah c’mon Steve, c’mon! It’s your anointing! If not you then who?! I know there are liberal evangelicals. I know several even in my local char evo Anglican shop. Many are on the spectrum in the UK. The emergents were nearly all evo or RC. In the States first of course. McLaren, Bell, Tickell, Olsen, Held Evans, Rohr. I’ve encountered some superb liberal Baptists here, as well as Steve Chalke.

If it is logically necessary that Adam must be real then I guess we should affirm he was. Unfortunately for Craig, it’s not necessary and we are not required to defend the historicity of a a clearly non-historical story. On one front I appreciate that this has better science than young earth creationists and evolution deniers. On the other hand, I think I prefer the literal YEC interpretive hermeneutic over this after the fact, hindsight rationalization method. Both are incorrect for sure but the YECs seem more genuine. This is not a naturally position to take. Craig is being forced into it by his bad mistaken presuppositions and it reeks of ingenuity.

Some somehow Genesis is not literal but it refers to a person who lived a million years ago? If we drop the wooden literalism for Genesis, why can’t we do it for Paul as well? I mean, I am flabbergasted and I definitely don’t “much welcome” the book as @glipsnort does. In my cynical opinion, this only adds to the problem because the heart of the issue is literalism and outdated Biblical interpretation. The book just perpetuates the same ideology which drives people to embrace young earth creationism. I find the premise of the book and its entire ideology to be an intellectual embarrassment. If Augustine didn’t concoct the doctrine of original sin out of a MISTRANSLATION of Paul in the Vulgate, Craig might not have authored this mess of a book. But that mistake bu Augustine also skews one of the central purposes of the incarnation.



I enjoyed the response up to the last paragraph. I honestly did roll my eyes at the end when you said you “much welcome” the book. I couldn’t tell if that last paragraph was serious or just being politically correct and paying the proper scholarly homage.

LOL. No, Paul was a champion of women. It’s a criticism of sexism in Bible scholarship.


I welcome the book as an example of how I would like anyone working in this space to interact with science. That’s the aspect that I was addressing, and I think I made it clear that I don’t accept his premises or think the book represents a good way of thinking about human origins.


33 posts were split to a new topic: To what extent does the Son submit to the Father?

Had this idea too especially when i came to this site and when i was a Christian

But there is a flaw. Since the early Jweish community believed all the OT to be literal then it must be literal or not.

So theres your argument.

If the Church wants its credibility back and wants to be taken seriously on matters of science and history and not beign labeled as a medieval institution that has survived ,then either it must defend and literally prove that the OT stories indeed have happened,or else throw the OT books out of the way completely.

Either you try to defend adam and eve to be historical or you just throw the passages away because they are nothing but imagination,no matter how theological or spiritual or whatever reason some Christians want to find to keep them

To spare you the trouble, this is the closest he comes to criticizing you, and it pretty much sums up his reaction:

In his last paragraph, “welcoming the book,” Shaffner (sic) ignores the fundamentally nonscientific nature of such an endeavor. And that renders a review of Craig’s book in Science as really weird.

Yep. WLC makes the classic mistake of confusing the first appearance of a behavior for the full-blown thing. For instance, late erectus probably was the first speaker of words, but they likely used a combination of gesture and a few words to communicate. Fully-modern language didn’t just materialize out of thin air. It had to evolve. The same with symbolicity. A single shell bead or eagle talon worn as a necklace is a starting point, but it’s not fully-modern symbol usage, which involves a whole network of symbolic reference. A three-yr-old can understand that a red octagon means “stop,” but they’re far from ready to drive.

I think it’s more likely Craig will take heat from both sides. I won’t claim “well-argued” for myself, but here’s my take on “the man” and “the woman” as an archetypal description of the human journey, both personally and collectively.

Can you define the early Jewish community? My understanding is Adam represents Israel and garden represent the Land of Canaan. Expulsion = Exile to Babylon.

Some of Jesus’ parables were probably historicized as were some early Jewish and other ANE myths they adopted.

Your argument is just a false dilemma.


Your belief about what they represent is irrelevant here. Its about them not you

Prove it then
If not then leave it be

Your argument cannot be proven. I wouldnt say that mine is a false dillema if i was in your position

Beliefs change over time. You didn’t answer my question on who these early Jews were, when they existed, or how you know what each one specifically believed. How many Jewish sources have you read? You have not yet demonstrated that one Jew from antiquity was a modern-day literalist, let alone the majority of them.

Fig tree, the widow who gives all she has are prime examples of parables that may have been historicized for quite obvious reasons. Also, the parallels between the Genesis myths and others in the ANE are extensive and obvious. They borrowed from older material and changed it to suit their theological needs. To me its theological origins are obvious. Its just that certain stories become conventional knowledge once passed down for generations and codified. I don’t for the life of me think the authors of Matthew and Luke would think their infancy narratives are historical in the modern sense. They weren’t writing historical biography here or at least not in all of it.

You absolutely put forth a false dilemma and that’s me being polite. You offered an either or. Either the Church can justify/prove a literal Adam and Eve or the story is worthless (we need to throw it away if its not historical). You misunderstand the genre of the Biblical books and that something can be actually true without being factually true. Congratulations Nick, you are no longer an agnostic, you are now a fundamentalist Christian.


We have sources about their theology ,the temples practises etc etc. Both Sadducess and Pharisies agreed upon a literal interpertation. All scholars agree on that. Plain and simple. I dont think any Jewish average citizen was so advanced that they could think for themselves. Critical thinking and going against their religious leaders was not so prominent back then. Even christians werent able to.We needed the Reformation for that
Theres your answer

Sorry but you havent provided any scholarly or historical evidence that prove your point. I imagine since youve said you have read quote many books youll cite one. Guess they are not existant

A fundmentalist christian Vinnie would go back to the OT justyfying the ridicoullus laws and also telling you how you deserve death and how you are going to hell.

I guess this is your answer when someone doesnt want bs when they want to learn about the creator of this world.

The NT is 80% historical expect some parts at least. The OT might as well be not even 1%
Arent you in love with history? How can such words come from your mouth? Shamefull really

Ahhhh really shows your Christian character there ayyy mate? What does your book says?

James 1:19-20 . Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God

Guess you missed it?

There is no anger. Nor is there any concern over your attempt to shame me with a proof-text hunted passage from scripture. My hermeneutics and application of scripture is very different from yours. How I choose to listen to people will vary from case to case. But in no case will I patronize someone by giving nonsense credence. You tried to dismiss the validity of a narrative because it’s not literally true. Billions of people have been moved by and called to action by fictional stories throughout human history. That some Jews later on thought Adam and Eve were real people means nothing. Just like many mistaken Christian beliefs today and throughout history do not undermine the faith.

Also, Adam and Eve is probably a pretty good guess as to how people got here. God made a few and they pro-created. What are the other options for Jews 2500 years ago? Evolution? Whether or not they accepted all the details of the multiple, contradictory creation myths in early Genesis is another matter though. The contradictions are blatant. I think many people would have picked up on that in antiquity if they had access to the written form of it and time to study it. Some of them also would be immersed in the other ANE mythology the Bible borrows from and be able to discern it has a theological meaning.

You don’t get to assume everyone was a modern, fact-literal westerner in antiquity then claim if you can’t prove every story in the Bible is factually true you need to reject it. That is certainly not “agnosticism,” it is “militant atheism.”

And now you basically called the vast majority of all Jews in antiquity morons. None of them could think for themselves? We have more accumulated knowledge because we live after them. We aren’t more intelligent than they were. Our brains are the same size as theirs and if we were transported to 3,000 years ago, most of our knowledge would be utterly useless in helping us live and survive in the ANE.



Dont put words into my mouth. No one in antiquity could thought fkr themselves. Hecm not even later. You yourself have said that the literacy rate was rock bottom . If there is no education people become ignorant and usable. End of story. Not just Jews everyone. Are you trying to prove me antisemitic or something?

Probably. But from listening to the debates over the last few years and speaking to a few evangelicals about the issue, I honestly just think that as long as you affirm some form of historical Adam, you get a pass. And, in my opinion, that’s because each of the various historical models is affirmed by at least one or two high profile and respected-within-the-community evangelical scholars/leaders (Walton, Longman, Stott, Kidner, Alexander, Keller, Collins, Wright etc), whereas non-historical models aren’t viewed in the same light. I hope that WLC’s proposal helps evangelicals to see just how far things have to be stretched to be consistent with the scientific consensus, and begin to take non-historical models more seriously.

Thanks for linking to your paper, I’ll be sure to check it out!


I’m appalled that Stott, Collins, Wright endorse any ‘historical’ (i.e. non-) model for Adam. Just as I am that I did for 40 odd, very odd, years.

It’s all force-fitting because of Romans 5 (see also 1 Cor 15:22) and Augustine. What is needed is more exegesis of Romans 5. If Adam wasn’t real then sin and death didn’t really enter the world through one man. Many see this as undermining the force of what Paul is saying. That is the problem. It’s not Genesis, it’s Romans and personally, I think that is a wonderful question worth exploring. It of course brings us directly into theories of atonement which is not a simple subject if you are looking for systematic doctrine.


Scot McKnight tried in Adam and the Genome.


It was just Paul trying to work out why the Son of God had to die and getting it as right as he could for the mid-50s AD which has had an appalling but unavoidable legacy for two thousand years.

We just have to be honest now.

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It’s Genesis, it’s Romans and it’s really the whole evangelical theological framework. As Pete Enns has been arguing for a long time: evolutionary theory can’t just slot into evangelical theology with a few adjustments here and there, at least not in the long-term. It requires a full synthesis, and that is very hard work.

To reformulate evangelical theology around the reality that Adam and Eve weren’t the two historical individuals who messed things up is to pose new answers to some of the most fundamental theological questions: on human nature, on sin and evil, on the legitimate tools to interpret Scripture etc.

Again, this is very hard work. Not least because evangelical institutions (churches and groups of churches, seminaries etc) are built on this framework and therefore it’s not easy for the leaders, scholars and pastors who inhabit them to change their minds without calling into question the very foundations of their theological heritage and being seen as compromising. That’s how I see it, anyway (and again, I say this as a self confessing evangelical).

For what it’s worth, one of the most helpful pieces I’ve read on how we might understand sin without a historical Adam and Eve and a first sin is Christopher Hays’ essay in Finding Ourselves After Darwin, which I believe was produced in conjunction with BioLogos. He thinks through how biology, psychology, moral awareness, culture and sociology, our spiritual nature’s and even spiritual forces have all played their role in the existence and universality of sin.


“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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