In pondering the various ways to interpret the story of Adam as a metaphor or symbolic story, I attempted
to isolate what might be considered the basic building blocks of the story - - from a religious viewpoint of
- The Presence of Non-Human Animals.
- The arrival of the first “Morally Responsible” Animal - the first Man.
- The Initial Innocence of this man.
- Man errs; revealing his moral inadequacy.
These four elements seem to accommodate the spiritual foundation of the story of The Fall.
So how would this work in connection with a Theistically guided evolutionary scenario?
Over the course of eons, primate communities appear and evolve. The first primates have
little to connect them to humanity as we understand it to be. They are animals that walk on
At some point, either through divine manipulation of cosmic rays, or other factors,
a primate gene pool evolves to the point where the child of two unusually intelligent primates
is born. In his DNA the mental and spiritual equipment of humanity are provided. But of course,
he is an infant, and so none of this is initially revealed.
Like all babies and toddlers, there is an innocence about him. He may even seem unusually
compassionate and kind compared to his primate peers. He will be the ideal “first man” with
whom God can commune and to whom God can reveal the mysteries of the Universe.
The child grows into a young man… confronted by an endless chain of moral choices…
how to treat his parents; how to treat his friends; how to treat his enemies. And by the time
he arrives at adulthood, the perfection of his moral state of mind has been found wanting.
He sometimes does wicked things. Sometimes he does things that others might even
approve of - - but for which he secretly regrets.
But he IS the “first man” of God’s design. As imperfect as he may be, it is on his
shoulders that all the future generations of humanity will stand.
CONCLUSION: It is relatively easy to imagine the “first human” in any evolving primate community.
And it is easy to imagine that “first human” enjoying an ideal and innocent youth. But then the Fall
comes. He is an adult - - an adult who must fight and compete to survive in the world filled with
his peers - - who are not blessed with the spiritual architecture of “humanity”.
Over time, the descendants of the “First Man” become the only humans left on earth.
And they come to dispute the meaning of a book one of them wrote - - called Genesis.