The Image of God/Adam and Eve

If God were to simply pull (or create from the dust) a literal Adam and Eve from an existing population and impart his image on them, what about the other existing people? Do they have no hope, no chance for salvation, because they were not created in (or did not possess) the image of God? (In my opinion, having the Image of God means having an eternal soul.) To me, this seems like a huge theological implication, and one rather hard to swallow, that there were other people existing with Adam and Eve without any hope at all.

Second question, as I am expecting someone to say, “Well Adam was simply a metaphor/allegory for all humanity.” Why would Paul refer to Adam as a historical figure in 1st Corinthians 15 and other places? His point was to point out Christ at the second Adam, as the one to save humanity, and his words treat Adam as if he were a real person. It seems it makes no sense if Adam/Eve were really metaphorical in Genesis, simply a representative of all mankind, for Paul to consider them historical.

My purpose for this post is simply (or maybe not so simply) trying to dovetail more the idea of science and theological truth, and to feel like I am not compromising what I believe in on either side of the situation. Thanks for the help.

Your questions are ones people have definitely been wrestling with. As to the “What happens to the humans before Adam?” question, I find it brings up similar theological issues as the “What happens to modern people who never hear the gospel?” At some point, you have to admit you don’t know how God works it all out in his justice and love.

I’ve tried to pull out some links that might be useful to you. If there was a simple answer I could give you in a paragraph or two, I would, but these are themes that people write entire books on and still don’t arrive at perfect “solutions.”

Peter Enn’s series on the image of God

Video where NT scholars talk about Paul’s Adam. (I think this may be the same clip, but with a transcript.)

Ted Davis’ summary of resources on Paul and the Fall with essays by Robin Collins.


According to our current theology “Adam and Eve” were the first people. Only people, humans, are saved or condemned to hell. Therefore perdition or salvation does not apply to any one but the original couple and their human offspring, however this is determined.

Of course while we have the origin of sin spelled out in Gen 3, we do not have the beginning of God’
s people until Abraham in Gen 12, many years later. None of this solves the question as to how God judges those who do not know the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In my opinion the Fall was a historical event, which involves real historical people, but exactly when and how it happened we cannot say, because God in God’s wisdom has not revealed this to us. We need to accept what information God has revealed, because it is geared to our understanding.


Why would you think that Saul would know whether Adam was a real person or not?

Sure, but the thought process goes that those other populations didn’t stop reproducing. There was no reason for them to stop being a population, aside from maybe the flood. If those people continued to evolve into what we would consider Homo sapiens today, that would still mean they are regular humans without the image of God, and again, would mean they have no real chance. The thought continues that if they still did reproduce, continued as a population with viable offspring, made it through the flood, that then today there would be human descendants from that group, without the image of God. Does that make sense?

Thank you, I will give these a look over!

Because I believe that scripture is inerrant and inspired by the Holy Spirit. I think that that is one of the most important beliefs to the Christian faith. Would you say that Paul, while being inspired by the Holy Spirit, got it wrong? If you are curious, some other locations you can find Paul referring to Adam as a real person are in Acts 17:26, 1 Timothy 2:13-14, and Romans 5 (especially verses 12-14)

Why refer to him as Saul?

Thanks for your imput


Humans have two characteristics, the4y are created in the image of God and they are sinners.

Adam and Eve meet this definition. Those homo sapiens who lived before Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, but were not sinners, so they were not fully human and not subject to perdition.

Sin is an infectious disease rather than a condition which is caused by genes. This is what the story in Gen 3 reveals to us. We are all sinners, because we have sinned, not because we have inherited sin genes.

The events in Gen 2 appear to have taken place over a long period of time involving many people. For the sake of comprehensibility they were compressed into a story of two people over a relatively short period of time, which does not have them any less true.

We know that all humans are created in the image of God, because of the teaching of Jesus Christ, and not because they descended from Adam and Eve. We know that we are all sinners in need of salvation for the same reason.

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