Who does Adam represent?

(ralph acerno) #1



I have what I believe is a rather helpful addition to dealing with the problem of Adam as seen in Romans 5. Traditionally the argument has been whether Adam here is literal as well as historical
as Paul seems to imply vs being symbolical and representing all humanity given the advancements in science as we know them today… I would suggest we see this passage of Romans 5 with a more transcendent understanding of history; one that is Biblical as well and not as limiting as to being either completely literal or merely symbolical… In using Jesus as representing the means for all men being saved as Paul implies, there are clear teachings that while his cross and redemption happened at a specific time and place historically, Scripture also teaches that the cross has implications transcending time and space, “before the foundation of the world.” Is it not possible then that in Paul’s use of Adam, that Adam as well as Christ could have been a real historical persons whose sin and salvation was not bound up in an historical one time event affecting one man and then moving forward, but rather representative of all men both during their own times, before in the distant past,in 33 Ad, and throughout history. If so, it seems that this might eliminate the need to see Adam as the “first” man and the debate over the historical Adam and include Adam’s sin “before the foundation of the world” as well in God’s eyes? If so both Adam and Christ would become to represent "the first, the last and all all humanity as well, fitting well within the universalism of “all” being not everyone within history but everyone WITHIN history who is saved .As far as I have read no one has ever put it quite this way.

(Jo Helen Cox) #2

I agree. The Bible is full of the theme of beginning and end. This is one of them.

(Johan Roos) #3

I would be interested in discussing this idea a little further. Quite clearly, considering Adam and his action of disobedience to transcend time implies that Adam was an historical person and his (and Eve’s) disobedience was an historical event (a view with which I fully concur). But are we then thinking that Adam’s transgression affected all pre-Adamites? This might solve some problems, but I suspect that it raises others!

I am also wondering about your view of Adam as the “first man”. Certainly the Bible describes Adam as “the first man” (1 Cor 15: 45, 47), but in the same verses Jesus is described as the last Adam (or the “last man”) (vs 45) and “the second Man” (vs 47). The emphasis here is on the contrast between Adam and Jesus Christ: Adam, a created being and representative of physical nature, the initiator of human disobedience; and Jesus, the Life-giving Saviour who came down from heaven. It does not seem that the words “first”, “second” and “last” are meant to be taken in any way numerically, but rather in a relative or comparative spiritual sense.

I look forward to further thoughts on this matter. Thanks, Johan…

(Henry Stoddard) #4

Hello Everyone,

I just thought I would join to make a statement in relation to the Adam and Eve story. It is possible to be a theistic evolutionist and believe in a literal Adam and Eve. That is the position I take. One can believe in monogenesis, i.e., Adam and Eve parented the whole human race. This is the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which accepts theistic evolution. Polygenesis is another view that I probably accept. God created other human colonies in the world. Adam and Eve were real people who represented all of humanity before God. When they fell, everyone fell. Sin spread throughout all humanity. This view makes it easy to answer the question where did Cain get his wife. She belonged to another colony of humans. What about Adam and Eve? Are they somehow related to all of us? The answer is yes. Over the centuries, groups of humans intermarried and there is a bit of Adam and Eve in all of us. For a literalist, I have no trouble believing this. This is an interesting topic, and I hope many more who are serious about faith and science will join. God bless each of you. Perhaps I will join in again at some point. I am now going to read my books. Learning is a never ending process. I believe that will also be true in heaven.

(Matthew) #5


My personal view is that Adam was a real person created by God 6000 years ago. But I am interested in other’s views. Is there scriptural evidence that backs up a view that either Adam was not the first human or in deed only a concept?


(Henry Stoddard) #6

I would say that it is a matter of interpretation. Some Christians believe in an Adam and Eve as well as theistic evolution. Science does indicate that we live on an old earth. I believe science is right and the dates by Archbishop Ussher of Ireland are wrong. Ussher said that the world was created October 28, 4004 BC. If time began then, how could it be October 28. There was no time before creation; on the contrary, there was only God and eternity I am not trying to be rude; however, you could consider Progressive Creation-Non-Common Ancestry, Progressive Creation-Common Ancestry, The Gap Theory or Theistic Evolution (Conservative View). Also, I cannot believe that human beings and dinosaurs lived together. I would like to recommend a good book that is filled with the Holy Spirit and contains a discussion of all these views. It is Dr. Deborah Haarsma’s book entitled “Origins.” It is a good read. Give it a chance. God bless.

(Matthew) #7

Thanks Henry/Charles (?) If I get chance I’ll investigate the book. Your view is most interesting. I have privately studied science all my life as it’s a great interest of mine, although I have to admit that I have no official qualifications outside school. I used to believe solidly in evolution and old earth, but have come up against so many issues that seem to have a problem with it that I cannot accept it now. But this isn’t the thread for a science discussion.

I was more interested in scriptural evidence. Does the book deal with this, and if so can you give biblical references to Adam (and/or Eve) as other than the first, recent, real person(s).


(Henry Stoddard) #8

My name is actually Charles. Henry is a pseudonym I used for a time. It is an old family name. Yes, I can sight a section from the book. Adam and Eve as recent ancestors and sights verses in the creation story. Another section is Adam and Eve as recent representatives. Some scripture is used from the creation story and Romans 5: 12-19. Then we have Adam and Eve as ancient ancestors. In all of these cases, Adam and Eve are real people. Adam and Eve as a group of representatives is allegorical. God in this case selected a group of humans to be tested. Adam and Eve are merely symbolic of the creation of humanity. This is still another an allegorical pair that affirms God’s creation of humanity. I believe you would find this book interesting. It also teaches different creation views as well. I could either be a Progressive Creationist or an evolutionary creationist (a conservative type of theistic evolution). I hope this brief statement will be of some help. God bless. Your friend, Charles

(Matthew) #9

Thanks Charles. I’ll definitely investigate it.


(George Brooks) #10

SOME Literalists point to the fact that Cain married someone not described as a daughter or offspring of Adam as PROOF that Adam and Eve were not the only humans created by God.

Your thoughts?


CLARIFICATION: If I were a Bible Literalist, this is what I would believe. But since I’m not a Literalist, I don’t have to.

(Henry Stoddard) #11

That is a good statement, George. I know you did not address this to me; however, I feel that polygenesis would be the answer. God created more groups than just Adam and Eve. I hope you have a great day, George. God bless.

(Matthew) #12

George. You say 'Literalists point to the fact… ’ Where do these ‘facts’ originate? Is there biblical reference or scientific evidence - even any that can be argued with? Or is it claimed on the assumption of not believing in a historical Adam? (Honest questions.)


(George Brooks) #13

Well, it IS a fact that whomever Cain married… she is NOT described as a descendant of Adam and Eve. I think that this is a most over-looked reality.


(Henry Stoddard) #14

I agree; however, Genesis 1 seems to indicate that God created others as well. Therefore, it is different from the Yahwist account. It could be interpreted either way. In my opinion, creation was polygenesis, i.e, God created other Adams and Eves. Adam also comes from the Hebrew word meaning mankind or human beings. Have a great day tomorrow, George.

(Matthew) #15

I think this is an argument from silence. I agree that there is no text there that specifically states that his wife was a descendant of Adam, but there is no text that implies that she is not. If you accept that Adam is historically the first and only created human, etc. then it is reasonable to assume that Cain married his sister or niece. This is a well documented hypothesis, and stands up to theological reasoning.


(Matthew) #16

Can you reference this and indicate your reasoning?


(Henry Stoddard) #17

If you read chapter 1 of Genesis, adam, a Hebrew word, means mankind and the text implies humanity in general. Genesis 2 makes Adam an individual person. Therefore, there appears to be a difference between chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 1 allows the belief that more than two people were created. Also, remember how Cain met his wife. This leads to the concept that God made more than just one man and one woman. Notice that I did not capitalize adam for chapter 1. Adam implies humankind. It can be interpreted either way. Some theologians that are conservative believe in monogenesis, the creation of a single pair. This is the position of the Roman Catholic Church. Other conservatives who accept theistic evolution adopt the concept of polygenesis, the concept that God created others as well. Also, the Roman Catholic Church accepts theistic evolution, but they believe in monogenesis. Are there other protestants that accept those views. Evolutionary creationists are a part of the theistic evolutionists. The book I recommended will help to explain the differences. Have a nice day tomorrow.

(Matthew) #18

Thanks for you quick reply, Charles.

The Hebrew word ‘adam’ can mean mankind, but it is also a name (I know many peoples’ names that mean something else), and I believe it is difficult, at best, to determine the correct meaning. However, I believe Genesis 2 to be a closer view of day 6 onwards of the creating of man (specifically Adam). Although I am not a ancient Hebrew scholar, I believe I am right in saying that the text permits this quite reasonably. This was also the way I always read it, even when I believed wholeheartedly in evolution and before I even considered an alternative view.

(As far as Cain meeting his wife is concerned, that is easily explainable by him marrying a sister or niece.)


(Henry Stoddard) #19

It is all right to believe what you state; however, it is a matter of interpretation. It really does not matter. What matters is this: Jesus. If you accept Christ, how one interprets the creation history is not important. If you believe in Young Earth Creation, that is fine. It has nothing to do with your salvation. God bless.

(George Brooks) #20

I am less than convinced …but I certainly understand why people avoid the conclusion I propose.