The Quest for the Historical Adam

Our friend, Dr. William VanDoodewaard of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and The Christian Pundit, has just published a work entitled The Quest for the Historical Adam.  In this day of increasing attacks on the Bible’s authority, Adam is now portrayed as a mythological figure even by those calling themselves evangelicals. Bill has done meticulous historical and theological research that validates the orthodox teaching regarding Adam and explains why anyone believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ must also believe in the reality of Adam.

Listen to Bill’s further explanation for the book in the video below, and then read Al Mohler’s forward that follows.  To pre-order the book at a discounted rate, go here.

Al Mohler’s Forward

Each generation of Christians faces its own set of theological challenges. For this generation of evangelicals, the question of beginnings is taking on a new urgency. In fact, this question is now a matter of gospel urgency. How are we to understand the Bible’s story if we can have no confidence that we know how it even begins?

In terms of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the most urgent question related to beginnings has to do with the existence of Adam and Eve as the first parents to all humanity and to the reality of the fall as the explanation for human sinfulness and all that comes with sin.

This question has become especially urgent since the Bible’s account of beginnings is being increasingly repudiated. We are not talking about arguments over the interpretation of a few verses or even chapters of the Bible. We are now dealing with the straightforward rejection not only of the existence of Adam and Eve but of both Eden and the fall. Though shocking, this line of argument is not really new. The new development is the fact that growing numbers of evangelicals are apparently buying the argument.

Especially since Darwin’s challenge and the appearance of evolutionary theory, some Christians have tried to argue that the opening chapters of the Bible should not be taken literally. While no honest reader of the Bible would deny the literary character of Genesis 1–3, the fact remains that significant truth claims are being presented in these chapters. Furthermore, it is clear that the historical character of these chapters is crucial to understanding the Bible’s central message—the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul in Romans 5, for example, clearly understood Adam to be a fully historical human who was also the genetic father of the entire human race. The fall of the human race in Adam sets the stage for the salvation of sinful humanity by Jesus Christ.

The implications for biblical authority are clear, as is the fact that if these arguments hold sway, we will have to come up with an entirely new understanding of the gospel metanarrative and the Bible’s storyline. The denial of a historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ that is so crucial to the gospel. If we do not know how the story of the gospel begins, then we do not know what that story means. Make no mistake: a false start to the story produces a false grasp of the gospel.

This is one of the many reasons I am thankful for Dr. VanDoodewaard’s new book, The Quest for the Historical Adam: Genesis, Hermeneutics, and Human Origins. VanDoodewaard’s survey of the history of interpretation and subsequent application to modern theological controversy surrounding Genesis 1–3 is just the type of antidote needed to rectify careless theological reflection on this issue. This survey of the history of interpretation is a wonderful step forward in the conversation and a necessary project in the defense of biblical orthodoxy.

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