ByFaith Magazine interviews Covenant Theological Seminary professor C. John Collins regarding the necessity of a historical Adam and Eve:
To make the case for a literal Adam and Eve you take an entire chapter to explain how the whole of the Bible — Old Testament writers, New Testament writers, and even Jesus Himself — assumes their existence. Skeptics, I imagine, would point to a dearth of scientific knowledge and to a general lack of sophistication in an earlier era.
Yes, indeed they would, and do. Of course for Christians, our confidence that God “breathed out” his Word in “all Scripture” gives us the confidence as well that He would not allow his Word to mislead us, especially on something as important as the beginning of our story.
Nevertheless, someone might argue that God accommodated his communication to the understanding of the biblical writers, since teaching them science or world history wasn’t really His goal. I am sympathetic with the second part of that argument (see Shorter Catechism 3) but do not always know what people mean by the first part. In any case we have to ask, how does this particular passage fit in with the whole story of the Bible? I devoted a chapter to showing why the events of Adam and Eve underlie the whole sweep of the Bible in such a way that nothing makes sense without these events.
Now, the skeptic who is not yet a committed Christian believer needs more than that. That is why I spent another chapter on what is really an apologetic, showing that the things we can see in humans all over the world surely require a story that is along the lines of the Adam and Eve narrative. And I spent another chapter on how we might relate the biblical story to science and history.
I saw Collins speak a couple of times at the L’Abri conference earlier this year, and really enjoyed his presentations.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.