Few issues are as controversial in the church today as the debate that surrounds the issue of Adam being a real person in real history. This debate centers more around one’s convictions about the Bible itself and its authority than it does about Adam and science. How one understands the first eleven chapters of Genesis is foundational to one’s understanding of humanity, sin, and redemptive history. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
In this issue of Theology for Life on Adam, we are setting forth to help you (our readers) consider how a literal, not a figurative, view of Genesis will help Christians and seekers to understand the critical issue of Adam. Furthermore, we are seeking to help you understand a young earth view of creation which sets forth a literal six twenty-four hour week. Lastly, we desire to help you understand that science is not in conflict with Christianity. Instead, when the Bible speaks God who created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days and rested on the seventh, speaks.
The historicity of Adam is under attack today from all quarters. On the one hand, you have people from the science community who question whether Adam was a real person in real history and, by extension, whether or not he is a forefather.
On the other hand, you have people who question whether Adam is significant to the storyline of Scripture at all. These people would rather we didn’t teach that Adam was a literal person who lived in real history. Such people believe that Adam is only a figurative entity who wasn’t the first human the Lord made.
In contrast to all of these views, the Bible teaches clearly, as you’ll learn in this issue, that Adam is a real person who lived in real history. Understanding Adam as a real person in real history is hugely important for at least the following three reasons, if not more:
- Through Adam, we come to understand who our forefather was. We come to understand from Genesis we did not come from “primordial goo”. We are not a mistake. We also did not evolve from apes or any other such thing. Instead, God created us in His image and likeness.
- Through Adam, we come to the understanding that, though Adam was completely innocent in the Garden, God commanded him to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Since Adam did eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man is thus a sinner by nature and by choice.
- Through Adam, we come to learn how we can be declared not guilty through Christ. The gospel first promised in the Garden is now fulfilled through Christ. Through Adam, we come to learn of the Second Adam who transfers our sin to Christ and imputes the righteousness of God to our account through faith in Christ.
As you are beginning to see, understanding Adam as a real person in real history has massive implications for our understanding of the storyline of Scripture.
It is my prayer that, as you read this issue, you’ll come to see that the Bible you read daily begins with the First Adam, created without sin in the image and likeness of God, fell into sin, resulting in man being a sinner by nature and by choice. Furthermore, my hope is that you’ll discover that only by understanding Adam can we understand redemptive history—that glorious message that runs like a scarlet thread throughout the biblical storyline.
The Gospel, as first delivered in the Garden of Eden, is now fulfilled in and through Christ. Jesus is the Second Adam—the One who has come, who has lived a sinless life, died in our place for our sins, rose again, and now serves as our exalted High Priest and Lord. Our Lord Jesus is coming back to bring to completion His work and fully establish His everlasting Kingdom.
In a day and age where the cultural, religious, and scholastic priests are saying to not believe Adam is a real person in real history, I encourage you to open up your Bible. There you’ll discover, as you read the biblical text (and this issue of Theology for Life), that the Bible does indeed teach these truths and that they demand a response.
Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine
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