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Adam, evolution and Jesus

The need for a historical Adam

By Lincoln Reed | Echo


Death is necessary to evolution; if humans evolved, do we need Jesus?

Believing in evolution won’t send you to hell, but it won’t help you get to heaven either.

I read an article in last week’s Echotitled “Forbidden fruit for thought” in which the writer summarized a seminar by Wheaton College professor John Walton. Walton’s main thesis from the seminar, according to the article, was that Adam and Eve were not historical figures. They were archetypes that symbolize the origins of mankind.

I appreciate Walton’s theory. He is an Old Testament professor and has clearly analyzed scripture and the Hebrew language thoroughly in order to arrive at his conclusion. However, Walton’s theory worries me. I believe his perception of Adam and Eve has implications that threaten to undermine the foundation of Christianity. If Adam and Eve are not historical figures who sinned, then Jesus’ death and resurrection is pointless.

After reading the article and learning that Walton’s seminar was sponsored by BioLogos, I believe it is safe to assume he is a theistic evolutionist. This is the stated belief of the BioLogos organization, according to its website.

Theistic evolution claims God used evolution to create the universe, Earth and every creature roaming the earth.

According to evolutionary theory, the universe formed over billions of years. Survival of the fittest decided which species would live and which went extinct.

If Adam and Eve are symbolic figures, as Walton believes, then mankind evolved from apes. To believe God made one man and one woman in his image, as stated in Genesis 1:27, is ludicrous from an evolutionary standpoint. From a theistic evolutionary point of view, God did not make one man and one woman; he simply set in motion the events which led to the formation of Homo sapiens. These events included a process of natural selection including death, disease and killing.

Genesis 1 describes God’s creation of the world in six days. After each day, God declares his creation good. Chapter 2 is a detailed account of God’s creation of Eve and his ultimatum forbidding them to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: if they eat from this tree, they will die. Chapter 3 recounts how and why Adam and Eve sinned and ate of the forbidden tree. Their punishment? Death.

The Genesis account of creation to the basic principles of theistic evolution are not theologically consistent.

If God used survival of the fittest and natural selection to create the world, then why does he call his creation “good”?

Why does God punish Adam and Eve’s sin with death if he used survival of the fittest to create them? Death is a crucial component of natural selection. It’s what helped bring about the formation of mankind, according to evolutionary theory. So why is humanity punished with something that created them?

If natural selection makes sin irrelevant, then the need for Jesus Christ is undermined. The first prophecy referring to Jesus is found in Genesis 3:15 when God curses the serpent (Satan) who tempted Eve: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The need for Christ, therefore, is rooted in Genesis.

For Jesus’ death and resurrection to be relevant, Adam and Eve need to be historical figures who disobeyed God and sinned. Death needs to be a consequence of sin, not the component that helped create man.

My suspension of disbelief can only stretch so far. I am willing to accept that Jesus defied natural law by being born of a virgin, walking on water, healing people miraculously and conquering death by resurrecting. However, if all scripture is “God-breathed” as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16, then why would God be forthcoming about his Son in the gospels but deceptive about Adam and Eve in Genesis?

I’m neither a scientist nor a theologian. I’m simply someone willing to ask questions. I believe a person can be a theistic evolutionist and go to heaven (Romans 10:13). However, I don’t see how belief in a concept that negates the need for and solution to man’s salvation (Acts 4:12) helps anyone get to heaven.

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