Recently I wrote about God’s creation work recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. I referred to Adam as a man. I acknowledged that the creation account sounds like a children’s story, but I spoke of it as history and spoke of Adam as a real historical person.
Not everyone agrees.
For example, in 2011 Denis O. Lamoureux of St. Joseph’s College at the University of Alberta in Canada wrote, ” . . . Adam’s existence is based ultimately on ancient science . . . [and his creation] made perfect sense from an ancient phenomenoloigcal perspective.” He went on to explain that “the Holy Spirit [descended] to the level of the ancient Hebrews . . . ” That is, he accomodated himself (incorrect) to ancient science. In his book Evolution Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution, Lamoureux asserts, “Adam never existed, and this fact has no impact whatsoever on the foundational beliefs of Christianity.” According to Lamoureux, God created life, but Genesis 1 does not reveal how God actually did it. (“Anti-real-Adams” like Lamoureux apparently see no parallel between Jesus calling Lazarus out of the tomb with a word and God calling creation into existence with a word!)
Does it matter? While the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 reads like a fairy tale, nothing about the account purports to be anything but reality. Furthermore, if Adam never really existed, what else about the creation account isn’t real? Eve? Animals? Stars? For that matter, what else about the Bible’s truth-claims isn’t real? Sin? Salvation? Heaven? A lot seems to be riding on the reality of Adam!
Paul apparently believed Adam was a real person. Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned– for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given . . . Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses . . . (Romans 5:12-14). Paul goes on to contrast the trespass of Adam with the free gift of Christ (Romans 5:15-23). 1 Corinthi- ans 15:22 is a summary: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Lamoureux agrees! “Paul was a first-century A.D. Jew and like every Jewish person around him he accepted the historicity of Adam.” (see the following link for his complete article —http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/p_adam_1.pdf) He seems to claim that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write what was not true, because Paul incorrectly accepted the historicity of Adam! In other words, the truth of inspired Scripture was dependent on popular science!
Here’s the broader problem. If Adam was not a real person (as Paul believed he was in Romans 5), was Christ about whom he wrote in the same breath? And what about the gospel of Christ? Is that true? Illogically (in my mind), yes says Lamoureux, because the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-9) is the gospel of Christ, not of Adam! But on what basis? If Adam is presented in Scripture as a real person (but he really was not) and the gospel of Christ ‘s saving work is presented as a real saving work, on what basis can we dismiss the former but believe the latter?
I am not arguing that the Genesis account is “scientific”. In fact, I’m suggesting it isn’t “scientific” at all. But not scientifict does not mean anti-scientific. I am simply suggesting that the creation account is written like a children’s story that allows the imagination to soar. (And soar it must, because what God did in creation truly reaches beyond our comprehension, even if we are learned scientists!)
So: Adam–really? Yes–really! And therefore, we can joyfully bank on Paul’s “therefore” . . .
Therefore, as one trespass (Adam’s) led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness (Christ’s) leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience (Christ’s) the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:16-19).