10 Reasons why Kevin DeYoung is wrong about the Historical Adam

Shaun posted this morning a link to DeYoung’s original post, and others have picked up on it as well.

  1. Scripture doesn’t have the same concept of history as recent innovations in the West does. Yes, Theology and History go hand in hand in Scripture, or perhaps, ideology and history as we can tell from the Chronicler (Fox News) and the Deuteronomist (BBC); however, just as ideology is shaped to fit certain things and theology is often times abstract, history in Scripture follows the same mold.
  2. DeYoung and others do not understand why or how the ancient writers would mimic other ANE creation stories or the psychological aspects of this process. Again, this is a bit of theological-ideology shaping history. Mimetic supplanting of other Creation stories helped to shape and preserve Israelite identity in Exile.
  3. Simply because they the opening chapters aren’t poetry doesn’t mean that they aren’t lacking in the modern concept of fact. Historical Narrative is hardly the same from culture to culture, generation to generation.
  4. This is a seamless strand of history from Adam in Genesis 2 to Abraham in Genesis 12. No disagreement here, except to note that ‘history’ is not like Western History. I would pose that the concept of Western History developed to counteract the ‘historical narratives’ of cultural myths, even Scripture, and perhaps, especially Scripture. To set Scripture in the same mold as a high school history book is to fall into the trap of the Enlightenment about what is Truth.
  5. The genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 treat Adam as historical. See the comments above. Genealogies are given throughout the ancient world, tracing heroes, even cities, (Um, Rome, anyone?) through genealogies. This doesn’t exactly make them ‘historical.’
  6. Paul believed in a historical Adam. Sure he did. Or so we read him as saying the same thing. Given the tools which Rhetorical Criticism is playing in our current understanding of Paul, an actual figure of Adam is not needed in Paul’s thought, just as actual enemies aren’t needed in Galatians, or Seneca’s writing party and situation aren’t needed to have his writings remain ‘true.’
  7. The weight of the history of interpretation points to the historicity of Adam. But who’s interpretation? This means that interpretation outweighs Scripture.
  8. The idea of common decent is a silly one. They start with a solution to a problem, often created by racists in the West, not realizing that other cultures need no common descent to allow that humans are of one family. Further, as Paul says, we are all of one blood. (Acts 17.26 ESV) Further, given that we are all one in Christ, neither Jew nor Gentile, that is from whom we descend.
  9. Original Sin is a doctrine not completely Biblical. Sure, there are Scriptures for it, but Original Sin is only through Interpretation. If a historical Adam is needed to secure a doctrine, then one must ask oneself if that doctrine or the truth is more important? Why do so many continue to use their doctrines to test truth?
  10. Paul’s doctrine of a second Adam does stand, with or without a historical Adam. Or rather, the Reformed view of Paul’s conversation about a second Adam stands. Adam, even as figure, is given the cause of the sin of the world. Then, Christ, the Word of God, reverses it. This is where understanding rhetoric and ancient styles of argument needs to take place.

Do I believe in a historical Adam? Sure. But… It’s not the Adam of the Young Earth Creationists. I’ve explained it before. No need to go back into it.

See Dr. McGrath’s post as well.

Post By Joel L. Watts (10,151 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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15 thoughts on “10 Reasons why Kevin DeYoung is wrong about the Historical Adam

  1. I disagree. Though you may doubt the existence of a literal Adam, it seems far fetch, biblically, that he didn’t exist. It is actually easier to argue that he did then he didn”t. It is true that many people try to interpret ancient history as if they were written by 20th century scholars. However, to say that there is doubt in a literal Adam is far-fetched.

    • Let’s see here: a 2,500-year-old modification of a Mesopotamian creation myth featuring a man whose name is “human” and a woman whose name is “life”, and it’s far-fetched to assume that this is a mythical origins story rather than literal history?

      I guess all those geneticists and archaeologists are just wrong then. All tens of thousands of them.

  2. Haftarah for past Sabbath in which Torah sidrah was about Jethro-Job? It was Isaiah’s call in the year that Uzziah died.

    http://bible.ort.org/books/haftarotd4.asp?action=displaypage&book=2&chapter=6&verse=1&portion=19

    Gene’s chronology has 748 BC year of Uzziah’s death. Jesus died 30 AD. 777 years apart.

    Uzziah was leper.

    Gospel for today.

    Mark 1.40-45 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

    See previous posts pertaining to E.W. Faulstich’s chronology work.

    http://biblechronologybooks.com/

    http://jamesbradfordpate.blogspot.com/2012/02/did-ancients-interpret-their.html

      • E. W. Faulstich’s chronology is strong evidence to refute those that would undermine (literal) truth of the Bible.
        “Adam was born 3/24/4001 BC.”
        http://biblechronologybooks.com/scientificmethod.html
        “Two days earlier earth, moon, mercury, venus, and mars were in 343 degree geocentric alignment.”
        His books are available free through his website for postage.

        I believe Adam, Andrew, Uzziah, Isaiah and Jesus were real persons.

        Was first disciple Andrew a real person? I have made etymological link for Andrew to Adam. Gospel of John seems to have Genesis template.

        Andro(ADaM)gens helps make men.

          • Could you be more specific? Especially about the chronology part?

            The other is my musings. It does seem like there is some connection between Adam and Andrew.

            I am mainly trying to make people aware of Gene Faulstich’s chronology work.

          • Attempting to do ‘chronology’ with Scripture is bunk in the first place. The Universe wasn’t created 6000 years ago, and neither was the world, etc…

  3. So what do you do with chronology that is there?

    Why does it mention the year that Uzziah died as well as many other chronological references?

    • Larry, ANE chronology is not exactly like ours. Note the differences between Kings and Chronicles. Further, not the fact that men seemed to live a very long time to fill in the gaps, so to speak.

      We shouldn’t continue to read Scripture like it was written by the modern Western historian.

    • Larry, this stuff is bunk. You would do better reading good scholarship instead of someone who starts with the desired result and works backwards, applying to Scripture his own facts.

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