A Mythical Adam? Yup

Easy enough – if you understand that myth doesn’t equal Zeus. And if you can except that storytelling is inspired, whether literal or not.

Frankly, while studying the history of the presentation of the beginning of the monarchy, it appeared to me that their is an deeper connection between this period in history and the story of Adam and Eve. We already know that the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2 are different. Why, then, would we not accept that the story of Israel begins here?

Jason is pondering –

A Mythical Adam? | Pastoral Musings.

Peter Enns has answered.

Alright – is Jesus is said to be Israel (read Isaiah and Hosea and the application of specifically intentioned passages about Israel redirected to Christ) then why isn’t Paul doing saying that about Adam too? Jesus represents Israel. So does Adam.


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11 Replies to “A Mythical Adam? Yup”

  1. I think we must see that Paul and Jesus held Adam to be a historical person.
    To say that Adam led to Israel and to Christ in a representative/archetypical fashion does not have to lead to a denial that he truly existed.
    In fact, to say that he did exist gives more meaning to the type and fulfillment than if he did not exist.

    1. Jason, I don’t think we are required to say any such thing. I disagree that his actual existence means mote in the archetype. No qualification needs to exist. There is no need for a historical Adam to make the storey either real or truth to inspired.

  2. Joel,
    Let me ask you a couple of things:
    1. How can a mythical, non-existent person be a figure that points to a literal, living person?
    2. If all scripture is profitable to teach us for the purpose of blessing us (2Tim 3:16-17), where is the edification and spiritual strength that this mythical Adam doctrine gives us? What is the profit of it? How will it make me love Jesus more?
    In the end, I cannot see how it blesses us.

    1. 1.) look at parables. Or, you have to understand that Israel pointed us to Christ. The OT points us to Christ.

      2.) so, only your interpretation causes you to love Jesus? You do see the fallacy of that right? Not to mention all the other very wrong things in that short statement.

      I would suggest you reread 2 Tim again, as it wa about correction, doctrine, reproof for the minister of God. Nothing is mentioned about blessing.

      1. Joel,
        To be honest, your reply stings quite a bit, because you know that I am aware that Israel points to Christ. You also know that the tone you take me as using is not what I intended. We’ve interacted enough for you to be aware of that, I think.
        I think is a bit pedantic by saying that it does not “say blessing” when the perfecting work of Scripture certainly is blessing us. (See James 1:25 for an explicit statement on that.)
        Second, you know me well enough by now to know that I am not saying that only people who agree with my interpretation love Jesus. I was asking a question in sincerity. The fallacy lies in the fact that you replied to a sincere question in an uncharitable manner by assuming something that simply isn’t there. That was not a provocative question. It’s a question that seeks an answer. I truly want to know how that viewpoint leads us to Jesus and edifies us. I cannot see it, so I’m asking.
        Finally, 2Tim 3 points Timothy to Scripture that he might direct the people by Scripture. Thus it is for all of us, not the minister alone.
        I’ll be tied up until this evening, so don’t think I’m angry when you don’t see a reply to your comment. I am neither angry, nor intending to provoke anger. I’m asking sincere questions about something that I disagree with. If nothing else, I wish to understand the opposing viewpoint better.

        1. No such tone was intended, Jason.

          Let’s speak about James 1.25 – it doesn’t speak about Scripture.

          I didn’t say that you said: ” that only people who agree with my interpretation love Jesus.”

          I said that you seemed to imply that your love for Christ was tied up in your interpretation – and I go further, to amend my previous statement – your understanding of that portion of Scripture. Would you love Christ any less if you were wrong? If God is the ultimate Truth, and you are guided into more Truth, wouldn’t your love then increase?

          Good – neither of are angry. Don’t confuse the electronic tone for one of negativity.

          I might disagree with your understanding of 2nd Timothy about it applying to all. The ‘man of God’ bit’ along with correction and reproof tends to favor for of a hierarchical use of Scripture, but that is another point for another time.

          I know that you know that Israel points to Christ. Didn’t mean to imply otherwise. If I did, I regret that and apologize.

          Why are you tied up? It’s not Sunday and Pastors only work on Sunday 🙂

          1. Time requires me to bow out. We disagree on several things. I simply don’t have time. No offense taken, and none intended.
            Revival close to home. Morning and evening services. It’s my home church, and I lead music in the mornings. I also still tend to my churches on Tues and Wed nights.


  3. Joel,

    I think Jason missed your first line where you pointed out you need to understand what myth is.
    Since the whole of Gen 1 particularly, is generally considered “mythopoeic” (sp? again :s), one can also assume that Adam is mythological. That does not preclude a “real” adam from having existed either, since generally we assume that ANE storytelling has some basis in reality. For example, Gilgamesh was probably not a real man, but mythologised homologous of a number of wacko “powerful rulers” – the nephalim, if you like.

    Jason, “mythological” in this sense does not mean “zeus” (a made up thing). In this case it means “an attempt to explain the unknown” (usually using stories or poetry).

    1. Geoff,
      I understand that myth is a broad category. What I’m after is an understanding of why the denial of a literal, historical Adam.
      I’m glad that you say that ANE storytelling has a basis in reality. I’ve read a little of it, and intend to read more. Sometimes I learn more, and more quickly, in a discussion than by reading large tomes on the issue.
      I’m using the term myth very loosely. Perhaps I should tighten it up a bit 😉
      Thanks for weighing in. I look forward to hearing more from you.

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