A new, definitive introduction to the Adam/evolution problem in Christian theology
by Steve Douglas
February 23rd, 2011 | 21 Comments
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: devout evangelicals will never be able to come to terms with evolution as long as they believe that it denies the existence of an historical Adam with an historical Fall. As goes creationism, so goes Christianity. Some will cling to their Christianity so tightly that they will never entertain any beliefs that contradict it; others cannot live with the cognitive dissonance and will eventually call it quits on Christianity once they recognize that universal common descent is, for all intents and purposes, indisputable.
The issue is why Jesus had to die if there were no original sin. Why do we need the second Adam if there was no first Adam? What did Jesus do if he didn’t undo the sin that came in because of Adam? At various times and places on this blog I have offered my answers to those thoughts, which include understanding the nature of the Bible and alternative views of the atonement, most especially. But I have often felt and occasionally expressed exasperation that there were no high profile Christians grappling with this problem, which is surely on the short of list of the most problematic issues in Christian theology.
The BioLogos Foundation has done a good job of turning that around, especially since bringing on Dr. Peter Enns as senior fellow. But he has really outdone himself this time. The next time I have someone ask me about the Adam problem for evolution, I will ask that person to carve out 50 minutes to watch the following presentation. In it, Pete Enns manages to lay out the finest explication of the narrative motivations behind Genesis and Paul’s use of the Adam story that I’ve heard in quite some time. Enjoy, and spread it around.