The Historical Adam, Round 2: Harry "Hal" Lee Poe
Musings on Our Speculations
Finally, John H. Walton. If no real people known as Adam and Eve ever actually lived, it would pose no problem for the truth of the Bible, but it would pose enormous problems for Augustinian theology, and Augustine's closest Protestant relations, the Calvinists. Augustine's theory of universal sin is based on the biological transmission of sin together with its punishment from one generation to the next, beginning with Adam and Eve. The present controversy cannot be simply resolved by appealing to the science, because science does not deal with the issues at stake. The disagreements are deeply rooted in theological traditions, philosophical assumptions, epistemological presuppositions, hermeneutical methods, exegetical theories, personal convictions, and tribal loyalties.
Walton suggests an approach to interpretation based on determining which elements of a text have theological connections and which do not. It is a difficult approach because we tend to bring the connections with us, or in other cases we fail to recognize connections present. How frail we are: that is the biggest lesson I take away from our consideration of Adam and Eve.
This article is part of our Symposium on the Historical Adam:
Harry "Hal" Lee Poe is the Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He has written or contributed to a number of books and articles on the intersection of culture and the Gospel, including his 2004 publication, See No Evil: The Existence of Sin in an Age of Relativism..
Copyright © 2015 by the author or Christianity Today/Books & Culture magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Books & Culture.