Is it true that Adam and Eve are merely fictional characters in a divine opera found in the opening pages of Genesis? That's what the June 2011 cover story in Christianity Today is suggesting, quoting well-known "evangelical" scholars who are convinced that Adam was 1) symbolic, but not real, or 2) one of 10,000 up-and-coming hominid creatures upon whom God placed His image.1 The jury's still out, the magazine says, so stay tuned!
This article in Christianity Today is actually more about the definition of "truth" rather than simply a report about a missing person in the Bible. The Bible, in this instance, doesn't carry enough weight for those interviewed for the story; science, it seems, will be final arbiter. And by the time you read the whole story in the magazine, you realize the very sad state of Christianity today.
I like Editor-in-Chief David Neff's reminder about "truth" in his column titled "The Mirror of Truth" in the same issue of the magazine, when he states, "But even when it is spoken with grace, the truth can lead to tension." I think that's probably the truest thing he writes in his article.
And yet, from Genesis through Revelation, the declaration of truth by God and God's people has given rise to worse consequences than simple "tension." Plenty of God's people were murdered because they dared to speak the truth. Saul of Tarsus murdered Christians because they spoke the truth. Christians around the world today are murdered because they declare God's truth. And on the flip side, those who dared refuse to accept and obey the truth of God were judged, condemned, and executed—either directly by God or by those God appointed to lead His people. And more of that will take place when the events of Revelation come to fulfillment.
The best reference for truth is, without a doubt, the text of Scripture—inspired, infallible, and inerrant. God does not lie, nor does He deceive, nor does He communicate poorly—ever. His "special revelation"—the Scriptures—show us who He is, what He plans, and how mankind is to relate to Him.
Suggesting that the "real" Adam of the Bible has not and may not ever be found, as the editors of Christianity Today have done, indicates a serious lack of attention to the text of Scripture on their part rather than an inability on God's part to communicate this particular truth clearly to mankind.
And in the end, I'm not certain how that is different from Rob Bell or Harold Camping denying the plain teaching of Jesus about Hell or the Day of Judgment.
- Ostling, R. N. 2011. The Search for the Historical Adam. Christianity Today. 55 (6): 22-27.
* Mr. Ford is Executive Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on June 6, 2011.