genesis

The Biblical Adam: 2 – Was There A Literal First Man?


Regardless of how one interprets the Genesis account of the creation of Adam, one thing is certain: unless there arose multiple human males at exactly the same time, there was a literal first man. If we use a hundred-yard dash as an analogy, there was either one man who won the race or there was a tie for first. Since we have men now, we know that the race was completed – but was there a clear single victor or a tie for first?

If for the sake of argument we accept evolution as being true, the idea that multiple human males evolved from non-human to human at exactly the same time, not even separated by a nanosecond, is highly improbable. So improbable, in fact, that the burden of proof unquestionably falls on the person who should want to oppose a literal first man. Therefore, in the absence of evidence that would cause us to accept the proposition that multiple human males evolved at exactly the same time, what the Bible says about the matter agrees with the soundest conclusion of science – there was a literal first man. And we can apply the same logic to women and conclude there was a literal first woman.

So in this simplest formulation of the argument – if all we mean by Adam and Eve is that there was a man and a woman who were the first of a sequence of men and women – the Bible and evolutionary science agree that there was a literal Adam and a literal Eve. But this is where the agreement ends. For sure, the crux of the debate is not about whether there was a literal first man and a literal first woman. The crux of the debate is about whether the Bible accurately describes the details of the first man and first woman.

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The Biblical Adam: 1 – Prologue

If we think of the topic of the Biblical Adam as a boxing match, in one corner of the ring are Christians who believe the Genesis account of Adam is a biography, and in the other corner are secular evolutionists who believe humans evolved and Genesis is rubbish. But in the middle of the ring stands a third contestant – the Christian evolutionist. They don’t find belief in a literal Adam directly created by God necessary, but they don’t believe evolution is a secular endeavor – they propose that God uses evolution for His purposes and glory.

Is belief in an Adam created directly by God, not through evolution, a necessary component of Christian faith? The apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians addressed a different matter crucial to the faith, and it is analogous to our topic.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. (1 Corinthians 15: 12 – 14)

The Corinthians claimed belief in Jesus, but disbelief in resurrection. Paul called them out, saying their two beliefs were contradictory. Since the Jesus the apostles preached rose from the dead, it was logically impossible to believe in the real Jesus while denying resurrection from the dead. Likewise, we may rightly ask whether one can believe in the apostolic Jesus while disbelieving in an Adam created directly by God. But we must understand what the Bible says about Adam before we can render a judgment as to the importance of direct creation.

The goal then, over the course of this series, is to examine both sides of the argument, in the spirit of Proverbs 18: 17. We will proceed by asking a series of key questions, and then answering the questions from both perspectives (direct creation and evolution). The end result is hopefully a better understanding of the implications of both positions and then proceeding to believe in that which corresponds with the whole of Scripture.

Noah’s Flood and a Recent Scientific Discovery

I could not help but laugh as I read a Huffington Post article this week about geologists discovering a massive body of water near the earth’s core (a body of water larger than our largest ocean).

Why was I laughing?

Because what is groundbreaking news to the secular scientists has been known and believed for thousands of years by Jews and Christians, by those who believe that the events recorded in the book of Genesis are not fictional, but historical facts.

Genesis, written by Moses over three thousand years ago, tells us that the flood in the days of Noah, which covered the whole earth, was caused not only by excessive amounts of rain, but by vast amounts of water coming from underneath the earth.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. Genesis 7: 11

Notice how the text says “the fountains of the great deep burst open.” How would Moses, a nomadic desert dweller writing between 1446 – 1406 B.C., without the aid of modern science, be able to make such a statement about the hidden geological processes of the earth? The answer is this: God told Moses about how He caused the flood to happen. God told Moses how the earth worked.

Do you believe that God spoke to Moses, and that He accurately told Moses how the flood happened? Do you believe there was a global flood that wiped out all of a wicked humanity, except for Noah and his family?

If you don’t, then you are not likely to believe Jesus, who tells us that another day is coming, similar to the days of Noah, when God will judge the wickedness of men, and only those who have had their sins forgiven by Jesus Christ will survive this coming flood, which is not a flood of water, but a flood of God’s righteous anger and fire:

And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all…It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17: 26 – 27, 30
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3: 3 – 9

The good news of Jesus Christ is that you do not have to die for your sins. Repent, turn to Him, and you will be saved. This is God’s promise. Just as God promised Noah that he and his family would be spared from the flood of water, so too will all who believe in Jesus Christ be spared from the flood of fire that is to come. This is because on the cross, where Jesus of Nazareth hung unto death, the fire and judgment of God that we deserve was given to Him. He took our punishment in our place, so we would not have to endure it. But the promise of God is only to those who believe that Jesus died for them. To those who don’t believe, they will receive their due, just as those who in the days of Noah disbelieved that a flood was coming, and then they perished.

Amen.