Sunday, February 7, 2010

Was Adam an Historical Person?

Joseph Kelly has interacted a bit with that question today. He doesn’t answer it so much as point out the wrong way to approach the discussion. I agree with Joseph that defending a list of theological implications of Adam NOT being historical is not an intellectually honest way to approach the issue.

I posted on a similar issue a couple of years ago: Using the NT to validate OT historicity. Does the fact that a NT writer mentions an OT character support the historicity of that OT character? Not necessarily, in my opinion.

Read Joseph’s post if it’s an issue you’re interested in.


  1. The question is a modern one: was he historical or not? I think the motivation for this question is that we consider ourselves historical entities. Thus if we are going to have any kind of interaction with Adam, Jesus, etc., he has to exist in the same way as we see ourselves.

    I think that, in fact, the plane in which we meet these folks is on the plane of story. Not "just" story--story! We are made up of stories more than we think. Answering the question, "What is Doug like?" will produce for me who Doug "is." The answer may consist of metaphors, anecdotes, opinions, and this will tell me who Doug is. If I look at his birth certificate, I won't be able to get the whole story. In spite of never having seen Doug's birth certificate, I have a good idea of who Doug is.

    We meet the people of the Bible as people of stories meet people of stories. The matter of historical existence is secondary.

  2. Problem is: LITERAL or SIMBOLIC interpretation?

    That's all!

  3. I think you meant "symbolic" but yeah, that's the issue.