The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins

The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins

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by Peter Enns
     
 

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Can Christianity and evolution coexist? Traditional Christian teaching presents Jesus as reversing the effects of the Fall of Adam. However, an evolutionary view of beginnings doesn't allow for a historical Adam, making evolution seemingly incompatible with what Genesis and the apostle Paul say about him. For Christians who accept evolution and want to take the

Overview

Can Christianity and evolution coexist? Traditional Christian teaching presents Jesus as reversing the effects of the Fall of Adam. However, an evolutionary view of beginnings doesn't allow for a historical Adam, making evolution seemingly incompatible with what Genesis and the apostle Paul say about him. For Christians who accept evolution and want to take the Bible seriously, this presents a faith-shaking tension.

Peter Enns, an expert in biblical interpretation, offers a way forward by explaining how this tension is caused not by the discoveries of science but by false expectations about the biblical texts. Focusing on key biblical passages in the discussion, Enns demonstrates that the author of Genesis and the apostle Paul wrote to ask and answer ancient questions for ancient people; the fact that they both speak of Adam does not determine whether Christians can accept evolution. This thought-provoking book helps readers reconcile the teachings of the Bible with the widely held evolutionary view of beginnings and will appeal to anyone interested in the Christianity-evolution debate.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Enns's (senior fellow, BioLogos Fdn.; Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament) basic argument is this: modern creation arguments that focus on either the literal historical truth of the Bible or evolutionary perspectives are wrong. The Bible, including its creation accounts, represents a comprehensive theological worldview. It's neither a literal accounting nor is it science. And it was never intended to be either of these two things. Enns spends considerable effort outlining canonical and reception history of the Old Testament as well as using source criticism and ancient Near Eastern parallel accounts to debunk notions of Mosaic authorship. He then turns to the apostle Paul, who positions the figure of Adam as a stand-in for the universal message of Jesus. In this, claims Enns, "Christians who take Paul's theology with utmost seriousness are not also bound to accept Paul's view of Adam historically." VERDICT Academically minded Christians looking to bridge this intellectual divide will appreciate the tone and bibliographic references here.—Sandra Collins, Byzantine Catholic Seminary Lib., Pittsburgh

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587433153
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/01/2012
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
383,733
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

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Meet the Author

Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard University) is the Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He was formerly senior fellow of biblical studies for the BioLogos Foundation, an organization that explores the integration of science and Christian faith, where he wrote a regular column for their Science and the Sacred blog. He has taught at several schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Temple University, and Westminster Theological Seminary. Enns has authored or edited numerous books, including Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament.

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The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Judy13 More than 1 year ago
This is an easily read book intended for the "layman." It is very helpful in explaining a more reasonable and appropriate approach to the early chapters of Genesis. It is also very helpful in trying to understand Paul's understanding and approach to Adam.
BruceGlass More than 1 year ago
The Bible is replete with parables, metaphors, and symbolic language. It should be no surprise to us (and it is certainly no cause for alarm) that the creation stories were not intended to be taken literally. The use of mythology implies neither a misunderstanding of reality nor an attempt to deceive. It was simply a literary device intended to convey important (but in some regards complex, particularly for ancient populations) concepts regarding God's sovereignty and humankind's relationship to Him and His creation. Now, with the skill and depth of knowledge afforded a world-renowned Bible scholar, Dr. Peter Enns has courageously and convincingly explained why we need not understand the Bible's creation stories to be a literal history of events for them to be valid and important. Indeed, the creation stories, along with the entire book of Genesis, establish the foundation for all that follows in the Bible. Dr. Enns provides a detailed account of the historical context within which these essential Scriptures were recorded and how they, through the work of the Apostle Paul, affect the very foundational principles of Christianity. For anyone wishing to better understand the history, the literary character, and ultimately the relevance of Biblical Scripture to Christianity and to the entire world, Dr. Peter Enns' The Evolution of Adam is a must read. Bruce Glass --author of Exploring Faith and Reason: The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What does the Bible say, or not say, about human origins? That depends on the hermenutic used in reading the Bible. To understand that the Bible was written by ancient people with ancient thoughts teaches us that theology is in many ways provisional: our understanding of God evolves over time. If we fail to understand that, we will interpret the Bible in a manner that serves to accommodate our beliefs, rather than ask how the Bible can address today's world. The idea of Adam evolved in the Bible, and so must the way we "read" the Bible. This book is a worthwhile read.