The most attacked book of the Bible has always been Genesis. The assaults used to come from skeptics and liberals, but now they are coming from within the church.
Today the Book of Genesis is bombarded with unrelenting skepticism, derision, and scorn. Even among evangelical Christians, Genesis is now a hotly debated book.
For a decade or so Genesis has been under a new assault. The claim is that Adam never existed. According to those who imagine that mankind evolved over millions of years, Adam and Eve are mythical and have no place in human history.
Today many scholars claim that the Adam of Genesis was not a real flesh-and-blood human being. In this view there was no Adam in the Garden of Eden. Note, for example, statements by Dr. Peter Enns, former tenured professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, and statements by Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and leader of the Human Genome Project.
Specifically, Enns does not believe Adam was an actual human being who fathered the human race. He thinks Adam is a metaphor for the nation of Israel. Enns says,
“I suggested that the Adam story could be viewed symbolically as a story of Israel’s beginnings, not as the story of humanity from ground zero. … A strictly literal reading of the Adam story does not fit with what we know of the past. … A ‘just read it literally’ mentality is not an available option. “What do I do with the Adam story?” is a real and pressing question for most people of faith.”
(Peter Enns, “Paul’s Adam”, March 9, 2010)
Enns almost always refers to the record of Adam in Genesis as “the Adam story.” This terminology subtly plants doubt about God’s Word. Calling Adam’s events a “story” has the connotation that the passage is just an entertaining tale as opposed to a factual historical account.
Christian geneticist Francis Collins also denies the historicity of Adam:
“Certainly when it comes to the Garden of Eden, a question often asked is, were Adam and Eve literal, historical figures? … One thing I think we can rule out as a possibility is that Adam and Eve were created as special acts, separate from the rest of the animal kingdom.”
“On the other hand, I think you could make a plausible argument that Adam and Eve were historical figures, a pair of Neolithic farmers, at a time where the brain had reached the point of sufficient complexity for the arrival of the sense of free will.”
“Or, you could also make the case that Adam and Eve are standing in for that whole group of about 10,000 ancestors from which we are all descended. And that’s about the number. It wasn’t two; it was about 10,000.”
“I think outside of the one that science won’t allow you to accept [that is, the literal interpretation of Genesis] because it predicts things that can’t be justified with human genetic diversity, all those other options are potentially plausible.”
(Collins, Religion and Science: Conflict or Harmony? at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, May 4, 2009.)
According to evolutionism’s storyline, mankind did not come directly from the hand of God in the persons of Adam and Eve. Instead the fabricated story is that mankind evolved from animals. Purportedly after millions of years of animal life and death, nature eventually gave rise to man through an evolutionary process.
Is this true?
Is it possible that Adam never existed?
Does the historical existence of Adam matter?
What does the Bible teach about Adam?
These are questions that I will deal with in this series of blog articles on Adam.
A popular children’s book, A Is for Adam, expresses the truth this way:
“A is for Adam, God made him from dust.
He wasn’t a monkey, he looked just like us.
Although some scientists don’t think it was so,
It was God who was there, and He ought to know.”
Attacks on Adam impugn the credibility of Scripture! For if Adam never existed, then Scripture is full of lies, from Genesis through the letters of Paul.
Attacks on Adam even impugn the credibility of Jesus Himself. According to these scoffers, Jesus was deluded when He referred to Adam and Eve and instructed His disciples on the Beginning. Such a position is preposterous.
Was Adam in Eden?
Mankind possesses only one historical document about the Beginning, namely Genesis. This document clearly and definitively and unmistakably answers the question,
“Was Adam in the Garden of Eden?”
Twice Genesis records that God Himself put the man in the Garden.
The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. (Genesis 2:8 NASB)
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15 NASB)
Furthermore, God’s command to Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden only makes sense if Adam was in the Garden of Eden.
Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. …The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:9, 16-17 NASB)
Since the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the middle of the garden, Adam and Eve must have been in the garden to pluck and eat its fruit.
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6 NASB)
After sinning by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam hid with Eve in the garden among the trees.
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 NASB)
Twice Genesis records that God drove Adam out of Eden after he sinned. To have been driven out, obviously he must have been in the Garden prior to being expelled.
Therefore the Lord God sent him [Adam] out from the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:2 NASB)
So He drove the man [Adam] out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24 NASB)
Thus at least Seven Times Genesis explicitly records Adam being in the Garden of Eden.
So, YES, Adam certainly was in the Garden of Eden. God made him and put him there. He sinned there in Eden, and God drove him out from Eden after he sinned.
To deny the existence of Adam is to deny the clear teaching of the Bible. That’s a very perilous position.
Questions to Ponder
- What is behind the disbelief in Adam?
- Does your pastor believe Adam existed? Does he take a public stand in support of a real Adam and Eve?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the first of a series of weekly blog articles on Adam.
Read the sequels:
2. Did Moses Believe in Adam?
3. Did Jesus Believe in Adam?
4. Did Paul Believe in Adam?
5. Does Belief in Adam Matter?
6. Adam and Puppies
7. Why Did Adam Sin?
8. What Should Adam Have Done?
9. What Did Adam Cause?
10. What Was Adam’s Forbidden Fruit?
11. How Long Was Adam in Eden?
12. Was Adam’s Garden of Eden Real?
13. Christmas & Adam (with videos)
14. Where Was Adam’s Garden of Eden?
15. Did Adam Wear Clothes in Eden?
16. Was Adam Backward or Brilliant? (with video)
17. Who Was Mrs. Adam?
18. Adam’s Dream Girl
19. Adam’s Prolific Princess
20. Adam’s Problematic Princess
21. How Many Children Did Adam Have?
22. Whom Did Adam’s Sons Marry?
23. Did Adam Ride a Unicorn?
24. How Long Did Adam Live?
25. Did Adam Swat Mosquitoes in Eden?
26. Did Adam’s Garden Have a Talking Snake?
27. Why Should Adam’s Sin Affect Me?
28. Did Roses Have Thorns in Adam’s Garden?
29. Adam the Image-Bearer & Harambe the Gorilla
30. Did Adam Ever Return to Eden?
31. What Was Adam’s Tree of Life?
32. Will Adam Be in Heaven?
33. Did Adam See the Big Dipper?
34. Did Adam Know Earth Is Round?
35. Did Jesus Say When Adam Was Created?
36. Did Adam See Dinosaurs?
37. Did Adam Like Steak?
38. Could Adam Read & Write?
39. Did God Use Evolution to Make Adam?
40. Adam & the Olympics
41. Adam and the Gospel
42. Adam and the Genesis Road
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 23, 2015 A.D.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)