Yesterday NPR got in on the Adam act, publishing a piece on the current evangelical debate over the existence of a literal Adam and Eve.
This is fascinating to me because I do think it may be something of a “Galileo moment” in church history. But I don’t feel threatened by it. Not in the least.
Perhaps I feel relatively safe in this debate because I’ve never been compelled to hold strictly to a literal Adam and Eve as a first couple of all creation. There are simply too many gaps in the Genesis proto-history (chapters 1-11) to read it as a be all, end all on early human history, or, still greater, created history. What of the dinosaurs or the ice age? I suspect the early Genesis narratives are answering different questions than we’re asking.
I also resolved early on that since our God is the Creator, true science and true interpretation of Scripture would never fundamentally contradict. There may be seasons when our scientific understanding needs adjusting; there may be times when we need to reinterpret the Bible. So the human genome project is forcing us to reevaluate our assumptions about the Adam and Eve story? That’s not so bad.
Christians believe that their God is a God of truth. When we’ve given up searching for truth, we’ve given up searching for God. We’ll remain content with whatever picture of a deity I’ve imagined in my head. That deity will be pretty paltry, I suspect, when compared to the real thing.
Anyway, what are your reactions to the NPR story, to the debate at large? Do Adam and Eve have to have been literal people? Are there ways to conceive of them as literal, but not necessarily the ultimate progenitors? Does this wreck your faith? Does it aid for your faith?