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The Quest For The Historical Adam

The Quest For The Historical Adam

From time to time I read about theologians who have made the news because (sadly) they have changed their opinion on key doctrines of scripture. Sometimes it is good to change your mind–part of being able to reason as God intended, is to be able to change our mind when faced with evidence that proves us wrong—however, the increasing trend is to change one’s mind on points that are doctrinally essential, and it is one such example that I wish to address—the existence of an historical Adam.

The reason the existence of Adam is up for debate is due to the popularity of the theory of evolution. Scholars look at the ‘scientific evidence’ and worry that the Bible isn’t credible, and so look for ways to re-interpret it to make it so. An historical Adam might sound irrelevant compared to some other issues we could discuss, but I want to show you how it is foundational to the whole of Scripture, and thus to our salvation.

Adam is presented as being the head of the human race. He was created as our representative, and without saying it directly, the Bible teaches that he was king of creation. Thus, when he sinned, he not only reneged on his responsibilities as man’s representative, but he sinned on behalf of the whole creation, and dragged us all into the effect of his sin, which is death (Rom 5:12). This is why the Bible presents a redeemer (Christ), and contrasts Him to Adam. He is described as the Second man—not literally the second man to live—but the second order of man to live. He was sent to make recovery of what Adam lost, and thus He is the head of a new race.

Borrowing from the style of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 I want to underline 5 things that are true if there is no such thing as a literal and historic Adam.

1.    There is no explanation for the existence of sin in the world

If no Adam existed then the Bible leaves us guessing as to when and how sin entered the world. We know sin exists, not only because we experience the reality personally, but because the rest of the Bible proves it: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The verse already quoted gives the doctrinal perspective to the events in the Garden of Eden: “As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12), which leads us on to…

2.    Scripture does not agree

Simply put there is no agreement between the Old and New Testament as to the existence of sin, and this is serious because it calls into question the truthfulness of Scripture. The verses above show that the Old Testament narrative has a doctrinal explanation. But if we are to believe that the first 3 chapters of Genesis are figurative, then the explanation in the New Testament is faulty. Why would scripture tells us that through one man sin entered the world if that one man didn’t exist?

3.    There is no need for a redeemer, reconciler, regenerator

If there is no such thing as sin, then there is no need for a redeemer, reconciler or regenerator. I need to be redeemed because I have sinned against God (not Adam’s fault—I made my own choices) but what he did do was condemn the whole human race, so that we have no ability to do what we should do, but do what we shouldn’t, and so we were at enmity with God. Obviously if he never existed then why do I need redemption, or reconciliation back to God, or regeneration so I can behave as God intends? I’m not condemned; sin is not sin—it is just my choice.

4.    Christ died for no reason

The New Testament not only repeatedly tells us that Christ did die (historical fact) but why He died (doctrinal explanation). Not only is this another disagreement in scripture, but also it renders the crucifixion as an accident, irrelevance, a non-entity, or merely a historical event. But we know that the apostles teach that the death of Jesus Christ is the greatest event of history—the apex of the ages. But if there is no Adam, there is no sin. If there is no sin then there is no need for the death of a Saviour.

5.    There is no God

Ultimately this is where we come to, and this is why the secular thinkers of the day have invested so much time in ‘proving’ that evolution is true. Evolution abolishes Adam by default, and thus the entire relevance of the Bible, and the existence of God. How sad that in an effort to make the Bible credible to the world, some christian ‘thinkers’ are reinventing Adam as a legend. Little do they understand the doctrinal carnage they leave behind.

Dear christian, you may be ridiculed for believing that the first man who lived was Adam, but remember that your salvation depends upon it. 


Mervyn Hall and his wife are in fellowship in the assembly that meets in Hebron Gospel Hall in Bicester (UK) and is employed as a business consultant to the Healthcare industry.

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