Was Adam a real man? Part 1.

by Rick Brentlinger
(Pace, FL, USA)

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

Yes, I believe that Adam was a real man, specially created by God, precisely as the Bible describes in Genesis 1-2. Adam was our original ancestor from whom all other human being are descended.

The trend these days is unbelief, to reject the Biblical account, to deny that Adam was a real man. Many christians deny the historicity of Adam and embrace the evolutionary fairy tale without ever considering the consequences of their unbelief. A Christian once said to me:

"The true history of Genesis begins in
chapter 12 with Abraham. Before that it's
all myth. Real people start with Abraham."

Is that thoughtful insight or gross unbelief? If we reject the truth claims of the Bible, that is the sin of unbelief.

Four ways we distinguish between
Adam and the patriarchs

I. Adam's historicity as a real man who actually lived is a given by virtue of Biblical genealogies tracing back to him as the original human, from whom all other humans are descended.

II. Adam's wife is mentioned as a special creation of God, made from Adam's DNA instead of having a human father or mother. The Biblical account of Eve's creation makes evolution impossible in Eve's case.

III. The names of the sons of Adam and Eve are given. Adam's activities and interaction with God are recounted in detail. The Bible presents Adam as the original ancestor of every human being.

IV. A common sense reading of Genesis gives us two choices. (a) We believe that Adam and the patriarchs were real people who actually lived. (b) We believe that Adam and the patriarchs were mythical characters who never lived.

It makes no sense to say that Adam was a mythical man but the patriarchs were real people. According to the Bible, the patriarchs were Adam’s flesh and blood descendants.

What clues do we find
in the text of scripture?

Is there any indication that the things written about Adam are unbelievable and therefore Adam must be a mythical man but similar things, written about the patriarchs, are believable and therefore the patriarchs must have been real men?
"The driving force behind denying the historicity of Adam and Eve has more to do with accommodating evolutionary theory than with careful exegesis of the Biblical text."

Scripture presents Adam and Eve
as real historical people

  1. The literary genre of Genesis 1-4 is historical narrative; not allegory, fiction, legend, myth or poetry. Moses, the author of Genesis intended his readers to understand his account as true history.

  2. Genesis 5 describes actual events in Adam’s life including the birth of his children and grandchildren. The fact that Moses provides specific numerical dates for the events indicates he views Adam as a real person, not a mythical literary creation intended only to teach general truths.

  3. Moses says: "This is the book of the generations of Adam." -Genesis 5:1. Moses treats Adam as a real man who has a wife and children. The names of Adam's wife, children and grand-children are given, Genesis 5:3ff.

  4. Moses authenticates the fact that his account is historical rather than mythological by repeatedly using the toledoth historical formula. “These are the (toledoth) generations of...” Genesis 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1, 9; 37:2.

    If we reject Adam and Eve as real historical people who actually lived, then by the same faulty logic, we can reject other historical figures in Genesis including Cain, Abel, Seth, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

  5. 1 Chronicles, the official history of Israel, begins its genealogy with Adam, Sheth=Seth, Enos=Enoch. If Adam was not real, then obviously Seth and Enoch were not real.

    If we cannot trust Israel's official genealogy, that Adam was a real historical individual who had a wife and sons, then there is no reason to trust anything else in 1 Chronicles.

    The only rational way to approach 1 Chronicles is to believe that Adam is just as real as the other individuals named in the official genealogy.

  6. Dr. Luke traces the genealogy of Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, back to Adam, Luke 3:23-38. If Adam was not a real man who actually lived, then Luke is mistaken or lying.

    Mistake or lie, Luke's credibility as a historian is destroyed if Adam is not real and everything else in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles is open to question, including the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead.

    If we accept a fictional genealogy in Genesis, 1 Chronicles and Luke, we, in effect, deny the truthfulness of scripture. If scripture is not true, then everything Christianity teaches is founded on lies. No other conclusion is possible for rational people.

    In plainer words, it is irrational to insist that Adam was a mythical man but that Jesus our Savior was real. Rationality compels us to believe that both Adam and Jesus were real individuals who actually lived or both Adam and Jesus were mythical characters who only existed in the vivid imaginations of the human authors of the Bible.

  7. In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus cites the creation account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 to answer a question about divorce "for every cause." Jesus accepts the historicity of Adam and Eve as a given.

    If Adam and Eve were mythical figures, Jesus' argument about marital fidelity is founded on myth. Since Jesus is the Creator, His testimony about the historicity of Adam and Eve trumps the arguments of mythologizing unbelievers.

  8. The Apostle Paul cites Adam and Jesus in his great passage on justification by faith, Romans 5:12-21. There is no rational way to view Adam as mythical and Jesus as real in this passage. If Adam was nothing more than a mythical man, then Jesus is nothing more than a mythical Savior.

    How could the mythical sin of a mythical man cause the real historical fall, judgment and spiritual death of all the real descendants of the mythical man? Paul's analogy is irrational nonsense if Adam was not a real man. If Adam was not a real man who actually lived, then Paul's analogy is the raving of a lunatic.

  9. The Apostle Paul tells us “death reigned from Adam to Moses,” Romans 5:14, referencing a real historical time frame of approximately 2600 years. Paul's citation of Adam as the point of origin for a real period of time is bouncing off the rubber wall crazy if Adam was not a real historical man who actually lived.

    If Adam was not a real man, thoughtful Christians can safely ignore anything Paul wrote in the Bible. Nothing Paul wrote is credible IF Adam was not a real man. Remember that Romans 5 is part of Paul's argument that we are justified by faith, not by works.

    Justification by faith is utter nonsense if Adam was not real. A mythical Adam committing a mythical sin in a mythical garden and receiving a mythical punishment makes no difference to anyone.

    Paul's argument in Romans 5:12-21 only makes sense if Adam is real. If Adam is not real, Paul's analogy falls apart, his reasoning loses it's force and everything he wrote in his 14 New Testament epistles is open to question.

  10. The Apostle Paul draws a parallel between Adam and our Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45. The same considerations apply here as to Romans 5:12-21. If Adam was not a real man who actually lived and his sin was not an historical event that actually happened, Paul’s words in 1 Cor 15:45 have no meaning.

    In 1 Timothy 2:12-14, Paul refers to specific details about the creation and fall of Adam and Eve to support his instructions about women teaching in the church. The cogency of Paul’s argument depends on the historicity of the events to which he appeals.

    If Adam and Eve are only mythical people who never existed in time and space as real people, Paul's appeal to "myth" can be safely ignored by every reasonable reader.

  11. The apostle Paul believed Adam was a real man who actually lived, from whom all other human beings are descended by virtue of being "one blood." The only other conclusion possible is that when Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill, Acts 17, he intentionally lied to them and no Christian believes that.
    "And hath made of one blood all nations
    of men for to dwell on all the face of the
    earth, and hath determined the times
    before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;"
    -Acts 17:26
  12. Jude 14 refers to “Enoch, the seventh from Adam.” If Jude understood Adam to be only a mythical man who never really lived, then Jude's argument cannot be regarded as truthful. There can be no real human descendants from a mythical man.

Was Adam a real man, Part 2

Was Adam a real man, Part 3

Was Adam a real man, Part 4

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Comments for Was Adam a real man? Part 1.

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 01, 2013
evolution is fine
by: Anonymous

I find it odd that given your particular experience with your faith, you're so willing to criticize those who believe evolution is compatible with Christianity. The greatest Christian thinkers, from Augustine to Aquinas, thought that the Bible itself made clear that the creation story in Genesis was not historical fact. The belief in young earth creationism is itself a creation of fundamentalist movements in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. In 1850, long before Darwin published his book, the gross majority of Christians did not believe in the historical accuracy of the Genesis creation story.

You might think theistic evolutionists are wrong, but to pretend that they (and those who agree with them) are heretics is to deny them the love that the Christian community wrongly withheld from you for so long. I hope you'll change your tune. I think we would all be better for it.

Rick's comment: The biblical account of creation is true regardless what professing believers or unbelievers think. I hope you will do more Bible study from a believing perspective because that will radically change your life.

How can I get saved so that I don't go to hell when I die?

May 16, 2018
by: Blake

I find that many times in the bible, when laying the guidelines for marriage it always uses the example of a husband and wife. May I ask why that is different and/or what justifies it?

Rick's comment: Hi Blake - The Bible was written during the time period from about 1900 BC to AD 98. It reflects and describes the culture and the times in which it was written.

In the Old Testament time period, gay marriage was not a prominent feature of Jewish culture so it was not mentioned much, except for the story of Jonathan and David.

In the New Testament time period, gay marriage had a bit of history in Greece but was not universally accepted. At that time in history, it was not anywhere near being the main issue.

The Bible addressed the culture as it was back then, when marriage was mostly between a man and a woman or between a man and multiple women.

Jesus did tangentially address gays and marriage in Matthew 19:3-12. He made it clear that the group called eunuchs, which included gay men and lesbians, was born that way, from their mother's womb.

Homosexual Eunuchs.

May 16, 2018
by: Blake

Thank you for answering my question I appreciate it. If I may ask another: in 1 Peter 3:7 it says that a husband should be the leader of the household for the wife. Is this saying that men have to be the hypermasculine figure in a family?

Rick's comment: Hi Blake - I Peter 3:7 is not about men having to be hyper-masculine. Here is what Peter says.

"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." 1 Peter 3:7

Giving honour unto the wife as the weaker vessel relates to the fall of Adam and Eve and how that shakes out theologically in the New Testament.

The apostle Paul explains it this way.

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."

1 Timothy 2:11-15

According to Paul and God, Eve is the weaker vessel because she was deceived by Satan in the Garden of Eden. That is what Paul says and that is what Peter is alluding to.

The idea is that the man should be the leader in the marriage. That doesn't mean he is a dictator or a bully or a jerk or that he never consults his wife.

Most men would be a lot better off if they had enough common sense to consult with and take advantage of the wisdom and practical common sense of their wife more often than they do.

May 16, 2018
by: Blake

Wow thanks so much! That clears things up a lot thank you.

Rick's comment: Hi Blake - You're welcome.

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