GEN. 2: 4 - 7 Man Made - Placed in Eden: Was Adam for Real?
ESSENTIAL TRUTH : The myths in the Bible are identified as such by its very authors. There is myth in the Scripture. There are legends which are reported to us in various places in the Bible, but the significant thing is that they are identified as such. You can find them both in the Old Testament and in the New Testaments, but the writers of the Scriptures were aware of the nature of them as myths and recorded them as such. Never once did our Lord suggest that anything in the Old Testament was to be questioned, as to its historical veracity.
Gen. 2-3 are among the most widely attacked passages in Genesis. In spite of the revelation provide within these two chapters regarding, the secret of man’s sinfulness, relationship problems, explanation for the struggles of life, and how this all keeps us “grounded for Grace”, the scholars and critics maintain their discomfort with the supernatural aspects of the Biblical record. There are two general lines of attack upon this story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; one is an attempt to destroy the literary integrity of the text; the other attempts to deny the historical accuracy of these accounts: FIRST ATTACK: Regarding the authorship of Genesis, critics of the Bible claim that this section of the Bible was not even written by Moses, but rather, a “Redactor” who lived long after David and Solomon. This first critical attack on Genesis 2 and 3, which Bible Expositors refer to as the , “Documentary Theory” of the Bible, who claim that the Torah was not Moses’ pen, is supported only by piecemeal evidence that is completely inadequate. This whole idea has been supported by certain piecemeal evidence taken from the Scriptures. This is always the case with this type of study. Scholars go through the books and extract certain ideas or passages that seem to support their theory, but they ignore others that would contradict it. This documentary theory gained a wide support, and many of you have perhaps been exposed to it. It has long ago been fully answered by both Jewish and Christian writers. I am not going to dwell on it now, but if you are interested in it, there are books that will fully expose the total inadequacy of this theory. Over 80 years age, Dr. Lyman Abbott spoke at the University of California at Berkeley. He was, at that time, a noted liberal scholar working in this field of the origin of scriptural books. He said something like this: “ Young gentlemen, I feel that perhaps I am as qualified as anyone to speak in this field of the origins of the books of the Bible, and I want to warn you against going too far in basing your conclusions upon the so-called ‘assured results of modern scholarship.’ As one of these modern scholars, I know that these results are not always as ‘assured’ as they seem to be. My careful conclusion is that the first five books of the Bible were either written by Moses – or by someone else named Moses!”.
SECOND ATTACK : This is the idea that there are great truths about man here in these opening chapters of the Bible – his fears, his evil, his hungers are all given to us in a remarkable way, and we can learn much about ourselves from these passages – but the authors were attempting to convey to us great and mighty truth, important truth, but doing it through the language of myth – adopting a kind of parabolic vehicle in order to convey these truths to us. There was, of course, no literal tree in a literal garden; there were no actual beings named Adam and Eve, and, of course, there was no talking serpent or forbidden fruit.
What do we say to this kind of an approach? We must say that we reject the whole approach as biblically untenable, scientifically unsound, and in the end totally destructive of truth and faith . Let me give the reasons for this: FIRST of all, this approach of myth violates the integrity of the book of Genesis. Where does myth end and history begin in this book? Where is the line of demarcation? If Adam and Eve is a myth then so is Cain and Abel. And if Cain and Abel is a myth, then so is Noah and the flood . Since the record moves right on without a break into the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; are we to assume that these , too, are myths? If so, where does history begin? How can you detect the place where myth, fantasy, and legend ends, and actual human history begins? We have already seen in our first series that the first chapter of Genesis (which is likewise termed myth) is not a myth at all. It is in accord with the true discoveries of modern science, and, in fact, anticipates and corrects much of modern science. We have found that it is definitely not myth . When you begin this process of finding myth in these Old Testament stories you will find that it is impossible to draw the line anywhere except where you, for some emotional reason, may choose to draw it.
SECOND, this approach of myth contradicts the usage of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the apostles themselves . If you believe that the story of Adam and Eve is a myth then you immediately find yourself clashing with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew 19 it is recorded that our Lord, facing the questions of the Pharisees about divorce, replied with reference to Gen. 2 and 3 - "In the beginning God made them male and female," ( Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:6 ). If you accept that as a statement from One who declared himself to be the truth, and who told only the truth , then you must accept this story of Adam and Eve as actual. The Lord Jesus constantly referred to Moses as the author of the Pentateuch , and said, again and again, that what Moses wrote he, himself, fulfilled.
THIRD, the whole idea of myth is ultimately destructive of the teaching of Scripture, of biblical theology . If you investigate their reasons (though they may seldom admit this) it is obviously because they want to square these stories of Adam and Eve with the teachings of evolution . They do not want to admit that there was a couple named Adam and Eve that began the human race , but rather, that a group of hominids who ascended from the animal kingdom and became men. IF evolution as the explanation of man’s origin is true THEN there never was a fall of man . Either man was created perfect – body, soul, and spirit – as Genesis tells us or he has been slowly developing from the animal kingdom. Either man fell from perfection, or he never was perfect. And IF he never has been perfect , THEN what is the point of redemption? IF all we are doing is moving toward an ultimate goal of perfection , THEN what was the value of the work of Christ upon the cross? You SEE certain fundamental issues come in immediately, certain fundamental questions arise, such as : Do we really need salvation? Are we not moving steadily toward a goal which will ultimately be reached , whether Christ died or not? What is the purpose , therefore, of His redeeming grace? The minute you interject mythical ideas into the opening chapters of Genesis you come into an immediate clash with the doctrine of atonement and of the redemption of man. It becomes the ULTIMATE QUESTION of “ Christ ” or the Critics ? And SINCE CHRIST stands as the AUTHORITY in EVERY REALM in which HE SPEAKS , THEN , the question is NOT EVEN WORTH DEBATING .