“All Mankind, Descending from Him ...”?

The title above, as many readers will recognize, is from answer 16 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (and Larger Catechism 22). It expresses a central truth of Scripture and reflects the universal confession of the church about Adam. Why then the added question mark? Not because non-Christians widely reject this truth, as they have for a long time, but because more recently it has been increasingly called into question by scientists, biblical scholars, and others who consider themselves evangelical or even Reformed Christians. Moreover, they are persuaded that their doubts about this truth should be accepted as compatible with their Christian commitment. Every Christian who is truly submitted to the Bible’s authority needs to be alert to this recent development and clear about the consequences of these doubts and denials. No matter how well intended, they undermine the gospel and will lead to its eventual loss. If it is not true that all human beings descend from Adam, then the entire history of ... Read more

Evaluating the Claims of Scientists

News media report confident claims about human origins. Science, it is said, has shown that the human race had a gradual, evolutionary origin—not a single ancestor, Adam. If we are followers of Christ, how do we treat such claims? The world around us largely follows the way of human autonomy. It says, “Think for yourself.” It regards the Bible as an ancient, merely human book, with primitive ideas. So it advises us that we should just accept what scientists tell us. It is ironic, then, to find autonomous thinking described in the biblical account of the Fall. The serpent casts doubts on God’s word (“You will not surely die,” Gen. 3:4) and advocates making up one’s mind independently of God’s instruction. That is, the serpent advocates autonomy. Genesis 3 shows that Adam’s and Eve’s choice to be autonomous leads to death, spiritually and then physically. The stakes are high. Christ teaches us that the Old Testament is the very word of God (John 10:35; Matt. 5:17–18; ... Read more

Should We Still Believe in a Historical Adam?

My thesis is simple: by questioning the historicity of Adam, one must revise the doctrine of original sin with serious modifications. Even recent purveyors of theistic evolution, who question the historicity of Adam, recognize this to be the case. [1] In fact, one Christian scholar goes so far as to say, “Once the doctrine of original sin is reformulated, the doctrine of the atonement may likewise be deepened.” [2] Such serious modifications will carry entailments for other areas of theology as well. Here I want to take up the question of history and Old Testament exegesis. The “Problem” of Old Testament History A complex question that keeps emerging in the debates about historiography in the past couple of centuries is whether “external” history exists outside the mind of the historian. Can past events be observed and described apart from the literary or religious interests or presuppositions of the historical researcher? Some have approached this question along the lines of ... Read more

Sharing Grief

To: JuneMcrea@ustel.com From: rose@hotfone.com Dear Sis, I am so sad. Do you remember me telling you I hosted a baby shower last month for Erika, the young woman in our church who was expecting her first child? This morning I got a call saying Erika had gone into labor during the night, but the baby, a little girl, was stillborn. This is such a shock. What should I do? I know I need to see Erika, but I have no idea what to say. Maybe you don’t know either. If you have any thoughts, please send them. Love, Rose *     *     *     *     * To: rose@hotfone.com From: JuneMcrea@ustel.com Dear Rose, Do you remember Jane, my roommate between college and marriage? People used to call us “Janie and Junie.” We lost contact a few years back, but we reconnected on Facebook. Jane’s first child, Faith, was born prematurely and lived only a few hours. Jane and her husband later ... Read more


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