The SBJT Forum -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 15:1 (Spring 2011)
Article: The SBJT Forum
Author: Anonymous

The SBJT Forum

Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the forum’s format. Bruce A. Ware, Ted Cabal, John N. Oswalt and Terry Mortenson have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.

SBJT: Does the literal historicity of Adam as the first human being, created by God from the dust of the ground, matter theologically? That is, could one deny the historicity of Adam as the first created human being but still hold to all the necessary tenets of evangelical theology?

Bruce A. Ware is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Prior to this, he taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, and Bethel Theological Seminary. Dr. Ware has written numerous articles, book chapters, and reviews. He is the author of God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism (Crossway, 2000), God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith (Crossway, 2004), Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance (Crossway, 2005), and Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God (Crossway, 2009).

Bruce Ware: The answers to these questions center on (l) whether the Bible presents Adam as the first literal and historical human being, (2) whether there is a biblical connection between the historical Adam in his creation and fall, and certain doctrines normally associated with the historical Adam, and (3) if so, what these doctrines might be and what the nature of this connection might be. I’ll suggest two lines of response intended to cover these three issues.

First, the historicity of Adam as the first literal human being is everywhere taught and assumed in the Bible. The language and kinds of descriptors of Adam in Genesis 5:3-5—the number of years he lived after Seth, that he had other children, and the total number of years he lived—are identical to the language and kinds of descriptors used of other historical persons in Genesis and elsewhere (cf., the rest of Gen 5; Gen 11:10-26; Gen 25:7-11; 1 Chron 1-9). The Chronicler opens his lengthy genealogy of Israel with “Adam” who begins the whole of the human race. Job contrasts his own openness before God with Adam who covered his transgressions (job 31:33). ...

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