Sep

21

2009

Justin Taylor|12:00 pm CT

Tremper Longman on the Historicity of Adam

Were Adam and Eve literal, historical figures?

Tremper Longman (professor of OT at Westmont College, author of numerous commentaries, and co-author of the acclaimed An Introduction to the Old Testament) explains in the following video that for him it’s an open question as to whether or not Adam was a literal, historical figure, and that to “insist” that Gen 1-2 conveys this is dependent on a “very highly literalistic” reading.

I’ve never seen a survey to this affect, but I suspect that many evangelical OT profs and science profs feel the same way. I also wonder if we’re seeing a preview here of a new issue here that some evangelicals will cast doubt upon.

Finally, I wonder how Longman would address the common-sensical point made by N.T. Wright (“Romans,” The New Interpreter’s Bible, 10:526).

Paul clearly believed that there had been a single first pair, whose male, Adam, had been given a commandment and had broken it. Paul was, we may be sure, aware of what we would call mythical or metaphorical dimensions to the story, but he would not have regarded these as throwing doubt on the existence, and primal sin, of the first historical pair.

HT: James Grant

Update: Good post here by Dr. James Anderson (RTS-Charlotte) in response.

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