The Historical Adam: Why it Really Matters

by Michael Kruger

For some time now, there has been extensive debate in the church on how to understand the early chapters of Genesis.  The focus has normally been on the length of the days in chapter one. Is it describing six, literal days? Or is the author just using a “literary framework”? Or is each day an age, or epoch of time?

In the midst of these debates, there lies a more core, and foundational issue, namely whether Adam was a real historical individual, created directly by God, from which all human beings descend. Aside from the length of days, this is the issue on which much theological truth depends.

Without a real, historical Adam, Paul’s discussion about imputed sin in Romans 5 loses its force.  If all humanity did not descend from Adam, then there are questions about whether Adam’s guilt and corruption really extended to all people.

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One of the best treatments of this issue that I have seen in recent years is the recent lecture given by Dr. Richard Belcher at RTS Charlotte’s convocation: “The Historical Adam: Why it Really Matters.”

He provides an interesting overview of the various challenges to the historical Adam, the varied solutions that people have tried to provide, and a defense of the historical Christian position that in Gen 2:7 Adam was created directly by God from the dust of the earth, and did not infuse a soul into a pre-existing hominid or ape…

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