Richard F. Giberson , Francis S. Karl W. Recent developments in biology have indicated with impressive evidence that humanity does not go back to a single human couple. Does that mean that the Bible is wrong or that science is wrong? Or perhaps, as Peter Enns argues, we have been misreading the Bible. While not everyone, including myself, agrees with everything that Dr. Enns suggests, his book is an important contribution to the discussion concerning Genesis and science. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College The Evolution of Adam not only reflects the evolution of evangelical understandings of Adam, but it also contributes to new perspectives on Paul and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
No one concerned with the beauty, glory, and truth of the good news in a scientific world will want to miss out on this landmark book!
Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity The evolution of humans from other organisms has always presented very serious problems for conservative Christians, and the most serious problems have centered on the historicity of Adam. In this splendid book, Peter Enns confronts these problems with remarkable clarity and courage, offering a solution that is both biblically and scientifically informed.
Davis , professor of the history of science, Messiah College This is a bold, honest, and direct approach to the questions of origins and the interpretation of the Bible. Pete has battle scars from the journey to his conclusions in The Evolution of Adam, but those battles have made him increasingly sensitive to the plight of the church's struggle with science and the Bible.
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Here is a theologically alert, pastorally sound, and exegetically informed book that will lead us onward. Scot McKnight , Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University The Evolution of Adam provides a sure-footed and engaging look at what the Bible says--and does not say--about the first man. Peter Enns, one of America's most important Old Testament scholars, provides a masterful and accessible survey of the relevant biblical scholarship from the past couple of centuries.
Enns combines a deep appreciation of the Christian tradition with a courageous willingness to go where most evangelicals fear to tread. I highly recommend this book. Was there really a man named 'Adam' from whom all men and women descend?
How are we to understand the story of Adam? More importantly, how are we to understand Paul's theological use of Adam? The book is divided into two sections, the first on the portrayal of Adam in the early chapters of Genesis, and the second on Adam as understood and used by Paul in his letters. He sees these divine and human aspects of Scripture as analogous though not precisely equivalent to the Chalcedonian definition of the divine and human natures present in Jesus Christ.
In other words, while Enns views Scripture as the inspired and authoritative word of God, he is adamant that we should not therefore expect it to be interpretable as a simple and direct historical account of events. While this is not a new idea 8 or even likely to be a particularly controversial one in many circles, it has gotten him into trouble in the past.
Such experiences perhaps help to explain the exceptional care Enns takes to lay out his objectives and intentions in the introduction of the book, which is important reading, but repetitive at points. The section on Genesis provides, among other things, a very helpful and accessible introduction to the development of scholarly thought about Genesis. Enns then moves on to outline the current scholarly consensus on the authorship of Genesis, the historical setting in which the book was compiled, and the purpose it was intended to serve.
A Summary Overview of Peter Enns’ “The Evolution of Adam” - The Aquila Report
As such, we ought not to expect the accounts of Adam given in Genesis 1—3 to be simple descriptions of historical events. How are we to understand the story of Adam? More importantly, how are we to understand Paul's theological use of Adam? Enns is well-equipped to deal with these volatile issues, holding a PhD from Harvard University in Old Testament studies and having taught for 20 years at various evangelical seminaries and colleges. With grace and incisive scholarship he offers a provocative thesis that will certainly interest and challenge the evangelical church.
From my perspective, Enns fulfills Jesus's commandment that we 'love the Lord our God with all our mind' Matt , and he does so fearlessly and faithfully. Lamoureux, St. Joseph's College, University of Alberta "In this honest, insightful, informative, and provocative book, Enns offers readers an innovative way of reconciling their faith with evolutionary theory. In the course of fleshing out his argument, he provides readers with very accessible introductions to the historical-critical approach to Scripture as well as to the cultural and literary backgrounds of the Bible's creation stories and of Paul's reflections on Adam.
Whether one ends up agreeing with Enns or not, all readers will benefit enormously from reading this book. I heartily recommend The Evolution of Adam! Foremost, we have failed to face the unassailable fact that death, rather than being the historical consequence of Adam's sin, was a part of the natural cycle that created our human forebears. What shall we do with Genesis and Paul in light of these facts?
Enns blazes a trail that engaged Christians can follow. Sparks, Eastern University. Davids, Pennsylvania. He was formerly senior fellow of biblical studies for the BioLogos Foundation, an organization that explores the The Bible, including its creation accounts, represents a comprehensive theological worldview.
- The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins.
- Academic Commons!
- Reflections in Verse!
It's neither a literal accounting nor is it science. And it was never intended to be either of these two things. Academically minded Christians looking to bridge this intellectual divide will appreciate the tone and bibliographic references here. There's a lot of interest here, in particular Enns's look at how the Genesis account draws from earlier Near Eastern creation myths and sagas.
I found it fascinating--and informative.
The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say About Human Origins
Tull, Christian Century "Some of the qualities of this book that set it apart from other resources like it [are]: it is written by a critically thinking Evangelical for like-minded readers; despite its scholarly basis, the book's short length makes it accessible to undergraduates, church leaders, and lay Christians; it lacks academic jargon; its writing is clear and humble; when making arguments, its tone is balanced and courteous;. Based on these qualities, it is clear that Enns has spent a good deal of time with Evangelicals and other people of faith, listening to their questions and reorienting their thoughts about the Bible.
He has provided his target audience with a valuable resource. That is a question so many people have endeavored to answer, and Peter Enns offers a useful account in his book. The crux of the book is Enns dealing with Paul's understanding of Adam. Enns's scholarship on this is extremely helpful to the dialogue. Enns is informative and precise in the information he chooses to relay, relying on archeology and other sources to flesh out the type of literature Genesis is, and consequently the kind of information it is prepared to offer. Then, he tackles the big issue of Paul's Adam as seen in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, which is a central concern for many Christians.
The Evolution of Adam is an incredibly useful book for Christians who are engaged in this dialogue. To make its case, the book lays out the basics of contemporary biblical studies, thus perhaps unwittingly providing very accessible introductions to such scholarly staples as source criticism in Pentateuchal studies and the New Perspective on Paul.
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Regardless of whether the book fulfills its aim to assuage evangelical readers' worries over the historicity of Adam and Eve, it will certainly increase their biblical literacy. This contribution should be embraced by those of us interested in the science-religion interface who are not trained in biblical studies. Enns' attempt to assuage evangelical anxieties might well be compromised by its incompleteness.
However, his uncommon ability to present controversial views in a simultaneously rigorous and pastoral manner should lead us all to hope that there will be a sequel to The Evolution of Adam. He also provides valuable insights on how they may re-think of their convictions and let the scientific and biblical creation stories each speak their own language. This book can also be a useful source on the development of biblical criticism, comparative analysis, and studies on Pentateuch and Paul.
Reading this book provided a fascinating and illuminating experience of how the issues of Biblical inspiration, literary genre, senses of Scripture, and the relationship between history and theology can be negotiated through a slightly different confessional frame of reference. In particular Enns explores critically the popular idea that Adam and Eve are the original human parents--an idea commonly and illogically held even by some Christians who attempt to assimilate aspects of evolutionary thought. This material will be disturbing to some churchgoers, but life-giving to others.
A bold, accessible, and convincing argument.