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Some Reflections on Enns and The Evolution of Adam: A Review Essay


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#1 Kay

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 04:46 AM

There has been recent discussion on a book by Peter Enns - The Evolution of Adam, which in essence removes Paul from understanding an historical Adam.

H/t: UD for highlighting a recent review by Hans Madueme.

Some Reflections on Enns and The Evolution of Adam: A Review Essay

Hans Madueme

Hans Madueme is assistant professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and Themelios book review editor for systematic theology and bioethics. He recently completed his thesis, “The Evolution of Sin: Sin, Theistic Evolution, and the Biological Question—A Theological Account” (PhD diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2012).

"The gist of this new book by Peter Enns is that evangelicals should revise their expectations of Genesis and Paul—with reference to Adam and the fall—in order to relieve perceived tensions between Christianity and evolution.1 This thesis turns out to be controversial.

On the one hand are evangelicals who disagree with Enns and judge his basic argument a capitulation to modern science. If Enns is right, then present-day conservative evangelicals are wrong, the early twentieth-century fundamentalists were wrong, pre-nineteenth-century Protestant Christianity was wrong, the post-Reformation scholastic tradition was wrong, the Reformers were wrong, and the entire medieval and patristic tradition was wrong. And why? Because Darwinian natural science and the biblical criticism that emerged with the rise of historical consciousness in the eighteenth/nineteenth century are right.

On the other hand, those sympathetic with Enns are worried that old bugaboos like inerrancy are tearing apart the evangelical movement and bringing unnecessary disrepute to the Christian faith. This also places an unbearable strain on younger evangelicals who seek to cultivate the best Christian minds as they follow Christ: Are they to play the ostrich, bury their heads in the sand and deny what every sane, intelligent person believes in the twenty-first century?

That is the situation—alas—and Enns is brave enough to begin a conversation (p. 112). Taking him up on this, this brief reflection offers a perspective on why many Protestants, myself included, have significant reservations about his arguments. I shall simply assume that readers have already read the book; specific details of Enns’s argument can be found in other reviews (e.g., see countless print, online and blog reviews). 2 Better yet, read the book for yourself. It is well-written, accessible, and provocative. My main purpose is to dialogue with Enns from my location as a Reformed systematic theologian. Like Enns, these reflections “are an outworking of my own Christian convictions” (p. xii, with italics); I have good friends who disagree with some of the claims I make here. Further, this review is not comprehensive since there are vital matters I do not touch on—not even to wave as I drive by.3 Instead, (1) I begin with initial observations before broaching a few areas worthy of discussion: (2) the doctrine of Scripture, (3) natural science and historical criticism, (4) further theological concerns, (5) a methodological aside, and (6) concluding thoughts."

Continued here:

Some Reflections on Enns and The Evolution of Adam with a response to the review by Peter Enns here.

Hans Madueme's reflections are well thought out and the implications and concluding:

I recognize the force of the mainstream evolutionary consensus, and I know that it raises tough questions for the viability of a historical Adam and the doctrine of the fall. But I am constrained by Scripture, tradition, and weighty theological considerations. I am a son of Adam. That is why I am a sinner. And it is why I need Christ.


"seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" Matthew 6:33

#2 David Brown

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:35 PM

Read the book!

#3 Kay

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:49 AM

Read the book!


I have, David, and fairly much came to the same conclusions as the above review states.

Enn's has to wrest scripture, remove and invent - and it doesn't work.

Again, the above quote by Hans Madueme

I recognize the force of the mainstream evolutionary consensus, and I know that it raises tough questions for the viability of a historical Adam and the doctrine of the fall. But I am constrained by Scripture, tradition, and weighty theological considerations. I am a son of Adam. That is why I am a sinner. And it is why I need Christ.


and that is the crux of it - it is about God, it is about the reason His son had to come into the world = why there was a need for Christ.
"seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" Matthew 6:33




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