What Are We to Make of Adam and Eve?

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March 31, 2010 Tags: Adam, the Fall, and Sin

Today's video features Alister McGrath. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.



One of the most important questions concerning the origins of life is about Adam and Eve, suggests theologian Alister McGrath.

Are Adam and Eve real historical figures that lived 6000 years ago, or are they metaphorical representations? It is an interesting question, says McGrath, because based on one’s response, the whole theory of evolution would shift the time frames back a very long way from what many evangelicals hold as true.

There are those who would say that Adam and Eve designate specific historical figures. That makes some sense, acknowledges McGrath, but it makes even more sense to say that Adam and Eve are stereotypical figures that encapsulate the human race as a whole. They represent the vast human potential as created by God, but also the capacity for going wrong.

The story of Adam and Eve is the story of all of us—people created with the greatest of intentions and great gifts—but still with the ability to fail. The Adam and Eve story tells us that this is not accidental—this is part of what it is to be human.

The real question is: is there anything to be done about this human quandary? Science doesn’t have a huge amount to say about how we understand Adam and Eve. Yet in Romans, Paul writes that Christ is the second Adam, who offers a second chance for humanity. This is our story, we have gone wrong but there is something to be done about it. And that something is the transformation that is brought about by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Alister McGrath is professor of theology, ministry, and education and head of the Centre for Theology, Religion, and Culture at King’s College, London. He is also involved in theological research and the professional development of clergy from a range of Christian denominations. McGrath has written many books on theology and history, including Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Surprised by Meaning. McGrath is an ordained minister in the Church of England and spends his Sundays pastoring and preaching in a group of rural churches in the beautiful Cotswolds, close to his home in West Oxfordshire.

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Mel Steffor - #20571

July 5th 2010

Genesis 3:2 At this the woman said to the serpent: “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. 3 But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You must not eat from it, no, You must not touch it that you do not die.” 4 At this the serpent said to the woman: You positively will not die.

The serpent is saying eat from the tree and you will not die.  Does this sound familiar to you?
Take in Jesus and you will not die. Or:

Believe in Jesus and you will not die.

Satan sounds just like the Church.  Take in Jesus and you will live.

Genesis 3:6 Consequently the woman saw that the tree(book) was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree (book) was desirable to look upon.  so she began taking of its fruit and eating (digesting) it.

Eve eats from the book and does not die.  The serpent was telling the truth.

The Church is telling the Truth

Everything happens just like the serpent said it would.  Their eyes were opened and they began to realize they were naked Just like the serpent said.


Mel Steffor - #20576

July 5th 2010

God said do not eat from the tree you will positively die.  Is God a liar?  Or is God talking about a different kind of death.  How do theologians miss this little detail?  Adam and Eve don’t die after eating (reading) from the Tree (book) this day.  Is God talking about a different kind of death or not this very day.  Does he mean that their minds will be poisoned?  Can your mind die?  I’ve had days when I felt like my mind way dying.  We know that they are reading about Jesus and that he the fruit in the New Testament.  Words can’t kill you so I would conclude that their minds have been poisoned.  This is a mental death.

This has to be the answer because we are not in harmony.  After reading the blogs of the other visitors here I can see that there is little if any agreement.  We don’t agree, we just argue.  We don’t see things the same way.  Some say the Earth is 7000 years old others say it is much older than that.  How do we get into harmony?

Would the world end if we cut off a limb from this tree?  Trees don’t die if you cut off a branch.  What if we all agree that the Jews have been right all along and that we have been wrong.  Would that kills us.  I think that is the only way to salvation.


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