There has been much debate of late about whether the biblical Adam and Eve were “real people” or myths. A number of Christian scientists, for example, have conceded that DNA studies cast serious doubt on the biblical account of Adam and Eve, indicating that the story is indeed mythical. Obviously, most nonbelievers would tend to agree with that honest and logical assessment.

However, this apparent fact of the biblical tale being a myth, rather than a “historical” account, opens up a huge can of worms, because, it is likewise admitted, there is no need for the saving grace of Jesus Christ if there was no fall in the first place, as depicted in the Genesis story of the Garden of Eden. No “original sin,” no need for salvation – that’s the simple equation. If God is behind it all, why would “he” need to come to Earth as his own son to die for our sins, if Genesis isn’t factual?

This dilemma is playing out in numerous arenas, including among the Baptists, as described in the article below. I blogged this debate earlier, in a post entitled, “Adam and Eve a myth?,” and I’ve been writing about this subject for decades. In my book The Christ Conspiracy, published in 1999, I included rational and scientific research dating back centuries that demonstrates the Adam/Eve and Garden of Eden story to be an ancient myth found in various permutations in other cultures besides the Jewish one. Indeed, the Pygmies of the Congo have a similar story that may represent a very ancient forerunner of these others.

As I wrote in Christ Con (188), it has been declared repeatedly over the centuries that without the concept of the original fall/sin of man and his expulsion from the Garden of Eden, there would be no need for a savior or for the Christian religion. For example, “reformed” ex-Father Peter Martyr said:

Were this Article [of faith] be taken away, there would be no original sin; the promise of Christ would become void, and all the vital force of our religion would be destroyed.

The same debate occurred widely with the introduction of Darwinism in the 19th century, with the resulting complaint expressed in the American Quarterly Church Review (17.197):

If this hypothesis be true, then is the Bible “an unbearable fiction,” fabricated during successive ages… If this hypothesis be true, then also have Christians, for nearly two thousand years, been duped by a monstrous lie…

In any case, the revelation of Adam and Eve as myths would tend to make the figure of Jesus Christ obsolete, much to the dismay of his many followers – maybe, just maybe, the unneeded savior too is mythical, based on the countless other gods and goddesses of the era?

“The denial of a historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the gospel…”

Debate over Adam and Eve continues

Recent comments by a Southern Baptist seminary president that belief in a literal Adam and Eve is necessary to correctly understand Christ’s saving work continues to prompt debate.

Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity, linked recently in his blog to an Associated Baptist Press article headlined “SBC leader says much at stake in debate over Adam and Eve.” McLaren described quotes attributed to Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as “recycling of the Scopes Monkey Trials in Christian higher education.”

Mohler said in the story that without a literal Adam and Eve “we will have to come up with an entirely new understanding of the gospel meta-narrative and the Bible’s storyline.”

“I firmly agree (in an ironic sort of way) with the good Dr. Mohler,” McLaren commented. “I think the conventional Constantinian ‘understanding of the gospel meta-narrative and the Bible’s storyline’ is wrong, misguided, and dangerous. We do in fact need ‘an entirely new understanding’ — new, that is, compared to the status quo, but actually more ancient and primary than the conventional approach….

…In his 2010 book, A New Kind of Christianity, McLaren explicitly denies that the Bible reveals Adam as a historical figure. He also denies that we should believe in a Fall into sin that leads to a divine verdict against sinful humanity.”

Mohler said debate over whether Adam and Eve were historical figures has served to “clarify, once again, what is at stake.”

“The denial of a historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the gospel,” Mohler concluded. “If we do not know how the story of the gospel begins, then we do not know what that story means. Make no mistake: a false start to the story produces a false grasp of the gospel.”…

Further Reading

The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled
Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Jesus as the Sun throughout History
The Christ Conspiracy Articles
Comparative Religion Articles
Christ Myth Forum Posts