Original Sin as an Adamic Event

Some theologians want to interpret the opening chapters of Genesis in such a way as to deny it’s historicity, particularly with regard to a literal Adam.  However French theologian Henri Blocher offers some compelling thoughts on this position when he writes,

“…may we follow Brunner and Ricoeur and value the meaning while discarding the event? [i.e. literal fall of Adam]  Their statement of the significance of the Genesis sequence, whereby evil is introduced after creation, is coupled with an equally vocal rejection of that same sequence as having really occurred in time and space.  The question cannot be avoided:  is it responsible theology to retain and enjoy the ‘profit’ of a historical understanding of sin without ‘paying the price’?

Since Immanuel Kant, modern theology has often tried to extol the meaning for faith of the great events of the gospel while denying their factual base in the name of rational criticism…”

(Original Sin, Illuminating the Riddle. pg.58)

He then asks a penetrating question,

“Is it possible to dehistoricize a message built on the testimony that these events happened?”

Finally, he goes on to perceptively assert,

Only historical (and thus responsible) evil may be vanquished and perfectly eliminated…..Only if the problem is historical will the solution happen.” (Ibid. pg. 62)

Anyone denying the historicity of Adam has a serious and, I think, insurmountable problem on their hands with regard to redemption.  As Blocher rightly points out, they want the ‘profit’ (salvation from sin through a literal Christ) without ‘paying the price’ (a literal Adam from whom they inherit original sin).

Such a position displays shallow and unbiblical thinking…


About C. M. Granger

I'm a firm believer in God's sovereignty, man's responsibility, and a gracious orthodoxy. I love the Puritans and the Reformers, but I don't believe our understanding of theology reached it's zenith in the 16th and 17th centuries. I love the Reformed Creeds and Confessions, but I'm not a strict confessionalist. I'm Reformed in my soteriology (I'm a moderate Calvinist), but not in the historical sense of the term (I'm a Baptist). Some of my favorite theologians/commentators are Kevin Vanhoozer, John Frame, D.A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, Andreas Kostenberger, Peter O'Brien, David Peterson, Douglas Moo, and GK Beale. The list of dead theologians/commentators would be too long to list here. I think it's important to read widely, to read primary sources for yourself, and to accurately represent the positions of those whom you oppose. I believe it's imperative to have a proper balance between systematic and bibilical theology. I try to never make a round verse fit into the square hole of a theological system.
This entry was posted in Genesis, Historicity, Original Sin. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Original Sin as an Adamic Event

  1. Derek says:

    Glad I don’t display shallow and unbiblical thinking 🙂

  2. Hi Derek,

    Me too 😉

    Thanks for dropping by…

    Usually when someone abandons a historical Adam and a historical Fall, it’s not long before his understanding of the cross gets distorted. It is difficult to assert a historical Jesus dealing with the real problem of human sin when Adam is just a literary device, or some kind of vague “proto-human”.

    God bless,

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