Thursday, October 22, 2015

Were Adam and Eve Real People?

I’ve often heard the question “Do you believe that Adam and Eve were real people?”  Well, everyone believed that until the Theory of Evolution changed things.  If the Theory of Evolution is true (and by all accounts, it is), then the thought that in a single event, God created a single man and a single woman from whom we all descended can’t be true.  Well, today I have some thoughts about what just might have happened that is consistent with both, the Book of Genesis and the Theory of Evolution.  It involves the following two verses from Genesis, Chapter 1.  First, “Then God said:  'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'” (Genesis 1:26).  Second, “… the Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7).  

Man apparently was created first and then the breath of life came along.  Do you think man was totally lifeless until God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life?  Well, maybe he was just an ordinary animal until that happened.  In other words, maybe the “breath of life” is the soul of man, meaning his intelligence and free will.  That would be consistent with the above verse from Chapter 1 of Genesis, i.e. God made man in his own image and likeness.  After all, how else could the image and likeness of God, who is pure spirit, be a pattern for man, a being with a physical body?  No, perhaps the image and likeness of God is man’s soul.  So to re-cap this new thought:  The breath of life that God breathed into the nostrils of man and the image and likeness of God are both the same thing … man’s soul.   

Now, then, who were Adam and Eve and how does this new thought fit with the Theory of Evolution?  Well, imagine man evolving over many millions of years, just as the Theory of Evolution speculates, and imagine that this evolution was taking place all over the world such that there was, in reality, a whole mass of man creatures just waiting for the breath of life.  Now imagine God choosing one of them, Adam, for this gift of his image and likeness, thus creating a “real” man.  Maybe God saw that it was good and then breathed the breath of life into others of his choosing such that the creation of man was off and running.  It could be that the biblical account was only about one of them, Adam, and later, his descendants.

Of course, the obvious question is “Where was Eve and all the other women creatures when all of these man creatures were getting the breath of life?”  Well, the account of the creation of woman is also in Genesis, Chapter 2.  “So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22)

Is it possible that men got the breath of life before women did?  Is it possible that man creatures evolved a little faster than woman creatures such that God had to do something special to speed things along so that the man creatures, now with souls, would have a suitable partner?  But to take a man’s rib and form it into a woman?  The answer to that question is going to have to come from future even more innovative Thursday Thoughts.

The photo shows thousands of man and woman creatures gathered to see Pope Benedict during his return trip to Germany in 2011.

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