Was Adam a real historical person? And if so, who was he and when did he live?
William Lane Craig sets out to answer these questions through a biblical and scientific investigation. He begins with an inquiry into the genre of Genesis 1–11, determining that it can most plausibly be classified as mytho-history—a narrative with both literary and historical value. He then moves into the New Testament, where he examines references to Adam in the words of Jesus and the writings of Paul, ultimately concluding that the entire Bible considers Adam the historical progenitor of the human race—a position that must therefore be accepted as a premise for Christians who take seriously the inspired truth of Scripture.
Working from that foundation of biblical truth, Craig embarks upon an interdisciplinary survey of scientific evidence to determine where Adam could be most plausibly located in the evolutionary history of humankind, ultimately determining that Adam lived between 750,000 and 1,000,000 years ago as a member of the archaic human species Homo heidelbergensis. He concludes by reflecting theologically on his findings and asking what all this might mean for us as human beings created in the image of God, literally descended from a common ancestor—albeit one who lived in the remote past.
Table of Contents
Part One: The Importance of the Historical Adam 1. What Is at Stake Part Two: Biblical Data Concerning the Historical Adam 2. The Nature of Myth 3. Are the Primaeval Narratives of Genesis 1–11 Myth? (Part 1) 4. Are the Primaeval Narratives of Genesis 1–11 Myth? (Part 2) 5. Is Genesis 1–11 Mytho-History? 6. Are Myths Believed to Be True? 7. Adam in the New Testament Part Three: Scientific Evidence and the Historical Adam 8. Scientific and Philosophical Preliminaries 9. The Evidence of Palaeoneurology 10. The Evidence of Archaeology (Part 1) 11. The Evidence of Archaeology (Part 2) 12. Locating the Historical Adam Part Four: Reflections on the Historical Adam 13. Putting It All Together
William Lane Craig is professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University and a visiting scholar at Talbot School of Theology. He has authored or edited over forty books-including Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics and On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision-as well as nearly two hundred articles in professional publications of philosophy and theology. In 2016 he was named by The Best Schools one of the fifty most influential living philosophers.
“This volume covers an amazing amount of territory in both biblical and scientific studies relevant to the question of the historical Adam and Eve. The author’s wide reading, amazing erudition, and carefully articulated judgment shine through. One does not need to agree with every point the author makes, every step in his argument, or his conclusions to gain a great deal from reading this volume. He faces the issues squarely, explains them clearly, and carries the reader along with him well. Those who seek to contribute to this discussion going forward must pay careful attention to what this highly accomplished scholar has set forth so well in this book.” — Richard E. Averbeck professor of Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“This book truly is a ‘quest,’ an intellectual journey, beginning with Scripture and ending in a meaningful exchange with science. Craig’s quest brings him into an ancient and growing conversation about human origins, a storied exchange between many theologians, philosophers, and scientists. In this conversation, many fear that it is only by compromising our core commitments that space is made for evolutionary science. This book demonstrates, to the contrary, an account of human origins that makes space for evolution without capitulating to a science-only view of the world. Craig shows not only us that constructive dialogue between theology and science is possible, but also that theological questions can sharpen our understanding of science. The scientific content in this book will be surprising to many, but it is sound, even as it gives a much-needed pushback on overreach by evolutionary creationists. We find that many scientists misunderstood, and even overstated, the scientific evidence against Adam and Eve, ancestors of us all. Craig’s explanation of how genetic evidence does, and does not, delimit human origins is true to our current scientific understanding. In so clearly making this scientific corrective, this book promises to be a landmark, a gift to the church, with reverberating significance to the conversation. His telling of the science makes space for many ways of understanding everything together, so the conversation should not end here. May we together be drawn deeper into the mystery, enticed to explore with one another what science is discovering about when and how ‘humanness’ arises in our past. Could sacred and natural history entwine, telling us something important about who we are and what it means to be human?” — S. Joshua Swamidass associate professor of laboratory and genomic medicine at Washington University in St. Louis
“This is a book for those who want to pursue the truth. Here William Lane Craig combines thorough research and judicious weighing of the arguments to show that the biblical picture of human origins, rightly understood, can match very well with the best results of the sciences—again, rightly understood. He holds all of these disparate disciplines accountable to the requirements of sound reasoning. Craig’s honesty and bracingly relentless logic make it a pleasure to follow his detailed discussions and allow us to feel the attraction of his proposed location of Adam and Eve. He challenges and equips us to engage these issues at his own high and responsible level, for which I thank him.” — C. John Collins professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary
“There has been a great deal of recent scholarly debate and discussion concerning the historicity of Adam and Eve. However, few treatments of the subject are able to bring together biblical, theological, philosophical, and scientific perspectives simultaneously. In this volume, Dr. Craig does just that—weaving these threads together in ways that respect orthodox Christian doctrine and incorporate our best current understanding of the origins of our species. All Christian scholars wrestling with this topic will benefit from Craig’s deep and learned treatment.” — Michael J. Murray senior visiting scholar of philosophy at Franklin and Marshall College
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