Increasingly, it seems, theologians who have identified themselves as evangelicals question the historicity of Adam or the need for believing that Adam existed. Jeremy Walker recently considered how the trajectory of rejecting an historical Adam would work out in our theology. Part of his argument relates directly to my next book, Bound Together. The focus of Bound Together is that we are not isolated individuals. Rather, we are bound together in corporate solidarity with others. The ultimate negative example of corporate solidarity is the doctrine of original sin which teaches that Adam’s sin was imputed to all his descendants as was a corrupt nature.
In terms of the consequence of giving up a belief in the historical Adam, what he calls, “losing Adam,” Walker writes:
Losing Adam means losing hope, for my solidarity with Adam as a man condemned finds its Scriptural counterpart in my solidarity with Christ, the last Adam, as a man redeemed. Adam is “a type of him who was to come” (Rom 5.14) – all the God-ordained parallels and constructs out of which my salvation finds its form and substance are lost if an historical Adam is lost. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive,” wrote the apostle in 1 Corinthians 15.22. But if there is no Adam in relationship to whom I die, how can I be confident that my parallel relationship with the Christ secures my life? If there is no imputation of Adam’s sin, why should there be an imputation of Christ’s righteousness? I cannot have one without the other. Thomas Goodwin’s famous illustration illuminates the concern: if there are, in essence, and as far as God’s dealings with the world are concerned, only two men in the whole world, two giants upon one of whose belts every other individual is hooked, then what shall I do when one of those giants is suddenly taken out of the equation? All of a sudden the existence of the other, specifically in that relationship of soteriological solidarity, begins to look more than a little hazy. If the one is a mere fairy tale or cipher, what of the other?
Read the whole thing here.