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Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: Who They Were and Why You Should Care Paperback – May 4, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Dr. Collins has presented a careful defense of the existence of the historical Adam and Eve. This methodologically rigorous study reflects a critical awareness of contemporary discussions on both biblical and extra-biblical literature and further contributes to the wider discussion on science and religion. Perhaps more importantly, he has successfully demonstrated the theological significance of this traditional reading, all the while using language that an informed layperson can digest and engage. This work deserves to be widely circulated.”
David W. Pao, Chair of the New Testament Department, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Working through questions of myth and history, Bible and science, harmonization and complementarity, Collins brings fresh arguments to stimulate wide-ranging thought and improved appreciation of the way the first chapters of the Bible affect the whole.”
Alan Millard, Emeritus Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages, The University of Liverpool

“I could hardly imagine a more honest book on this controversial topic. Its openness (in a user-friendly format) is no naivety—it is combined with undeniable competence on the ancient Near East, recent literature, and methodological discussions. Standing firm on vital issues, accepting diversity on others, the reader meets in C. John Collins a sensitive and godly guide.”
Henri A. Blocher, formerly Gunther Knoedler Professor of Systematic Theology, Wheaton College Graduate School

“Few scholars are better equipped than Professor C. John Collins to provide a well-informed, up-to-date assessment of what may and may not be known about Adam and Eve. With clarity, Collins offers a balanced discussion of the relationship between Genesis 2–3 and current theories on the origins of the human race. Recognizing the limitations of human knowledge, he highlights the vital contribution made by the Genesis account for understanding the human predicament. Marked by both erudition and sanity, here is a book worth reading.”
T. Desmond Alexander, Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Union Theological College, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK  

“In a sense, the way one reads the first few chapters of Genesis will determine his or her way of reading the whole Bible. Dr. Collins has expounded in a lucid manner how the original narrator intended this vital part of the Bible to be read. Cogency combines with erudition to make this book worthy of appreciation by those who do not espouse his general stance, as well as by readers who may be unaware of their own premises.”
Nobuyoshi Kiuchi, Professor of Old Testament, Tokyo Christian University

“This book will boost your confidence in the Bible, especially in its capacity to address a common experience of all peoples. By treating the Bible as Scripture, Collins has modeled for us how Christians should approach the faith-science questions. The Bible has answers to the human predicaments and needs. Only if what it says is true can we truly make sense and move forward in this sinful world. The real payoff of this book goes beyond the unequivocal biblical witness of Adam and Eve’s historical existence. For it is the human dignity based on our common ancestry and a shared perception of sensing the abnormality of this world that open a way for the redemption and restoration of all peoples through the real life and works of the second Adam.”
Natee Tanchanpongs, Academic Dean, Bangkok Bible Seminary

“I commend this book merely for the courage of taking the adventure in addressing this debated issue biblically and scientifically. Even if the reader does not fully agree with Collins’s conclusions he/she is compelled to listen carefully to his arguments.”
Riad A. Kassis, Regional Director, Overseas Council for Middle East, North Africa, and Central Europe; adjunct professor of Old Testament, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Lebanon

“It is not often that a book in this controversial field of human origins takes seriously both the Bible (in terms of textual exegesis, literary form, and theological coherence) and science (in terms of its findings and its theoretical possibilities). Jack Collins does both with graciously applied scholarship, conviction, and humility, making very clear where biblical faithfulness requires us to be uncompromisingly affirmative, and where there is room for varying opinion over possible scenarios that could be consistent with such biblical conviction.”
Christopher J. H. Wright, International Director, Langham Partnership International; author, The Mission of God

About the Author

C. John Collins (PhD, University of Liverpool) is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis, Missouri. With degrees from MIT and Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, he pursues such research interests as Hebrew and Greek grammar, science and faith, and biblical theology. He is the author of The God of MiraclesDid Adam and Eve Really Exist?, and Science and Faith.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 4.4.2011 edition (May 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433524252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433524257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wish I could shake C. John Collins's hand. It has been a long time since I last read something as lucid, even-handed, and gracious as his latest book, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: Who They Were and Why You Should Care. Right off the bat, I have to say that the book's simple title betrays it's scholarly depth. Collins's does not pull any punches in carefully examining a variety of facets related to the historicity of Adam and Eve. However, despite the its depth, the simple title correctly portrays the book as accessible and engaging, which is perhaps its greatest strength. Collins does a fine job of distilling difficult concepts into their most basic form, succinctly summarizing complex issues without losing the required nuance. This is a book that every Christian can and should read.

However, for many Christians, discussions related to the origins of man are uncomfortable, to say the least. For some, the near-constant bombardment of "naturalistic" propaganda from the scientific establishment is enough to make them cower in shame, content to hold fast to their "traditional" understanding of human origins while intentionally cultivating a functional ignorance related to modern science's "findings," in fear that such "findings" might prove a death blow to their cherished beliefs (I've been there).

Some Christians lean too far in the other direction, abandoning the biblical text in favor of more recent scientific theories. They view Genesis as an old book full of old myths that do little more than provide us with an interesting (yet unhistorical) back-story to the Jewish people.

Finally, there are some Christians who see modern science as generally in conflict with the biblical witness.
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This is a well-written and informative book, although it does not answer the question, which probably won't ever be answered this side of Heaven. Collins basically presents 120 pages of helpful and insightful explanatory material, leading up to nine pages which describe six existent scenarios for preserving the historicity of Adam and Eve, which are:

1. Adam and Eve as fresh, de novo creations, with no animal forebears.
2. Adam and Eve as the first members of the genus Homo, approximately two millions year ago.
3. Adam and Eve as historical individuals--the first human beings--originating by God's miraculous intervention approximately 70,000 to 50,000 years ago.
4. Adam as a specially created Neolithic farmer (c. 10,000 B.C.), the first homo divinus.
5. Adam and Eve as a couple of Neolithic farmers to whom God chose to reveal himself in a special way.
6. An unknown number of creatures that God perfected from the animal form, which became the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself, and which were given a new kind of consciousness which knew God, and subsequently fell.

His discussion includes a critique of Denis Alexander's Models as described in Alexander's book "Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose?" He concludes by stating, "I admit that these scenarios leave us with many uncertainties, but these uncertainties in no way undermine our right to hold fast to the Biblical story line with full confidence. In fact, this holding fast actually helps to think well about the scientific questions."

This book is for the most part an expansion of his article "Adam and Eve as Historical People, and Why it Matters," published in the September 2010 issue of the American Scientific Association's journal Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. It includes three appendices, a bibliography, a general index, and a scripture index. It is a good introduction to the issue of the historicity of Adam.
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Format: Paperback
Since the publications of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species the reliability of the Bible has been under vicious attack namely in the area of origins. Questions began to develop under the assumption that Darwin's theory of evolution was correct. Is there really a God? How can we trust the Bible if it's account of the origin of everything is false? Since we know, according to Darwinian evolutionary theory, everything evolved from nothing and man was not the first thing that evolved, then how can we trust the Bibles account of mankind's origins?

This last question strikes at the heart of C. John Collins new book Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? Who They Were and Why You Should Care. The historicity of Adam and Eve as the first humans that God created and thus the first parents of every person who ever lived to date and beyond is the issue Collins addresses.

The fundamental issue Collins seeks to address in this regards is how literal did Moses (and God for that matter) intend for future readers to interpret his words concerning the origin of mankind? As simple as it may seem at first, the use of the word `literal' is often misunderstood. When used in context of interpreting the early chapters of Genesis, it can become down right confusing. Confusing, because with every interpretation one reads of the early chapters of Genesis, you will find that everyone believes their interpretation is the literal one. Everyone believes they interpret it as literally as it was intended to be.

Traditionally, the literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 that dominated the church for the first 1800 years was that the words were to be taken at face value.
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