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The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins Paperback – January 1, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Can Christianity and Evolution Coexist?
"This is a bold, honest, and direct approach to the questions of origins and the interpretation of the Bible. Pete has battle scars from the journey to his conclusions in The Evolution of Adam, but those battles have made him increasingly sensitive to the plight of the church's struggle with science and the Bible. Here is a theologically alert, pastorally sound, and exegetically informed book that will lead us onward."
--Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary
"The question of the historical Adam is an urgent issue in biblical interpretation and theology today. Recent developments in biology have indicated with impressive evidence that humanity does not go back to a single human couple. Does that mean that the Bible is wrong or that science is wrong? Or perhaps, as Peter Enns argues, we have been misreading the Bible. While not everyone, including myself, agrees with everything that Enns suggests, his book is an important contribution to the discussion concerning Genesis 1-2 and science."
--Tremper Longman III, Westmont College
"The Evolution of Adam not only reflects the evolution of evangelical understandings of Adam, but it also contributes to new perspectives on Paul and the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one concerned with the beauty, glory, and truth of the good news in a scientific world will want to miss out on this landmark book!"
--Amos Yong, Fuller Theological Seminary
"The Evolution of Adam provides a sure-footed and engaging look at what the Bible says--and does not say--about the first man. Peter Enns, one of America's most important Old Testament scholars, provides a masterful and accessible survey of the relevant biblical scholarship from the past couple of centuries. Enns combines a deep appreciation of the Christian tradition with a courageous willingness to go where most evangelicals fear to tread. I highly recommend this book."
--Karl Giberson, author of Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution
About the Author
Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard University) is the Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He was formerly senior fellow of biblical studies for the BioLogos Foundation, an organization that explores the integration of science and Christian faith, where he wrote a regular column for their Science and the Sacred blog. He has taught at several schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Temple University, and Westminster Theological Seminary. Enns has authored or edited numerous books, including Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament.
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"The Evolution of Adam" is broken up into two major parts with each part broken up into several more detailed subsets: 1) Genesis: An Ancient Story of Israelite Self-definition; 2) Understanding Paul's Adam. It is from these two parts where Enns believes he can establish an understanding about the Genesis story, Adam, and where evolution could fit into the story.
Using textual criticism, Enns makes numerous conclusions based on both biblical and extra-biblical resources. Here are just a few that I have observed: 1) The Genesis account is NOT a book about origins, but a wisdom book about Israel's identity as a chosen people. Never did the Jewish people claim or believe Genesis was about the origins of the world and humanity. 2) Enns also surmises that Genesis was likely written post-exilic by the prophet Ezra at a time when Israel had lost its identity in Babylonian captivity and were seeking a renewed national identity that had been lost. 3) The Genesis creation story closely resembles numerous other creation stories of Israel's neighboring cultures (i.e. Atrahasis, Enuma Elish, Gilgamesh). 4) That Adam was a proto-type of Israel (i.e. loved by God, disobeys Gods command, and suffers the consequences, exiled from the garden/Babylon). 5) That Paul's Adam was explained in the context of 1st century Judaism and was using Adam as a mere metaphor and example of spiritual death for both Jews and gentile alike. 6) Adam could have possibly been the first homo-sapien that became aware of his spiritual nature, but hominids could have existed prior to Adam. 7) Nowhere in the Old Testament and Jewish history was Adam known to be the conduit for which sin became an inherited nature passed on to all of mankind.
Where I think this book is lacking is where evolution comes into play. Enns spends most of his time breaking down and dissecting the creation story, but spends very little time building up the evolution process and how it fits in. Nevertheless, we cannot dismiss the science of evolution at the expense of taking the creation/Adam account literally. There is wiggle room in these two ideologies to allow for both God's divine creation and scientific evolution.
Great book. Must be read with an open mind. If you hold firmly to creationism and believe it to be the ONLY way, then this book is likely not for you. But, if you are open to the possibility that Genesis is not a scientific book about human origins, then you may find this to be quite good. Enns speaks in such a way that this book is not too academic and easy enough for the average layman to understand. it is highly recommended.
I've read several of Enns' books and this was by far my favorite. It was a tremendous help in reconciling my belief in evolution with my Christian faith.
Now, with the skill and depth of knowledge afforded a world-renowned Bible scholar, Dr. Peter Enns has courageously and convincingly explained why we need not understand the Bible's creation stories to be a literal history of events for them to be valid and important. Indeed, the creation stories, along with the entire book of Genesis, establish the foundation for all that follows in the Bible. Dr. Enns provides a detailed account of the historical context within which these essential Scriptures were recorded and how they, through the work of the Apostle Paul, affect the very foundational principles of Christianity.
For anyone wishing to better understand the history, the literary character, and ultimately the relevance of Biblical Scripture to Christianity and to the entire world, Dr. Peter Enns' The Evolution of Adam is a must read.
--author of Exploring Faith and Reason: The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution
If you're looking for a more well rounded understanding of the issues around evolution and christianity this is worth the read. It is not meant to be an objective piece between creationism or evolution. It assumes evolution to be accurate. I believe a lot of Christians hold their faith, and evolution. This book will help you start bringing those parts of yourself and belief together.
Most recent customer reviews
You will never read Genesis one and two the same way again -- a truly wonderful paradigm shift.