Professor Tremper Longman (Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College, formerly at Westminster Theo. Sem.) gives room to read Genesis 1-2 from a perspective of a story but not necessarily as an historical account and order of creation. Tremper Longman says that “it’s something he hasn’t resolved in his own mind and that there are still open questions.” I’m glad.
This is bound to stir up some controversy amongst evangelicals and the blogosphere (HT: Nick Norelli, Justin Taylor, James Anderson). One of my two congregations just began a bible study on Genesis last evening beginning with Genesis 1-2 so this very timely.
Personally, I do not insist that Genesis 1-2 is necessarily an historical account of creation and of Adam but I do feel that Genesis chapters 3-50 are historical. Does Adam have to be an historical person for one to maintain one’s belief in the authority and inspiration of Holy Scripture? I don’t really think so. The biblical accounts in the Old and New Testaments may speak of Adam as an historical person but they may be speaking from a figurative and fictional point of view.
A literal six days of creation is scientifically impossible to prove but I do believe that with God, anything is possible. If God wanted to, he can create a human being in a matter of minutes. Some would lean toward the view that creation in Gen. 1-2 was created over a very long period of time (i.e., billions of years) through a gradual evolutionary process. Even this theory takes faith to believe.
And no, I did not insist in my bible study group that Adam was not an historical person. I didn’t want to stir up controversy. My denomination is already mired in enough controversy as is.