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Was Adam Real or an Archetype?

Liberal theologians and theistic evolutionists attempt to say that Adam was not a literal person, but an archetype (or "protoplast"). The Bible does indeed use "type and shadow" imagery with real people (such as Joseph as a type of Christ), but that does not excuse saying that Adam was not real.


Some liberal theologians and theistic evolutionists say that Adam was not an actual person, but just an archetype. This compromising view has many serious problems.
Adam and Eve expelled from Eden / Paul Gustave Doré, 1866
Saying that Adam was not real is essentially saying that Jesus, Peter, Paul, and many others in the Bible were wrong or even lying. The motive behind this is to reject the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, and elevates man's opinion above God's Word. Some people compromise with evolutionary ideas without thinking it through, but it leads to further serious compromises all the way through the Bible.

There are some old Earth creationists as well as theistic evolutionists who falsely say that the Church Fathers rejected a literal Adam, or that the ancients did not understand science, so they told stories to make a point. That's chronological snobbery and not how it works, old son. While the Church Fathers did not write the canon, they were closer in time to the apostles, and what they had to say is worthy of consideration.
This paper explores teaching from the early church that relates to the nature and formation of Adam. This is in response to John Walton’s claim that Adam was just an archetype of humanity and not the first-formed man and ancestor of all. Instead of speaking of Adam as an archetype, the Apostle Paul and Church Fathers use the language of protoplast (the first-formed) to define Adam. Where archetype is used by early theologians it is in the context of Christ being the archetype for Adam and humanity as a whole. It can be seen then that those who believe that Adam and Eve were the first couple, and the ancestors of all humanity, are in line with the teaching of Scripture and the traditional understanding of the early church.
I know that Church Fathers and church history do not appeal to everyone, and this article is a bit on the long side. Nonetheless, I hope you'll invest some time in this interesting material. To read the rest, click on "Adam as the protoplast — views from the early church in response to the archetypal view". You may also want to see "Theistic Evolution: Old Heresy Rebooted".

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