Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? by C. John Collins
Collins, C. John. Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? Who They Were and Why You Should Care. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011. 192 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Westminster for less.
Dr. C. John Collins is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. His research is in Greek and Hebrew grammar, science and faith, and biblical theology (different from systematic theology). He has written a couple other books that are worth your time. They can be found here.
Dr. Collins has organized this work in a fairly straight-forward manner. Divided into six sections with a couple appendices, he delves into a most critical and necessary discussion that is fraught with emotion on both sides of the conversation. He first introduces the subject before entering into a discussion of worldview from historical, mythological, and biblical perspectives.
The third section looks at the many particular texts that speak of Adam and Eve. Texts found in Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament, the four Gospels, the writings of Paul, and the general epistles. He also looks at what historians and theologians call Second Temple Jewish Literature. That is, literature from outside the Bible.
Next, in section four, he offers a discourse on the uniqueness and dignity of humankind versus all other “animals.” Section five may be the most controversial as it is here that he looks at whether or not science can actually help us “pinpoint ‘Adam and Eve.’” In his concluding section, he states why he believes it matters what we believe about Adam and Eve and how this should impact our worldview.
To be honest, I was not sure what I was getting into in reading this work. I am fairly conservative in my understanding of Genesis 1-11 and therefore very conservative in my understanding of Adam and Eve. I was prepared to get argumentative with the text and, by extension, the author. To my surprise, I did not. Not so much because I agreed with his conclusions, but because Dr. Collins allowed the Bible to speak plainly for itself. He logically showed the importance and the repercussions of one’s beliefs concerning Adam and Eve.
He is clear and concise and lacks the emotional rhetoric that many use when having this discussion. His humility in handling the subject is notable though his convictions are plain to see. Furthermore, he helps to show the reader why it is important that they know what they believe and to do so with conviction and consistency. In essence, think critically about what you believe.
I greatly enjoyed reading this work. It is not for just the theologian, but for every Christian who has questions concerning Adam and Eve. I highly recommend this book to all believers. After all, it is extremely important that you know why you believe what you believe.