Monday 1 August 2016

The Historic Adam: Holding Fast to Basic Truths

I can no longer assume that Christians hold to the most basic Christian doctrines. A friend and I were discussing the matters of Creation and the historic understanding of Adam, last Lord's Day evening. As we fellowshipped together I mentioned to him about the defective views of the late Rev John Stott on these matters. Stott is revered to be one of the greatest Anglican theologians of recent decades, however his views on Creation and Adam are to be rejected. Now many people will be aware that Stott promotes an intellectually credible view, but it is one that seeks to mix a confused idea of Creation with evolution.

Where does Stott teach these things? It is in his commentary of all places on the Book of Romans and on the fifth chapter of Romans where Paul the apostle teaches that there are only two heads of the human race: Adam or the Lord Jesus Christ. However, Stott takes the opportunity in commenting on this chapter to digress and to promote his flawed views on Adam. What does he say?
These are excerpts from John Stott "The Message of Romans", IVP, 1994, pp 162-166.

1. He makes an unwarranted statement on the historicity and death of Adam: "The narrative itself (Genesis chapters 1-2) warrants no dogmatism about the six days of creation, since its form and style suggest that it is meant as literary art, not scientific description" (p 163).

2. Without biblical warrant he then asserts that "the evidence of Genesis 2-4 is that Adam was a neolithic farmer" (p 163). He then extends his narrative to claim that the earth was filled with pre-adamic hominids (up to 2 million years before Adam) who became Adam's contemporaries (p 164).

Now once the biblical narrative is rejected, which Stott does, in a way that can only be described as Liberalism; to assert that these chapters of Genesis are "literary art", then flawed logic has to be used to counter-act the biblical narrative.

3. Almost unbelievably, Stott suggests: "Adam, then, was a special creation of God, whether God formed him literally 'from the dust of the ground' ... or whether this is a biblical way of saying that he was created out of an already existing hominid" (p 164). What literary fantasy, one without any biblical warrant! But wait for it, it gets worse.

4. He claims that death already pre-existed Adam in "the cycle of blossom, fruit, seed, death and new life was established in the created order" (p 165). He asserts that animal death existed too. Therefore Adam's fall was: "Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate waits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal" (pp 165-166).

For a pastor-theologian which Stott was, his false interpretation of Genesis 1-3, Creation, Adam and the Fall is shocking in my opinion. However, it means that followers of Stott may well have bought into this narrative and we should ask people plainly: What is your view of Creation, the length of days, the historicity of Adam and the Fall? In the case of John Stott he denies the day length and ends up with a false account of the origins of all things. He exalts the supposed evidence of The Natural History Museum in London, above the Bible.

Here is the plain historic account, not one of literary art, but of the unfolding events as historically recorded in Genesis chapters 1-5.

Genesis 2:1-3 "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation".

Genesis 2:16-17 "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”.

Genesis 5:1-5 "This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died".

Let us hold fast to the truth, refute error and do not assume that God's people hold to an orthodox view of Creation, Adam and the fall. John Stott did not. May our Lord's grace uphold us in the face of virulent unbelief, atheism and liberal currents.

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