That’s what some theological conservatives are saying these days and it’s pissing off Al Mohler. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve spoken about him before. Mohler is president of Southern Baptist Seminary and has weighed in on subjects as varied as yoga, homosexuality and the authority of scripture. That authority thing is a big deal to him, because I’ve seen it come up time and again in his writing. It plays a significant role in the Adam and Eve controversy, too. You see, Al believes the Bible is inerrant, that it’s completely accurate and totally free from error. To someone like that, saying that Adam and Eve didn’t actually exist calls into question everything they believe. Which is why Al’s panties are in such a twist over this idea. According to him,
“The implications for biblical authority are clear, as is the fact that if these arguments hold sway, we will have to come up with an entirely new understanding of the Gospel metanarrative and the Bible’s storyline.
The denial of an historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the Gospel.
If we do not know how the story of the Gospel begins, then we do not know what that story means. Make no mistake: a false start to the story produces a false grasp of the Gospel.”
Mohler (and others) have built their entire faith on biblical inerrancy and when it gets called into question, they freak. For these folks, if any part of the Bible isn’t true, then none of it is. Basically, they’ve painted themselves into a corner and, rather than admit it and work out a compromise, they try to fight their way out. Doesn’t work, though; the floor looks like shit and you’re still stuck in the damn corner.
Right about now, you might be thinking “Okay, smart ass, how should I view Adam and Eve, the creation and the Fall?” How about as myth? If you’re having a problem with that, read what Chad Holtz has to say on the subject,
“Myth means something that points to a truth deeper and wider than even facts could convey. It is a story meant to open up a new world pointing to something that is True as opposed to just bearing some truthiness (cheers, Colbert).”
Look, we all know the world is changing and part of that change is facing the fact that things we used to believe about our faith may not be true, accurate or, especially, right. Science has pretty clearly shown that the earth was not created 8000 years ago, that it wasn’t done in six 24 hour days, that we didn’t descended from a common pair of ancestors and that this dreadful human condition that causes to do the opposite of what our Father wishes didn’t result from eating some bad fruit. None of that, however, compromises the beauty, the splendor and the heart-breaking grace that is the Gospel. According to Mohler, denying the historical existence of Adam and Eve somehow calls into question the need for a savior. I’m not sure how or why that would be, 5 minutes watching any news program on the friggin’ planet can show you we need a savior. Fortunately for us we got one about 2000 years ago and He doesn’t really care whether we think there was a historical Adam or not. He’s just content to love us, no matter what we believe.