Adam and Eve—Real Persons or Only Fiction?
SAY “Antony,” and many history students will quickly add: “and Cleopatra.” Say “Hansel” and opera buffs will reply: “and Gretel.” Say “Adam” and almost all of us would answer: “and Eve.”
But whereas Antony and Cleopatra were real persons, Hansel and Gretel were not. Now, what about Adam and Eve? What would you say—real persons or only fiction?
Simple, but Scientific
Admittedly, the Genesis account of Adam and Eve is very simple. It states that God created man’s body out of the elements of the earth and then proceeded “to blow into his nostrils the breath of life.” Later, with a part of man’s body as a basis, a woman was created, whom the man could appropriately describe as “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”—Genesis 2:7, 23.
Now, should the account’s simplicity prejudice us against it? If something adheres to facts it need not be complicated to be true. And many scientists say the Genesis claim that all humans had a single source, not several, is factual. (See box, opposite page, “Mankind’s Common Origin—Scientifically Confirmed.”)
Does Evolution Fit In?
Many people reject the Adam-and-Eve story because they feel that in evolution they have found a more convincing explanation of how human life came about.
Some of these people do not necessarily deny God’s existence. They may feel that it is quite possible to reconcile the Bible account with evolutionary beliefs.
For example, the Austrian Prager-Stemberger Bible commentary supports this view, saying: “Whether man appeared at the end of a certain evolutionary process and whether the first human being was just one or a group—to both questions the Genesis text gives no definite answer.” Some religious scholars, even “various Southern Baptist seminary professors,” agree according to a recent newsmagazine. They suggest that “Adam and Eve might be symbols for primordial mankind rather than the first human beings.” But why do some try to reconcile the Bible’s creation account with evolution?
This is perhaps due to the way many scientists present evolution—as an established fact. For example, N. V. Timofeeff-Ressovsky, Soviet scientist, claims: “Evolution’s existence . . . in the world around us no longer needs to be proved.”
Thus, faced with what is called the fact of evolution, the sincere Bible student seeks a reasonable explanation. ‘If Adam and Eve were not real individuals,’ he may reason, ‘but only fictional representations of early man, then the Bible’s claim that God originally created life could be reconciled with the scientific claim that man has evolved.’
It may sound reasonable, but is it true? Evolutionists, if honest, must concede that they have been unable to prove their theory, even though they are quite adamant about believing it. One of them, writing in the German magazine Natur, admits that “our explanations for evolution are inadequate. . . . For the time being evolution’s background . . . is still an unsolved riddle.” He quotes Adolf Portmann, a Swiss zoologist, who acknowledges that his lifetime of research has failed to turn up any real explanations.
However, many sincere persons have found that the Bible offers explanations. They have found it to be consistently correct and reliable. This helps us to understand why many sincere Bible students refuse to reinterpret the Adam-and-Eve account so as to fit it in with the unproved theory of evolution.
The Matter of Logic
For the sake of argument, let us say that Adam and Eve were not real persons. How, then, would Bible references to them be understood? For some examples, see the box on page 17, “An Unavoidable Chain Reaction.”
A rejection of the Adam-and-Eve account in Genesis starts a chain reaction that ends up in almost total rejection of everything the Bible teaches. But rejecting the Bible leaves us with some rather puzzling questions, questions that only the Bible can satisfactorily answer. For example:
I. WHY DO PEOPLE DO BAD THINGS?
The Bible account about Adam and Eve says that they were given a threefold commission: to populate the earth; to cultivate and beautify it; to lovingly care for its animal population. (Genesis 1:28) Along with this commission, they were placed under one restriction. It was imposed as a test of their obedience to God, for obedience to his instructions would be absolutely necessary in order for them to carry out their duties successfully.
But Adam and Eve disobediently chose to do things their own way, ignoring God and his instructions. The result? Romans 5:12 explains: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” So, according to the Bible, the basic reason why people do bad things is inheritance—we have inherited sinful, wrong tendencies from our first parents, Adam and Eve.
Now, if we do not accept the Bible account of Adam and Eve as factual, then how do we satisfactorily explain why people, despite the fact that they may want peace and happiness, continue to do bad things?
II. WHY DO PEOPLE GET SICK AND EVENTUALLY DIE?
Does science have the answer? In commenting on the findings of science one reporter admitted that Tübingen professor Friedhelm Schneider has established that “nothing supports [the view] that death is tied to the concept of life as a physical necessity.”
However, the Bible explains that Adam and Eve’s rebellious course resulted in their losing God’s favor and the opportunity of living forever in an earthly paradise. The perfect bodies that God had given them began to deteriorate, finally to the point of death. Now prone to sickness and death, they could only bring forth children similarly handicapped. “Who can produce someone clean out of someone unclean?” Job once asked and then went on to answer: “There is not one.” (Job 14:4) As each generation gets farther away from mankind’s perfect start, imperfections increase.
If we do not accept the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve, then how do we explain why, despite technological and scientific progress, man continues to get sick and die?
III. WHY HAS GOD PERMITTED WICKEDNESS FOR SO LONG?
In effect Adam and Eve rejected God-rule for man-rule. To what did this lead? Some 3,000 years later King Solomon explained at Ecclesiastes 8:6-9: “The calamity of mankind is abundant upon them . . . during the time that man has dominated man to his injury.”
German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt backed up the truthfulness of those words in a television interview in June of 1981 when he said: “We humans . . . have always only partially governed the world, and most of the time very badly. . . . We have never governed it in total peace.”
By permitting man to rule himself for 6,000 years, God has allowed time for it to be demonstrated that man is unable “to direct his step”; God-rule is to be preferred. (Jeremiah 10:23) Thus, God stands vindicated. So it is quite apparent that Adam and Eve made a disastrous choice.
But without the Genesis account of Adam and Eve, what reasonable explanation is there for why God has permitted wickedness for so long?
IV. IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?
Yes, there is hope. Immediately after Adam and Eve rebelled, God promised that not all was lost. He foretold a “seed” who would eventually restore righteous conditions and do away with badness. (See Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20; Revelation 12:7-12; 20:1-3.) This “seed” turned out to be Jesus Christ, who ransomed mankind and prepared the way for restoring God-rule for the benefit of obedient people. When will this happen?
Bible chronology and world conditions indicate that God will act shortly. His established kingdom, which Jehovah’s Witnesses are busily preaching as mankind’s only hope, will restore to obedient mankind the prospects of everlasting life in the perfect state originally enjoyed by Adam and Eve. If we reject what the Bible says about Adam and Eve, then, in the face of worsening world conditions, what hope for the future would we have?
This message about God’s incoming world government and the blessings it will bring is not a fictitious Hansel and Gretel story. Future history will bear witness to it as surely as past history does to the existence of Antony and Cleopatra. Yes, it will be just as real as were Adam and Eve! Why not contact Jehovah’s Witnesses and find out more about it?
[Blurb on page 14]
Evolutionists, if honest, must concede that they have been unable to prove their theory
[Box on page 15]
MANKIND’S COMMON ORIGIN—SCIENTIFICALLY CONFIRMED
● “The anatomy of persons of all races is the same; they all have the same protein structure and all the same ancestors.”—Anthropologist Dr. Georg Glowatzki.
● “All the peoples of the earth are a single family and have a common origin.”—The Races of Mankind, by Anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish.
● “All of us, if we went back far enough, hundreds of generations, would arrive at the same place . . . the evidence of science [is] that present men derive from a common stock.”—Publication by the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the United Nations.
● “All varieties of man belong to the same species and have the same remote ancestry. This is a conclusion to which all the relevant evidence of comparative anatomy, paleontology, serology, and genetics, points. On genetic grounds alone it is virtually impossible to conceive of the varieties of man as having originated separately.”—Anthropologist M. F. Ashley Montagu.
● “Science now corroborates what most great religions have long been preaching: Human beings of all races are . . . descended from the same first man.”—Science writer Amram Scheinfeld.
[Box on page 17]
AN UNAVOIDABLE CHAIN REACTION
NOW REASON ON WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS
● “[Jesus] said: ‘Did you not read [at Genesis 1:27; 2:24] that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife”?’”—Matthew 19:4, 5.
Jesus Christ is widely recognized as one who held to the highest standards of honesty and morality. If the Genesis account about Adam and Eve is only allegorical, would Jesus have quoted it as actual fact? Hardly!
● “Jesus . . . being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph, son of Heli, son of Matthat, . . . son of David, son of Jesse, . . . son of Abraham, . . . son of Shem, son of Noah, . . . son of Adam, son of God.”—Luke 3:23-38.
Where does Luke’s listing of Jesus’ ancestors change over from a mythical person to a real person? Who is the first real man on the list, if not Adam?
If Adam was “primordial mankind,” should not the apostle Paul have spoken of “several men” instead of “one man”? And if Adam is fictional, what about Moses? No one doubts that he existed.
● “The seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding [the wicked].”—Jude 14.
If Adam was not a real individual, what about Enoch? And if Enoch was a real person, how could he have been the seventh in line from a fictitious Adam?
IS IT NOT APPARENT THAT, AS REFERRED TO IN THE BIBLE, ADAM AND EVE WERE REAL PERSONS?
[Picture on page 16]
By allowing humans to rule themselves for about 6,000 years, it has been demonstrated that man is unable “to direct his step”
[Picture on page 18]
Under God’s kingdom, mankind will have the prospect of enjoying everlasting life on a paradise earth