One of the big issues for many is that the acceptance of an evolutionary process removes the possibility of a historical Adam. The biggest challenge in the minds of some is that Paul refers to Adam in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 as if he was a historical figure. They conclude that if Paul thought that Adam was a real person so should we.
Jame McGrath has posted today a link to a short video and essay by Tremper Longman, Professor of Old Testament at Claremont College. Longman states that:
The description of how Adam was created is certainly figurative. The question is open as to whether there was an actual person named Adam who was the first human being or not. Perhaps there was a first man, Adam, and a first woman, Eve, designated as such by God at the right time in his development of human beings. Or perhaps Adam, whose name after all means “Human,” is himself figurative of humanity in general. I have not resolved this issue in my own mind except to say that there is nothing that insists on a literal understanding of Adam in a passage so filled with obvious figurative description. The New Testament’s use of Adam (Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) does not resolve the issue as some suggest because it is possible, even natural, to make an analogy between a literary figure and a historical one.
Longman is a well-respected Evangelical scholar, so his speaking out like this is significant. I will admit that I am not committed to the belief in a literal Adam. I think there is something more significant theologically going on in Genesis than an attempt to give us a blow-by-blow account of how the world was created. I also don't know enough about evolution to dismiss it. But, like much in life, I am not sure we need to have an either/or attitude. The Bible was not written as a science and history book. Science is not interested in theology.
What do you think? Does it matter if there was a historical Adam and Eve?