The Evolution of Adam | Peter Enns

For Christians, the nineteenth century was rough.

With these words, Peter Enns launches into a work that not only explains why Christianity was roughed up in the modern era but provides positive steps forward. It turns out Christianity deserved a lot of the treatment it received—and it’s not too late to change.

This book explains how it’s intellectually viable as well as biblically faithful to believe both evolution and the divine inspiration of scripture. To take things one step further, it’s unfaithful to the Bible to use it as a hammer in 21st century scientific arguments.

I appreciate Enns’ tone. He respects both sides in this conflict he’s trying to reconcile. His respect for the particular issues facing evangelicals is evident in the way he structured the book. The first half discusses Genesis and the reconciliation of Genesis with science. The second half takes seriously Paul’s arguments that use Adam as an historical figure. You will even get a primer in the new perspective on Paul.

The most eye-opening part of this book for me was Enns’ description of Adam as proto-Israel rather than proto-humanity. If you understand the time frame the Pentateuch was finished, this reading makes perfect sense. It also offers many fruitful areas for further contemplation such as the Orthodox understanding of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

One last comment. Enns is very good at making difficult concepts understandable. If you’re interested in a new approach to the old bible/evolution wars that ravage our congregations, give this book a read.


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  1. The Weekly Hit List: June 1, 2012 - June 1, 2012

    […] The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns was reviewed on Stephen Barkley’s blog. […]

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