Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Review: Ardel B. Caneday & Matthew Barrett - Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) 18:17 reads, "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him."(ESV)

This scripture has become a motto for me in connection with my theological studies. From the earliest time in my Christian life, I have "tried" to consider the other side, if for no other reason than to be able to give an answer for my own beliefs. I put "tried" in quotes because I understand that it is impossible to be totally unbiased. The desire to see more than one view of a subject is why I look forward to every new book in the Counterpoints series. Each book in the series takes a theological subject and debates the various views.

It is always good to see both sides of a story before making a decision. In this case there are four sides to the story.

Each contributor gives his reason for his belief for or against the historical Adam.

Was there a real person we call Adam?
Was he the first human?
Did sin originate with him?

I felt this would be a great subject. I was a little disappointed that a majority of the debate concerned evolution. I understand that evolution has to be discussed, but it seemed to take center stage. Even though the book was interesting and well written, I felt there could have been much more exegesis of the text.

Even though the book kept my interest all the way through, to be honest, some contributors were much better than others. I think the pastoral reflection by Philip G. Ryken at the end was worth the price of admission. If all contributors wrote with such passion I would have given the book 5 stars.

Personally I think rejecting the historical Adam seems to ride very close to the edge of heresy. I am not questioning the salvation of such men. I believe Jesus died for sin which includes our intellectual mistakes. When Jesus himself believed Adam was real, those who believe he is not seem to be saying that the sinless Christ made a mistake.

All-in-all I enjoyed the book and learned a lot. While technical in some places, it was still fairly simple to follow. I personally would suggest reading Ryken's reflection first!

I recommend this book with a few reservations and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Zondervan and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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