The author of this article explores the theological role that the figure of Adam plays in supporting creationist theorists, and by extension Christians in their proposition that the universe’s origin is attributed to a divine source. He notes that science in particular, poses the greatest danger to the survival of Christian doctrines, by formulating an alternative theory to explain the origin of life and the universe at large. Singling out American intellectualism in scientific discourses such as the theory of natural selection, natural law theory, cosmological and biological evolution, John Shea argues that “America has offered to the theological debate about the origin of life a misleading montage of heresy and highly speculative scientific hypotheses.”
The claim on natural law as the pace-setter in the ordering of the cosmos rejects the church’s teaching that everything descended from the work of God. However, the unique design of the first man, Adam, contradicts the character of natural law, which is both random and unpredictable. In this regard, the figure of Adam within Christianity points to an organized intelligent Designer of man, if not the whole universe, which is reflected in the orderliness and conscious intelligent of man. The theory of natural selection provides a similar argument as natural law theory, by promoting the perspective that natural forces control and regulate the earth’s composition, by selectively determining desirable species that survive to give rise to future generations. Observable evidence in the variations among species to fit into their natural environment point to a process of natural selection, suggesting that science could be right . Nonetheless, it is the figure of Adam that refutes this argument, since he presents the exact nature in which man is said to have been originally created by God, the same nature in which he exists today. What this fact asserts, as John Shea observes, is the inability of evolutionary theory to account for the unchanged state of man since creation, thereby revealing its heresy.
Adam’s significance in explaining the origin of sin comes into play to dispute the evolutionary trend that sin reflects man’s animal nature, i.e. the tendency to behave savagery is a manifestation of hereditary genes from a common ancestor to all living things. Darwinism identifies violence, aggression and other expressive feelings as the common trait that we all inherited from ‘Grandfather Baboon.’ The fall of Adam, however, portrays the true nature of man as a being with a free will, with an inherent capacity to distinguish between right and wrong. Man’s autonomy in this regard, nonetheless, is exploited by evolutionists and natural theory proponents to account for the universe’s independence from the control of a divine being. They contend that since man has a free will, he is not subject to any higher powers, and therefore implies that he did not originate from any divine source, but by the same natural laws that forced God to allow evil and let the universe evolve by its own rules. Regardless, the redemption of the fallen Adam by grace through the death of Christ suggests that man is a beneficiary of divine benevolence, and as such, he is not absolutely autonomous, nor a product of the forces of natural law as claimed by science. Adam’s original sin, i.e. his desire to eat from the tree of knowledge, provides evidence that neither natural selection nor natural law could, by means of a Big-Bang-like accident, account for man’s intelligence, but rather points to a programmer of his nature, inevitably a divine God.
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