Volume 40 - Issue 2

Adam in Evangelical Theology

By Brian J. Tabb

“Adam seems today a figment of ancient imagination. His ghost still haunts the edifice of original sin, but the Augustinian structure is falling apart, crumbling, gone with the wind.”1

Over the past decade, evangelical theologians, biblical scholars, and scientists have hotly debated doctrines long assumed, such as the historicity of Adam and an originating sin in Genesis 2–3. This debate centers on how the findings of natural science and historical criticism impact our reading of the early chapters of Genesis and our resulting doctrinal convictions concerning creation, sin, and the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Many important books have been published on these issues in recent years, as well as several relevant articles in this journal.2

This issue of Themelios focuses fresh attention on Adam’s place in evangelical theology. Stephen Williams, a distinguished systematic theologian and former editor of Themelios, reviews Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives,3 followed by a response by Hans Madueme, one of the book’s editors who also serves as Systematic Theology and Bioethics Book Review editor for Themelios. Next, prominent OT scholar Richard Averbeck reviews The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2–3 and the Human Origins Debate,4 with a response from author John Walton. The final two articles reflect on the book of Job, with contributions from Daniel Estes (“Communicating the Book of Job in the Twenty-First Century”) and Eric Ortlund (“Five Truths for Sufferers from the Book of Job”).


Nathan Finn has faithfully served for five years as the History and Historical Theology Book Review Editor for Themelios. He has recently accepted a new position as dean of Union University’s School of Theology and Missions and thus is resigning from his editorial responsibilities with Themelios. We acknowledge his outstanding contribution to the journal and wish him well in his transition.

Succeeding him is Stephen Eccher, Assistant Professor of Church History and Reformation Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephen completed his PhD in 2011 at the University of St. Andrews with the thesis, “The Bernese Disputations of 1532 and 1538: A Historical and Theological Analysis.” He can be contacted at [email protected].

[1] Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves, “Introduction: Adam Under Seige,” in Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives, ed. Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014), vii.

[2] See for example Fred G. Zaspel, “B. B. Warfield on Creation and Evolution,” Them 35.2 (2010): 198–211; Hans Madueme, “Some Reflections on Enns and The Evolution of Adam: A Review Essay,” Them 37.2 (2012): 275–86; Robert W. Yarbrough, “Should Evangelicals Embrace Historical Criticism? The Hays-Ansberry Proposal,” Them 39.1 (2014): 37–52.

[3] Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves, eds., Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014).

[4] John H. Walton, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2–3 and the Human Origins Debate (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015).

Brian J. Tabb

Brian Tabb is interim president and professor of biblical studies at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis and general editor of Themelios.

Other Articles in this Issue

Stephen Williams raises a number of concerns with the book, Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin...

The book of Job is an obvious place to turn when a Christian suffers, but it is not easy to discern what God means to teach his people through this difficult book...