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Table of Contents


Chapter  1

Part I
Chapter  2
Chapter  3
Chapter  4
Chapter  5
Chapter  6
Chapter  7
Chapter  8
Chapter  9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12

Part II
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17

Chapter 18


Two Men Called Adam

Chapter 1

The Problem Stated

Can Evolutionary Theory and
Christian Theology Be Reconciled?

When Darwin in 1859 published his Origin of Species, it does not seem to have troubled the theologians too greatly since he was careful not to make the evolution of man an explicit corollary. But when in 1871 he published his Descent of Man, the true significance of the threat to Christian Faith became much more apparent.
     In the first place, it was obvious that the concept of the origin of man by evolution from some ape-like creature ran counter to the concept of man as a special creation of God made in the Creator's own image and possessing from the first a high intelligence and moral freedom.
     In the second place, it was obvious that the evolutionary view gave man an antiquity vastly in excess of the mere 6000 years traditionally held on the basis of a strictly biblical chronology.
     But there were other consequences which would have to be faced in due time.
     Evolution makes it impossible to establish the precise antithetical relationship between the Last Adam and the First Adam, so essential to his role as Saviour-substitute for

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man. Was each truly a reflection of the other if the First Adam was as much ape as he was man, a barely human figure lurking in fear of life and limb in some dark cold cave and surviving by the barest margin for thousands of years until intelligent enough to secure a measure of superior self-sufficiency? Could such a half-human figure be a prototype of the Lord Jesus Christ?
     Then there is the theological requirement that Adam's constitution possess a contingently immortal nature, a physical body not inherently subject to death yet quite capable of experiencing death as the penalty of disobedience. Such a physical being could not be derived from any one of the then existing primates for whom it is almost certain that death was "programmed" to occur after a certain species-specific span of life had passed.
     There are other problems, too. Clearly Eve was formed out of Adam. There is no other species of which the female was, as it were, born out of the male.

Implications of Evolution for Theology

     Now it is clear from subsequent events after the publication of The Origin and The Descent of Man that the full theological implications of some of these difficulties were not recognized at the time by evangelical theologians. There were, however, two specific problems that they did indeed recognize from the very first and these were felt to be most disturbing.
     These two problems were: (1) the enormous antiquity of man which apparently vastly exceeded the allotted biblical starting date of 4004 BC; and (2) the story of man's introduction into the world by divine intervention in the form of a direct creative act, not out of a lower order of animal life but out of the dust of the earth and in the Creator's image.
     Now both these problems were resolved by re-interpreting the biblical chronology, and by re-interpreting the concept of evolution to mean, in Adam's case, that this was the divine mode of man's "creation."
     It is my object to analyze the factors in the new theory

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of origins which from a theological point of view were most serious, and to show how, historically, the seriousness was not recognized by those who should in fact have been the first to sound the alarm. It will be useful to review very briefly as a kind of introduction, what happened at Princeton Theological Seminary which at the time was a centre of evangelical theology marked by the appearance of a succession of perhaps the greatest Systematic Theologians America was to produce for many years. What is surprising is the speed with which capitulation to Darwinism took place.
      Indeed, by 1900 capitulation to Darwinism at Princeton on these two critical issues was virtually complete. The other problems that Darwinism generated for those who placed their faith in the Word of God crystallized much more slowly. But what had already been surrendered by 1900 was enough to ensure that many other theological seminaries and colleges soon took a more liberal view of the matter of human origins and increasingly departed from the biblical position held by their founding fathers.

A historical review

     While this sad surrender to evolutionism was gathering momentum in the final quarter of the last century, Princeton was blessed with a succession of evangelical giants: Charles Hodge (1797—1878) the leading American theologian of the nineteenth century; his son Alexander A. Hodge (1823—1886) who followed him in the Chair of Systematics; William H. Green (1825—1896) who became Professor of Oriental and Old Testament literature and wrote a paper on Primeval Chronology that had at that time (and still has) a profound influence on the whole question of the antiquity of Adam (as we shall see in Chapter 18); and Benjamin B. Warfield (1851—1921) who was a product of Princeton and in due course became Professor of didactic and polemical theology at his Alma Mater, succeeding A. A. Hodge.
     Charles Hodge at first took the position that evolution was a highly speculative theory and far from being proved. He never

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for a moment conceded that man's spirit was evolved and he had serious doubts if man's body could have been either. But with the publication of Sir Charles Lyell's Antiquity of Man in 1863, * he began to have doubts whether the biblical chronology which placed the creation of Adam barely 6000 years ago could any longer be defended.
     Like his father, Alexander Hodge was much impressed by the manifest "devoutness" of Lyell and as a result his conclusion met with considerable sympathy in Hodge's mind. While he admitted the evidence for a vast antiquity of the earth and that man may have been introduced upon it much earlier than the Genesis record seemed to allow, he wrote: "In any event, it can prove nothing as to the relation of Adam to the race, but only that he was created longer ago than we suppose." This was the thin edge of the wedge.
     The idea of the vast antiquity of man had also troubled William H. Green, and in a work designed to defend the Genesis story against the violent attacks of Bishop Colenso, Green published in 1863 his book The Pentateuch Vindicated from the Aspersions of Bishop Colenso in which he argued that the biblical chronology could not be attacked on the grounds that it did not accord with the antiquity of man established from geological evidence because the Bible did not actually provide an unbroken chronology in any case.
(1) The genealogies by which the Ussher chronology had been constructed appeared to Green to possess many gaps, leaving the date of Adam's creation quite uncertain. The traditional date of 4004 BC could now therefore be abandoned on biblical grounds!

* It is worthy of note that Lyell had to publish his Antiquity of Man in 1863 before Darwin felt it safe to publish his Descent of Man in 1871. The first made room for the second, and the second made explicit what was implied in the first.
1. Green, William H., The Pentateuch Vindicated from the Aspersions of Bishop Colenso, 1863, p.128, footnote

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     The younger Hodge towards the end of his life described the powerful effect Green's book had on his father. In his own words: "I can well remember my father walking up and down in his study when he heard [about it] and saying, 'What a relief it is to me that he should have said that'." (2) It appeared to resolve any conflict between the Bible and geology.
     It does not seem that the younger Hodge recognized the full import of this "escape hatch." Green had written, "the time between the creation of Adam and ourselves might have been, for all we know from the Bible to the contrary, much longer than it seems."
(3) To Alexander, this only meant that Adam must be placed further back in time — not that Adam was any different in nature from the traditional view of him or that his subsequent history needed any revision. Adam was still a unique creation.
     Warfield, who succeeded him, accepted this judgment — again, without apparently realizing what the consequences of such a vast antiquity could be for the first three chapters of Genesis. He, too, accepted Adam as somehow a true "creation" but his origin could be placed much further back in geological time for all it mattered. Thus he wrote in 1911, "The question of the antiquity of man has of itself no theological significance. It is to theology, as such, a matter of entire indifference how long man has existed on earth."
Throughout this debate it must be borne in mind that the issue revolved around the origin of Adam's body. The origin of his soul as a direct creation of God was not for them in question.
     Neither the two Hodges, nor Warfield, nor of course Green, was aware that this concession was a very serious one. Yet such a concession plays havoc with the setting of the story of the Fall, and therefore with the crucial connection that the New Testament assumes between the First and the Last Adam.
     In due course, while holding firmly to the creation of

2. Hodge, A. A., Evangelical Theology, Edinburgh, Banner of Truth Trust, 1976, paperback edition, p.150.
3. Green, W. H., quoted by A. A. Hodge, ibid, p.150.
4. Warfield, B. B., Biblical and Theological Studies, Philadelphia, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1968, p.238.

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man's soul, they all came to accept the idea of evolution as God's method of producing Adam's body, Warfield assuring his readers that evolution was not a substitute for creation but could "supply a theory of the method of divine providence." (5) Man's body fitted readily into the evolutionary chain of life, being the direct result not of outright creation but of millions of years of imperceptible changes from amoeba to man. No supernatural intervention was needed here, nor any literal "divine surgery" for the formation of Eve out of Adam.
     It is interesting that while these great defenders of evangelical doctrine were making such tentative concessions to evolution, the liberal theologians were rejecting it though admittedly for different reasons!
(6) And while the evangelicals were increasingly giving support to Darwinism as not incompatible with the Faith they had so ably defended, Darwin himself was steadily surrendering whatever of Christian faith he once had! As we shall see in the final chapter the consequences of admitting the thin edge of the evolutionary wedge were to prove disastrous — not only for Princeton Theological Seminary as a centre of Evangelical Theology, but for many other seminaries on the American continent and in other English speaking countries.
     In one instance it took only a single generation to pass from a truly evangelical stance to outright and militant atheism. I have in mind the history of the justly famous Augustus H. Strong (1836—1921) whose Systematic Theology is a monumental work of reference which has, since the first edition in 1907, been reprinted at least 29 times.
(7) Like his contemporaries he first allowed that Adam's body, but not his spirit, could have been derived by evolution. As he put it, "We concede that man has a brute ancestry." (8) Then in his less well-known Christ in Creation, he frankly admitted that as man received his body thus, there was really no reason why we might not logically admit that this was how he also received his spirit, since this was God's method of "creation in any case." (9)

5. Warfield, ibid., p.238.
6. See Richard P. Aulie, "The Post-Darwinian Controversies," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, vol.34, no.1, March, 1982, p.25
7. Strong, A. H., Systematic Theology, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Judson Press, 1974.
8. Strong, A. H., ibid., p.472.
9. Strong, A. H., Christ in Creation and Ethical Monism, Philadelphia, Roger Williams Press, 1899, p.163.

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     When he had completed the manuscript for Christ in Creation, he requested his son Charles (1863—1940) to proof read it for him. Although the whole family seems to have shared the father's evangelical faith, it appears that Charles was perceptive enough to see the inconsistency in his father's reasoning. In making such a concession to evolution while at the same time pretending to hold a truly evangelical position, Charles felt his father was compromising himself and misleading his readers. (10)
     The end result was that he turned completely against what he was proof reading; abandoning his position as a Christian, and becoming one of the most ardent and militant proponents of atheism until the day of his death.
     But this is not the end of the story, sadly enough. For the Strongs were well-to-do and moved in wealthy circles. Among their friends were such men as John D. Rockefeller, Chauncey Depew, and Andrew Carnegie.
(11) The first made his fortune in oil, the second in the railway business, and the third in steel. And each of them was totally ruthless in his business tactics, assuring their critics that they were only acting according to evolutionary principles which were God's methods in nature and therefore good for the species as a whole, however hard on the individual. They must have received no little comfort from the fact their evangelical friend and scholar, A. H. Strong, could be depended upon to support them in their philosophy.

     Why did men of such learning, such dedication to Scripture, such a profound grasp of biblical theology, so easily allow evolutionary philosophy to poison their own thinking? To a man, save only for Augustus H. Strong, they held resolutely to the supernatural creation of the soul of the first man. Why, then, did they yield so quickly to an entirely materialistic process of evolution for Adam's body, in view of their commitment to the Word of God which is so clear on the matter?
      Did they not recognize that the implacable offensive of

10. On this point, see Lloyd F. Dean, "Charles Augustus Strong: Steps in the Development of His Atheism," Gordon Review, Dec., 1956, p.140.
11. Hopkins, Vincent C., "Darwinism and America" in Darwin's Vision and Christian Perspectives, edited by Walter J. Ong, S. J., New York, Macmillans, 1960, p.118.

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evolutionary philosophy would never stop until all supernaturalism was abolished entirely? It was only a matter of time till the evolutionists would insist with equal dogmatism that man's "soul" was originated in the same way as his body. Even A. H. Strong could anticipate this. As Kirtley F. Mather quite recently put it, "The spiritual aspects of the life of man are just as surely a product of the processes called evolution as are his brain and his nervous system. Granted this logical extension, it is absurd to talk of the "saving of the soul for eternity." (12) If the soul is a mere epiphenomenon of the human body as consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the animal body, then soul, like consciousness, must perish with the body — and what evolutionist would be either willing or logically competent to defend such a supernatural event as resurrection of the body? The Greeks thought the idea utterly ridiculous because they held that man was distinctively a spiritual being and the body a prison, from which the spirit longed to be free.

The crucial biological question.

     Why do evangelicals fail to recognize the human body as a fundamental complement of the human spirit? Man is not a spiritual being who happens to have a body which he can do without quite easily on the other side of the grave. His body was created to serve as a permanent house for his spirit. It was not the divine intention that the body and the spirit should be rent apart. (13) Even A. A. Hodge frankly recognized that Adam's body was potentially immortal at first, and that if he had never sinned he would never have experienced physical death. Unless this is true, death could never have been threatened as a penalty for disobedience.
     To derive a mortal body out of an immortal one is clearly within the competence of evolutionary theory, since the immortality of the lowly amoeba has not been retained in its supposed evolutionary descendants. It has been lost. But to derive an immortal body out of a mortal one is quite another thing. There is no precedent in nature (with the possible exception of cancer cells). Such a heritage as the

12. Mather, Kirtley, "Creation and Evolution" in Science Ponders Religion, edited by Harlow Shapley, New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1960, p.38.
13. Hodge, A. A., Evangelical Theology, Edinburgh, Banner of Truth Trust, 1976. paperback edition, p.155.

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derivation of an immortal body out of some form of ape-like ancestry as man is presumed to have had, would be so exceptional as to be virtually miraculous and tantamount to an act of creation.

The crucial theological problem

      From the theological point of view, an evolutionary derivation of the human body is totally unacceptable. For the Plan of Redemption hinges upon the relationship between two human beings, the First Adam and the Last Adam, the Adam of Genesis and the Lord Jesus Christ of the Gospels whom Paul declares to have been the First Adam's counterpart: two persons who stand in direct apposition both as to body and as to spirit.
     Each precisely reflects the other in terms of their human constitution. In both body and soul the Last Adam must truly match the First Adam in every sense if substitution is to be effective. The first human being (whatever we conceive his outward form to have been and however little removed from the apes) must be every whit as redeemable as the very last human being yet to be born within the framework of this present world's natural order before the Creator pulls down the curtain upon it.
      The first man must come as effectively under the Redeemer's umbrella as the last man yet to be born will have to. Thus the first man Adam and all his descendants from the first to the last — i.e., all "in Adam" — must be essentially indistinguishable from each other. Evolutionary progress within the human species cannot be reconciled with a Plan of Redemption which depends upon the death of One who appeared so late in the chain. And He appeared late indeed if hundreds of thousands or even millions of years intervened. If the evolution of man is true, this Redeemer, in his far more advanced state of evolution, would no longer represent those who had appeared in a much more primitive state at the beginning of the line.

Definition of a human being

     Now man, as a creation of God, is never viewed in Scripture as essentially a spiritual being who just happens

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to have a body. Man is a hyphenate being, a unified body-spirit entity. Without the body the spirit is not a person and without the spirit the body is a mere corpse. As much is said in the New Testament about the destiny of the body as is said of the destiny of the spirit, and more is said about the form the body will take than is said about the form the spirit will take. We shall certainly not be mere ghosts!
      When the Lord became Man, He did so by assuming a prepared body. When He rose from the dead, He rose in his own body. When He returns, He will return in his own body; and meanwhile He is as a MAN in heaven because He is a human spirit in a human body. This in no way challenges the fact that in becoming Man He never ceased to be what He has always been: God with God and equal with the Father. In this there is no contradiction. It is rather that in Him now dwells all the fullness of the Godhead BODILY, which in his Person has added a new dimension. Thus it is proper to watch for the glorious return of the Son of MAN, for in his resurrected body so will He appear.
      I do not wish to pursue this further at the present moment since it is dealt with later. I wish only to point out that the incarnate Lord assumed a body that was truly and unequivocally human. This body formed a perfect vehicle for the human spirit which He created for himself, as He himself had created one for Adam in order to provide a perfect vehicle for his spirit. It is inconceivable that the Lord could be incarnate in a body subject to steady decay, increasing senility, and final total collapse due to old age. If in an immortal body He was truly Man, then true manhood in the First Adam as created equally immortal by nature, demanded a body no less free from the burdens and limitations of physical senility and death due to old age.
     By such a means, the pre-existent Lord of Glory condescended to engage for himself a human form that truly reflected Adam as he came from the hand of God. In the humanity of Christ Jesus we therefore see restored to our view the form of the very first human being both as to his

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body and as to the spirit which animated it in the very beginning. The break between ape and man was absolute.
     There were no half-way houses in the line of Adam's seed between the animal and the human world. By divine intervention the body of the first man was created uniquely, thus forming a total discontinuity in the great chain of being, a physical organism perfectly suited to be in due course a housing for the Creator himself. This was a new thing: a thing apart though with many shared functions which involved homologies in design because the world into which man was thus introduced was a world in which animals also were designed to function. Both lived in the same environment: both were embodied.

Requirements demanded by redemption

      This new creature, unlike all that preceded, was unique in many ways, but in two ways above all — that he was both capable of falling and equally capable of being redeemed; and that he could die but was under no necessity of ever doing so. Moreover, his redemption was possible only because he was constituted with a human spirit of God's creation and a human body also of God's creation, both of which clearly involved supernatural intervention — and this was true in both Adams, the First and the Last.
     In the Person of Jesus Christ as Man, redemption was secured by death, the death of a human spirit and the death of a human body. But neither kind of death was natural in the sense of being inevitable for inherent reasons. Both deaths were experienced by an act of will.
      But the possession by the First Adam of a body derived from some non-human primate ancestor would have made death inevitable for him. Death per se would not then be the penalty for disobedience but merely premature death. By the same token, if the Redeemer was provided with a body human only in this evolutionary sense, death for Him could not have been substitutionary but would have been likewise merely premature.
      Equally crucial to the Plan of Salvation, this Adamic body, which could experience death but was under no

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necessity of doing so, in the Second Adam had to be truly representative of the body of the First Adam as created. Without this correspondence there could be no substitution.
      These very precise requirements of the nature of Adam's body entirely preclude an animal origin. If these requirements are not fulfilled, no redemption of man is possible. The logic of this is compelling and leaves no room for an evolutionary origin of man.
     Man must be supplied from the first with such a body in order that, when he fell, the Redeemer could undo the Fall by becoming Man himself, because our Substitute must be both truly a human being and yet truly under no necessity of dying. Otherwise his death was not substitutionary for man.

The dilemma of an evolutionary origin

     So it has to be asked, At what point in this evolutionary "Chain of Being" did true man emerge as identifiably human in each of these particular respects, in order that the Redeemer by assuming such a body and such a spirit could act as a true representative?
     When we bear in mind that this Redeemer was himself very God, the Creator of the Universe, is it conceivable that such a One could assume a form even less human in appearance than, let us say, Neanderthal man? In the quaint words of the King James Version, his temple must be "magnifical."
     In actual fact we ourselves almost certainly compare very unfavourably with the First Adam. Such was the magnificence of his body that he lived for almost a thousand years despite the fact that he was already suffering the catastrophic effects of the Fall which must steadily have been robbing him of most of his pristine glory.
No million-year-old, tiny-brained, half-ape creature, such as the famous "Lucy,"
(14) could thus have been an Adam (or an Eve!), especially in view of the fact that Adam's descendants within three or four generations had already developed

14. "Lucy"— discovered by Richard E. Leakey in 1972 in Kenya, originally referred to as Skull 1470 but since named "Lucy." The literature is considerable: Leakey himself published a book titled Origins in 1977 [Dutton]. A popular account appeared in Time, 7 Nov., 1977, p 36ff.

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developed city life, agriculture, metallurgy, and the musical arts with wind and stringed instruments (Genesis 4:21).
      As a faithful representative of the First Adam, the Second Adam lived among us a Man — indeed pre-eminently so, as his title "Son of Man" indicates. And He left a transforming stamp upon the history of mankind because of his stature. Even physically He awed those about Him.
     We know that He created man in his own image. He clearly did this in order that He himself might one day come among us in the image of Man without doing any violence whatever to his own divine nature nor even demeaning his own pre-existent glory, a glory to which He returned. And when, by ascension, He did return to that glory, He did not lay aside his human body as though it were unworthy. He took it with Him. He is, indeed, embodied as Man forever, and as He ascended into heaven, so will He return in like manner. The human body is a unique vehicle and holds within itself the promise of an almost incredible glory. It is a special creation of God, not a mere by-product of a blind process, as we are being asked to believe.

The Christian dilemma

     We easily fall into the trap of relegating the body to a very second-rate position in the scheme of things. As such it seems of little consequence whether its origin was by evolution or creation. We are told that the saving of the soul by the regeneration of the spirit is what counts. The redemption of the body seems much less important, as though the possession of a sub-human body would serve just as well. Yet we are to continue as a body/spirit entity throughout eternity which includes not only a new heaven but a new earth. An earth which is never to grow old (lsaiah 66:22) would seem to demand a body that will never grow old either!
     It is, in fact, the redemption of our own body that, as an article of Faith, distinguishes the Christian position from that of every other religious system. It was this kind

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of resurrection which proved so incredible to Paul's Greek hearers at Athens. "Who ever heard of such a thing?" they asked. * Even today it would seem that many Christians have not heard of such a thing either. . . .

The thesis and method of this book

     It is this that I wish to address in the 17 chapters which follow. It is my sincere hope that men far better theologically informed than myself will take up the issue and carry the matter much further than I am able to do. When this has been done, I predict we shall suddenly recognize that in the current creation/evolution controversy, there has been an important "missing dimension." That dimension represents, according to Scripture, the other half of the Faith: the redemption of the body as essential to the salvation of the soul. The body is very important, but evolution denigrates it, making it merely an animal body whose destiny is not resurrection but dust.
     It may well be objected that my approach is far too literalistic, that I am leaning much too heavily on logical analysis of the actual words themselves and thus destroying the spirit of them.
   But I want to show that, unless we have evidence from Scripture itself to the contrary, we should take the wording at its face value as our starting point. Otherwise we ought to abandon all pretense that we really are making the Bible the touchstone of our thinking in all matters where revelation plays an essential role.

* So totally foreign was the idea to the Greeks that they mistook Paul's term for resurrection (anastasis) for the name of a new deity and asked what new god he was speaking about (Acts 17:32). Plato considered that the body imprisoned the spirit, and therefore that death was the liberation of it. Paul, on the other hand, viewed the body as essential for the spirit to express itself, so that he saw disembodiment as effectively a crippling of it. Thus, for Plato embodiment was a penalty: whereas for Paul disembodiment is the penalty. The two positions, the Greek and the Christian, are diametrically opposed.

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     We cannot form a biblical theology with any claim to rational coherence which justifies the term biblical if we adopt the practice of spiritualizing the text or allegorizing it or reading it as poetry whenever it embarrasses us, unless the offending words are actually so treated in the original.
     In Scripture parables are always identified as such, poetry is always set forth as poetry (as the Psalms are), and allegories and terms of common parlance like "the rising of the sun" are easily identifiable as to their obvious intent. The first chapters of Genesis are not written as poetry, the sole exception being Genesis 4:23 which is set forth in the original in exactly the same way the text of the Psalms is set forth - a telling indication that the rest of the text is NOT poetry.
     So I make no apology for taking the words of Scripture seriously: and after studying this wonderful Book for over fifty years I am convinced that anyone who does read it in this spirit will never fail to marvel at the precision with which the truth is spelled out and hedged against error. Despite the problems of translation here and there (problems which sometimes arise where interpretation is in question), I do not believe that any of the passages upon which my thesis is built involves significant uncertainties of this kind.
      As an example of what I mean, some may object to taking the story of Eve's formation out of Adam at its face value. But if — for the sake of discussion — they will tentatively allow its possibility, they will, I think, soon see what is far more important, namely, its very necessity, if the rationale of the Plan of Redemption is to be preserved. There are many things that current biblical theology has neglected to address because of a failure to attach to the wording of Scripture the seriousness it warrants.

     We have long enjoyed a most precise and highly developed "theology of the spirit." It is now time to produce a balancing "theology of the body." When this is done, I

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think the fundamental issues in the current dispute will be much more apparent. For by conceding to evolution the origin of man's body, even though insisting on the divine origin of his spirit by direct creation, we have effectively destroyed the manhood of man.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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