BB Warfield on Adam and Eve?

Continuing the discussion from Origins Revision 1:

@jongarvey and @rcohlers (or anyone else), do you have good quotes on Adam and Eve from Warfield’s point of view?

I’m also torn on how much to mention him. He is a theological giant, but I’m also not sure most people know who he is. What is the best way to briefly explain his significance, or is this a lost cause to a genera audience? Perhaps I just focus on Tim Keller: Keller on Adam and Eve

I can tell you that Warfield held out for the special creation of Eve, and maybe not of Adam. If that’s the case he might be an interesting early witness - and was one of the great Evangelical American theologians of the nineteenth century (as well as having a science background and treating theology as a science).

I’ll look out any quotes this evening and let you know, as he might be a useful guy if the context is right.

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Mark A Noll & David N Livingstone, BB Warfield - Evolution, Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids MI, 2000):

Why should the evolutionist insist that the ascent to man must have been accomplished by the blind action of natural forces to the exclusion of all oversight and direction of a higher power? Why should the biblicist assert that the creation of man by the divine fiat must have been immediate in such a sense as to exclude all process, all interaction of natural forces? It does not appear that either is, on the basis of its own data, justified in such an extremity of position.
The Manner and Time of Man’s Origin (p213)

Warfield might have other useful things to say, but it’s hard to tell when he was unaware of Genealogical Adam. He rightly rejects the older Pre-adamite views for their innate racism. And that makes him unsupportive for the idea of Adam as a late arrival in the human race (I think he’d come on board with GA, but that speculation doesn’t help the book!). The above quote begins with a denial of the evolutionary extreme that man created himself, rather than God doing so … so he’s not a co-creationist!

He insists on an historical Adam and Eve because of Adam’s representative nature for us (as our first parent) rather than because there must be “genetic” inheritance of sin.

In one essay he describes Adam and Eve possible “sports” - clearly implying the acceptance of evolutionary origins. But he also requires the admission of supernatural involvement (in an earlier piece) if the human soul be deemed immaterial, and also for the creation of Eve because of its specific description - he is unhappy with figurative exegesis on this, though aware of it.

So his constant beliefs seem to be: Real Adam and Eve as our common ancestors. OK for Adam and Eve to arrive by evolultion. BUT supernatural endowment, however, required (and only really opposed on basis of atheistic materialism).

If quotes on any of those individual points might help, let me know and I’ll fish them out.

As a counterpoint, if you want to deal with Warfield, you need also to address Fred Zaspel’s work on Warfield, which tries to distance Warfield from evolutionary thinking, also in the Crossway book (Zaspel was also part of the ETS unveiling of this book). My point is that many evangelicals are interpreting Warfield through Zaspel’s perspective rather than Noll/Livingston’s.

Another figure is the Tyndale Genesis commentary by Derek Kidner, whose hybrid view (as @jongarvey says above “special creation of Eve , and maybe not of Adam”) is referenced by John Stott (see his Romans commentary), Jack Collins, and Tim Keller.



You know Brad Gundlach from Trinity, correct? His book is the authoritative treatment:

Process and Providence: The Evolution Question At Princeton, 1845-1929. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2013.

You should find all you need in there.

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