Paul Bruggink - Summary of Views on Adam and Eve

I just came across this extensive document compiled by @PaulB on the views of many theologians and scientists on whether Adam and Eve existed, including supporting quotes. Very useful to look at the landscape, since a lot of evangelical theologians and familiar actors are included.

Need time to dig more into this, but it seems to me that a large portion of those who don’t believe in a historical Adam and Eve are scientists (Collins, Ayala, Giberson, Lamoreux, Polkinghorne as some examples).


The current version of my survey contains 161 entries in the form of a Word Table. I am happy to share it with anyone who is interested. Paul Bruggink



Can you insert a picture of the first 10 rows of the table?


Here is a current summary of my categories:
Yes - 67
Yes, but not the first humans - 29
Maybe - 6
No - 59
Total - 161

My interpretation of their primary reason:
Evolution without historical Adam 23
Evolution with historical Adam 23
New Testament references 10
Literal or literary Genesis 35
Genesis not literal history 34
Doctrinal Necessity 23
Not required doctrinally 13
Total 161


This is the best I know how to do on short notice:


Wow. Great job @PaulB.

@dga471 seems like a starting point for a wiki page?



You did great on short notice!

And so here’s a free tip on your next refinement:

Almost all laptlops and desktop have PAINT as a system accessory. It allows one to make .jpgs and other photo-quality images!

Instead of pasting the Screen-scrape into a posting or email, open up PAINT first, then paste the image into paint.

Then use the CROP TOOL to eliminate the outermost useless parts of the image. Then SELECT ALL and COPY.

You can then paste just the part you want into the email or posting screen!


I tried following your instructions, but when I tried to SELECT, everything disappeared, never to return. I hope the Print Screen image above was good enough to give you an idea of what the Table is about.


@PaulB (The Windows ‘Snipping Tool’ has good functionality for this purpose.)


The first post (by Daniel Ang) includes a link to the full table.


@paulb what do you mean by “human” in this table?

Paul Bruggink (and others) - Referring to the entry under my name, my book Friend of Science, Friend of Faith, coming out in November, is a deep revision of the referenced work. It offers a little more wiggle room on Adam, though my personal view still leans toward a real person (though with evolved ancestors).


Can you clarify more? What was quoted? How did you revise your position and rewrite that quote? Why did you change?

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Paul’s quote comes from an introductory page in my original book that stated my starting assumptions/beliefs. In the revised book, I still make a case for a real Adam, but don’t make it a starting assumption. The new work also acknowledges that some biblically conservative theologians, such as C. John Collins, suggest a range of views on Adam that could be faithful to the text (Collins book: Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?).

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@jack.collins is pretty clear about his affirmation of a real Adam. How is that in contrast with your view? I’m a bit confused.

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Yes, Collins does affirm a real Adam, though he leaves room for whether Adam was a specially created first human, a real man set apart from evolved ancestors, or a representative head of a tribe. I did not mean to suggest that my view is in contrast with Collins. I was only trying to draw attention to the fact that my position on Adam is more nuanced than a simple “he was real” statement as implied by the quote from my original book.


@PaulB has recently updated this document to version 1.6, incorporating a total of 169 authors/thinkers’ view on the historical Adam.

Bruggink - Survey of Views on Historical Adam and Eve (v. 1.6).pdf (1.2 MB)

Word version: download here.


@PaulB, you misrepresented what I discuss in the GAE. You stated,

Yes, but not the first human

That isn’t correct. How do we fix it?

I think Paul takes “first human” to mean “first biological human”, in order to differentiate views like the 6 kya GAE from YECs who believe in a sole biological human progenitor. At the same time there are theologians who say that A&E were the first humans or progenitors but have not clarified what they mean. For example, Richard Averbeck is cited as saying an unqualified “Yes” to the question of whether A&E existed, but he is only quoted as saying the following:

Yes, there was an original Adam and Eve, who were the progenitors of the human
race. I am not sure what else is true about who Adam and Eve were, but at least we
should maintain this belief that they were real historical individuals. There is good
reason for this belief in the natural reading of the text.

Similarly, William Barrick is cited as an unqualified “yes”, although I think a GAE-type view can fit with it as well:

“The biblical account represents Adam as a single individual rather than an archetype
or the product of biological evolution, and a number of New Testament texts rely on
Adam’s historicity. More importantly, without a historical first Adam there is no need
for Jesus, the second Adam, to undo the first Adam’s sin and its results.”

What this shows to me is that your work, GAE, and PS have somewhat shaken up the terms of the debate and encourages everyone to clarify their terms regarding the meaning of “human”. Hopefully that’s something we will see in the next few years. I think the survey done by @PaulB is really useful in showing this.

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Well, I also haven’t discussed my personal view, and have in fact discussed multiple positions:

Seems I need to be added in multiple rows.