Adam, Eve, the Garden, the Fall, Were They Real? Does It Matter?
Question: Did Adam and Eve actually exist? Was the Garden of Eden a real place? Is the fall a historical fact? If none of these are real or historical where does that leave us? Is that problematic?
Response: Regarding “empirical analysis” of the story presented in Genesis I’ve been blown away time and time again at how it fits with the most recent scientific theories. Have you been able to listen or read my messages on Genesis One? (Peter’s messages on Genesis can be found on his sermon database. Click here:) If you have, you know I think it fits marvelously with the implications of Einstein’s Relativity, Big Bang theory, and Quantum Mechanics. The fact that we’re living in the sixth day, for me, is just huge on a number of levels: scientific, theological, and anthropological.
I do think the story of Adam and Eve is about us. Eden is far more than just an ancient garden, it’s somehow the tabernacle of our hearts and it seems to me that the text makes this pretty clear. Most commentaries don’t seem to think that “Adam” is meant as a personal name until the curse in chapter three. So, it seems to me, Adam as “mankind” and “woman” as taken out of Adam (Christ), are very intentional meanings within the text.
Having said that, Scripture and the New Testament authors certainly refer to Adam as an individual (all be it, an individual that encompasses all humanity, in the way Christ, the ultimate Adam, encompasses all humanity). For that reason, I think that there was an individual named Adam and an individual named Eve, however for me it’s not such a big deal anymore – it used to be when my brain was stuck in “modernism.”
My attitude is probably due in part to my understanding of Physics (how things can exist in different dimensions) and my experiences praying for my friend who was involved in the occult. Reality, as we have defined it (these three and a half dimensions), is an illusion… or only one level of truth.
Whatever the case, I believe the events in Genesis two and three are “at least” as real as the physical reality we experience every day and probably much more real. In other words, the line between “heavenly realities” and “physical realities” has become more blurred for me and the former reality is certainly more “solid, real, permanent etc.” than the latter. Therefore, even if scientists invented a time machine, traveled back in time, and reported – “We saw no garden,” it still wouldn’t matter all that much to me.
If they traveled back to the time of Jesus, I’m convinced they’d see Jesus (He has descended into our reality), but when Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven,” they probably wouldn’t see that, and therefore would call Jesus a liar–yet, Satan really did fall like lightning from heaven; they just didn’t have the eyes to see.
When the voice said, “This is my beloved son,” they would have said, “It thundered.” Yet, it wasn’t just thunder. They didn’t have the ears to hear. So whether or not I currently have the eyes to see and ears to hear the Garden of Eden, I do believe it’s there, or was there.
Well, that’s how I think of it.