A growing number of Christian thinkers say no. Francis Collins, theistic evolutionist and founder of the BioLogos Foundation and tapped by President Obama to be Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is among them. In his view, science dictates that modern humans emerged from primates a hundred thousand years ago in a population numbering some ten thousand, not two. Not only so, but according to BioLogos biblical expert Peter Enns, “The Bible itself invites a symbolic reading” of the account of the first man and woman. Thus the question: Did Adam and Eve exist, or are they merely allegorical?
First, while Collins and company staunchly defend Darwinian evolution, their views hardly correspond to reality. Darwin hung his hopes on hundreds of thousands of transitional forms* leading to the fossils of the Cambrian Explosion*. In actuality, the poverty of the fossil record has been an embarrassment. Virtually all known body plans appear abruptly in the Cambrian. To put it bluntly, the Cambrian radiation* vaporized the Darwinian Tree of Life*.
Furthermore, Scripture plainly opposes the collective rhetoric of theistic evolutionists who deny the reality of a historical Adam and Eve. Paul made it crystal clear: “From one man [God] made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth” (Acts 17:26). Indeed, sacred Scripture, in concert with sound science, makes plain that kinds reproduce “ according to their kinds” (Genesis 1:25). Moreover, had the first Adam not fallen into a life of perpetual sin terminated by death, there would have been no need for God to send a “Second Adam” (Jesus). Paul was emphatic: “Since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21–22).
Finally, our Savior’s words should cast a pall on all Adam and Eve deniers: “At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ ” (Matthew 19:4). Lest one be tempted to allegorize the words of our Lord, it is instructive to note that Jesus further affirmed a historical Adam and Eve when he referred to the murder of their son Abel (Matthew 23:35). Not only so, but Luke, writing to a primarily Gentile audience, extends his genealogy past Abraham to the first Adam, thus highlighting Christ, the Second Adam, as the Savior of all humanity. Should that prove insufficient, Chronicles provides a historical record from Adam to the Exile. Likewise, starting at Genesis 5:1, Moses gives “the written account of Adam’s line.”
Of one thing we can be absolutely certain: though Genesis is historical narrative interlaced with Jewish poetry, it is hardly an allegory.