[image: Sharp Turn, 2014, JA Van Devender]
Location: Outside Lahinch, the Burren area, County Clare, Ireland
Genesis 2:7 (NKJV)
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
On the whole, I count myself pretty conservative in regarding the doctrines of the Christian religion. But there are some who consider me too liberal in my view of creation though I am far removed from denying the historicity of the Genesis account. However I am generally inclined to what is called an "old earth" view because I think it best fits with the overall biblical hermeneutic that I think does justice to the entire text of Scripture and specifically to the texts of Gen. 1-3. In my view a person has to read the New Testament within the same hermeneutical approach as one does the Old Testament, because, foundationally and uncompromisingly, they must be considered a single text, inspired by God and inerrant and infallible in what they teach.
Thus, for me, the question about Adam and Eve is one of "what do the Scriptures principally teach" concerning them and that controls and informs how, then, I am to read the texts which speak of them.
Full disclosure: Bryan college publishes a very informative periodical "Illumine" from which I have benefited over the years and one of their ethics professors, J. Daryl Charles, was a mentor in my seminary days and I count him as a beloved friend and acquaintance now.
Bryan College has taken a stand on the historicity of Adam and Eve by making this declarative statement: "But in February, college officials decided that professors had to agree to an additional clarification declaring that Adam and Eve “are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms."
This more rigorous position was added to their original declaration and is directly counter to a current trend in Evangelical theology to make allowance for Theistic evolution as being the basis of Adam and Eve's existence. This "compromise" is thought to allow for the continued historicity of Adam and Eve without losing the foundational issue of a true "first parents" who actually sinned in such a way as to constitute the fall of humanity and to place human beings in the state of requiring a Savior.
The Bryan position does not require a "young earth", 6/24 day creation cycle but it completely denies Theistically guided evolution and I completely support their position.
I believe the doctrine of Adam's and Eve's direct creation by the fiat command of God, as a unique creature, uniquely set apart as bearing the image of God and alone, in the universe, given the privilege of exercising dominion in it, is a line that must not be crossed for any person to be recognized as having a valid Christian profession of faith. In more blunt terms, this is a red-line for Christians separating heresy from the bounds of orthodoxy and that the Church of Jesus Christ should enforce this distinction.
I do not believe the 6/24 creation cycle has the same urgency... I don't think the text of Scripture, from beginning to end requires it nor even that it best explains Genesis 1. But, the Divine act of creating Adam and Eve is, hermeneutically, linked to the Divine Fathership of the man Jesus, who is the Christ of God and who was born and remains still, the New Adam. As Adam was miraculously "conceived" so was Jesus miraculously and literally conceived. There is absolutely no way that the text of Scripture can be read in such a way as to distinguish, hermeneutically, the two accounts, that of Adam and Eve and that of Jesus.
If one squeezes the text and argues about the "clay" of the ground as representing some metaphorical relation to the earth that can comprehend the concept of a prior pair of beings who gave physical birth to Adam but who differed substantially (here the idea of evolution gets pretty hazy... since Adam has to be regarded as a different being "in kind" that those postulated to have been his parents) from them, then those so-called Evangelicals who are open to Theistic Evolution find some straw of support for their continued insistence on Scriptural authority .
The problem is that they cannot treat this passage this way and then with any consistency treat the first chapters of Matthew and Luke as being literal historical truth.
Furthermore, doctrinally, the divine source of Adam as a specific individual is expressly and necessarily connected to the entire doctrine of Federal Headship which is the foundation of all Evangelical confessions of faith. If we did not have a sinless head who fell from that status with devastating effect, then we do not need nor have we had a sinless Head whose single work has reversed that condition and brought about salvation for all those who belong to His Headship.
The express tie between Adam's person and Jesus' person is too explicitly and prescriptively taught in Scripture for there to be any allowance, whatsoever, for the idea that Adam originated from physical forebears and that he was not distinctly different than all other creatures of whatever form they might take.
Most modern Christians have been bullied and brain-washed into a form of tokenism. They don't like controversy because, at root, they aren't secure in the defense of those things they do believe and therefore are embarrassed in the whelming flood of criticism. Thus they don't like strong distinctions being drawn such that a judgment about another person's faith, its validity and its sufficiency unto salvation, and putting them in the position of having to deny another person's professed Christian status.
However this is intrinsic to Biblical Christianity. Paul said that such must be the case. Jesus not only practiced it but gave the keys of the Kingdom to His Church for them to continue the practice. The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 are commended or criticized based upon their zeal in maintaining doctrinal and ethical purity. So, the bottom line is, Christians are not given any other option.
Lines have to be drawn... Bryan College has drawn a wise boundary, allowing for significant differences of opinion within the pale of orthodoxy but clearly articulating the line that must not be crossed.
Christians should defend not only their right to do so but also commend their courage and integrity. If a professor does not hold to this position he cannot be considered to have a valid Christian profession of faith. Only professors with a valid Christian profession of faith should be allowed to teach at a Christian college. Ergo and necessarily, Professors who do not hold to this minimum position should not be allowed to teach at Christian colleges.
I do not think the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament can be accepted as authoritative in what they teach and, at the same time, hold to a contrary view.
My heart breaks for those like Bruce Waltke, whose works have had such value to me in the past, who have apparently lost their way in this regard.