Christianity Today’ s editorial explains what’s at stake in the debate about the historical Adam:
This issue’s cover story, ” The Search for the Historical Adam ,” reports the claims of recent genetic research that the human race did not emerge from pre-human animals as a single pair, as an “Adam” and an “Eve.” The complexity of the human genome, we are told, requires an original population of around 10,000.
Christians have already drawn the line: there must be an original pair of humans endowed with soulsthat is, the spiritual capacity to relate to God in the special way Genesis describes. In 1996, John Paul II stressed Pius XII’s dictum that “if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is created directly by God.” And institutional statements of faith, such as Wheaton College’s, set limits by affirming that original couple’s existence: “ . . . God directly created Adam and Eve, the historical parents of the entire human race . . . in his own image, distinct from all other living creatures, and in a state of original righteousness.”
What is at stake?
First, the entire story of what is wrong with the world hinges on the disobedient exercise of the will by the first humans. The problem with the human race is not its dearth of insight but its misshapen will.
Second, the entire story of salvation hinges on the obedience of the Second Adam.