Thursday, March 5, 2009

What happens to the Fall?

I am curious about something because I have seen this dealt with in a variety of ways. I am wondering what those Christians who do not accept the historicity of Eden, Adam and Eve, etc. do with the fall. Let me assure you this is not rhetorical nor am I trying to play "gotcha". I am genuinely interested given the prominent role that the fall's reality plays not only in the Old Testament but the New. Romans for instance depends heavily on the fall as a reality for its anthropology and soteriology. If the fall was not a real event then how does that effect our understanding of man's lostness and Christ's atonement? Help me out.

What I do not want is a discussion on the age of the earth and whether or not the creation account presents a strict chronology or a theological/literary construct. That is, in my opinion an in house debate among inerrantists. If you want to make it a test of orthodoxy then we'll have to part company.


jfile said...

You might check out Karl Barth on this. He didn't accept the historicity of Adam and Eve, and he didn't really accept a historical Fall either. Rather, he talked about human fallenness which ammounted to little more than the fact that we are limited finite creatures. He would say that we have always been fallen creatures, rather than that happening at a specific point in time. This is my understanding of Barth and I think Reinhold Neibor as well. I don't remember all that clearly, but I learned it in Hokema's book "Created in God's Image).

Todd Pruitt said...


Good to hear from you.

I believe you are right on Barth's understanding. It seems to me that in this construct the fall is reduced to common human failing and and flaws rather than rebellion against God. Furthermore it seems to dismiss the doctrine of original sin or the imputation of Adam's sin to humanity.

Hokema's book is outstanding, as is the entire trilogy.