Thursday, February 20, 2020

Unique or archetype?

Paul treats Adam as an archetype when he indicates that all sinned in Adam (Rom 5:12). In this way, all are embodied in the one and counted as having participated in the acts of that one. In order to determine whether the treatment of Adam in the text focuses on him primarily as an archetype or as an individual, we can ask a simple question: Is the text describing something that is uniquely true of Adam, or is it describing something that is true of all of us? If only Adam is formed from dust, then it is treating him as a discrete and unique individual. If God only breathes the breath of life into Adam, he is thereby distinct from the rest of us. If Eve’s formation conveys a truth about her that is true of her alone, then it is the history of an individual. If, however, any or all of these are true of all of us, it would cease being a reference to a unique, individual event and would have to be interpreted more broadly to capture its intended sense.

When we begin to examine the evidence with these questions in mind, our findings may surprise us. First, we discover that all of us have the breath of life and that it comes from God (Iob 27:3; 32:8; 33:4; 34:14-15; Is 42:5). Then we discover that all creatures have the breath of life, presumably given by God (Gen 7:22).—The Lost World of Adam and Eve, p. 75

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