The contributors to Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin rightly maintain the traditional view of the historicity of Adam and the entry of sin into the world through him. However, the account displays three weaknesses. Firstly, the inerrant authority of Scripture is sometimes interpreted as entailing that the Ancient Near Eastern context of Genesis sheds no light on how it should be read. Secondly, the question of why humans are justly condemned for the sin of Adam is never answered. Thirdly, no ground for dialogue with science is provided. It is more successful in indicating what we should affirm than in grappling with the difficulties of affirming it.
Stephen Williams raises a number of concerns with the book, Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin. The authors, he concludes, fail to grasp the nettle of difficulties facing the Augustinian hamartiology. While some of his objections hit the mark, others are less convincing. Original guilt, in particular, is a resilient doctrine. Rooted in Scripture and of a piece with Christ’s atonement and imputed righteousness, this doctrine resists its detractors. Thus, rumors of the demise of original sin as a viable doctrine have been greatly exaggerated.
In his new book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve, John Walton tries to show that there is no necessary contradiction or tension between the discoveries of modern science when they are rightly understood and what the Bible actually teaches about cosmic and human origins. The reviewer agrees on this point and many others through the book. The major area of disagreement is that, in order to make his argument, Walton proposes there is no material creation in Gen 1–2; that is, creation has to do with establishing functions alone. This is not sustainable from the text. Both material creation and the functions of those things created are essential components of these creation accounts.