Today, I posted the following poll on Twitter:
Christianity requires a historical Adam and Eve.
— Tentative Apologist (@RandalRauser) July 14, 2021
We can approach the question like this: imagine that it turns out that the following Christian doctrines are true: a triune God exists, he created all that exists, and the second person of the Trinity became incarnate as Jesus who died and rose again as an atoning sacrifice to reconcile creation. However, it also turns out that Genesis 1-3 do not refer to actual historical persons/events but rather are mythic texts intended to describe the universal brokenness of creation and the universal need for restoration and healing by way of the aforementioned atoning sacrifice.
In that case, would this religion still be Christianity? It seems to me obvious to me that it would be. And if that is correct, then it would follow that Christianity does not require a historical Adam and Eve.
But then a critic comes along and she says “Let’s grant for the sake of argument, that all those doctrines are true as you said, except for one more: the resurrection of Jesus. What if it turns out that the allegedly historical resurrection of Jesus is, in fact, a symbolic event that God intended to refer to the creation of a people of God, Christ’s body, in the wake of his death. In other words, “The resurrection of the Christ” really means “the formation of a people of God, Christ’s body, at Pentecost.” If that is the case, would it follow that Christianity is still true? If so, then the resurrection of Jesus is not essential to Christianity, despite the testimony of someone like Paul (1 Corinthians 15:14).”
Our critic continues: “To put it another way, here’s the dilemma. If you grant that this ‘resurrection-as-metaphor’ religion would still be Christianity, then you’ve granted that the central historical event at the founding of Christianity, the resurrection, is not necessary for Christianity. That seems wrong, doesn’t it? But if you don’t grant this, if you insist on the contrary that a triune God, creation, and incarnation without resurrection would no longer be Christianity despite the significant doctrinal commonality in these other areas, why think the religion with an ahistorical Adam would still be Christianity, even with the significant doctrinal commonality in other areas?”