The PCA’s Fellowship Presbytery, which covers several counties of South Carolina, has adopted a position statement regarding Genesis 2:7 in light of a recent book by Covenant Seminary Old Testament Professor C. John Collins: Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? Who They Were and Why You Should Care.
On the recommendation of its Membership Committee, the presbytery adopted the following position statement: “The members of Fellowship Presbytery affirm that the Scriptures, specifically Genesis 1 and 2, teach that Adam and Eve are historical individuals, that Adam and Eve were specially created by God through His direct intervention and that God formed Adam, the first man, from the dust of the ground. The members of Fellowship Presbytery deny that Genesis 2:7 means that God acted upon a group of humans or hominids to set apart the first couple. Anyone seeking to be ordained within Fellowship Presbytery or to transfer his ordination into Fellowship Presbytery must agree with the above statements.”
Michael Dixon, pastor of Christ Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill, S.C., said the decision to adopt this statement was not because the presbytery has dealt with pastoral candidates with variances of belief on Genesis 2. [Collins’] book started it, Dixon said. “The statement was drafted not because we were trying to trap anybody in the presbytery. It’s a chance for us to be up front and candid about our views.”
Collins said his book was never intended to serve as “ecclesiastical criteria,” but rather aims to help those with a scientific background. “It was [an approach that Francis] Schaeffer had: ‘What do I believe?’ versus ‘What do I consider to be reasonable boundaries?’ I wrote with the boundaries in mind. I didn’t write to denounce anyone, but to help people think things through. I have the impression that this bothers some people who would prefer something sharper.”
Collins went on to say that his book was written for Christians, for scientists, and for those who want to work through issues relating to science and affirming the historicity of Adam and Eve. Collins also said that he included perspectives that he doesn’t agree with and that presenting his own viewpoint wasn’t the book’s goal. “I describe views that I don’t hold and try to help people figure out boundaries,” Collins said.
Dixon believes the debate shows the strength of the PCA, “a denomination that is concerned with primary doctrine. I like the fact that we can exchange ideas. Iron sharpens iron; there’s always friction and always heat.”