Review of Gaffin’s “Adam in the New Testament”
Dr. Gaffin has made available “Adam in the New Testament,” translated from Veersteeg’s original and published by P&R Publishing.
Dr. Gaffin’s primary interest is in preserving not only the historic understanding of a corporeal, real Adam in historical redemption narrative, but also expressing the various ways in which belief in a real Adam impacts New Testament texts. The reality of Adam is essential to a covenantal relationship with God and His community.
Especially insightful is his succinctly worded explanation of the nature of typology as not standing or falling by itself, but central to that “historical analogy” is the redemptive plan of God. Typology outside of the redemptive plan substantially lacks any bearing beyond the coincidence of historical occurrences. Understood in this manner, typology then is an essential element of a God-given covenant and provides a redemptive-historical framework for the ability of the community to trust in the continuity and fulfillment of God’s promises. For continuity of meaning between the Testaments, Adam must be real.
Behind and underneath this understanding is the necessity of a real Adam as the proper foundation for an understanding of the “one and the many” (One’s sins imputed to the many) concept as applied to original sin and the anti-type of the One’s satisfaction of the wrath of God for the many. It is no “historical fiction,” that both events (Adam’s fall and Christ’s resurrection) are both historically real and must be understood as such in order for us to trust in the covenant promises of salvation.
As wonderfully worded as I thought Gaffin’s work is, the repeated use of the phrase “correctly points out” was distracting. When citing other authorities, the author might say “Ridderbos rightly says” or “Lammens is correct” or “Barth is correct” or “Berkouwer rightly says…”. This affirmation of other works is repeated so much in a very short span of pages that I began to lose focus on the assertions the author was advocating.
Other than the excessive “correctly” editorial quirk, I found the content excellently put forth with great effort on precise editorial work, a wide choice of scholarly interaction and a very good representation of those with whom the author disagrees. Dr. Gaffin aligns offensively against the Adam-Model theory and presents a very convincing argument.