The PCA Rocky Mountain Presbytery Approves Overture on Historicity of Adam

The overture urges the GA “to adopt and reaffirm the position of the PCUS General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, and 1924 as expressing the mind of this Court on the issue of the evolution and existence of the historical Adam.”

The PCA Rocky Mountain Presbytery, meeting in Ft. Collins, Colo. on January 26, approved sending an overture to the General Assembly asking that it reaffirm its confessional position on the existence and historicity of Adam. The overture entitled, “Declaration Rejecting All Evolutionary Views of Adam’s Origin,” will be considered by the 40th PCA General Assembly that will meet in Louisville, Ky., June 19-22, 2012.

The overture was sent to the Rocky Mountain Presbytery by the Session of Northwoods Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne, Wy., asking that it be sent to the PCA General Assembly.

Specifically, the overture urges the GA “to adopt and reaffirm the position of the PCUS General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, and 1924 as expressing the mind of this Court on the issue of the evolution and existence of the historical Adam.”

The same resolution was adopted by three General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), the denomination from which the PCA was formed in 1973. The resolution asks the GA to reaffirm:

That Adam and Eve were created, body and soul, by immediate acts of Almighty power, thereby preserving a perfect race unity;

That Adam’s body was directly fashioned by Almighty God, without any natural animal parentage of any kind, out of matter previously created from nothing.

The overture supports its request by referring to the fact that questions about the origin and existence of Adam have recently become common within evangelicalism, and that evolution continues to be a hotly debated issue in our society and churches.

Overture to the 40th PCA General Assembly:
Declaration Rejecting All Evolutionary Views of Adam’s Origin

Whereas, questions about the origin and existence of Adam have become common within evangelicalism so that the June 2011 Christianity Today featured an article entitled “The Search for the Historical Adam: Some scholars believe genome science casts doubt on the existence of the first man and woman. Others say the integrity of the faith requires it;” and

Whereas, evangelicalism has seen the increasing influence of organizations such as The Biologos Forum founded to defend the following view: “We have found that the methods of the natural sciences provide the most reliable guide to understanding the material world, and the current evidence from science indicates that the diversity of life is best explained as a result of an evolutionary process.” Biologos purports to be evangelical and accept the authority of Scripture but yet“[i]t accepts the modern scientific consensus on the age of the earth and common ancestry, including the common ancestry of humans;” and

Whereas, evolution continues to be a hotly debated issue in our society and churches; and

Whereas, the General Assembly of the old Southern Presbyterian Church (PCUS) adopted the declaration below in 1886, 1888, and 1924; and

Whereas, the rejection of said declaration in 1969 was a sign of the apostasy of the PCUS; and

Whereas, the Bible teaches clearly that “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7, English Standard Version); and

Whereas, the Presbyterian Church in America has confessed this truth in its Standards: “After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall” (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q/A 17); and

Whereas, John Aspinwall Hodge in his book What is Ecclesiastical Law as Defined by the Church Courts? has summarized the view of the Presbyterian Church throughout history in making declarations on controversial topics as follows:

In the opinion of the General Assembly any of our church courts have the right and responsibility to bear witness against any printed publication which is circulated within their bounds, which in its judgment inculcates injurious opinions, whether the author be dead or living, or whether in our denomination or not. Any church court may warn its Church against any erroneous book, even when it is not thought necessary to arraign the author as a heretic.

And, “This right is regarded as one of the most precious and powerful means of bearing testimony and of guarding the Church from error” (122–123).

Therefore, be it resolved that Rocky Mountain Presbytery hereby overture the 40th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to adopt and reaffirm the position of the PCUS General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, and 1924 as expressing the mind of this Court on the issue of the evolution and existence of the historical Adam:

That Adam and Eve were created, body and soul, by immediate acts of Almighty power, thereby preserving a perfect race unity;

That Adam’s body was directly fashioned by Almighty God, without any natural animal parentage of any kind, out of matter previously created from nothing.