The fall of "augustinian adam": Original fragility and supralapsarian purpose

John Schneider, Calvin University


This essay is framed by conflict between Christianity and Darwinian science over the history of the world and the nature of original human personhood. Evolutionary science narrates a long prehuman geological and biological history filled with vast amounts, kinds, and distributions of apparently random brutal and pointless suffering. It has also unveiled an original human person with animal psychosomatic heredity. This narrative seems to discredit Christianity's (Augustinian) metanarrative of the Fall-Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. The author contends that the Augustinian story and its character of Adam are implausible, anyway, for reasons of theology and apologetics. He proposes that Christians adopt instead a Supralapsarian metaphysics of original human personhood and existence that grows from the intuitions of Irenaeus. The outcome will be improved Christian theology, more persuasive theodicy, and, above all, peace with Darwinian science. © 2012 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon.