The allegorical view of Genesis is implausible. Here my reasons for saying that:
There’s Little To No Clues In The Text That Suggest It’s Meant To Be Non-Historical – As I read Genesis, there’s very little that suggests to me that it’s meant to be non-historical. Allegorists usually point out that the human predicament is clearly seen in the text. We humans had a nice relationship with God, we chose to sin, this cut us off from God. Satan is the one who tempted us away from God. God promised to send a savior who will crush the serpent’s head, and so on. True, Genesis does contain these elements, but why wouldn’t it? After all, Adam and Eve really did sin. Sin really does separate us from God. The devil tempts people to sin. And God did promise to send a Savior. This makes as much sense on the historical view as it does the allegorical view.
While you could interpret Adam and Eve as being representative of the whole human race, and the situation we got ourselves in. I see no reason why you should.
Jesus implied that they were real people – Jesus seemed to imply that Adam and Eve were real people when he taught about marriage and his second coming.
“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left
and went into the region of Judea to the
other side of the .
Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him
to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any
and every reason?’ “Haven’t you read,”
he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and
said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to
his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but
one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ ‘Why
then,” they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of
divorce and send her away?’ Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your
wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the
beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual
immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.’” – Matthew 19:1-9 Jordan
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and
giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing
about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is
how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. ”
– Matthew 24:37-39 Man.
Since Jesus is God (John 1), certainly Jesus would be in the position to know whether or not these people were real. Now, some have argued that Jesus was merely accommodating to the beliefs of the Jews of the day. Rather than debate the historicity of Adam and Eve, He assumed they were historical for the sake of the argument, just to get his point across. But this seems implausible. Jesus never tolerated theological error. When the scribes and Pharisees were in error, He gladly corrected them, sometimes with snarky language like “Have you not read…” which would be akin to me saying to a pastor “Dude, do you even read The Bible at all?” In fact, Jesus corrected them in one of the very passages I’ve cited above.
The New Testament Epistles Imply Their Historicity -- Paul refers to Jesus as “The Last Adam”. Physical and spiritual death came to the whole human race because of Adam, but physical and spiritual life will be returned to the human race because of Jesus Christ. So Paul says that Jesus is sort of like an Anti-Adam. Eve’s husband brought death while the church’s husband (Jesus) brought life. Whereas Adam failed in completely obeying God The Father, Jesus succeeded.
The Genelogies In The Gospels --- Out of all of the problems I have with an allegorical interpretation of Genesis, this may be the most powerful argument against it. Nobody thinks that Jesus was a fictional character. Not even atheists (except for lay atheists on the internet). The secular historical evidence is overwhelming for Jesus of Nazareth’s historical existence (see my article “Did Jesus Exist?” for the evidence). However, the gospels link Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Noah, and all the way back to Adam. Now, the allegorical view of Genesis 1-11 cannot make any sense of this. If we believe that The Bible is inspired and innerant, than it seems an exegetical absurdity to conclude that Adam and Noah are only character made up in a parable, but everyone from Abraham to Jesus are 100% real.
Think about it, this would be like reading a history book about Ronald Regan, and looking at his genealogies. You trace Regan’s lineage all the way back to Rumplestiltskin! You would have historical figures tracing their lineage all the way back to non-historical persons! The only way to maintain that Genesis 1-11 is allegorical, and yet Adam and Eve, and Noah, are fictional characters, you would need to deny biblical inerrancy and say that Matthew and Luke made a mistake. Although if your theology is liberal enough to deny the historicity of Genesis, you may not have a problem with denying inerrancy.
Would Anyone Have Concluded Allegory If Not For Darwinian Evolution – I can’t help but wonder if anyone prior to the 19th century would have concluded that Genesis 1-11 was non-historical if it were not for the advent of Darwinian evolution. Granted, I have not read every theological commentary on Genesis from the time the Torah was written to the present, but from the ones I know about, they all thought Adam and Eve were historical individuals. Indeed, as I said above, the entire doctrine on original sin was based on it.