Atonement for an Allegory?

Many Christians read the story of Adam and Eve literally.  Besides the dozens on arguments one could make against this position (the Earth clearly being older the 6,000 years, the survival of the human race after Adam and Eve only conceived male children, etc.), there is the obvious self-delusion and suspension of common sense Christians experience while reading this story.  My goal is to direct a specific argument to any Christian who might be willing to entertain the idea that the Adam and Eve story could be an allegory.

According to Christian doctrine and the New Testament (Hebrews 9:22, Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:22, and so on), Jesus died on the cross to atone for all sins which were born of “original sin” – Adam defying God and eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (yes, there was actually a tree with this name and the story is not an allegory).  So, Jesus had to die as a payment so that we can obtain salvation from the original sin handed down to us from Adam and Eve.

The problem here is this – if a Christian is willing to admit that the Adam and Eve story might be – or is – an allegory, then Jesus’ sacrifice becomes extremely confusing and unnecessary.  Unless there was a real Adam, a real Eve, a real talking snake, a real tree, a real garden with a present and communicating God, Jesus died for a seemingly minor sin perpetuated by a fictional character in a made-up story.  The crucifixion makes no sense unless the Garden of Eden story is true history, which is doubtful.

There it is – Jesus gave us our salvation by dying on the cross to pay for the original sin of a symbolic character in an allegorical tale.


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