April 6, 2003 / Volume 3, Issue 14
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Is everyone descended from Adam and Eve? Genesis 3:20 says yes, but Hebrews 7:3 indicates that Melchizedek was not descended from them. Is there a contradiction?
All humans have descended from Adam and Eve. The questioner would do well to consider the contextual meaning of Hebrews 7:3, which gives a suitable explanation for the writer's phraseology.
The writer is comparing two priesthoods, the Levites which came through Aaron, and Melchizedek. Without entering into a lengthy discussion of the Melchizedek priesthood, the words employed by the writer are to illustrate how different and superior Melchizedek (and thus Christ) is to the Levitical priesthood.
The Levites were dependent upon genealogies. One could not serve as a priest unless he was able to establish by genealogy that he was a direct descendent of Aaron (Ezra 2:59-62). The words "...without father, without mother, without genealogy..." are not intended to mean that Melchizedek was devoid of parents or any type of ancestry, but rather that such details had not been recorded in the meticulous manner of the Jews. Though Moses mentions the man, and highly exalts him, nothing is said of his genealogy. Likewise, "...having neither beginning of days nor end of life...", does not mean that Melchizedek was without birth or death, but again, these details were not placed in record.
The Jews esteemed so highly their priesthood, but the writer makes the point that this Melchizedek (and the one who would be priest according to his order) are superior to the Aaronic priests (see context). In 70 AD, when Jerusalem was demolished, the records of their genealogy were also destroyed. No one today can honestly serve as a priest according to the order of Aaron, since the proof does not exist. However, the order of Melchizedek is still abounding, as it is not dependent upon genealogies, but faithful service to the Lord.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible