03/06/2014 09:25 BST | Updated 04/06/2014 08:59 BST

Bryan College, US Evangelical Christian University, Says 'Adam And Eve Are Historical Persons'

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An evangelical Christian university in the US is under fire after outlawing theories of partial evolution and defining Adam and Eve as "historical persons."

Bryan College, in Tennessee, is now being sued by two former professors over a new “statement of belief” included in employment contracts.

All teachers and staff must sign a document declaring “the origin of man was by fiat of God.”

But a clarification has recently been added defining Adam and Eve as “historical persons”.

It reads: “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

The additional language is said to be a buffer against what the university sees as a marked erosion of Christian values and beliefs across the country.

Stephen Livesay, the president of Bryan College, told the New York Times the change was intended to reaffirm, not alter, the institution’s traditional position.

"It’s in our DNA. It’s who we are,” he added.

But hundreds of students signed a petition against the change of the statement in February.

A letter to the board of trustees said the motion “threatens the atmosphere of academic freedom at Bryan College” and promoted conflict among students.

“It makes Bryan a different place,” said Allison Baker, who graduated this month and was the vice president of the student government, which raised questions about the clarification’s swift enactment. “I would argue it makes it a more narrow place.”

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