Applegate: Questions About Adam

BioLogos reposted @Kathryn_Applegate’s article again, from 6 months ago.

She acknowledges the Genealogical Adam and Eve:

It might be construed as cherry-picking to accept a literal Adam but reject the vivid description of Adam and Eve being formed of dust and rib. Indeed, one recent proposal put forward by Joshua Swamidass envisions just such a de novo , special creation of Adam and Eve, whose offspring interbred with biologically compatible beings outside the Garden, who were created by an evolutionary process. Any such genetic evidence would not be expected to be preserved. This approach has the hermeneutical advantage (according to some) of de novo creation of a single pair, while at the same time allowing for evolution of the rest of humanity.

Science is silent here: it doesn’t point to this possibility, nor does it rule it out. Of course God could have miraculously created Adam and Eve in this way, but it doesn’t seem necessary for affirming a historical pair. Also, one wonders why God would make two individuals who are presumably biologically identical to other humans at that time. Furthermore, is this hypothesis any more likely than one that supposes we were all created de novo five minutes ago, with implanted memories of our childhoods and what we ate for breakfast? (I am not poking fun—this is a serious question! Science doesn’t rule this out either.) In my view, this creative proposal deserves further reflection.

I’m glad she put this in print. She asks me some questions in this article. I suppose I have two questions in return:

  1. When are you ready to dialogue about this? You’ve asked some questions, and I’d love to fill you in. Why not have a conversation about this here? It is a serious question right? Let’s have the conversation.

  2. At what point is BioLogos going to clarify their position on Adam and Eve? At the moment, your affirmation that there is no evidence against the de novo creation of Adam and Eve is in direct conflict with BioLogos’s official position on Adam and Eve (see In Defense of Tim Keller).

@Kathryn_Applegate, I imagine you can’t fully answer the second question, but hopefully you can stop in sometime for conversation about the first question. It could be fun.


5 posts were split to a new topic: Comments on Applegate and Adam

What ever is going on with BioLogos, @Kathryn_Applegate is a friend, and it seems sensible to continue the conversation with her.


Thanks, @swamidass. That’d be nice sometime. Unfortunately I’m up to my eyeballs right now as my kids have been off of school all week with the crazy winter storm we’ve had here in the Midwest.

  1. I’d be glad to read your thoughts, @swamidass, on the questions I posed, but given my other comment re time crunch right now (which is a perennial problem, and I’m sure as frustrating to you as it is to me!), I don’t have much time for back-and-forth. Please do consider responding to the questions I posed.

  2. The post you linked to, “In Defense of Tim Keller,” does not describe the “official position” of BioLogos. The closest thing we have to an official position is our Common Question on Adam and Eve, which describes a variety of viewpoints. The position you put forward is not excluded even if it is not explicitly mentioned. And of course, this is an evolving document.

Dialogue requires at least two participants. I’ve been waiting 6 months to have a conversation with you. About 1.5 years to have a conversation with BioLogos on this topic. Still waiting. Writing something that you don’t have time to engage with is not a good use of anyone’s effort. No thanks.

I trust it really was a “serious” question from you, but just not a high priority. If and when it becomes important, I am sure you will make time to dialogue. When you are ready to have a conversation, I will be here waiting. Till then, best wishes in surviving the weather!


This is a very important area of discussion. For those who have arrived at a non-fundamentalist approach to Genesis this is an issue that must be addressed. Everyone who goes through that process ends up here at this spot eventually. I’m here. Waiting.

I’m a theologian, not a scientist. I need the scientists to help me here. A conversation (please, not a “vs.” debate) is what is needed. This would be a service to the Church. As brothers and sisters in Christ discuss all the issues surrounding Adam and Eve in a collegial manner. Think Chesterton here. Lively discussion with kindness and humour. We need this.


Then invite her here and continue the conversation with her here.


Yes, I know. That official position, actually, does rule out a genealogical Adam, de novo created. This is known by Haarsma, Stump, and others at BioLogos. They did not tell you? Also, the post I linked too was referent to Deborah Haarsma’s statements on this, that do constitute the official position of BioLogos.

Many of us are waiting for BioLogos to correct the scientific errors in this statement. That was the point of the article that I linked to here:

I know that you do not specifically control the BioLogos position @Kathryn_Applegate, but right now it is not aligned with the best science. I hope that this can be fixed sometime soon. I understand that BioLogos is primarily a theologically motivated organization, but it is still important to get the science right.

That is exactly what we are doing.

If I could be so bold…we need Lamoureux, Walton, Enns, Swamidass, Applegate, et al., to sit down for a coffee or a beer (as a Lutheran I’m happy with both/and) and discuss as brothers and sisters this important area and let us listen in.


I entirely agree. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be something that most of them are willing to do anytime soon. @Kathryn_Applegate, to be clear, is a friend of mine and I think is genuinely busy.


7 posts were split to a new topic: Scholars Over and Under 45

Yes that 3 day a week job at Biologos (24 hrs/wk according to Biologos 990) can keep one very busy.

I believe she is also the primary caregiver for several children. I applaud that she is making meaningful contributions through a job beyond taking care of her children (which also is a meaningful contribution).


I applaud her also. Being the mother of several children is the most important job of her life.


Amen to that.

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Did Kathryn Applegate ever resume the conversation above, even if only privately?

I understand the need for her to make her children the first thing in her life, and I don’t fault her for not being able to reply to your questions at once, but surely she has had plenty of time to think about the points you have raised. Had BioLogos not made official statements, her slowness to deal with the questions might be understandable, but since it has made official statements, and she is one of the senior people there, one would think she would have been able to find some time over the last two years to think about your questions. Were I in her position at BioLogos, I would be making the question more of a priority.

No she did not.