BioLogos Allows for De Novo Adam


#1

This is a link for an article published today at BioLogos:

Why I Think Adam was a Real Person in History

June 11, 2018 | By Kathryn Applegate on Endless Forms Most Beautiful

She specifically addresses the @swamidass Model in the text below:

“If I accept a historical Adam, why not also accept a special, de novo creation of Adam?
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 humans who were products of evolution. 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.”
[This last strikes me as rather over-confident, or at least tone-deaf regarding Evangelical bias!]

"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.”

.
.

“For my part, I am indebted to a number of Bible scholars[8] who have persuasively argued that Genesis 2 is not intended to be a blow-by-blow account of how God fashioned two people’s bodies from dust and rib. Consider Genesis 2:7: “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground. . . . . . . As for Eve, Walton points out that the Hebrew word for “rib” could also be translated “side.” Eve is literally Adam’s other half.”
[ ^^ This idea is found in the Zoroastrian Creation Myth, and is discussed at some length in some of the Greek writings about the beginning of the world! ]

It’s a fairly short article… and I think it’s a balanced way of saying there’s some value to the Swamidass Model!


#2

There’s more: Walton points out that Adam’s “deep sleep” is not for “rib surgery,” but for a trance-like vision in which Adam discovers her essential oneness /other halfness / complementarity with him. Eve is not an “also ran,” but completely essential to humanity’s flourishing, made, as she is, “bone of my bones; flesh of my flesh.”
That’s a revolution in his awareness of her significance.
BTW, if that’s how those words are functioning in that context, it also partially illuminates her question.
Adam would seem to have been unaware of other humans around, in existence at his time, including females.
That’s why I posit a scenario where he’s raised as an orphan in the garden by the Malak YHWH Himself.
It was a significant turning point in history, as well as in Adam’s life journey, with implications for all of humanity, who became genealogically linked to him…


#3

Kathryn, if you are reading this. Thank you for your post. I appreciate you sharing your personal views on Adam, and also for referencing my work. This is the first article at BioLogos in 2018 acknowledging a Genealogical Adam, and you are acknowledging that there is no evidence against the de novo creation of Adam. That is great. Regarding your article,

It is encouraging that it:

  1. acknowledges that there is no evidence against (or for) the de novo creation of Adam.
  2. kindly and encouragingly references me.

It is discouraging that it:

  1. incorrectly describes my model.
  2. spends so much time making a theological case against traditional theology.
  3. insists on eisegesis into “human” and “sole-progenitor”
  4. attributes scientifically false claims to my work.

I’m saddened that so much effort was spent arguing against a straw man version of traditional theology. You do not have to affirm traditional theology, but there is no reason to define yourself against it. I’m sure this was accidental, but it is unfortunate. The fact that BioLogos has avoided all mention of a Genealogical Adam, makes the mistakes made here more of a problem. In particular, scientifically false claims are attributed to me, citing my work. That is unfortunate, and puts me in the difficult situation of having to correct the record.

Of course, I wish I could respond directly to you on the BioLogos pages, but at the moment I’m banned from the forums for very unclear reasons. I suppose that this has been a challenging time for BioLogos as they catch up on the science here. I would hope that you would put a high priority on fixing the errors in your article, especially as they pertain to me.


#4

@swamidass

What was the most egregious error on how your model was described? I didn’t catch a problem… I need to “tune up my gain” !!!


#5

Read the Dabar paper you have in your inbox (they have it too), and the answer will be clear.

It is also very telling the immense amount of effort put into arguing against traditional theology. The argument is entirely about theology, and has nothing to do with science. Very concerning pattern here from BioLogos.


#15

Guy, Walton’s idea is that Adam already had a wife, but didn’t understand her spiritual significance as his “other half” until his “visionary experience.” He might then have been aware of others outside the garden, but also aware of his own unique call (as, in theory, Israel was of its separation from the nations). The text is of course underdetermined regarding those kinds of questions.


#17

I am happy to report that Kathryn Applegate was very prompt in her attention to my complaint.

I want to thank and acknowledge her for promptly correcting the mistakes in representing my position. I also thank her for taking out the negative reference to traditional theology.

This article is a contribution of high significance to the conversation, and I’m very glad to see BioLogos moving towards a more open position on this matter. This article clearly articulates that there is a value in a Genealogical Adam, and that the de novo creation of Adam is not contradicted by evidence. Kathryn also acknowledges that there is legitimate debate on the definition of sole-progenitor.

That is all good news to hear coming from BioLogos.


I’ll also apologize for reacting a little strongly to her post. I think the confusion on Kathryn’s part was all innocent errors, as evidenced by her quick effort to change them.

Thank you @jongarvey and @gbrooks9 for making this known at biologos too.


Evening at Trinity Forum in Washington DC
#19

@Kathryn_Applegate, I’ve been thinking about your article, and want to thank you again for writing it. This one passage sticks out to me:

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.

You ask a “serious” question, and I want to answer you. I’d love to engage with this so you can understand what we are doing here. I want to respond to your invitation to think about the theology together. How can that happen? Let’s start that conversation.

Peace.