Earliest Theories of "Proto-Genealogical" & "Genealogical Adam"

This thread is to be a repository of all writings and references to earlier thinkers who suggested that there were humans on the Earth before Adam and Eve were specially created by God.

At first, it will be a hodge podge of dates and people … but eventually we can craft a concise timeline with a suitable graphic!

Continuing the discussion from What will attract YECs and OECs?:

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Adam’s Ancestors ; Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins (Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
by David N. Livingstone

“In this engaging and provocative work, David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the Middle Ages to the present day. From a multidisciplinary perspective, Livingstone examines how this alternative idea has been used for cultural, religious, and political purposes.”

"He reveals how what began as biblical criticism became a theological apologetic to reconcile religion with science – evolution in particular – and was later used to support arguments for white supremacy and segregation. From heresy to orthodoxy, from radicalism to conservatism, from humanitarianism to racism, Adam’s Ancestors tells an intriguing tale of twists and turns in the cultural politics surrounding the age-old question, “Where did we come from?”

Corollary Problem: Age of the Earth
Johannes Kepler = 1st day of creation was 3992 BCE.
Martin Luther = 4000 BCE.
James Ussher = October 23, 4004 BCE.

Livingstone (see book author above), writes about scholar Jacob Palaeologus, “… a resident of Prague, [who] was reportedly executed in 1585 … for holding to the heresy that because all people were not descended from Adam and Eve, the inheritance of original sin was not universal.”

In a way, Palaeologus stands in as the “anti-Joshua” @swamidass!

Prof. Swamidass has invested time into the problem of how there could be a Pre-Adam population of humans and still have all humanity alive today (or even by the time of the birth of Jesus) ultimately descend from Adam & Eve.

If Joshua had been able to counsel Jacob Palaeologus, he might have enjoyed a good fire in the fireplace… instead of on his reputation!!!

On a very pragmatic level a careful history would help me immensely with my book. This is the current acknowledgements.

This work is a product of the Inquiry into Common Ground at Peaceful Science (http://peacefulscience.org/), supported by a STEAM grant from Fuller Theological Seminary, funded by the Templeton Foundation. Several presentations on a Genealogical Adam were generously organized and funded by The Veritas Forums.

Greg @Cootsona, @TedDavis, Jeff Hardin, Darrel Falk, and Jeff Schloss are recognized for support and service through complex and controversial times.

This manuscript benefited greatly from suggestions and comments from several people, including Clinton Ohlers, Tom McCall, Charles P. Arand, Ben McFarland, Vincent Torley, Ann Gauger, Kenneth Keathley, Chip Hardy, John Hammett, Timothy Saleska, Andrew Loke, Jon Garvey, John Walton, Richard Middleton, and Tremper Longman.

For providing comments on the PSCF article, special thanks to Jeff Hardin, Jeff Schloss, Darrel Falk, Ken Keathley, Gavin Ortlund, Stephen Schaffner, Tom McCall, Loren Haarsma, Jon Garvey, Sy Garte, and Devin Gouvêa, and to Geoffrey Fulkerson, Hans Madume, and Tom McCall for inviting the original submission to an online symposium. Thanks also to the renowned population geneticist, Alan Templeton, for his technical critique. An early version of this manuscript was first published as a supplement to an article in Sapientia of The Creation Project in June 2017.

@Jongarvey, Stephen Schaffner, and David Opderback are recognized for noting on the web, as early as 2010, that there might be significance in recognizing the difference between genetic and genealogical ancestry.

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The next First …but this time with Geologists and Angels!

“In 1860, Isabella Duncan wrote Pre-Adamite Man, Or, The Story of Our Old Planet and Its Inhabitants, Told by Scripture & Science, a mixture of geology and scriptural interpretation. The book was popular among a number of geologists because it mixed biblical events with science. She suggested that the Pre-Adamites are today’s angels.”

The next first non-racist scenarios of pre-Adam humanity!

"Non-racist pre-Adamism can be traced back to Paschal Beverly Randolph, an occultist. Paschal was of Malagasy and Native American ancestry and was a spokesman against slavery."

Paschal believed in Pre-Adamism and wrote Pre-Adamite Man: Demonstrating The Existence of the Human Race Upon the Earth 100,000 Thousand Years Ago! under the name Griffin Lee in 1863. The book was a unique contribution towards Pre-Adamism because it was not based on only biblical grounds. Randolph used a wide range of sources to write his book from many different world traditions, esoterica and ancient religions. In the book, Paschal claims that Adam was not the first man and that pre-Adamite men existed on all continents around the globe 35,000 to 100,000 years ago. His book is different from many of the other writings by other pre-Adamite authors because Randolph claimed that the pre-Adamites were civilised men…

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Before Duncan and long after her

… the world entered into a dark, dark phase of Pre-Adamite thought …

… with the colored races being disputed as to whether they could have descended from Adam …

Out of respect for Humanity’s many millions who suffered at the instigation of such theories… let us not spend a single moment on the racist versions of Pre-Adam scenarios!

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“More recently, such ideas have been promoted by Kathryn Kuhlman and Derek Prince among Pentecostals, John Stott among Anglicans, and Old Earth creationist Hugh Ross.”


“The idea of pre-Adamite man has always been considered useful by many Christians. For example, it seems to solve the problem of where Cain got his wife and who the parties were in the illegal unions described in Genesis chapters 4 to 6. Then again, the discoveries made by archaeologists throughout the nineteenth century … could easily be ascribed to pre-Adamite man.”

“The great ages claimed by Egyptian tomb records could also be explained away as part of the pre-Adamite race. Alexander Winchell (1824-1891), professor of geology at the University of Michigan, produced a masterful work in 1880 titled Pre-Adamites, in which he argued for a single origin of man from ape stock followed by diffusion and formation of [… all the… ] races.”

“The Adamites split off from one of these races, the Dravidians found in India, and became the Caucasians, part of whom later became the Israelites. Winchell claimed that the Bible is only concerned with the history of the Israelites, including their descent from Adam.” [Nevertheless, Winchell’s writings could not escape the racial premises of Western civilization.]

“In … other camp[s], are those so confused and intimidated by evolution of any kind, even variation within the species, that they adopt the notion of pre-Adamite man and multiple origins. Adam becomes a special offshoot, or addition created relatively recently.” [[ < This is reverse “Genealogical Adam” where instead of co-opting all of humanity, Adam divides humanity! ]]

Modern & Rival Schools of Thought
“The consequences of [Pre-Adamite] belief[s] are often not thought through, but from their writings we find some of the great evangelicals of the twentieth century in this second camp. For example, Congregational evangelist R.A. Torrey (1856-1928) believed in the Gap Theory and that pre-Adamites had survived into the present day. He thus advocated a local Flood.”

“More recently we find these ideas have been unwittingly promoted by Kathryn Kuhlman and Derek Prince among the Pentecostals, Dr. John Stott among the Anglicans and Dr. Hugh Ross among any who would listen, to name only a few.”

[But remember this!:]
The Scripture claims: “He has made of one blood every nation of men” (Acts 17:26)."


I’ll sound out my church historian frind - if there are any interesting precedents he’s sure to know of them.

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My frind found an article which, for the most part, goes into purley mythic and critical understandings of Genesis, but has a short historical review on “Cain’s wife”.

The question of the origin of Cain’s wife seems not to have troubled the final redactor-compiler of the Pentateuch, who had larger-scale issues to concern him. But from an early time it did raise an obvious problem among exegetes, as it still does to this day, when the issue is not simply ignored. The book of Jubilees (late second century BC) makes Eve the mother of A^wn, a younger sister of Cain and Abel (4. 1), whom Cain then marries (4. 9). Cassuto asserts that it is his sister whom Cain marries, and that this solution to the problem has been ‘given by all the commentators from Talmudic times to our own day.’[6] But it certainly was not always the solution offered. Josephus appears unacquainted with it,’[7] while Philo is familiar with it, but pronounces it ‘not only unholy but untrue,’[8] before rambling off into an allegorical comparison, edifying rather than informative, of the sons of Seth and those of Cain, during which the awkward wife is conveniently lost to sight. The solution to our problem in terms of Cain’s sister, then, while of considerable antiquity, was a long time becoming established, and involved the provision of a sister of whom the biblical tradition knew nothing.

The point would be that until the late 2nd temple period, no attention (that we know) was paid to the issue, and “cain’s sister” is a late fix. Of course, if the whole genre is some mythological one, Cain’s wife may have just been an inconsistency not noted by the author/editor/redactor. But if (as we have been saying) the story is basically historical, then it seems quite possible that other lineages were simply acknowledged and assumed.

In practice, it means that the interpretive history neither helps nor hinders the case for GA.

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Ignoring the issue is a form of irrational apologia…

Again, here’s Michael Heiser’s presentation of the interpretive options:

Here’s another article by Heiser with links to reviews of Livingston’s book:

Here’s Heiser plowing the same ground as @swamidass, and myself:
Taking Genesis 1-3 at Face Value: Is it Compatible with Recent Genome Research? - Dr. Michael Heiser

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I don’t see how it has much to do with genome research.

The human genome, as it stands now, is a combination of lots of different earlier hominids. Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 doesn’t really point to any of these earlier hominids. The best fit we can find at all is that Adam and Eve might have been part of a small group of humans to first pioneer agriculture.

This puts Eden at no more than 10k or maybe 12k years ago (at the most), or 7k or 6k years ago (at the least).

The only thing that might raise an eye-brow is if God didn’t use evolution at all to create humanity, why are there these odd contributions to the human genome?

If anything, these diverse contributions seem to strengthen the argument that humans were part of an evolutionary trail … with Adam and Eve being created as two tiny dots in a sea of humanity.

@gbrooks9 Both Joshua and myself do not see them as “tiny,” but as having a paradigmatic role to play vis-a-vis humanity. The question of humanity’s physical origins comes in as an issue which is, by comparison, of both minimal concern and only enigmatic Scriptural testimony, as narrated in the transition from Genesis 1:26 to 1:27.
He should speak for himself, though --don’t take my word for his views.