In YEC, WHEN Was Adam?

There has been a lot of debate about whether or not YECs are certain that Adam and Eve were 6,000 years ago, or if they might consider other options. This article is an important read, and appears in the AIG website:

Within orthodox Christianity, a group of theologians, philosophers, and scientists have affirmed that Adam was created by God around 10,000 BC to 4000 BC. They are known as young-earth creationists. Within the category of young-earth creationists are two subsets: (1) chronogenealogical young-earth creationists who believe that the Bible does not allow for genealogical gaps in Genesis 5 and 11, thus establishing Adam’s creation around 4000 BC and (2) non-chronogenealogical young-earth creationists who believe that the Bible allows for the possibility of genealogical gaps in Genesis 5 and 11 that would not violate hermeneutical rules, thus allowing for a creation date of Adam up to 10,000 BC. This article reveals how young-earth creationists have concluded this approximate age of Adam and to explain the reason for a 6,000 year range between both groups

Of note, AIG does insist on 6,000 years ago (see, but many YECs take a different view from a purely textual point of view.


I wonder if you could re-visit why the initial impetus to have a literal Adam and Eve, but to place them about 9,000 to 7,000 years earlier than the traditional 6,000 years ago.

I assume you hope to find a way of fitting the Biblical narrative into a timeline that better fits the physical evidence.

If this is not too off-based an assumption, the main @swamidass scenario has an “evolved humanity” that leads up to 15kya, and right on through into the “Biblical Age”. This would fit the conventional timeline that historians present for the beginnings of irrigation and other agricultural related activities.

Since we are not treating the 15kya time frame as an orphan, it becomes less crucial to have Adam & Eve placed there as well. In fact, there are certain advantages to placing God’s “Garden Laboratory” (aka Eden) in the chronology where most Evangelical interpretations place them: 6000 years ago.

Since the human population is “busy as bees” long before Adam and Eve make their appearance (via special creation), and we don’t have to rely on Adam and Eve to provide all the manpower for the finds we have already identified, the “miraculous pair” can conveniently slide most anywhere in the timeline.

That being said, we anticipate more Evangelical support for putting the pair where they have already put them. And since the scenario is embracing both the evolutionary side and the miraculous side of human development, nothing is being ignored, and we expect the least amount of “friction” by not requiring Adam & Eve’s presence to explain human artifacts prior to 4000 BCE (6000 years ago).

For example, the Genesis descriptions don’t really mention anything about a fading cold spell that would suggest the dwindling away of the Ice Age climate effects (per your good graphic you include in your post above). So we can, without any guilt, let the pre-adams suffer those cold crisp nights - - with the anticipation that Adam and Eve are created in a more temperate context.

Following this logic - - and seeing that we have a population of at least 10,000 humans by 15kya - - does your version of events suffer much if we slide the “Adam/Eve” epoch into the 6kya time frame?

Yes; in fact, it’s why Hugh Ross is not willing to give Joshua’s work more public creedence, yet. He raises the objection that 6 kya is too late for a Persian Gulf Eden that is not already underwater.
The Genesis 5 genealogies are demonstrably filled with gaps, and never even added up by the authors of Scripture. They work according the ancient Hebrew conventions for genealogical reporting, not to what the modern English translations seem to convey.

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Do you agree that it’s silly to reject 6 kya because Eden would have to be under water then? And while the time frame of the existing genealogies is a mess, it is certainly easier to accept the “received time” than to adamantly insist where Eden had to be.

Isn’t that a little like saying only one angel can stand on a pin, because “Angels like lots of elbow room?”

As for the Genesis 5 genealogies… it’s easy to say they must be wrong … and much harder to say what would be the corrected estimate of time, right?

For those interested in the successful reception of @swamidass’ work, I keep coming back to this general rule:

The more elements of the work differ from “received Genesis”, especially when alternatives are even more vague or contentious, the harder it’s going to make the reception.

The rule I follow is to look for truth, not just popular reception from a public unaware of the Hebrew nuances obliterated by the English translations.
Error, arrived at through merely pragmatic means, is still error. That’s a silly strategy. I’m looking for nothing less than the truth.
That’s what will establish Josh’s work on GA.


Good rule Guy. Me too.

@Guy_Coe, Truth is much easier to arrive at when you leave general ideas general - - because you don’t have the specifics.

Why would you insist on the special creation of Adam and Eve be based on archaeological evidence … left by the “evolved Human population of 10,000”? The scenario does have humans in existence at your preferred time frame.

What is new with @swamidass’ work is that while the “evolved adams” explain the concrete findings in the field, we can put the “specially created Adam/Eve” wherever the Bible seems to put them.

It doesn’t appear that the Bible is describing the 15kya time period (with its colder temperatures). So, whatever adjustments one places on the flawed genealogies, the adjustment shouldn’t be bumping into the incorrect climate conditions, yes?


Have you had time to consider the three “finger print” options for the Cambrian?

All three of them are those that you have discussed on the Australian thread …
but I wasn’t sure which one you favored.

Typo: the finger-print choices are in the Australian thread, not the Cambrian thread.
But they come after we were discussing the article you cite about the Cambrian explosion.

Gosh; did you even read the article? Colder worldwide temperatures don’t entail specific regional cold temperatures; the Persian Gulf at that time was a refuge from colder temperatures.
I don’t argue for a completely “de novo” creation for Adam and Eve; in fact, the Hebrew verb ‘bara’ is almost entirely missing from the chapters which tell the story of Adam and Eve.
What is “new” about them is their illegitimately acquired capacity for “knowing good AND evil” --the gaining of a capacity for sophisticated moral and immoral reasoning, to the degree that they choose to defy God’s expressed prohibition, doubting His character and intentions for their good.
Prior to this there were no explicit prohibitions, and so moral accountability begins in earnest for Adam and Eve and their lineage.
Read Walton’s explanation of the literary relationship between Genesis chapter 1-2:4, and Genesis 2:4b ff., as well as the meaning of the “deep sleep” of Adam and how it relates to the “rib” from which Eve is formed. While I don’t like his treatment of Adam using categories, I do see heurism in the things I just mentioned.
Perhaps you noticed that Josh responded favorably, with a “heart” icon, to the article?
Yes, I agree that we want Adam and Eve where the Bible puts them --not where the English translation seems to suggest they belong.
I disagree, in other words, on 6 kya as that figure.

I think @gbrooks9 has missed the mark on that one too. The Younger Dryas began 12.9 KYA. Just before that time temperatures were much closer to present day temperatures. This would be your window (and mine) for Adam…the cold would not be a factor until they were out of the Garden anyway.

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I happen to agree with virtually every one of your positions… if we are discussing a clearly polarized set of options: Evolved Humanity of 10,000 vs. Specially Created Humanity of 2.

But this isn’t the context of our discussion. Everything you object to happened in the Eden laboratory… with the only lasting effect on the rest of the world, apparently, is Adam and Eve themselves. God’s curse is simply a statement of conditions outside of Eden… so even that isn’t a “change”.

The positions you are standing on are well earned and well conceived … when we have the dialectic of Evolution OR Special Creation… 10,000 OR Two (2).

But you haven’t really discovered yet that if we have both of these, it doesn’t mean we have to arm wrestle the “Adam/Eve” arc to the ground like in prior years. It doesn’t really matter where you put Eden … as long as it is consistent with the conventional interpretations of Genesis.

I understand that you think Genesis isn’t well thought out in terms of philosophy and natural history. But under the Swamidass operating conditions, Adam and Eve don’t have to do the same heavy lifting. All they have to do is join the rest of humanity and things proceed from that point onward.

Frankly, I’ve never been a fan of “special creation of Adam & Eve”. But for the sake of this project, I can accept the logic of having both “systems” in operation. If I planted my feet and said: I will only accept Truth, I would already be gone … because I don’t find much truth in the Special Creation scenarios.

Now, here you are (and I’m putting @swamidass right here so he can note this specifically)… you are saying, you will only accept truth, and you just don’t think Adam & Eve were really specially created, but however they were created, it has to be some time frame different from Genesis (even though we already have humans operating in your preferred time frame). The only thing that happens when you insist that Adam & Eve be in the very same time period is that you drive away the very people we are trying to show :

“There is a way that allows for a 6kya Adam & Eve - - except when Guy_Coe is around.”

Wouldn’t it just be easier to let the evolved humans have their real time frame, and let the Created Pair have their “idealized figurative Eden” ? If Adam & Eve are already created, or living, in an “illigitimate” context (“illigitimate” is your word), then you must already acknowledge that they are not the genuine article. And if that is so, you can’t form any kind of Truth regarding them, no matter where you put them.


If you aren’t going to label the interpretation of the three scales, could you at least explain the difference between the Blue Temperature (centigrade) and the Green Temperature (centigrade)? -45 C. seems pretty cold to me; so I assume we are ignoring the blue scale. What is the Green scale reporting?

It is but GISP is measuring temps in GREENLAND. Its going to be cold. Its cold now. Cariaco is a better model as its in Venezuela much closer in lat to Mesopotamia.

So now that I know Cariaco is a city in South America … I can say your observations are all true.

But we should note that there is an abnormally deep plunge in temperature right in the middle of @Guy_Coe’s preferred time range.

It doesn’t matter so long as the Garden was over before the plunge. As it is in both his date, and mine based on scripture.


This is based on the assumption that Eden is itself walled off (by some kind of divine force field) from the rest of the Earth… Any Evangelical I’ve found so inclined to discuss things like climate say the world’s climate was perfect everywhere - - until the Fall.

If you can imagine a God-covered Eden, I can imagine that he did it 6000 years ago.

And so, we get to the nub of the problem again. You have your pigeonholes for evangelicals, and so misinterpret large portions of what has been said. It was the human experience of God’s good creation that changed, not the creation itself.
Prior to the fall, no human conceived of an afterlife in which anything in our lifetimes would be adjudged unfavorably by God; we weren’t morally sophisticated enough yet to understand evil, or its ramifications. We had yet to commit any accountable evil.
After the fall, the neurological changes entailed in gaining that knowledge, viz., a “new capacity for the knowledge of good AND evil,” including the dramatic enlargement and neurological/ neurochemichal changes to the neocortex, get fixed as traits that are passed on to succeeding generations. And then, there are also the changes in spiritual dynamics which led God to cut off access to the tree of life, by exiling us to more hostile conditions outside the garden.
If you don’t like that analysis, ignore it.
Joshua will make his own decisions, but this has been a long, uphill battle, for me, to not be prejudged because of theological caricatures. You’re free to imagine what you like, but at the end of the day, I am not accountable for your presumptions. Sound fair?

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I have the same complaint as @Guy_Coe. You ascribe positions to me and others based on your stereotypes and you have an extremely hard time getting past them, much moreso than is common. We all have our weaknesses but I do encourage you to work past that particular habit.

The Garden is a walled garden because the word translated “garden” means a walled garden. I never considered it was a “Divine Force Field”, just a special valley with mountains on all sides. David Rohl has a location like that he favors, near the city of Tabriz. I have one I think is even better just west of Lake Van and Mount Nemrut (the eastern one). The location of the garden is not that important. The timing is more important, and I think there is a lot of both scriptural and historical evidence for a date just over 13K ago.


You seem to think that your views are going to be “helpful” to the process of winning over Evangelicals. But you don’t seem to have any empathy for their views.

Just look at your 3rd sentence:
“It was the human experience of God’s good creation that changed, not the creation itself.”

This sounds just fine to me … as a Unitarian Universalist. But in the role of “religious diplomat” in which I see us here as serving in, that is a terrible sentence. No traditional YEC (or No True Scotsman YEC?) would accept that sentence.

And I think I know why we have this impasse: you think @swamidass is going to define Truth. But how can we, given our general state of ignorance?

What I think he is going to do is create a whole range of possible interpretations, from which any given Evangelical might accept as the best fit.

I think what you propose is fair IF you also accept that there is going to be more than one version developed, in response to different audiences insistence that their views be reflected. Obviously, the Good Doctor cannot make one specific version of Truth. He must create a range of options, under a general description of Truth.

So instead of insisting that Adam and Eve could only have been created sometime between 15kya and 13kya, he is going to say something like, Adam & Eve as special creations could fit into human history anywhere between 400,000 and 6,000 years ago.

I will get off the specific 6,000 range, if you get off your specific 15-13000 range. We can talk about our preferred versions… but we can only insist that the general statement of the scenario “accommodate” the various Evangelical schools of thinking - - rather than deny an option from them. How can we deny something when we don’t have firm evidence to declare one time or another?

How does that sound?

@swamidass, if this sounds wrong, let me know. I’m a good soldier.

P.S. to @Guy_Coe:
You do understand, don’t you, that my personal views about what really happened and what definitely didn’t happen, do not look anything like the @swamidass views, right?

I will refocuse your attention on his original question. He asked what our models are. 'Nuff said.