Ken Keathley: How High Are The Stakes?

What is really important about this article is that @kkeathley writes as an OEC. If OEC’s pick up the GAE, this would really be helpful.

Currently there appears to be two options: the genetic Adam model and the genealogical Adam model.Probably the greatest challenge presently facing old earth creationists is the question of where to place Adam and Eve in the flow of history. The genetic model posits an original couple, created de novo , Adam and Eve, who serve as the headwaters of the human race.

What are your thoughts @AJRoberts?

14 posts were split to a new topic: Comments on Keathley: What is at Stake?

Its not what science says but HUMAN BEINGS. (tailless primates for some) its incompetent interpretation of data. What god says about things is more likely true.
So if this dude rejects Gods word on some then why accept on other??
something has got to give.

@swamidass Josh, without getting into details which would be necessary in a more comprehensive and careful response (because Ken glosses some pretty important points that would need to be more detailed about which data drive the dating of a genetic pair and to which locale), I think the really important part to me* is where @KenKeathley leaves off. For me it is an issue of the image of God. All humans are created in the image of God. A genetic model solves this problem. A genealogical model does not.

*Others at RTB would place the importance on the historicity of Adam and Eve on additional reasons, perhaps of greater or equal importance to that of the Imago Dei (image of God).

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Please explain. Why not?


Actually that is not the case :slight_smile:. There have been many revisions to the book.

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Hi AJ,

I always appreciate your insights. You’re right that the essay “glosses” over matters that need more detail. However, the word limit was 1500 (and I still went over), so the article had to be a compact as possible. BTW, I do note (in passing) that the Genealogical model has greater challenges than the Genetic model concerning the Imago Dei.


That’s good to hear, but you know I don’t have time to reread the whole book right now. :wink:

I don’t see how you could have erased the problem so easily, since in your previous workshop version you had biologically and philosophically indistinguishable humans outside the garden.

I am not saying that one can’t reconcile a genealogical model with some explanation such as, all extant humans (now and at the time of Torah or at least Jesus) are/were in the image of God if “image of God” entails merely a vice regency and covenantal relationship with God and if such was established or instantiated with a de novo (or even representative, selected and translocated) pair.


Yes, Ken, I saw that, and that’s where I picked-up/began my response.

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@kkeathley are you in the structuralist camp?

Also, I’m curious the grounding for linking the Image of God to Adam and Eve exclusively. There is no scripture like Romans 5 to consider and the monogenesis tradition is silent about it too. There does not seem to be scripture to support insisting on a single point origin to the Image of God. People outside the Garden in the Image of God seem no more a challenge to the structuralist than intelligent aliens.

What am I missing?

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As I’ve said the new version expands on this extensively. Really addressing the objections raised by you and WLC in much more detail, and also discussing several ways of erasing the problem. If you haven’t read the new version, there is a lot to catch up on.

So must it arise with Adam or could it arise earlier?

Also must all biological humans in the past be in the Image of God or not?

@kkeathley is a really important voice. If we can answer his theological objections it will be a big step for us. Even if he disagrees on evolution, that reduces evolution to being theologically neutral.

I’d agree with @Guy_Coe on this. I don’t think you have yet demonstrated that the GAE has a problem. Rather you are just showing you’ve handled it differently, by relying on genetics, which is anachronistic to Scripture. I’m not sure about this.

I remind you also that Kemp and @Andrew_Loke solve this in a structuralist way, distinct from my solution. Moroever, many theologians are not structuralists, but are vocationalists instead.

There has not been much consideration on how to separate what must be assigned to Adam and Eve uniquely, and what could have come before him. From the experience of talking to about a 100 scholars on this, that conversation is just now beginning. It had been taken as an unconsidered assumption that everything we identify as human in today’s context must have arisen from Adam, but it should be clear that some of these things could have arisen independent of him.

Structuralist have the hardest time with this, because they want to bind all “humanness” together. I give several ways they can resolve this beyond, for example, how Loke and Kemp resolve (and they are structuralist).


So @kkeathley, has a few really interesting lines in this article.


Like Genesis 2, the events of Genesis 3 are presented in a straightforward narrative. Genesis 2 establishes human uniqueness and Genesis 3 establishes human sinfulness.

If the hang up is human uniqueness in Genesis 2, which does seem to be an important layer, there are several solution. I just added a one point to the manuscript in response to just this concern.

Acknowledge a typological or archetypal layer, the narrative could simultaneously be teaching “humanities” uniqueness as a whole (including those outside the garden), even though the story itself is idiosyncratic to Adam and Eve.

Alternatively, one could just move AE backwards in time to the origin of “human uniqueness,” perhaps 50,000 or 150,000 years ago.

Challenges for RTB

  1. First, the genetic evidence indicates that M-Eve and Y-Adam lived at least 100,000 years ago. Some studies indicate the date may be even more ancient.

  2. Second, all indicators are that M-Eve and Y-Adam were in Africa, not in Mesopotamia. This is difficult to reconcile with the biblical account. Genesis 2 squarely puts the Garden in “the east of Eden,” in the vicinity of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

These issues are well known. I’d add also that there is interbreeding between Sapiens and Neanderthals. That is a real challenge for structuralists, that I don’t know how they can really reconcile, but I’d love to see them make it work!

Keathley Claims GAE For OEC

It is helpful to note that the question at hand focuses specifically on human origins. As stated, one could hold that all life, except human life, came about by evolutionary means and still be considered an old earth creationist. Someone who believes that Adam and Eve were the special creation of God would be viewed as an OEC proponent rather than an EC advocate.

I think this is a very important move. It seems to be the view of evolutionary creationists at BioLogos too, as they are not yet ready to include de novo creation of Adam and Eve. This, once again, this why it is important for us to stay away from the EC label. Let OEC and EC embrace the GAE model (with and without de novo creation if need be), but at PS we want to represent secular science here. We have a big enough tent for everyone, and we do not need others to change sides.

What do you think @dga471, @Jordan, @cwhenderson, @deuteroKJ ?

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@AJRoberts, I missed this post from you. Sorry about that! I get what you are saying. I dove into the details a bit too quick.

I understand you can’t read the book yet too. No sweat. I’ll look forward to your thoughts when you do.


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That’s so generous a standard for OEC that it deserves a completely separate name, and reserve OEC for the folks who think there are separate kinds created at intervals through earth history.


If @kkeathley is such an important voice, he does owe his “followers” that he is at least current on the findings of science with regard to human origins. Results from paleontology, ancient DNA, ancient DNA of crops and animals, are making startling discoveries in human history of the past million years. It would be a shame if any theology conflicts with any these new science discoveries because of inattention to the latest discoveries.


And interbreeding between Sapiens and Denosivasans, more so in Oceania.

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