Continuing the discussion from Bottlenecks and Trans-Species Variation:
Yes, the English translation is misleadingly confused. There may be a reason why as it seems some of the translators were coming to it from an anti-evolutionary point of view. Though, it is just as likely that it is just hard to translate Hebrew into English in the modern world. A few examples of translations that create a great deal of confusion:
- “according to their kind” is better translated as “of many kinds”
- “earth” is better translated as “land”
- the word for “mankind” and “man” in Genesis 1 and 2 is “Adam” in Hebrew. Genesis 2 on is about the rise of the lineage of Adam, not about the biological origin of “human kind” as a whole. Genesis 1 is a different account that describes the creation (which could be by evolution) of a population of “adams” both male and female, not the individual Adam alone.
- the scientific term “genetics” was borrowed from biblical terms like “monogenes” etc, which conflates several theological terms (e.g. “monogenesis”) with DNA bound concepts which are entirely extrinsic to Scripture.
- There are times where “man” is used to translate terms other than “adam” (e.g. Genesis 6:1-4)
Of note, the terms “human”, Homo sapiens, DNA, and Neandertals do not appear any where in Scripture, nor is any claim made that Adam is the first Sapien, or that there was no one outside the Garden. None of these claims are even made in traditional theology for a very long time. It is only really very recently, in scientific creationism, that the version of YEC at AIG arises. In my view, the problem is not that they have too traditional a reading of Genesis, but they have wildly deviated from the traditional reading.
@deuteroKJ, a scholar here, might join in too with his thoughts. He might have different takes on things, but I’d still contest my assertions here are within the range of ambiguity in the text (though I still stand to be corrected).
Working on that now, though I am not YEC, and that is the wrong way to define this. It is not really that hard to do. A few points:
Theologians have wondered for a long time what was going on outside the garden, including speculating about Cain’s wife. Maybe some of the people God made were out there, and this explains a large number of puzzles in the subsequent text.
The word “world” or “earth” in reference to the flood is actually just “land”, and there is no way they could have been referring to global flood because they had no concept of a globe. Moreover, they describe in Genesis 10-11 the extend of their world, and it does not include the whole globe. Nephilim, also, are not on the ark but also appear after the flood (Numbers 13:33). Likewise, the word “adam” is used here too, emphasizing that this is not all Sapiens, but all those visibly associated with Adam’s lineage. In context, it is clearly about the regional destruction of civilization. There is no way except a pre-committment to a global flood (which we know arises recently, just 150 years ago), that one would conclude that Genesis 6 teaches a global flood. The global flood is a very novel appendage that can be traced directly to Seventh Day Adventism, a relatively small sect that managed to convince Fundamentalists in the 1950s they should all become YEC.
The remaining questions are just about theological coherence, and there are a lot of people working on that now, including people on these forums. Here are a few quotes worth looking at from YECs and OECs so you can see how they are receiving it:
From a YEC scholar:
From a leading OEC scholar with a great deal of influence:
From a historian who is “undeclared” in the origins position (@rcohlers, what is your position?):
And, also, this is part of an in-depth analysis by William Lane Craig, a very influential apologist: William Lane Craig on Historical Adam.
This is only a small subset of positive comments I’ve received from scholars, including several YECs. Most are in contemplation mode, but several have gone public with their openness to this proposal (as you can see). So, I’d say this is really positive.
The conversation is ongoing. I suspect it will sort out in a year or two. At that point, we might have a widely affirmed alternative to YEC that will strongly appeal to YECs, because it is consistent with their literal approach to Scripture.