Richard Averbeck: Let Scripture Speak Clearly

As for myself, the main way this book and the discussion it has generated is helpful is in its “push back” against the common overreach of evolutionary science against the possibility of an historical Adam and Eve at the headwaters of humanity. His genealogical versus genetic approach to human descent opens a door of fresh air into a discussion that some believing and unbelieving evolutionary scientists have tried to smother.

In the meantime, his discussion has helped me to take more careful note of the fact that Genesis 1 presents humans as “pastoralists,” so to speak, occupied with animals. The account of the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2, on the other hand, pictures them as agriculturalists, cultivating the ground and caring for the orchard in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:15–17; cf. also v. 5b). According to Genesis 1:11–13, God designed the earth itself to bring forth plant life with no help from people, and the plants come back into view at the end of the chapter as the nurturing environment from which man and animal readily get their food (vv. 29–30). I wonder if this might suggest that we should see the creation of humanity in Genesis 1 more broadly, and Genesis 2 as a sequential account of the later special creation of the model man and woman, Adam and Eve, something similar to what Joshua Swamidass suggests (pp. 173–83). On the other hand, could it be that all we should see here is the distinction between Genesis 1 as forming and filling the cosmos as a whole, and Genesis 2 as a further explanation of the development of human life on the earth?