Story Three: Recent Sole-Genealogical Progenitor Adam

I think the question here is if de novo Adam and Eve’s genetics would be similar enough to the rest of humanity to make them “deceptively appear” to have been commonly descended from the rest of humanity. In keeping with the tightening of Adam-and-Jesus theology, this raises in my mind an interesting question of whether Jesus as a human being would have “deceptively appeared”, on a genetic basis only, to be “merely” a commonly descended human being. There are differences, of course, but at first glance I suspect a satisfactory answer to the second question would have bearing on a satisfactory answer to the first.

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I think you’ve captured the sense of what is intended.

Two kinds of human creation… Genesis 1 for one and Genesis 2 for Special Creation.

Lacking any preserved genetic material, this question is unanswerable empirically. But it could be interesting in an angels-on-pinheads way to ask what Jesus’s genetics would have looked like. Where would the paternal half of his genome have come from? Fiat creation, in which case it could be anything? Parthenogensis by Mary, in which case his presumptive Y chromosome would still need explanation? Is there in fact a theological viewpoint on this?


This too is confusing. If you took as much care in your responses here as you presumably do in your scientific papers, discussion would run more smoothly. In the first sentence you contend that the idea of a deceptive God is a response to the Omphalos hypothesis, but later in that sentence and in the next sentence you say that deception is central to the Omphalos hypothesis itself. I can’t tell which you mean. The latter is certainly not true; Gosse presented appearance of age as non-deceptive. The former is true, but it makes the claim of deception external to Omphalos, which falsifies your point.

This has been said before, but Gosse’s greatest failure (aside from the belief that his idea would satisfy anyone) is that he fails to distinguish necessary appearance of age, required for some kind of function, with unnecessary appearance of age, which can have no other purpose than deception. There really isn’t a lot of necessary appearance of age. Tree rings, for example, have no function. So that’s the real question: is some feature of the reconciliation of the Adam story with the evidence functionally necessary, or is it just there to render creation undistinguishable from evolution? If the former, no deception is implied. If the latter, we should properly conclude that the hypothesis entails deception.


You make a good point. I had the history wrong on Omphalos. It was not part of the original argument, but that is how it was received. Thanks for catching that error. I do appreciate your help in refining my language.

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There are several ways to take this. Here are a few:

  1. Gen 1 and 2 sequential, like Walton describes. This appeals to many people here, like @anon46279830 and @Guy_Coe.

  2. Gen 1 and 2 recapitulatory, with Gen 1 including creation of many people, and Gen 2 zooms in on Adam. This is an intermediate position.

  3. Gen 1 and 2 recapitulatory, with both referring to Adam and Eve, and remaning totally silent on those outside the Garden. This matches the current YEC reading.

It is honestly hard to resolve which one it could be, from my point of view. All of them work in this model, though an early draft of my Dabar paper (i.e. the one that @TaylorS recieved) focused in on #1.

Who is looking at their genetics? They would appear as if they were the same biological kind, and this would be true.

I agree with the final point. Essentially there is no guarantee that things are what they initially seem to be. Both theology and science are profoundly non-intuitive. It is not really a valid objection to worry about appearance of genetic evidence in these cases, because it is not as any ever saw their genomes. It never appeared to anyone.

Great to see you @joshuahedlund. Stay a while.

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There’s nothing intermediary about position two; it’s a claim of recapitulation rather than of sequentialism. It’s not a “compromise” position, but, to my mind a less coherent option by far.
It doesn’t solve the many problems position one points out, nor does it explain why Christians should favor monogenism with those from outside the garden, who ARE, BTW, mentioned in early Genesis, without any explanation offered as to their origins other than the one supplied by a sequential reading.
Sorry to be so contrary, but that’s the simple truth. Position one counts on Genesis 1 as happening completely before the fall takes place.
You can even have a de novo Adam in position 1, but I don’t personally see the textual warrant for it. That man was “formed of dust” is used in Job to simply describe his mortality, while not denying his normal conception, embryological development, and birth. It is a reminder that, although “created in God’s image,” man is still a contingent, mortal, created being. As such it lays the groundwork to avoid the pagan misappropriation of those ideas.

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Thank you. This answers one of the questions I sent you. I had presumed possibility #2 but this confirms. I am a fan of Option #1.


What about

  1. The various stories in Genesis were collected from various places at different times, and little attempt was made to reconcile their differences. The initial creation story, the Eden story, and the Cain and Abel story all began as separate legends (and don’t we know the source of the first one, at least?), and their inconsistencies were not a matter of much concern to the compilers, so we shouldn’t try to reconcile them.

In that vein, when considering the relationship of Genesis 1 and 2, one must deal not only with Adam but with the animals, which in Genesis 1 are created before humans and in Genesis 2 are created in between creation of the two humans.

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Sure, that is one approach. It has been out their for a while, and and has attracted probably most the people it will attract. If that is your, great.

I’m speaking to the people who do not have a position they like yet, and for that reason feel compelled to reject good science. They are usually unwilling to go that way with you.

This view has been around for a while and goes back to the JEPD Source Criticism model begun in the 1800’s. I, personally, let the clear contradictions get in my way.

Is there any evidence for this approach or is it all speculation based on the terms used for God, the nature of God in the narrative and the application to the northern or southern kingdom? I am truly asking because I have only seen speculative arguments.

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Assuming you are talking about Genealogical Adam…

Can you give me some references and quotes? Back in the 1800, they did not know that Adam could be our sole-genealogical progenitor. So I am not sure how this is possible. Can you clarify?

There is a quite a bit of textual evidence for this. It seems to be the most natural reading of Genesis 1-6. Much of the confusion appears to be mistakes in the english translation.

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However you are not. Sorry about this. You were responding to @John_Harshman:

@John_Harshman is repeating the “Documentary Hypothesis” which has been largely rejected, though some key parts have been taking forward. Right now, I’d point to Sailhammer’s book (and @jongarvey):

This book seems to put the documentary hypothesis to rest by taking a “compositional” approach to Genesis. Here the point of view is that there were preexisting stories, but the “compilers” intentionally put them together with careful attention to their overall purpose. This contrasts with @John_Harshman’s claim that they “did not care to resolve inconsistencies”. Instead, the tensions on the text are intentional and for a purpose. The cohesiveness of Genesis gives very high support to this view. Especially because the different names for God seem to follow a clear pattern too.

So I’d say there is no good reason to take the documentary hypothesis over the compositional approach. The compositional approach does a better job explaining the textual and historical evidence.

A post was split to a new topic: A Skeptic Asks about The Compositional Approach

No, I’m not. The documentary hypothesis proposes that there are multiple sources for each story. I’m claiming that the two stories are different, regardless of whether or not each of them arrived in the compilation through multiple paths.

I propose that the compilers didn’t care to resolve inconsistencies, my evidence being the manifold inconsistencies.

If that is all you are saying, I think everyone should agree with you. Even if they are retellings of the same events, they are still different narratives. What exactly is the controversy?

That is perhaps where you are getting into trouble. I don’t agree with that. i don’t see them as inconsistencies. I see them as two different tellings.

You mistake me. I claim that they are not retelling the same events. They are two different creation stories, and in fact among their considerable differences is what they attribute to creation. They overlap in a couple of places, i.e. the creation of humans and animals (presumably land animals only), and where they overlap they contradict. They also present strikingly different conceptions of God. (In the most natural readings, that is. In English.)

The most glaring inconsistency, to me, is not the creation of humans but the creation of the animals. In Genesis 1 the animals are created before the male and female humans. In Genesis 2 they are created after the male and before the female. The genealogical Adam doesn’t fix that one.

So the Genealogical Adam does fix this. That is a major reason that people like @anon46279830, @Guy_Coe and @jongarvey are drawn to it. There are actually several ways to resolve this. Just remember that there is no claim in Genesis 1 that God stopped creating things. Nor does Genesis 1 say that this was the first creation of anything. It just said he created things, and then in Genesis 2 he created some more things. Rest can mean “entering into” creation, and in context it is very hard to interpret as “rested from creating.” From that starting point, I hope you can see several paths to resolving them.