The second story is the most recent, and it is about genetic -interbreeding progenitorship (discussion). If Adam and Eve were about 200 thousand years ago, it might be possible they were the genetic progenitors of Homo sapiens , as long as their offspring interbred with other hominids like Neanderthals. This finding is not settled yet , and will be looked at more closely with Reasons to Believe this Fall
@Agauger and @AJRoberts, I’m hoping you can help me enumerate the theological questions that arise in this model. I think the questions about interbreeding are where the important challenges will arise, and only some of the solutions in the Genealogical Adam model will apply. This is where things could become interesting.
I believe it is important to tie each of these models back to what is described in the Bible.
First of all, De Novo creation of Adam seems pretty clear and can be consistent with all three models. I believe it would be hard to raise a biblical argument against de novo creation of Adam, which is consistent with the Valley of Dry Bones creation narrative in Ezekiel 37. From the writings of Paul (Romans and 1Corintians - e.g. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.), it would be hard to argue against Adam being a historical figure.
I believe the first two chapters of Genesis are sequential. This eliminates the clear contradictions in the creation sequence, I have provided many more details of how this approach is more consistent with the Bible as a whole in my book, Genesis and Evolution. “Men and women” are created in chapter 1, and the men and women are “good”. I do not believe it is Biblically important if the men and women of chapter 1 are homo sapiens or simply from the genus homo, they were created before Adam.
“Though one man, all have sinned.” It is imported that Adam is the ancestor of all living, through genetic or genealogical means. I do not believe there is any Biblical significance to Adam and Eve being sole progenitors. I believe the Garden creation was specific to a geological area (e.g. note that no sea life was created in the Garden narrative) and that other “humans” existed at that time (some say Gen 4 is a better argument for other humans living at that time, I would argue Gen 6).
It is important to remove judgment from this discussion. To start, I am a sinner and I fall short of the righteousness of God not because Adam sinned, but because I have willfully sinned. The men and women created in Genesis, whether homo sapiens or simply from the genus homo, were created as “good”.
In summary, I believe:
The de novo creation of Adam can be consistent with all three models.
“Men and women” were created in Gen 1, before Adam in Chapter 2. What is important to the meaning of the Bible is that they were “good”, and not whether they were homo sapiens or another hominid species.
“Through one man all have sinned” indicates a historic figure of Adam, I feel this is not representative of a larger population (if Adam was representative, why then could not Jesus and his suffering also be representative?). To be consistent with the Bible, it is not necessary for Adam to be sole progenitor, but an ancestor of us all. Genealogical ancestry can explain a more recent Adam than a genetic ancestor.
The argument I personally raise against the need for seeing Adam as, somehow, something other than the product of a normal childbirth, is already well-documented on this forum --and is based, mostly, on the complete absence of the verb usually translated “create” in English, 'bara, is completely lacking with regards to Adam in the chapter 2 story about him.
That said, every human birth is unique, or de novo (but not de nihilo) and can properly be conceived of as the result of God’s creation --it’s just not specifically so claimed anywhere in the chapter two text about Adam.
Kudos for taking the sequential interpretation! I’m of the view that the 2:4 chiasm requires the reader to see them as separate, but non-conflicting.
Simply insert some time between the two chapters, and you get a comparatively recent Adam with a much more ancient inception for “imago Dei” humanity, to whom is born to a particular later “imago Dei” mother the infant Adam, and who is placed by the LORD as an infant or even an orphan (potentially, whom He even resuscitates from the brink of death) in the garden (“breathed into his nostrils”).
Thank you for your kind words. Through this forum I have learned of John Walton’s book (The Lost World of Adam and Eve) and Mark Moore’s book (Early Genesis - the Revealed Cosmology) who both argue for a sequential interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2.
I presented my approach as part of a poster session at this years ASA conference. My content was well received by the limited number of folks who stopped by.
Yes, but as you know, Mark Moore’s position only accommodates the very
slightest of evolution (micro-evolution). He is part of the
contingent that thinks God would would only plan sequential Special
Creations, over the course of millions of years (Old Earth scenario),
and would not use evolution to accomplish the same ends.
Some see the whole “evo devo” perspective as God front-loading all the essential information that would be necessary before environmental changes called for adaptation. The ingenuity of gene networks and “broken, yet adaptive” information chains does kind of beg this question. A rather “slow motion, mundane” miracle, if you please. This is just one of many interpretive ways forward.
It’s one thing to use the phrase “front-loading” in reference to putting everything in the Universe the Universe will eventually use. There’s plenty of room for it all.
But to “Front-Load” the four sets of chromosomes that Adam and Eve collectively possess seems well nigh impossible for those traits that have dozens, hundreds or even more alleles!
But it gets even worse when one tries to imagine the task of front-loading single celled life forms … at the very early phases of evolution: for a single cell to have the information for fish and dinosaurs ** and humans confined within its membranes is quite an astounding thought.