Two Hump Posts on Genealogical Adam

OK, another new post with possible relevance to Geneaological Adam (and the recent debate on genealogy on the Kathryn Applegate thread at BioLogos).

It’s exploring the Aristotelian-Thomist idea of formal causation, partly to suggest one way that geneaology may be of real imprtance to something like original sin, and partly to hint that “there are more things in heaven and eath than are dreamt of in your (hubristically 21st century) philosophy.”


This new post looks at how rejecting Adam as the sole progenitor (in some sense) of present humanity actually removes a powerful argument for human equality under God, replacing it with a powerful argument that social inequality is intrinsic to creation.

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Not at all. Each human being is created in God’s image (Genesus 1:26-27 and ff.), not just those geneaologically-descended from Adam (Genesis 2:5 and ff.).
That is, there would have been a time where a kind of racism, a subhuman view of the “others” --hominids, e.g., was justified under a “de novo Adam” sole progenitor view like that.
I’ll take a look at the post, but this is my first blush response.
If God-given monogenism precedes Adam’s story, like the account presents, then universal rights are established from the beginning of humanity, not from Adam’s beginning.

It’s worth a foray into the text.
“Let Us make humankind (plural, “adams”) in Our image, according to Our likeness. And so God created them in His (singular) image; male and female created He them.”
As the description of an act of God, nothing in the Hebrew indicates how long it took. That it consisted of bringing something less than fully human into full humanity seems axiomatically obvious, to me. All this well before Adam and Eve are ever mentioned. Universal human rights, based upon a common possession of the image of God, not to mention God’s good intention towards them, is established before the first chapter even closes.


Before I post at your newest article… I thought I would get a clarification and/or a confirmation.

You mention @swamidass just once, like so:

“I’ll leave to one side the work of Swamidass, Buggs et al., which shows a single couple bottleneck in deep time to be possible under population genetics after all, because Venema is having none of it, on the grounds of lack of a probable natural cause for it.”

This brief mention leaves me in the lurch on two questions:

  1. Wouldn’t this article be exactly where you would clarify (or expound upon) Swamidass’ scenario where even when there is an Evolved population PLUS a de novo creation of 2 more, the net effect is that all humanity is eventually co-opted under the Adam/Eve “Mormon Plan” (i.e. when you get enough descendants you are awarded your own planet!)?

  2. Why did you make your description of the Buggs discussion so vague? Any one engaged in the Creationism vs. Evolution dispute - - but do not have an immediate awareness of exactly what was discussed, would immediately leap to the conclusion that Dr. Swamidass and Dr. Buggs had agreed there was “positive evidence” for a One-Pair Bottleneck, and within a REASONABLE time frame! But this would, in fact, be the opposite of what happened. There was no positive evidence, only the absence of negative evidence. And I don’t think anyone would think a “possible bottleneck 700,000 years ago” is helpful to anyone.

As witnesses to the important discussion, I think we should go to extra lengths to make sure the discussion is not distorted or misunderstood. Thoughts?


The article was already long enough not to want to restate Genealogical Adam AND the Buggs Bottleneck in detail as well. Like Peaceful Science, the Hump principally has faithful readers who, I think, get familiar with the main themes under discussion, and treat additions as building upon them (“The Hump of the Camel - the blog that grows week by week until you have a lot of them…”), It’s not like BioLogos, picking up everyone who wants easy answers about Evangelical Evolution. That said, numbers are growing - China is big at the moment - we currently are getting c9,300 hits a month.

My point was that, even given an existing population, A&E constitute a specific new start, where both righteousness and sin have a meaning because God expresses his will. Now, 10,000 humans created in the image of God by divine fiat might, prior to sin, constitute an egalitarian society. But my counter-example was not that, but the hypothesis of a naturally evolved hominid, along the official BioLogos lines, in which one would expect social inequalities such as apes have. Then it’s hard to think of ontological arguments for human equality - “in the beginning it was so.”

Someone’s argued against that back at the Hump, but I’ll answer him tomorrow as I’ve had two elders meetings and a band rehearsal back to back today, and my brain is not working.

But if I’ve put too positive a light on the Buggs bottleneck, I apologise to them. However, I don’t think all find their possibility unhelpful, because folk like Ann Gauger (and even, I think, weighty theologians like John Stott), have considered that A&E might represent the first of genus Homo, even that long ago. Remember that we’re moving towards seeing Neanderthals as folks, rather than ape-men, and some think there may some day be evidence that H erectus was brighter than we assume.

I dispute that model, though, because I think the cultural descriptions in Genesis are historical, but others argue for them being literary anachronism. That’s all tangential to my Hump post, though. Genealogical Adam (with a relatively recent Adam) enables us to bracket all human development before him as of scientific, rather than theological, interest.



I think you will find that the Swamidass Model doesn’t have to be so bloody clever on the Evolution/Science side. All it has to do is follow the mainstream view on whose bones and where did they find them. The barrier between YECs and Evolutionists has always been more about denying the miracles of Creation, than denying the Science of the modern world.

Once the YECs see that they can put their Eden anywhere and anytime they want … I don’t think they are going to care about what science says about the general population - - as long as Science agrees to give all of humanity to Adam & Eve’s posterity in time for the big picnic in Jerusalem!