Wayne Grudem and Early Genesis

Here’s Wayne Grudem’s helpful, if not entirely accurate, summation of the differences which inhere from sequential reading views.
See the foreword in “Should Christians Embrace Evolution? Biblical and Scientific Responses” (ed. Norman C. Nevin; P&R, 2011) p. 9
'It may at first seem easy to say, ‘God simply used evolution to bring about the results he desired,’… however… adopting theistic evolution leads to many positions contrary to the teaching of the Bible, such as these:

  1. Adam and Eve were not the first human beings, but they were just two Neolithic farmers among about ten million other human beings on earth at that time, and God just chose to reveal himself to them in a personal way. [ed. --not accurately representing a plethora of views]
  1. Those other human beings had already been seeking to worship and serve God or gods in their own ways. [ed. --yep; see the cultural artifact evidence]
  2. Adam was not specially formed by God of “dust from the ground” (Gen. 2:7) but had two human parents. [ed. --false dichotomy; these things are not mutually exclusive]
  3. Eve was not directly made by God out of a “rib that the Lord God had taken from the man” (Gen. 2:22), but she also had two human parents. [ed. – sure, but he still doesn’t recognize the false dichotomy he’s posing]
  4. Many human beings both then and now are not descended from Adam and Eve. [ed. --a simple error of understanding that GA addresses]
  5. Adam and Eve’s sin was not the first sin. [ed. --well, of course not! Satan’s sin was first; Adam and Eve committed the first culpable moral sin, biblically]
  6. Human physical death had occurred for thousands of years before Adam and Eve’s sin --it was part of the way living things had always existed. [ed. – reasonably correct. Without it, earth would have been quickly overrun]
  7. God did not impose any alteration to the natural world when he cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin. [ed. --incorrectly characterized; we live in a “probationary universe;” only, since Adam and Eve, we’re now aware of it.]
    Hope this helps.
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No kidding. This is not in conflict with evolutionary science.

Not really. It all depends on what we mean by “human.”

Hardly a simple error. This is the game changing correction.

Agreed, but the other points are not minor, either. It is one of the game changing corrections, yes… but more are needed.

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Try to imagine a world with higher order animals alive for more than… I don’t know; a year? with no death among any of the animals.
Remember; they want no predation at all. The nematodes alone would quickly overwhelm everything else (maybe not within the first year…) : ) --but, do you see my point?
Life without death is a surefire recipe for ecological disaster.
The content of dung would change; the cycle and constuents of soil nutrition replenishment would change…
What ecosystems are already permanently destroyed, by then?
And yet, YEC’s and others who want this doctrine want this be a permanent reality, if only mankind had never sinned.

RTB already does a good job of bringing these kinds of truths out.

What disappoints me about Grudem’s points here, and in the “Theistic Evolution” tome, is that he contents himself, for the most part, in pointing out where his opponents appear to clash with young earth creationist assumptions, ie historical literal understandings of the text, without actually engaging why they are wrong.

That is academically irresponsible, in my view. For example :

It’s incumbent on him to show exactly what changes Scripture says were made by the curse, beyond turning up more thorns and thistles. And I don’t believe there are any.


I dunno. God altered the natural world by putting a flaming sword to preventing Adam from entering into the garden. That is one way of reading that claim, though not what he wants.

Well, I guess if we could still see the flaming sword, that would work. But we can’t even find the garden now.

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And in any case, assigning an extra angel to the world is a pretty small cosmic cataclysm.

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Another way the world was cursed! It is now (perhaps) buried under the Persian Gulf. We no longer have access to it in our world.

So yes, the natural order of world was cursed in a meaningful way at the fall.

Well, in order to maintain that, we would probably have to go looking for the eight (?) or so reasons for previous “cursings” that resulted in the many documented previous ice age cycles. And, note the irony that the inundating of the garden under water was a prelude to today’s unusually long era of a relatively stable climate for the earth. In other words, that outcome has, long-term, become blessing.

I"m not sure if that is valid. I know how RTB puts that narrative out. My read of paleoclimate is nearly the opposite.

My point is that characterizing every natural disaster as an active judgement by God is a non-sequitur.

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I’ve had lengthy conversations online with a YEC individual that has given serious thought to both his theological and biological position. His contention is that the “no death until humanity’s fall” only applies to those creatures with the “breath of life”, which essentially means only those with respiratory systems very similar to those in a human. My argument is that he is reading waaaaaay to much into scripture make that assumption, but at least he realizes that organisms had to die in a sustainable ecosystem. Vertebrates would have to die eventually, too, but he somehow overlooks that.



So this fellow would have a serious problem with any part of humanity (before and outside of Eden) evolving.

So even when we build a scenario that allows for an Augustinian approach to original sin, the common corollary idea of “Perfection before the Fall” is still going to divide some YECs from Joshua’s models.

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Absolutely. The issue however is no longer about scripture. If the want to be in conflict the will be. Deeper things need to be rooted out.

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Josh, in the first place, the garden isn’t the world, and it wasn’t the ground cursed, but ground no longer open to mankind - it was the ground outside the garden that was cursed for Adam.

Secondly, it assumes a lower Mesopotamian Eden - a very plausible possibility which I don’t exclude, but which is not the only one available.

And, of course, if we don’t assume a truly ancient Adam, the change of coastline that has drowned a lower Mesopotamian Eden is nothing compared to the post-glacial inundation of the Persian Gulf that had already long passed - which, if that is seen as Eden, demands a Mesolithic Adam.