William Lane Craig on The Genealogical Adam and Eve Workshop


(George) #21

@dga471 (& @swamidass)

It is far more important to affirm that God uses more than one method to create life:

Evolutionary processes (completely Guided by Him of course),


De Novo Creation (in effect, just as completely Guided by Him).

Resistance to the idea that God could create using more than one method is something that can and should be isolated rather easily.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #22

I’m not sure this is a clear theological position. It seems more to be a psychological position. It seems that some people see value in it as a “stand” against materialism in origins. Perhaps I am just psychologizing. I’m not saying we must conclude that the de novo creaiton of adam is importnat. I do notice it is often dismissed too quickly, without enough contemplation. That seems strange to me.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #23

I think it is a bit absurd to call this a “weakness.” If one doesn’t like this, they can just delete it and assert that Adam and Eve were chosen from a larger population. The fact that de novo creation is possible is nothing but a strength. It doesn’t hurt to have the option and not use it.

(Daniel Ang) #24

I see. But your coherence objection only applies to physical refurbishment scenarios, where it doesn’t make sense that God wants A&E to interbreed with outsiders if he gave them something genetically special in the refurbishment. On the other hand, purely spiritual refurbishment (or perhaps more accurately, calling of a pair of existing humans) seems just as coherent.

You’re right that there’s a strong psychological component to it. But we have to carefully consider the full range of motivations for positing DNC other than this and the impetus for biblical literalism. I suspect that for some people, once we depart from YEC-like literalism on Genesis 1, there is no need to stick to literalism for Genesis 2:7 anymore either. So the hermeneutical argument is no longer as strong either. Perhaps it would be useful for someone to undertake a comparative study of different systematic theologies on what they think regarding the creation of man, specifically the significance of DNC.

My impression (and I don’t know if this fully captures your intention) is that we tend to include DNC within the model to make it more acceptable to conservative theologians, at least on the surface level. And yes, any sort of DNC is useful for the purpose of taking a purely materialistic stand on origins. But I’m not fully convinced that that’s all there is to DNC that makes people hold on to it. More study should be done to see what is the theological difference between DNC in a YEC/OEC framework and within the GA model. During the workshop I brought up the unique vs. copying DNC distinction, which could be one path to explore the differences.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #25

I agree. It is consistent with the evidence.

Two problems with this. 1) Look at Keller, he is a pretty important counter example. 2) thought I don’t get into it, there i s no reason to depart from literalism in Genesis 1.

This obviates your subsequent reasoning.

Not precisely that. I’m just trying to open up the full range of possibilities.

Well I certainly agree with that. I’m just trying to open up the playing field. It will be really interesting to see this play out over the next couple years. One biblical theologian, Richard Averbeck, confides that he is inclined to the de novo creation. It will be interesting to see how he makes that case. It seems he has started writing his book too.

(George) #26


I have argued vigorously against any attempt to give de novo Adam or Eve a “special” genetic inventory.

The special qualities of Adam and Eve are purely mental, psychological or “soul-centric” … there should be ZERO biological differences of any Biblical or Theological significance.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #27

I agree with that resistence. I think that best theological reasoning is the same one Daniel pointed to:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #28

This is what I added Dan:

  1. If God de novo created Adam and Eve, this makes clear that God specifically intended them to interbreed with the people outside the garden. This circumvents some objections, and might make some theological models of Adam and Eve more coherent.

(Daniel Ang) #29

Thanks for reminding me about this. This led me to consult my copy of The Reason for God, where Keller writes about his view on Genesis 1 and 2. Seems like he does endorse a difference in hermeneutic between them. However, he does not elaborate in detail the specific textual reasons why (and neither in the famous TGC video). Maybe there are good arguments for this distinction.

The difficulty comes in the few places in the Bible where the genre is not easily identifiable, and we aren’t completely sure how the author expects to be read. Genesis 1 is a passage whose interpretation is up for debate among Christians, even those with a “high” view of inspired Scripture. I personally take the view that Genesis 1 and 2 relate to each other the way Judges 4 and 5 and Exodus 14 and 15 do. In each couplet one chapter describes a historical event and the other is a song or poem about the theological meaning of the event. When reading Judges 4 it is obvious that it is a sober recounting of what happened in the battle, but when we read Judges 5, Deborah’s Song about the battle, the language is poetic and metaphorical. … I think Genesis 1 has the earmarks of poetry and is therefore a “song” about the wonder and meaning of God’s creation. Genesis 2 is an account of how it happened including Genesis 1. But it is false logic to argue that if one part of Scripture can’t be taken literally then none of it can be. That isn’t true of any human communication.

What can we conclude? Since Christian believers occupy different positions on both the meaning of Genesis 1 and on the nature of evolution, those who are considering Christianity as a whole should not allow themselves to be distracted by this intramural debate. The skeptical inquirer does not need to accept any one these positions in order to embrace the Christian faith. Rather, he or she should concentrate on and weigh the central claims of Christianity. Only after drawing conclusions about the person of Christ, the resurrection, and the central tenets of the Christian message should one think through the various options with regard to creation and evolution.

Keller, The Reason for God, Chapter 6, p. 97

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #30

Don’t forget Wayne Grudem too. These details of the Genesis account are why he rejects evolution:

  1. Adam and Eve were not the first human beings (and perhaps they never even existed).

  2. Adam and Eve were born from human parents.

  3. God did not act directly or specially to create Adam out of the dust from the ground.

  4. God did not directly create Eve from a rib taken from Adam’s side.

  5. Adam and Eve were never sinless human beings.

  6. Adam and Eve did not commit the first human sins, for human beings were doing morally evil things long before Adam and Eve.

  7. Human death did not begin as a result of Adam’s sin, for human beings existed long before Adam and Eve and they were subject to death.

  8. Not all human beings have descended from Adam and Eve, for there were thousands of other human beings on Earth at the time that God chose two of them as Adam and Eve.

As we have seen, these elements of the Genesis narrative are entirely consistent with evolutionary science. Adam and Eve could have been the first humans in all history, created from the dust and a rib, and placed in a divinely created garden. Grudem may continue to reject evolutionary science, but these eight elements of the Genesis narrative are not valid reasons to do so. All of these elements could be true alongside the evolutionary account of our origins.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #31

It is particularly odd because Genesis 1 and 2 describe creation in different ways.

(Daniel Ang) #32

I think this would be clearer if you reworded it along the lines of

If God de novo created Adam and Eve, yet made them biologically identical to those outside of the Garden, this makes it clear that God specifically intended them to eventually interbreed with them.

(Brad Cooper) #33

Was it surprising to you that he made this proclamation via his email newsletter, vs. engaging with you directly? I realize he’s a pretty busy guy, but, huh?

(Daniel Ang) #34

During the workshop WLC commented, if I remember, that he didn’t see any strong advantage of DNC over spiritual refurbishment of existing hominids.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #35

Not surprised at all. We have been talking about this quite a bit. I’m just puzzled by the reasoning behind his position. I could be wrong, but I think this is more driven by his scholasticism than inerrancy, though I realize this is not how he explains himself. It also seems like his is still deciding what his position might be. He doesn’t seem to know precisely where he will land.

(Brad Cooper) #36

Wouldn’t go this far. I do think this intervention was not so much teaching us about Him, but teaching us about ourselves. How special we are to Him.

Yes, other figures are made special simply because He calls them special. But this seems meant to show that we stand out beyond all other parts of His Creation.

I do think DNC is needed, but also think there are a few ways to get there.

(John Harshman) #37

No, I don’t. Unless the first emergence leads to all the others, it isn’t the important event that’s the unique contribution of Adam. Of course there is nothing in even the origin of agriculture in the fertile crescent that can be attributed to the action of one person at one time. It’s clearly a lengthy process with a long history. And is there really much in Genesis to build this fantasy on? Genesis is merely incapable of imagining that the past was much different from the present. All the food crops must have existed and been cultivated from the beginning. But they too evolved, just as humans did, and in different spots all over the world.

This extreme diffusionist view is evidence-free and is generally considered insulting to the ingenuity of the other people involved. They need someone (for whom there is no evidence) to come in and teach them? And yet, only the notion of agriculture is diffused, not the actual crops. What, they couldn’t carry a few seeds with them?

That’s an odd use of the word if indeed they were separately created. What does it mean in that context? And how does physical refurbishment (whatever that means) imply the intention of interbreeding?

(George) #38

This seems the weakest of all the objections.

If Humans were not inclined to die even BEFORE the Fall, there would not have been a need for the Tree of Life.

The text makes it clear that humans are made immortal from the Tree of Life… and access denied was part of the curse of The Fall.

(George) #39

There is no need to impart any special mutations on Adam and Eve. It is not the genetic component of Adam and Eve that matters. It is their federal position as the most important ancestral pair that matters.

(George) #40


That’s pretty much your view of the matter.

But one of the aspects of Geneal.Adam is to get Adam’s offspring to all parts of the populated world. Genesis is lacking in specific details regarding who spread agriculture where … and archaeology doesn’t identify individuals either.

These matters have been curtly ignored for generations of Evangelicals; I hardly expect these matters to become important to Evangelicals now.