William Lane Craig on The Genealogical Adam and Eve Workshop



Sorry for not being clear. In the Yamnaya cultural spread of Europe from the Steppes of Russia, it was males who came through Europe from the Steppes of Russia. So in Europe today, the diversity of Y- chromosome is small.

(John Harshman) #62

That was more or less my point. We can trace a lot of human gene flow based on crop flow.

(Crazy Cat Lady) #63

I will have to bring that up in my Microbiology class. I assume you were joking, but it’s actually a great question. In my class we spend a lot of time discussing the importance of normal microbiota and how it benefits us. We also discuss how babies born via c-section don’t pick up microbes from mom the way vaginally delivered babies do. This results in a delay in immune development in c-section babies.

(George) #64


I think you spend too much time thinking Evangelicals think like you.

(John Harshman) #65

And I think you spend too much time making cryptic little remarks that hint at but don’t express any sort of idea. Or perhaps you could explain what you’re talking about.

(George) #66


My principle worry about Creationists is their affect on society because they reject the principles of science with broad sweeps of their imagination. They do this, because it enables them to confidently cling to their of view of Six Day Creationism (and all manner of diverse versions of Creationism that Genesis might allow).

So for me, there is little worry or concern to exchange the fantasies of these Creationists with the significantly abridged fantasies or super-natural views of those Christians who become willing to treat Evolution as a serious, valid and important discipline, in exchange for a much less fantastic or less embellished view of the world.

You would impugn my integrity, or my intelligence, for allowing any hint of the fantastic in the minds of such Christians. I don’t think there is any doubt that you have so impugned me at various times). And I would question your sense of priorities for preferring that I snatch from Creationists any solid acceptance of Evolution if it involves tolerating their continued fancies in some of the more obscure corners of the aggregate legends regarding the creation of humanity.

[I can only assume that after reading this post, you will conjure up an amusing performance regarding your confusion and lack of comprehension of what I could possibly mean by the words above, and pound out of me, like some kind of hammered beef, yet more discussion and explication - - to which, again, you will protest your confusion.


I won’t buy it, so don’t bother with the performances.

(John Harshman) #67

More evidence that it’s impossible to talk to you. As instructed, I will cease the attempt.


I think you guys are focusing far too much on Genesis 1-2. I think Craig is also concerned with texts like the Wisdom of Solomon and Paul’s statement “from one” in Acts. He is aware that the NT wasn’t written in a vacuum and it’s very clear that the author of the Wisdom of Solomon did NOT envision a GA. These views obviously influenced Paul, as well as many other second temple texts about Adam, all of which presuppose Adam to be the first formed man, and making a distinction between “human” from other humans that look and act exactly the same would have been very strange to these writers. McKnight and Craig and Enns and Gauger all agree on this.


The only difference is, Craig, Gauger and McKnight(?) believe in Adam and Eve, Enns doesn’t, as far as I know.


McKnight is hard to pin down but he probably does not. Craig seems to be waffling at the moment:

“For these three reasons, it seems to me very likely that what we have in Genesis is a description of the origin of all of mankind. Now, this is not to say that the account should be taken literally; maybe Genesis 2 is a mythological narrative. But even if it is, it is a myth of human origins, not a story about the creation of one human being out of many others who were about at that time.”

I think this hits on a crucial point. I don’t take the story literally, yet I think I’m in line with the author(s) of Genesis when I say that Adam and Eve are the symbol of the beginning of humanity but also humanity in general, and of what we are (sinners), but also what we were meant to be. Whether or not it’s literal, these points seem clear. How this all lines up with modern science is sticky whether you believe in a literal Adam or not.

(George) #71


Don’t forget how close you are to a tautological exercise. You escape the tautology when you say “I don’t take the story literally…” Once you take this stance, then you are not bound by Romans 5 to the same extent that Creationists generally are bound.

It is an easy matter to say that Genealogical Adam is a fiction … if you’ve already dismissed Genesis 2 as a fiction.

Frankly, Genealogical Adam was not designed for the premises that you personally embrace. You are not the one who needs Genealogical Adam.

It is designed for the men and women who are so fixated on Romans 5 (and its Original Sin implications) that they would rather dismiss the core of modern science than tamper with their interpretation of Romans 5.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #72

How is this clear? I think he very well could have envisioned a GAE.

I understand the assertion, but on what basis do they make this assertion? What evidence is there of this?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #73

What are you thoughts on this @deuteroKJ?

(Kenneth Turner) #74

I’m just now catching up on the thread and really need to get to bed :slight_smile: I agree generally with that the structuralist vs. vocational view of image is key to understanding the various takes on evolution/Adam. If there’s something specific you’d want my take on, let me know and I’ll try to get back soon. But I’m giving midterms in the morning :slight_smile:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #75

I think we need a robust response to this:

This is what WLC’s objection is, and I’m sure he will raise this at ETS. I don’t understand his selective literalism here on Genesis 2:5. He is willing to give up everything literal in Genesis 2 (including de novo creaiton!) just to defend this verse. That doesn’t make sense to me.

This objection seems much easier to answer. Maybe Adam and Eve are symbolic of the beginning of all biological humanity, but that does not actually mean they are in fact the beginning of biological humanity.

(Kenneth Turner) #76

While all first-century Jews (including Jewish Christians like Paul) were influenced by Second Temple literature (which itself is not unanimous on most views), Paul in particular is willing to break with the tradition at times. Thus, while it’s crucial to understand the Second Temple literature (the extant material only being a fraction of what was actually believed or written at the time), there’s no a priori reason to assume Paul (or whomever) agreed with view X. I’m aware of McKnight’s excellent treatment of the material, but I myself haven’t studied it enough to weigh in definitively.

I too am puzzled by the focus on Gen 2:5. But it’s the type of discussion we should have.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #77

I agree.

I suppose the point is that because of universal descent, Adam does universalize the story. geographically, but no necessarily temporally.

I don’t think this the correct read on these myths. Take the case of Enkidu being created while there are clearly other people around.

I feel like someone with far more training than me could make a good response to this. What do you think @jongarvey?

(George) #78


Here is some background on the creation of Enkidu:
[1] Why he was created;
[2] Jastrow’s theory of how sex tamed Enkidu’s wilder ways;
[3] The scenario that a contest of wrestling can bond two persons inseparably!

Creation of Enkidu[(Enkidu - Wikipedia)]

The people of Uruk complain to the gods that their mighty king Gilgamesh is too harsh. The goddess Aruru forms Enkidu from water and clay as rival to Gilgamesh, as a countervailing force. Enkidu lived in the wild, roaming with the herds, and joining the game at the watering-hole. M.H. Henze notes in this an early Mesopotamian tradition of the wild man living apart and roaming the hinterland, who eats grass like the animals and like them, drinks from the watering places.[2]

A hunter sees him and realizes that it is Enkidu who is freeing the animals from his traps. He reports this to Gilgamesh, who sends the temple prostitute, Shamhat, to deal with him.[3]

Enkidu spends six days and seven nights copulating with Shamhat, after which, sensing her scent upon him, the animals flee from him, and he finds he cannot return to his old ways.[4] He returns to Shamhat, who teaches him the ways of civilized people. He now protects the shepherd’s flock against predators, turning against his old life.

Jastrow and Clay are of the opinion that the story of Enkidu was originally a separate tale to illustrate “man’s career and destiny, how through intercourse with a woman he awakens to the sense of human dignity, …”[5] Shamhat tells him of the city of Uruk and of its king Gilgamesh. He travels to Uruk and engages Gilgamesh in a wrestling match as a test of strength. Gilgamesh wins and the two become fast friends.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #79

This is how I respond to him, mentioning Enkidu. What are your thoughts? (@deuteroKJ and @jongarvey)

Do any passages in Scripture demonstrate there was no one outside the garden? Several verses have been put forward. In context, with the original language in mind, none of these passages are definitive evidence against people outside the garden.

Some object that Genesis 1-11 are most likely intended to universalize the narrative of Scripture too all humankind.[1] This explains why, for example, Genesis does not start with the story of Abraham’s calling, but with the story of Adam. First, universal descent in mind, Genesis 1-11 still does geographically universalize the narrative of Scripture, but it does not necessarily temporally universalize the account. Second, this objection begs the question, by pressing a different definition of “human” into the narrative. Adam and Eve are the ancestors of every “human” in all history if the people outside the garden do not fall under this definition. Third, this is objection is also undermined if Adam had a redemptive purpose among the people outside the garden.[2] If he is created for the purpose of altering the destiny of everyone outside the garden, this universalizes the story to include the people outside the garden too.[3] With this possibility in mind, Adam could be important now because of universal descent, but in the past he would have been important for another reason.

Some point to Genesis 2:5 and 2:22, where the text says there was “no one to work the ground” and that Adam did not find anyone suitable to be his wife.[4] Does this tell us there were no biological humans anywhere across the globe? Recall that Genesis 2 is told from the point of view of a defined area where the garden is planted by God (Genesis 2:8-15). This is important because it is not speaking about the whole globe, just this area. With this in mind, perhaps the text means that there are no people in this specific area of the garden, but there were people elsewhere across the globe.[5] In parallel with this line of reasoning, perhaps the text means there was no one suitable to join God in the garden, even though there were biological “humans” around. The same reasoning applies to the difficulty in finding a mate for Adam. There might have been women across the globe, but there was no suitable woman for Adam in the garden. I am not qualified to adjudicate which of these readings makes most sense. Any of them would be consistent with people outside the garden.


  1. William Lane Craig raises this objection. “The purpose of the primeval narratives of Genesis 1-11 is to explain God’s universal plan for and dealings with humankind. Scholars have often asked why the Pentateuch doesn’t begin with the call of Abraham and the founding of Israel in Genesis 12. Commentators seem widely agreed that the reason the author prefixes the pre-history to the patriarchal narratives is his universalizing interest. He wants to show that God’s original plan was to bless all mankind and that this aim still remains ultimately in mind through the election of Israel, which is now God’s means of fulfilling His original intent. So God wasn’t preoccupied with just the offspring of one human couple to the neglect of everyone else but with all mankind at that time.” William Lane Craig on The Genealogical Adam and Eve Workshop

  2. This is precisely what I propose in the final part of this book. Adam and Eve’s original purpose was to expand the Garden to welcome everyone into a new Kingdom of God, mirroring the City of God in Revelation 20-21.

  3. William Lane Craig also objects that comparable myths were always about the creation of all humanity. This may not be accurate. Many scholars see strong parallels between the creation story of Adam and that of Enkidu. Enkidu is created within a larger population, with the specific purpose of influencing path of a king, Gilgamesh. This parallels the proposal I will make, that Adam’s original purpose was to influence the destiny of the people outside the garden. In the Fall, of course, he fails in this task, and this original purpose becomes curse instead of a blessing on everyone outside the garden.

  4. William Lane Craig raises this objection too. William Lane Craig on The Genealogical Adam and Eve Workshop

  5. Adam’s name is a play on words; the text says in Hebrew that there was “no adam to work the adamah .” Later Cain is banished to the eretz of Nod, away from the adamah where his family lives (Genesis 4:14). Perhaps this hints that the area around the garden is adamah, and there is no one here, in the area of the garden.

(Jon Garvey) #80

It seems to me that the value of the ANE stories is to show the diversity of form and content possible within one corpus, the understanding of mankind, and so on.

For example, we see the theme of mankind created “in the mass” to serve the gods in the temple cities, because of the protests of the minor gods assigned to the work.

But it occurs alongside the story of how, when the lesser gods were delegated to that service before they went on strike, in those days people went about naked, drank from ditches and so on.

Then there is the story of Adapa, the first sage, who is created, apparently de novo amongst mankind in order to be their adviser.

Drawing direct literary parallels is risky, but is not the issue: there is a whole complex of ideas about what constitutes “man,” what creation language means, and so on.

On the universalism of Gen 1-11, I agree it’s an important, and pretty unique, feature in an extremely ancient literature. But to me, the literary parallels that undoubtedly do exist, at least in the Flood narrative but arguably throughout in terms of genre, suggest that this universalism arose early on, before Israel existed, rather than being grafted on late in history.