Dating the Fall: A Conjecture

Readers of this OP are hereby advised: This conjecture is not a hill that I am interested in dying on or arm-wrestling over.

  • In Genesis, we read: “And the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to make one wise; so she took of its fruit, and she ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves and made themselves girdles.”
  • Subsequently, (Genesis 3:21) “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife shirts of skin, and He dressed them.”
  • Given Adam and Eve’s post-“eye opening” behavior, it occurred to me to explore what “scientists” have to say about human clothing, and I found this: Clothing. “Scientists have never agreed on when humans began wearing clothes and estimates submitted by various experts have ranged greatly from 3 million to 40,000 years ago. More recently, studies involving the evolution of body have pointed to a more recent development, implying the use of clothes around 170,000 years ago with others indicating as little as 40,000. However, despite these indications, there is no single estimate that is widely accepted.”
    • Undaunted, and intrigued by the idea that a DNA-study of lice might offer a clue to dating the Fall, I read on and now conjecture that, in spite of the wide range in years (i.e. 40,000 to 170,000 years ago), “some range” is more interesting than “no range”.
    • Personally, I find it satisfying to note that Adam and Eve were more likely Homo Sapiens than not, regardless how science says they came into being.
    • One source: Molecular Evolution ofPediculus humanusand the Origin of Clothing: “The human head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) and body louse (P. humanus corporis or P. h. humanus) are strict, obligate human ectoparasites that differ mainly in their habitat on the host: the head louse lives and feeds exclusively on the scalp, whereas the body louse feeds on the body but lives in clothing. This ecological differentiation probably arose when humans adopted frequent use of clothing, an important event in human evolution for which there is no direct archaeological evidence.”
      • Trivia: “The topology of the tree, with the deepest clades containing only head lice sequences indicates that body lice originated from head lice, as expected.” “Thus, the greater diversity in African lice implies an African origin for lice.”
      • I leave it to others to tease out “a date” for the Lord’s provision of animal skins for more durable (?) clothing.
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A suggestion. To refine the range look at the estimates for the origin of modern human behavior and see if there is any overlap. However, for both of these the lack of “direct archaeological evidence” will limit the conclusions you can draw, IMHO.

The genetic studies of lice suggests differently…

We started wearing clothes about 70,000 years ago - at least according to our lice genes.

This is from the difference between lice which inhabit head hair and lice which inhabit clothing.

Clothing has always been an optional feature of human life depending on climate, therefore there is no reason why Adam and Eve couldn’t have been without clothing long long after humans started wearing clothing in general. The places on earth most like paradise are also the places where clothing is the least necessary. So I don’t think this is a good basis for dating A&E. Though I think this is a better idea than trying to associate A&E with some genetic bottleneck or with mitochondrial Eve and Y chromosomal Adam.

I have always objected to dating A&E too much earlier than the beginning of human civilization because I think that makes them too insignificant. I would prefer to think A&E had something to do with the beginning of human civilization, both good and bad.

After Gilgamesh saved Inanna’s tree from the evil creatures and after Sauron forged the one ring but before Cindarella lost her slipper.


In the alternative, of course, Genesis may not be about when humans began to wear clothing, but about why humans began to wear clothing in the first place, in a place where nakedness was not physically uncomfortable. In that case, is it possible that the Genesis account of Adam and Eve’s actions is not about a change in humanity’s relationship to God, but about a change in the way humans viewed themselves: i.e. an 'evolutionary change" from being amoral animals to being moral animals?

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The first creation story (Genesis 1:1-2:4) virtually mimics an older one in many details (Enuma Elish). It presents the Jewish God as a greater deity than the other surrounding ones. The account in 2:4 to finish seems to be more unique but contains a blend of themes from the region.

In epic of Gilgamesh a life-giving haluppa plant was stolen by a serpent. Sound familiar? In Genesis, a tree of life, a crafty serpent. The story of Adam seems to share details with Adapa (both primeval men, forbidden food, knowledge gained by wiser beings that’s dangerous and leads to divine judgment) and so on. Even the idea of Eden and Adam working the ground find their place.

Personally I see the second account as grappling with the problem of evil. If God is just, why is life so hard? Why do some women not produce offspring? Why do so many babies not make it? Why is it so painful? Why do bad things happen?

I think in a way Adam and Eve can also represent all of us. In our desire to be like God we overstep our bounds and don’t always act as we should. We all eat the forbidden fruit.

It’s also a bit patriarchal. Of course God makes man first! God couldn’t make a woman and give her a man as a helper? We need to drop the male-dominated nonsense from our origin stories.

Do you inderstand how idiotic it is to make fun of this narattive but at the same time believing a man rose literally from the dead?

I’m not following your argument at all. It appears quite fallacious. How is believing in Jesus’ resurrection the same as believing in a pair of contradictory creation stories that are clearly mythological narratives that borrow from many other older creation myths in the region? The gospels are certainly not the same as these creation myths and I never had a salvation experience with Adam or Eve appearing to me. Like billions of Christians before me, the transforming and risen Jesus is real to us because we experience him.

I certainly would not claim the resurrection is demonstrable on historical grounds. But are you aware that many of Jesus’ original followers all thought he rose from the dead? This tradition is datable to close after his death, another tradition which is also datable on historical grounds to a good degree of precision. That of course does not demonstrate it happened but your analogy is very poor. The creation myths come from other much older creation myths, on the order of centuries.

If You wanted your analogy to actually work and use a word like “idiotic” you have to at least represent my views accurately. A caricature and a straw man of my beliefs won’t cut it.

If you want to show how your comparison works, then you need to show how Jesus appeared exactly like other dying and rising saviors in antiquity. You need to show how the gospel accounts mimic clearly older accounts of a similar dying and rising savior God. You then need to explain away all the things about his life and ministry that have a high degree of historical probability (I’ll hit you with a mountain of them) and explain where the other traditions came from.

If you can show me how Jesus and most of these details were clearly created out of other savior myths that the Christian version clearly parallels and follows then, the I would tell you the same thing about the Jesus story as the Garden narrative. So I completely reject your uncritical comparison on all levels.



Why does earlier creation stories make them false? Other accounts record the local flood in the near earea known as the Noahs Flood which i believe is true. You believe in a supremem beign that can create an enitre world and yet you rejecf his ability to communicate trough a selected couple to get to know his creation? Your logic is fallacious and idiotic at best. An ancient greek philosopher(they were relying on logic for their works) whouldve scholed you into oblivion for that statement. Im sorry but this is stupid
If you want to believe they never existed thats fine couldnt care less. To make fun of it since you bilieve in God is ridicullous

Again misrepresenting my views on multiple levels. I never said the creation narratives were false. There is a sleight of hand in your response which co fuses your literal interpretation of Adam and Eve with the truth. I feel confident in believing they can faithfully serve whatever purpose God intended for them if interpreted correctly.

Also, I did not say they were false merely because there are earlier accounts. You should read more carefully and make a better effort to understand someone’s views if you want to use terms like idiotic. It’s a package deal. The Genesis accounts which are contradictory, are based on earlier mythological accounts that are not factually true. They have many bizarre details like magic trees and taking snakes which appear borrowed from other stories. Not to mention, at every measurable turn science has shown the narratives are false.

Well you might be happy to know that Biblical scholars see evidence of two separate flood accounts put together in the text. They are also contradictory and the flood account is certainly not historical unless you eisegetically back-peddle and force it to be localized. The flood account also mirrors older accounts in many details that I am sure you would reject as true.

Floods certainly happened and whether one or a series led to these stories is certainly possible.

Here you are again offering a very poor straw man and misstating my views. Where did I ever say God could not communicate with two people? I never said that and your objection and characterization of my views as idiotic is unfounded. What I dispute is an extremely poor hermeneutic that tries to salvage leftovers, by maintaining 5% of a contradictory pair of narratives is historical when the other 95% is clearly not and all details about them are solidly intertwined within them. I’d not want your theological scraps and God deserves better as well. I couldn’t imagine a more retreating and defeated position.

Pointing out it’s clearly a mythological narratice is necessary. This should be self-evident based on the details inside but sadly it’s not. Christian treatment of Genesis 1-11 is an academic embarrassment and major stumbling block. I don’t think those trying to salvage literal crumbs from these creation myths do any better of a job than those who think the narrative is all factual. Just accept the literary genre. Is that so hard?


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Congrats you just contradicted yourself.

So a couple that God spoke to cannot have existed? A humam couple which evolved from our common ancestor cannot have existed and God who created the universe couldnt have talked to them?

Either you just focus on other things and try to kisinterpet my words or you just dont understand what im saying at all.

Again the account doesnt have to be entirely mythological its commons sense. A couple like that could have existed and i doubt there be any historical documents to prove that because well common sense.

idiotic and ignorant claims you made above. Dont even gonna waste my time responding to half your things which you misinterpeted from my reply above

Read closer. The flood accounts are mythological. There can be a kernel of truth or a spark that creates a myth. Floods happened. People made up stores about them. How did I co read it myself.

I never made that statement. You repeating it won’t change that. You are arguing with something I am not saying. A girl could have gone to a ball and enchanted a prince. Doesn’t mean Cinderella is true. Something merely being “logically possibly” is not a good standard for arriving at truth or ignoring literary genres.

No one disputes a couple could not have existed. What is disputed is the factuality of that narrative. The vast majority of it is demonstrably false and all the details of that couple are embedded and intertwined within that false narrative that’s clearly putting together older false mythological narratives. I am disputing the hermeneutic of salvaging 5% of the narrative as bankrupt or merely your claim that something like it is within the real pf logical possibility is actually a a meaningful statement here.



Since there is the possibility of the couple existed and God trying to reach them im fine with that. Couldnt care less about the tree or snake. So argue with yourself from now on

There is also the possibility they didn’t. Logical possibility is not a good metric. If you want to subscribe to such a poor hermeneutical method, that is your choice.

If you don’t want to discuss with me, don’t respond to me. It’s easy. That way you won’t fee the need to ironically accuse me of idiotic views when your posts are egregious misrepresentations of what I am saying.

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That’s similar to how I view Genesis. It is an attempt to understand why humans are different from other animals. The story could also be seen as an allegory for growing up, starting out innocent and then learning of sin through knowledge of the world. Dating the Fall would seem a bit like guessing how fast the turtle was moving when it crossed the finish line ahead of the hare. I think it misses the point of the parable.


Actually, my conjecture was more fun than that. I just didn’t advertise the fun I was having.

I subscribe to the definition of “a parable” given to me by a venerable Sunday School teacher when I was about 12: “a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” If you think the story of the Fall is a parable, you’ve been hanging around too many Christians. Check yourself in the mirror: something from them is starting to rub off on you. :grin:

As for “missing the point” of the account in Genesis, my dating of the “event” (i.e. the Fall) assumed, from my POV (i.e. Point of View), that the event–which I’ve described elsewhere as a “singularity” in which a previously stable “Good” dynamical system became an unstable “not-Good” dynamical system and evil became common. The question, IMO, is not “why is there evil?”, but “why is there still any good–if any (and I say there is) in this world?”

Man is too insecure to honor the strengths of women, so He let’s us feel like big shots when women wield power over us. God ain’t dumb.
Satan does not know all things. But, he has abilities we don’t. Very easily he could have encouraged (badger, harrass, intimidate, threaten are better choices) someone to write some things that would have something in common with Genesis before Genesis was written. He can’t help but twist and pervert whatever it is, and you can smell his putrid stench on everything he touches. He may not have had a thing to do with any previous writings, but I wouldn’t put it past him. He lied to Christ and misquoted scripture.

This seems to put some of the responsibility for the stupidity of men who pick up and carry on ungenerous or even mean spirited cultural norms off onto God. Better to say “some men are too insecure to refrain from picking up and promoting destructive cultural norms”. Or what does “letting us” consist in? Does it mean He condones it? Is there more evidence for thinking so than the mere fact that divine intervention doesn’t prevent all occurrences of such behavior?


Is this supposed to be an apologetic for the misogyny in the Bible?

A little jab at what knuckleheads men can be. Said with a light touch and not intended to be a commentary on the roles of men and women.

I’ll tell you what I do think, ok? Ready? Here goes, since you seem to be curious.
I think we could help each other a lot. We could stop fighting each other. We could try to be friends. We could try to honor women just as we want men to honor our mothers, sisters, wives. We could try to love them as Christ does and they could work at loving us with his love. I think we focus so much on our differences that we neglect to appreciate the way God made everyone a unique creation worthy of respect and honor. I think we live in a sick world and a diseaesed culture where the best looking are worshiped, the intelligent are glorified, the great athletes deified, while the single man or woman can feel forgotten. Teenagers without the highly prized externals can feel terribly isolated and defeated. I think, I pray, that each of us could be like Jesus is, every day, all day, whatever we do, say, wherever we go.
That is what I really think. That is what I would to God we could shoot for in our relations with each other.
Do you honestly believe for 1 second that I don’t know how Pollyannish that sounds? But, that’s what I’d like.

Because that is Life. Loving others with his love is the greatest way to live, the most fulfilling way to be.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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