Did God Bring About Humanity Through Incest?

(Mazrocon) #1

Hey guys, this is my first topic so hopefully I did everything alright. This topic has been on my mind recently.

I have difficulty understanding how, if Adam & Eve are the sole biological parents of humanity, that God purposely brought about humanity through incestuous means?

Incest is condemned as a wicked thing in Leviticus 20:17.

One might argue that God used incest at the beginning, and by the time Moses came around it was considered sinful. But the problem is that chapter 20 of Leviticus lists many forms of sexual immorality, that most Christians would consider universally sinful.

For example you have homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13). You have bestiality (Leviticus 20:15,16). You have adultery (Leviticus 20:10). As well as general rules and precepts about not cursing your mother and father.

In Mark and Matthew, when Jesus talks to the Pharisees and Sadducees about Divorce, he says (paraphrasing here) that at the beginning a man shall leave his mother and father, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (quoting Genesis 2:24).

Along with answering their questions about divorce, the meaning to this is twofold:

  1. God’s definition of marriage was limited to that of one man and one woman (aka hetero-monogamous). This excludes polygamy and homosexual relations.

  2. Although this was the original intent people inevitably ended up doing their own thing. Lamech of Genesis 4 was a polygamist. As well as Abraham, Jacob (and possibly Lot).

Why are these practices condemned?

Leviticus 18 says bestiality is “confusion”. The same chapter says homosexuality is an abomination (Romans 1 gives further detail saying it’s unnatural and a vile affection).

All of these, most Christians would agree, are dangerous to the basic structure of family (and bestiality to that of nature). But what about incest?

Going back to Genesis 2:24 it says “Wherefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” — this to me is basic moral instruction for how family-units should be. However, in the case of Adam and Eve, one can hardly be expected to “leave” his father and mother, and “cleave” to his wife, if that same wife is also your sister, who is in all likelihood still living in the same household, with your father and mother.

It seems to me that incest does the same damage to family-units, in a similar fashion, to that of polygamy or homosexuality. How is it that God brought about humanity in this fashion?

One might argue that the original human genome was much stronger than it is now, and thus the original human family wouldn’t suffer such horrible defects as people do now. However, that is the scientific justification. We are still left with the moral question of why God would create Adam and Eve, tell them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), knowing full well that brother-sister unions (as well as more extreme cases, such as mother-son and father-daughter unions) would inevitably take place?

It’s not the same as polygamy, because in that situation you still have a choice to have multiple spouses. In the Adam and Eve scenario you have no choice but to interbreed.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this - and if anybody thinks my logic is lacking.


(Christy Hemphill) #2

Well, it’s not really the evolutionary creation position that Adam and Eve are the sole biological ancestors of all of mankind, so that is more an issue for biblical literalists.

What I have heard the biblical literalists say in defense of Adam and Eve’s children marrying their siblings is that, since the lifespans were so long, they married at a pretty old age. (If you take the genealogies in Gen 5 literally, they are having their sons at 105 and 90 and such.) So they could marry a sibling or cousin from a totally different generation, who is not someone they ever shared a home with. And the Adam and Eve’s DNA was so “pure,” containing the genetic diversity for all of humanity, (which the geneticists say isn’t really possible given what we know now about human DNA) that there was no concern for inbreeding resulting in genetic issues.

I agree, it’s not the best explanation. Which is why it is helpful to give yourself the freedom to read Genesis in a less literal way.

(Patrick ) #3

Complete genomic sequencing has shown that two people were not and cannot have been the sole biological parents of humanity. All genomic sequencing results of thousands of people show that the DNA sequences in each of us do not and can not descend from just two people but are from thousands of people. In addition each and every one of our genes go back even further to fish and to single celled animals. Biologos has some of the best explanation of the last genetic results, I highly encourage you to read them and ask critical questions to clear any misunderstanding.

(Gregory) #4

“Well, it’s not really the evolutionary creation position that Adam and Eve are the sole biological ancestors of all of mankind, so that is more an issue for biblical literalists.”

Well, ‘the’ (singular) ‘evolutionary creation’ position is rather ambiguous about quite a lot of things, let’s be honest, if one could even call it singular at all. The ‘sole biological ancestors’ issue would be nicely addressed by Dennis Venema regarding his anti-monogenism (still without open admission of polygenism, which is the only other option currently on the table), as I indicated in previous threads. But he hasn’t stepped up to the plate to address that yet and Denis Lamoureux’s views of Genesis are highly unorthodox, i.e. if you count him as providing ‘an’ evolutionary creation position.

Timothy, here’s the best I can suggest; it deals directly with your question about incest. www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/kemp-monogenism.pdf He’s a Catholic Christian whose work has not (yet) been featured at BioLogos.

(Mazrocon) #5


Thank you for your insights! I wasn’t necessarily I saying my position of Adam was the Historical Ancestral viewpoint. Just that incest seems to be a problem with that viewpoint.


Thanks for your reply and giving me your take on it. I don’t know much about evolutionary theory so I shall look into it. I apologize for the misunderstanding; I wasn’t saying that my viewpoint theologically or scientifically, was that of humanity descending from a single pair of human beings. The reason I asked was because of another user on BioLogos (Eddie I believe was his name) said that the overall church concensus, through out the years, was of a single pair of humans as biological parents of humanity (i.e., Adam and Eve). I was curious on how they, or anyone else, dealt with the issue of incest.


It doesn’t seem to me that BioLogos has an “official position”. It feels more like BioLogos is a breeding ground for different ideas, possibilities, suggestions, for how to deal with these central issues.

I will definitely check out that link about the incest-issue… Thanks!


(Christy Hemphill) #6


I wasn’t trying to say everyone who claims to be evolutionary creationist rejects Adam and Eve and the original biological ancestors of all humanity. I was just trying to point out that affirming that Adam and Eve are the biological ancestors of all humanity isn’t a necessary tenet, like it is for the AiG folks who reject out of hand anything that disputes it.

(Mazrocon) #7


I read the article you shared (some of it, I admit, went over my head). So I’ll share with you some of my thoughts on it, as well as a little backstory.

I was raised in a Christian home, and always with the presumption of young-earth creationism. It was only very recently (within the last year or so) that I began considering other options.

But even then, I’ve never quite understood the doctrine of Original Sin. The definition of sin, as I see it, is knowing to do good but choosing to do bad. Therefore one would wonder how it’s possible to “inherit guilt”, say as a little baby, being too young to make moral decisions, and yet bearing “original sin”.

There is nothing in Genesis, to my understanding, that would lead one to conclude that Adam’s sin caused damage to the human genome, or that his offspring was cursed, or that humanity inherits the guilt of his transgression. I am not against the idea that Adam and Eve were “chosen” out of say, a group of other humans. That idea is obviously not foreign to the Bible. And being made “in the image of God” doesn’t mean that God’s image is physical (Maimonides talks a lot about this point in his book The Guide for the Perplexed). And the tiny word “in” has a multitude of meanings — one of which is a “status” or “office”, like would might say “I work IN law enforcement”. It is this position, of which I suggest, is the meaning of the “imago dei”.

Going back to original sin, the book of Ezekiel says “The son does not bear the iniquity of the father”. Sin is based on choices we make. As Paul says “Sin is not imputed when there is no law”… We cannot therefore “sin” without a commandment being given to us. And that commandment was given to Adam in the garden, when God let Adam know he was a moral creature, capable of right and wrong, unlike the other creatures.

So while it’s true the his sin was “original”, I have a hard time following why this guilt, or even Adam’s sinful nature, is biologically inherited through procreation? Paul says “In Adam all die, but in Christ shall all be made alive”. But Christ’s sacrifice didn’t mean that everyone was saved… But rather everyone who willfully believed in Christ, would be saved. And so it is with Adam, that if we choose to follow in his footsteps, we shall be condemned. But the emphasis is on personal choice.

(Patrick ) #8

Suppose that something is definitely proven through scientific investigation, that a certain hypothesis is verified or a certain fact emerges as a result of scientific investigation, and suppose that that fact is incompatible with your personal beliefs or understandings. Do you expand your understanding of your beliefs and accept the result of the scientific research and move forward from there?

(Mazrocon) #9

Hey Patrick,

Yes, you pose some great questions. I said that I didn’t know much about evolutionary theory — not that I “avoided” learning about it because it was a major threat to my beliefs. It is because the way I was raised (private school and then homeschool) that the subject of evolution never got seriously discussed.

I wouldn’t be on this site (where it’s about the harmony of science and faith) if I didn’t think there were some problems with my prior belief — the belief in young-earth creationism.

While faith requires trust in the individual to believe with your heart, mind and soul, it not as dogmatic as is often betrayed. Their are two words in the Greek that both would mean faith in the English.

The first is “numitso” which means “A customary or traditional belief… A faith that’s been passed down based on customs an traditions”.

The second is “pistis” which comes from the word “pathos” meaning “to be persuaded, or to persuade”.

The writers could have used “numitso” but they always used the word “pistis” indicating that the belief in Christianity is something you’re persuaded why. Through various means… Argumentation, eye-witness accounts etc. Not a dogmatic “believe for no reason” religion.

Not all books of the Bible are written in the same fashion, so genres need to be taken into consideration, etc.

I hope that answers some of your questions. Thanks.



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(Mazrocon) #11


I am humbled by your corrections. You are quite correct that my knowledge of Greek is little, and based off what another person told me. I myself do not study Greek, but I try my best to get involved in Hebrew and Greek to get a better understanding.

As Proverbs 19:2 say “It is not to have zeal without knowledge.” And while my intentions were good, they were not well thought out.


(Christy Hemphill) #12

No need to apologize. @Eddie is just a stickler for accuracy. :cop: You’ll get used to him. :wink:


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(system) #14

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