These conversations are difficult and important, so I am glad that they are happening. Especially in light of the ongoing protests in STL, where I live, the Church needs a coherent voice on race and racism.
However, the article misrepresents Keller’s statements in this video. In addition to reading the article in entirety, it is important to watch the video.
The third essential belief proposed in this video is the supernatural, “de novo” creation of Adam and Eve as the first humans and sole progenitors of the entire human race. Keller, along with the other participants, believes this to be not only the clear message of Genesis but an essential part of the overall biblical message. … We appeal to the Gospel Coalition to not frame the essentials of creation around the method God used to create humans, but around God’s purpose and intent for humans. God made us to know him, love him, and to bear his image in this world. -@DeborahHaarsma
This written description of the video is not accurate. Tim Keller does not make this claim. He makes no reference to “first humans” or “sole progenitors”. All he says is that when he reads Scripture, he feels he must affirm de novo creation of Adam and Eve. In response to Keller’s exegesis, Russell Moore adds the importance of affirming de novo creation as a foundation for universal human rights.
I am an advocate of no-Adam theologians. This was an overriding reason why I chose to join the BioLogos speakers bureau in the first place. Regardless of my personal theology, they are full and dignified members of the Church. Most recently, I argued to a conservative group of theologians:
We do well, then, to remember that the traditional marker of orthodoxy is the historicity of Jesus and the Resurrection, not Adam, and a confession that He rose from the dead (Rom. 10:9). http://henrycenter.tiu.edu/2017/06/a-genealogical-adam-and-eve-in-evolution/
In response to Moore, I would also add an additional defense of no-Adam theologians. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is among the foremost advocates of universal rights. His advocacy is brought forward with a coherent theological case, even though Dr. King himself rejected any notion of a historical Adam. Dr. King’s no-Adam theology did not limit his affirmation of human rights. At the same time, the historical Adam theology of Dr. King’s contemporaries did not stop them from justifying segregation on Scriptural grounds ( https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/evangelical-history/2016/07/26/is-segregation-scriptural-a-radio-address-from-bob-jones-on-easter-of-1960/ ). This last couple weeks, watching police mistreat non-violent protesters and bystanders ( https://m.riverfronttimes.com/foodblog/2017/09/20/chris-sommer-responds-after-police-union-puts-him-and-pi-pizzeria-on-blast ), mere hundreds of feet from my home, has a way of focusing the mind. If the de novo creation of Adam gives special resources to affirm universal rights, I would beseech Moore to deploy these resources on behalf of the non-violent protestors in the segregated city of Saint Louis right now.
I am also an advocate of historical Adam theologians. There is absolutely zero evidence against Keller’s confession of the de novo creation of Adam and Eve “from the dust.” Entirely consistent with the genetic and archaeological evidence, Adam and Eve could have been specially created in a Garden and be ancestors of us all. This unequivocal scientific fact is an open secret among many BioLogos biologists, including many of those on the Board. Though he misrepresents my views, even @DennisVenema himself has endorsed this scientific fact in print ( http://henrycenter.tiu.edu/2017/07/response-to-the-symposium-part-1/ ). As Tom McCall of The Creation Project summarizes our exchange:
So is belief in a historical Adam inconsistent with belief in the Common Ancestry Thesis and the Large Initial Population Thesis? Actually, it is not inconsistent; these are neither contrary nor contradictory…Swamidass offers one possible way of holding to both, and it is interesting to note that Venema admits that this is indeed possible; it is even more interesting to note that Venema’s rejoinder to it is distinctly theological. http://henrycenter.tiu.edu/2017/07/science-theology-charitable-discussion-a-symposium-recap/
The evidence does show that our ancestors arise as a large population, and share ancestry with the great apes. However, nothing in science unsettles the confession that God specially created a single couple, Adam and Eve, from whom we all descend.
For those who wish to discuss the science or theology further in my absense, I would direct you to @Jon_Garvey and @Sy_Garte, who have both written extensively on this: http://potiphar.jongarvey.co.uk/2017/08/25/hump-articles-on-genealogical-adam-hypothesis/. Regarding Dr King, as we approach the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I encourage us all to read MLK and the Image of God ( https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Image/dp/0199843961 ). Peace.
EDIT: An important error was made in this post that has been retracted. It said that the science error was “to” (in order to) push Keller out. This is an error, as I doubt this is Deb’s intention. What is at issue here is a scientific error on a material fact. Intentions and tone are all entirely beside the point, if it is that scientific facts matter.