Genesis 2:7 And Theistic Evolution

First off newbie here so go easy on me :grin:

Just a little bit about myself without getting too intimate. My interests in Christianity are:

2.Biblical Languages
3.Origins Theology

Right now #3 is getting my interest. I plan on studying all 3 sides of the Origins Theology debate(YEC,OEC and TE)but before I dive fully into this I have a question for TE’s here.

In Genesis 2:7 it says:

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being

If TE is true how does one interpret the part of the verse that God created man(Adam)from the dust of the earth. If this is not literal then what does it really mean? And if it is literal how do you coincide this with Theistic Evolution?

Hi, James, and welcome to this forum!

First of all, I think you are correct to note that most/all TEs would not take that verse literally … at least not in the sense you probably mean by “literal”. I.e. that an anthropomorphized God knelt in the dirt and with human-like hands fashioned the first humans as we would imagine a super-skilled potter doing.

On the other hand, all Christians on any side of this issue do take that verse literally in the sense that we all agree we are made of the same stuff as planets and stars … “dirt” if you will. And TEs, along with any other creationists, insist that God fashioned us (by whatever process … but it was/is God). So there is nothing in that verse that the TE would insist wasn’t literally true. It’s just a difference of what that would have looked like had we been there to watch. Young earther’s might expect something more like an actual figure being formed there on the spot. TEs would insist that God did it over eons of time using processes, many of which we’ve come to identify as “natural”, so that there was no single event of a newly minted human who just 24 hours before was nothing more than dirt.

At least that’s my take on it. We’ll see what others here say, too.


Fun times ahead for sure. Glad you stopped by here.

I think @Mervin_Bitikofer gave a good summary.

I also think the important and instructive part of the verse you cited is that God breathed into humanity the breath of life, which I would understand as a spiritual capacity, a unique singling out for an eternal destiny. I don’t think the big takeaway is supposed to be that humanity was literally formed from mud. I think that was probably just a common mental picture of the day for creation narratives.

You might find this link helpful as you begin your investigation, because it outlines the various approaches to Genesis that you will encounter in the different groups. It’s helpful to keep in mind what people’s orientations are in terms of concordism and biblical literalism.

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