How Man was both Evolved and Specially Created

Creation of Man

by Glenn R. Morton

This is part of a series on how to interpret early Genesis as historical fact, matching both what the Scripture says and what science say. The series starts with my Days of Proclamation post and continues in the When did Adam Live? series, followed by Eden and the Flood. If you don’t understand why Adam has to be so early in time, please at least understand the arguments in the When did Adam live posts because you won’t understand why what I suggest below is necessary. This article shows how we can be both evolved and specially created.

Creation of Adam

Back when I wrote my book, I was one of the rare advocates for human-Neanderthal interbreeding. The consensus of the time was that modern H. sapiens came out of Africa and replaced all of the fossil species, essentially a Paleolithic genocide, as one anthropologist dubbed it. I had based my views on the abundant skeletal information that Neanderthal traits were found in abundance in early European skeletons and these traits slowly left the population over time, although, we H. sapiens of European extraction still carry the hoizontal-oval form of the mandibular foramen, the hole with the nerve the dentist tries to numb when he works on your mouth. That trait was a Neanderthal trait. It was also clear from genetics at the time of the writing of my book, that Modern humans had obtained the blonde hair blue eyes from Neanderthals and still most anthropologists were saying my views of the time were wrong.

Since the writing of the book, we have learned a lot about the behavior of our Paleolithic ancestors breeding. Things such as:

" Comparing genomes, scientists concluded that today’s humans outside Africa carry an average of 2.5 percent Neanderthal DNA, and that people from parts of Oceania also carry about 5 percent Denisovan DNA. A study published in November found that Southeast Asians carry about 1 percent Denisovan DNA in addition to their Neanderthal genes. It is unclear whether Denisovans and Neanderthals also interbred ."1

It is now clear that Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred;2 it is now also known that there were multiple Denisovans who themselves had been isolated from each other for as long as 350,000 years, both of whom interbred with the ancestors of Papua New Guineans. Jacobs et al, say:

" Instead, modern Papuans carry hundreds of gene variants from two deeply divergent Denisovan lineages that separated over 350 thousand years ago."3

All of this means that Adam can’t be a Neolithic creature, if he is to be the first man, and the first sinner. For those of a young-earth perspective, think about this. The dates above are based upon the observed rates of mutation we see today in humanity. It would take 350,000 years at those rates for the mutations seen in the Papua New Guineans to accumulate. Thus both radioactive decay and genetic dating say the world is older than a few thousand years.

Another item relevant to our origin is that of the genetic mistakes we share with apes. If you copy a Google map and act like it is yours, it isn’t the correct information that will get you convicted of copyright theft, it is the mistake that your map and Google’s map share. For instance, if you copied my neighborhood as part of your map, you would share the mistaken location of a particular street, which irritates me much, that Googles map has. Google has the same street in two different locations about 400 feet apart. If your map showed that same mistake, we would know your copied them. Similarly, if we set 5 people out to copy the text of the Bible by hand, and then compared the copies, if two or more of the copies shared all the same errors, we would know who the individuals were who copied their work. This is no different than a teacher who realizes that a student submitted a paper with a word for word copy of an online paper for hire, including the grammatical mistakes. So, what are we to make of the mistakes and dead genes we share with the apes? Intellectual honesty should require that we address them in our apologetics rather than just claim they don’t exist.

Our body’s evolution from the apes involved a chromosomal fusion event in which two chromosomes fused into one, which is now our chromosome 2. Chromosome fusion is rare in humans but it has been known to occur. One man was born with all of his chromosomes fused into one gigantic chromosome.

" For instance, we have observed an extreme variation in the number of chromosomes (from 1 to 46) in a patient. This variation was due to an end-to-end fusion of the chromosomes, and although the karyotypes appeared to be drastically modified, it was possible to find all the chromosomes and to show that they were complete "4

Such an event can have devastating consequences for the individual involved.

“Cytological studies have been presented from a 15-year-old girl with short stature and failure of puberty. Buccal mucosa preparations revealed X-chromatin mass approximately double in size of that of a normal female. Leukocyte metaphases suggested a two cell line composition of the patient. One population of cells conformed with 45,X chromosome distribution. The chromosome complement of her other cell line had a modal number of 46. In this cell line a “C” chromosome was replaced by an exceptionally large submetacentric chromosome. This abnormal element exhibited late DNA replicating pattern. G-banding study revealed that the abnormal chromosome was produced as a result of fusion involving telomeric ends of long arms of 2 intact X chromosomes.” 5

With that as background, I will cite a long passage from my book, which is probably the best explanation for how we both evolved and were specially created by God.

" If it is true that we, and the archaic forms of man, were able to interbreed, that is, that we are one species, then how do we fit fossil man into the biblical account? I have argued that the fossil and archeological evidence strongly supports the concept that mankind has been on this earth for many millions of years. They behaved as we would if we had the technology that they had. There is only one way to fit all of these facts into a biblical perspective."
“As outlined in a previous book,6 God created man about 5.5 million years ago. This is the time of the first occurrence of hominids on earth. Adam was both an evolutionary product of the apes and a special creation of God. There are three facts whose understanding are absolutely essential before one can unite Scripture and modern science. The first is that the African apes have 48 chromosomes and Homo sapiens have only 46. If mankind is a product of evolution, then there must have been a chromosomal fusion at some time during the past. The place I propose for this to occur was at the split between the apes and men. This is because none of the apes have 46 chromosomes, only humans do.”
“The second fact is that the genes of humans and chimpanzees are 98% identical. This amazing similarity means that only modest changes in the genetics of a chimpanzee would produce a human. Creationists have often used this similarity as evidence for similar design. According to this view, God used similar genetics to construct similar animals. But this view is disproven by the third fact.”
“The third fact is the existence of pseudogenes which strongly support the genetic relationship between man and ape. A pseudogene is a broken gene; it is a gene with no functionality. A gene which codes for a protein is constructed as is shown in Figure 34. In the nuclear DNA (location 1 in the figure) the working gene consists of a control section, followed by some DNA that codes for part of the protein, called an exon. Then there is a region called an intron which is also known as junk DNA. This region does not provide any information for the manufacture of the protein. Following this, there is another exon, (part B) that contains the information for the rest of the protein. When the nuclear DNA is copied prior to the manufacture of the protein, parts A and B are united, the control portion is removed, and a tail is added to the united parts A and B. This processed gene is then used in the ribosome to manufacture a copy of the protein.”
“Occasionally, a mistake is made and the processed gene is reinserted back into the nuclear DNA at a second location. But the processed gene lacks the control portion and lacks the intron. In this form, it cannot manufacture a protein any longer. It is absolutely useless. This lack of utility is what demonstrates that evolution has occurred and that man is related genetically to the great apes.”
“Recently, Edward Max has brought forth some information which contradicts the common design argument of the creationists.7 Max cites two court cases, Colonial Book Co, Inc. v. Amsco School Publications, Inc., District Court, S.D. New York, Sept 9, 1941 and SubContractors Register, Inc. v McGovern’s Contractors & Builders Manual, Inc. et al. District Court, S.D. New York, August 2, 1946. In these cases, the plaintiff claimed that their books had been plagiarized. But since in both of these cases, the two products were designed to serve a similar function and to convey similar information, it was difficult to say that the correct information had been acquired in an illicit fashion. After all, anyone can get a business address and if it is correct, there is no way to know if they got it out of a copyrighted book or from the tax office. But, if the first published book contains an error that is not in the records of the tax office, then the existence of the identical error, in the identical place in the second book would be proof of copyright infringement. This is exactly what the courts decided. The two defendants had transmitted errors made in the plaintiff’s books. This transmission proved to the jury that the source of the information was illicitly acquired.”
“A processed pseudogene plays exactly the same function in the biological court of law. A common pseudogene has been found at the identical location in four species: humans, chimpanzees, gorilla, orangutan and Old World monkeys. Common design simply does not explain this data.”
“Consider the following situation. You ask five of your friends to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica, all thirty volumes. You ask them to go to five different cities, with instructions that at some randomly chosen point in the typing of the encyclopedia, they are to stop, randomly select a paragraph, and insert that paragraph into the Britannica. Then they are to continue the rest of the copying job. When they come back together and show you their copies, you find that all five people had copied the identical paragraph into the identical spot of the Britannica. You would think that they had conspired to achieve this effect. There is no way that you would think that this was simply the result of chance. Similarly, to find the same error in the genes of five different species, but not in all species, is evidence of common descent.”
“There are other examples of useless DNA embedded in the DNA of humans and chimpanzees. Occasionally, retroviruses are able to insert their DNA code into the nuclear DNA of an animal. There are cases where identical retroviral DNA is found at the same location in both chimpanzees and humans. This means that some common ancestor caught a retroviral disease, the retrovirus inserted itself into the genes of that individual and it was passed on to all the descendants. These nonuseful genes prove that we arose from the apes.”
“Because of these three facts, there is only one explanation which allows for the incorporation of the data into a biblical perspective. Five and a half million years ago, an ape-like creature gave birth to a child that had a grievous genetic defect. This child had 46 chromosomes rather than the normal 48 of her species. The child was born dead. God took pity on this creature, fixed the defect and breathed life into it. This was Adam.”
“Adam did not know how to talk. His biological mother didn’t either. Thus, God brought all the animals to Adam and let him name them. Whatever Adam named the creatures was what they were called. But among all the animals, no mate was found for him. He had 46 chromosomes and all of his relatives had 48. Because of this, he was a lone creature on this earth with no ability to reproduce. While a chromosomal fusion is not necessarily a barrier to reproduction, it often is. Following Adam’s recognition that there was no mate for him, God caused a deep sleep to come on Adam and removed a rib. From this rib, God fashioned a woman for Adam. God told them not to eat from the fruit of a particular tree, which they did. God cursed them and ejected them from the place where they were living. Humanity descended from this primeval pair who were both the product of evolution and special creation.”
“Was Adam an australopithecine? There is no answer to this question. Ernst Mayr, the great taxonomist, preferred to classify them in the genus Homo. But there are so many differences between them and us, it seems unlikely. What I would prefer is that Adam’s descendants were able to live for millions of years in an isolated pocket, maybe in a forest where bones are unlikely to be preserved. Acidic soils found in tropical forests destroy bones in less than a year. Eventually, they reproduced and became widespread enough that they left fossil evidence of themselves around the world.”
"If Adam were a Homo erectus, then one can probably place the origin of man long prior to 2.0 million years. Homo erectus was so widespread around the world when he first appears on earth that a long time is required for the population to spread out that far. While anthropologists have not been looking for early Homo erectus in places other than Africa, it is likely that he had been on earth for millions of years prior to his first fossil example. In this fashion, all of the data of anthropology can be placed in a biblical framework, leaving no contradictions ."8

Thus was Adam made.

Note to critics, I said EARY Homo erectus in that last paragraph. That was true back in the late 1990s. Since then early sites have been received a bit better. There are tools that look of H. erectus manufacture found all over Asia rather early. We have fossil skulls of H. erectus in Dmanisi, Georgia at 1.6-1.77 my years ago. There are stone tools from Pakistan dated two million years old–who made them?9 Tools found in Longgupo China date to 1.4-1.8 myr ago.10. Tools found in Israel in the Erk-el-Ahmar are dated from 1.7 million to 2.0 million years old, and in Spain sites with tools are dated between 2 million and 1.1 myr ago.11 The question is how did he get that widespread so rapidly?

Of the Fall, there is nothing that can be said about it of an empirical nature. I do believe it happened as outlined, but there never will be evidence of it other than human behavior.

References

1.ALANNA MITCHELL “DNA Turning Human Story Into a Tell-All” January 12, 2012, https://reich.hms.harvard.edu/sites/reich.hms.harvard.edu/files/inline-files/2012_Denisova_NewYorkTimes_Mitchell.pdf
2.Viviane Slon et al,“The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father,” Nature, 561 , pages113–116 (2018), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0455-x
3. Guy S. Jacobs et al, "Multiple Deeply Divergent Denisovan Ancestries in Pauans ," Cell (2019) 17, 1-12, May 2, 2019, p.1
4. B. Dutrillaux, “Chromosomal Evolution in Primates: Tentative Phylogeny from Microcebus murinus (Prosimian) to Man,” Human Genetics, 48(1979): 251‑314, p. 292‑294
5.Anil K. Sinha, Sen Pathak, James J. Nora, "Fusion of two apparently intact human X chromosomes, Human Genet January 1976, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 295–300 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00295819
6. Glenn R. Morton, Foundation, Fall and Flood, DMD publishers, 1998
7 This can be found on the Internet at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/molgen/
8.Glenn R. Morton, Adam, Apes and Anthropology, DMD Publishers, Dallas, 1997, p. 186-187
9. R.W. Dennell, H. M. Rendell and E. Hailwood, “Late Pliocene Artefacts from Northern Pakistan,” Current Anthropology, 29:3, June 1988, p. 498
10. FeiHan et al, “Preliminary results of combined ESR/U-series dating of fossil teeth from Longgupo cave, China” Quaternary Geochronology Volume 10, July 2012, Pages 436-442
11. H. Ron, S. Levi, "When did Hominids First Leave Africa? New High-resolution magnetostratigraphy from the Erk-el-Ahmar Formation, Israel, Geology, 29, p. 887-890

Well now that’s a new one (emphasis mine).

1 Like

Somehow God taking pity on a genetically defective creature nature had to kill off doesn’t fit the “very good creation” narrative I read in Genesis.

I thought the goal was to stop making new atheists. :face_with_monocle:

Fits the facts as we know them. Why you would have a problem with that I wouldn’t know.

I take this to mean that you believe there was no evolution with animal eating animal in the past? No death where cruel claws ripped some young offspring apart for the preditor’s dinner? Is that what you mean by ‘good’?

A post of deep thinking and substance. lol

Well, I have kind of run out of topics and don’t wish to spend my days debating whether the Bible should be true historically or not. (I mean if it isn’t true historically, then there was no bodily resurrection and as Paul says, we are most to be pitied). My welcome is probably long worn out among some who would prefer not to struggle with these issues and solve them, but who take the easy path and just to surrender to atheist criticisms of the Bible. If one expects the atheist to think you wise or respect you, think again.

What has been done here is something that has been said to be impossible. This is a concordistic interpretation of early Genesis. Everyone is free of course to tsk tsk at it and say it didn’t happen that way. And of course, we can’t prove it happened that way any more than we can actually prove Caesar invaded Gaul, or that there was a library at Alexandria, Egypt. That is the nature of history; it is a series of views about how history happened, based upon the data we have, trying to match the data to a particular view of history. So, what has been done is no different than what is normally done with historical or geological data. This series lays out the only way to interpret Scripture in a scientifically accurate way. It’s novelty means nothing as to its truth or falseness.

Pevaquark said: Well now that’s a new one. What does that mean? Is anything ‘new’ automatically false? That is what I read and infer from that statement. If that were true, there would be no technological progress. Equating newness and falseness is a long time past time and really means “we prefer not to be disturbed by anything we don’t already believe”.

Maybe this theory is wrong? Maybe this theory is correct. What it isn’t is a theory that violates observational data. Yall only picked on one or two areas of the science, and most of that was in the Babel post. I will leave you now to go back to your comfortable belief in the falsehood of Scripture. Accomodationalism and atheism are two sides of the same coin. Take care, I have enjoyed it. If nothing else I hope you found my posts to be an interesting diversion.

That’s a false dichotomy which I hope you could shake off from your former YEC days.

Is that how you view the BioLogos community here? Have you ever read some of the pages on the main BioLogos site? Not that everyone in the forums believes exactly the same things but people’s paths are far from easy.

Who said that’s impossible? I certainly would never say that. Anyone can do a concordist interpretation (I’ve made a few up myself). It is something that is done at Reasons to Believe and other OEC organizations.

Wow that’s a pretty bold claim. There are lots of ways one can interpret Scripture in a scientifically accurate way, many of which don’t involve mental gymnastics cherry picking random events from natural history and playing the Hebrew magic game picking various definitions from dictionaries that suit what you picked from natural history.

It is not automatically false though I was rather surprised at how crazy your idea sounded to me. With absolutely no way to verify it and in my opinion a rather bizarre scenario, I’m going to leave it at that.

Another falsehood. Common Glenn (@gbob). If you want to keep proclaiming such things here that generally isn’t celebrated so I hope you don’t expect it to be. And coming up with scenarios where Adam was born with horrid genetic defects and then recreated doesn’t exactly help win anyone over to what you want to win them over to. How is it exactly that you think someone will go

'wow, that sounds amazing… that must be what Genesis is really talking about! As a result now I believe everything the Bible says but was really struggling before you helped demonstrate Moses inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote of the chromosome 2 fusion event some 5 mya where Adam’s mom gave birth stillborn and Genesis 2 describes how God brought him to life and they were infertile with the other hominids alive then’

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Aside from the obvious issues that you’re commenting on, there is also no need to postulate anything unusual for the 48 -> 46 chromosome shift. The first fusion would have occurred in one individual, who would have had 47 chromosomes as a result (i.e. two chromosomes fused together, so they count as “one” even though there is still all the material there from both). This individual then reproduces JUST FINE with other “48” individuals, and as a result there are now more “47” offspring in the population. Over time, the “47” variant becomes more common, until eventually some people have two “47” parents, which allows for “46” offspring. Over time, by chance, this becomes common and the unfused variant is lost. Nothing unusual required, and no significant fertility issues. It is very common for non-specialists to think that something odd happened to get this to work. Not so.

4 Likes

While I have no problem with Adam arising 5 million years ago, I disagree that there is “only one explanation …” If common descent is valid, which I think it is, and if there is a lot of variation in chromosomal counts among species, then count transitions must occur without guaranteed fatal results, as you describe here. My own view is that Adam’s parents likely had 46 chromosomes each, and that Adam arose quite naturally from their union, but that the Genesis 1 account suggests that God breathed into Adam not biological life, but His very own spirit in some miraculous way, not further described in Genesis 1. Thus, Adam had a spirit and his parents did not. (If this seems unfair to someone, then what about (Father) Abraham, for instance, and the special way God has viewed his descendants.) It should be noticed that my interpretation of the Genesis 1 account, could allow a placement of Adam at 5 million years ago, but it does not require that. What is most important about Adam (and us) is not his (our) biology but the presence of God’s spirit, but both are important. (It was also so when Jesus became incarnate, albeit somewhat differently.)

AMEN!! I believe that Christ existed for all time and is the title we can give to a creature that exemplifies all the goodness possessed by the Creator of the Universe. On this earth, Jesus is the one creature that attains this level as Image of God, and His role is to lead us (as much as is possible) towards that same goal. God ‘breathing life’ into Adam’s body is another way of saying that he was the first creature to step from the biosphere and enter the noosphere–the sphere of ideas and the spiritual. This may have been more of a process rather than a single event, and may have involved more than one couple (A & E) and one location, even tho the latter is a believable possibility. However, it seems probable that the mechanism has both genetic and epigenetic components.

This worldview will be totally rejected by YECs and looked on unfavorably by many Christian evangelicals, but, personally, I need a (Christian) view that would accommodate intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe.
Al Leo

Well, you know it is pretty hard to tell us “accommodationists” and the atheists apart, or so I’ve heard.

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Ummm… no.

I was just pointing out that if concordism is what you’re aiming for, you missed.

And even as someone who prefers a non-concordist approach, the idea that God formed his special image bearer who would be set “a little lower than the angels” from some dead and deformed evolutionary reject is not really palatable.

I’m no geneticist, but I am positive it does not fit the genetic facts of how humans got a different number of chromosomes than ape-like ancestors. That is something I know is fairly well-understood.

I commend you for what you have done here, Gbob … bringing together many different threads of thought … in the process, showing a tremendous amount of originality. I dare say very few Christians have the breadth of scientific knowledge, nor the fortitude and skill, to have done this. It is typical for really novel ideas to draw criticism, and this has been no exception. This is not to say that novel ideas should not be challenged; they should be. Nevertheless, you have done a great service by initiating this particular thread. So, thanks.

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