Peter, Paul, and Luke contradict science

Uh huh. Axiomatic. What’s that got to do with Adam and Eve?

You are confusing genetic ancestors with genealogic ancestors. It is entirely possible that you lack DNA from some of your ancestors. It is also entirely possible for a couple in history to have many descendants who live today while none of them carry DNA from that ancestral couple.

Charlemagne slid in just 1,000 years ago and now nearly everyone in Europe is a direct descendant of Charlemagne. In fact, nearly all Europeans are descendants of nearly everyone who had offspring in the 9th century. It is entirely possible for everyone on Earth to share the same great(N)-grandparents who lived 6,000 years ago. The only hurdle would be intermingling between human populations. In fact, if you go back far enough in the human lineage it would be impossible for this not to happen.

Now, is this evidence for A&E? No, not at all. However, it would be wrong to say that population dynamics forbids it.

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Excuse me? How can I possibly have a pair of human ancestors from 250 generations ago and have no match to any of their DNA? In one sense it’s all their DNA. Via Charlemagne (who slid in from where?) 50 ago. At what point are my brown eyes nothing to do with them? I’m too thick to understand this obviously.

Each parent only passes on 50% of their genome, 1 chromosome from each of 23 pairs of chromosomes. This halving in each generation can result in an ancestor’s DNA being removed from a lineage, bit by bit. There is about one recombination event across each pair per generation, but even then there can be a loss of genetic ancestors. It isn’t like diluting milk in coffee.

If we simplify this to just one gene, you only carry two alleles for any single gene. This means that your eye color comes from just two of your innumerable ancestors. Out of your 8 great grandparents just 2 of them influenced your eye color (again, using a simplistic model where just one gene influences eye color).

OK, 2 out of 16 gggps, 2 out of 1024 gx9ps, some of who are their own grandmothers. Yeaaahhh. OK, how isn’t genealogy genetic?

Already explained. It is entirely possible for you to not have DNA from a distant ancestor. All genetic ancestors will be genealogic ancestors, but not all genealogic ancestors will be genetic ancestors.

I’m glad your explanation works for you.

It’s how reality works.

I’m sure it does. However that is. What is the simplest, finger paint analogy? Showing how a genealogical ancestor can cease to be a genetic ancestor?

Ah. Chromosomes.

I still need to see it. A huge whiteboard would be good.

Ms. bb Blue x Mr. BB Brown > bB

assume incest

bB x bB > { bb - no DNA from grandpa Mr. BB Brown, bB, Bb, BB - no DNA from grandma Ms. bb Blue }

there, that whiteboard sufficed.

Here’s the best thought experiment I came up with.

You would need 3 decks of cards, 2 with same backing and 1 with a different backing (two blue Bicycle decks and 1 red deck, as an example). Take the 2-K of hearts and the 2-K of spades from the red deck and match them with the same cards from the blue deck. For each matched pair, randomly pick one and discard the other. For each card you kept, match it with the blue backed card from the 3rd deck. Keep doing this over and over. What you will find is at some point there will no longer be any red backed cards in the pairs. The genes from the red ancestor are gone.

The one complication is recombination (i.e. cross overs), but hopefully that gives you a feel for how it works.

Yep. Thanks. An advance on my chromosomes for dim 10 year olds.

I’d love to see a graphic of how 2^n ancestors per generation starts to network, i.e. the same person keeps popping up as a different ancestor.

It is scientifically possible for Adam and Eve are our genealogical ancestors.

How? Scientifically?

Here ya go:

Added in edit:


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So you’re saying because Paul’s intent is not to teach biology, we should not get hung up on that issue, that we should focus on his goal in using Adam and Eve?

I agree with that and I appreciate your example with Jesus, but wouldn’t you say Paul’s argument relies on that literalness of Adam and Eve? Like if Adam wasn’t really formed first, can Paul’s argument still stand?

Thank you for replying to me by the way! I appreciate your input.

I don’t know that Paul was using some sort of premise, premise, conclusion structure to present absolute truth as much as just trying to emphasize his point regarding this particular situation with some disruptive women who were bringing false teaching into the church and causing problems. I think the argument is being supported by the significance of what “Adam was formed first” meant to the audience, since the assertion “Adam was formed first” was assumed as common ground or some sort of given. I don’t think it matters to the argument if Adam wasn’t literally, historically, factually, formed first, if the audience all accepts the significance of this part of the creation account as a given that points to something universal about men and women. Then bringing it up supports the overall point.

I think it would be similar if I was making an argument about the justice of taxing the rich at higher rates and I said something like “the only people who thought Robin Hood was a criminal were the rich” to bolster my point. People from my cultural background would understand the significance of the allusion had to to with cultural ideas of economic justice. Not everyone would necessarily grant those ideas are right, but we share certain common ground about what people are trying to do when they make Robin Hood allusions. No one would assume I was making a truth claim about Robin Hood’s historicity, or that my argument about taxes was only a good one if it turned out Robin Hood was a historical figure who actually did rob the rich and redistribute wealth to the poor.

In this passage, the argument is to support a directive to silence certain women promoting false teaching in the assembly at Ephesus, I wouldn’t say it’s making universal statements about all humanity. People get into all sorts of problems beyond historical Adam when they try to make this specific Adam and Eve allusion somehow foundational to Christian gender theology for all time.


There is no mention of genetics here or genealogical decent, this is something that people have simply read into the text which is not there. I believe that we have two completely different kinds of inheritance and the genetic is only one of them. There is also an inheritance of ideas of the mind and that this is the more important part for our humanity. But in that case there is no difficulty with science. From one man, Adam, and the ideas God taught him comes our humanity and thus all the nations as those ideas spread out over the earth much faster than genealogical decent. Thus we have one inheritance which comes from our common ancestry with other living things derived from evolution and another inheritance which comes directly from God.

God spoke to Adam first and then Adam shared what he learned from God with Eve.

The real problem comes later in verse 15 which contradicts the gospel of salvation by the grace of God taught by Jesus and Paul elsewhere, to say that women are saved by the work of bearing children. I consider that terribly inconsistent and intolerably misogynistic, as well as psychologically harmful to point of doing great evil to people. Was this really written by Paul? If so then this is the word of his misogynistic culture rather than any word of God which I can believe in.

This is a matter of the changing meaning of words. Only in modern times do we think of water as a molecular substance H2O, but if we showed people a picture of planets forming out of the gases of space wouldn’t they think this looks an awful lot like whirlpools of water?

The simply fact is that in such times people didn’t have the language and foundation for understanding things as we do in modern science and testing the words of the Bible against the understanding of modern science is a bit ridiculous. This is not to say that you cannot find things inconsistent with the findings of modern science in the Bible. But this seems unreasonable to me. Even God cannot communicate things apart from culture because language itself is embedded in culture. So I find challenges like this to Bible to be rather dubious in nature. What exactly is the point anyway? Is the idea that we cannot learn anything from a different culture of long ago just because they look at the world differently than we do?

Me personally I have no real reason to believe that they did not believe in genesis being wrote as a historical fiction. I believe that they understood the mythological aspect to genesis 1-11 just as much as many of us do now along with understanding that revelation was highly symbolic and things like job was satire. I believe they were referring back to the mythology because that’s what it was there for. To be used to see the setting up of future patterns.

For example consider how the gospels paints a picture of our enemy going to war with us and it was resulting in things like demonic possession, speaking in tongues where everyone was able to communicate, everyone regardless of anything could be part of the kingdom and they were awaiting for Jerusalem , the new holy one from revelation symbolizing the overlap of heaven and earth. Now see how that hyperlinks back to genesis.

  1. Demons taking over bodies, becoming one with bodies in a sense seems to hyperlink back to the sons of God taking the daughters of man as their own.

  2. Speaking in tongues where everyone can communicate hyperlinks back to the Tower of Babel where tongues was all divided separating humanity and driving it apart.

  3. Everyone becoming one body, the church as his kingdom hyperlinks back to the same situations where humanity was divided and confused.

  4. Again, humanity was uniting trying to build a city that reached the heavens and now we see a city from heaven coming down to earth.

We even read how the sea was chaotic , it was formless and void before land appeared and from psalms 74 in that first week god battled Levithan the sea dragon with many heads and then in revelation you see images of another dragon destroyed in a sea “lake” of fire and the restored earth is said to have no sea at all.

So I believe there is a good and reasonable chance that the apostles clearly knew that genesis was mythological in nature but true nonetheless. I don’t know how much their believes was fictional or how much they believed was historical but I think they believed it was a bit of both.

If someone who never ever heard of Hercules visited me and I made a comment about someone being almost as strong as Hercules they would think Hercules was someone I knew who was really strong. If they heard about it from a dozen people over a year they may think wow this Hercules guy must have been really strong and so they decide to google him and then they read a sole stories about Hercules that never says it’s a myth I believe they would still be able to clearly pick up on the mythological aspect being used as a reference. The devil is referred to as “ the serpent form eden” in revelation. I don’t believe John actually thought Satan was a snake or took the form of a snake anymore than he believed Satan was a flying dragon. ( both forms mentioned in the same book)

Did you read the summary of Swamidass’s book?

Adam and Eve specially created couple thousand years ago in a broader human population. They interbreed, and their genealogical ancestry easily rapidly spreads. Eventually, it covers all humans.

Scientists have already noted this is perfectly scientifically possible.

It is the central theme of this site and the project of most modern religions - not just Christianity - to find some way to reconcile scriptures written in the past with what we know today. The strategies vary from losing one’s faith entirely to denying science entirely, and everything in between. Francis Collins has tried to find a way to reconcile them so that they are both true.

Here is the thing. For them both to be true, and to accept science as being about the natural world, we must accept the literal truth of the results of science (although they are ultimately provisional) and do the work of finding new ways to conceptualize bible verses.

As has been commented here, many translations, changes and additions have affected the bible as read today and so this discussion is prone to lead us down fruitless pathways that ultimately teach us nothing other than that we don’t know what the original verse was or what it was meant to convey or if it really was just a metaphor or allegorical or poetic, or literal.

I am no biblical scholar, and I know that this problem has been written about by many many learned folks before this, but I would say that a more profitable use of your time is to not see science as destroying your bible, but to see the bible as a means that God used to convey ideas to simple, primitive people in ways that they could comprehend. There is no way that the people of that time could have been convinced of the world being a sphere orbiting a gigantic thermonuclear furnace, or about the eons of time, survival of the fittest, evolution and common ancestry (particularly when these people knew such or a small number of lifeforms), or about physics, genetics, organic chemistry, let alone the fact that the vast majority of people could not read and had little formal education.

Yes, God could have done anything, but as it is, the bible is a useful device to teach God’s word to people who have little understanding of the greater world and the actual reality as has since been revealed by science. Now that we have science, we must focus not on what the bible says that conflicts with science, but on what was meant by those things. That is the whole point.

On this reading, there need not have been an actual global flood to cleanse us of sin, but a story that teaches us of the need to be cleansed of our sin, or more importantly to avoid the need to be cleansed!

Similarly, we have no need to try to shoe-horn Adam’s genetic code into each of us, and bend the laws of inheritance to our beliefs. Adam can be the metaphorical ancestor of us all spiritually, and could have existed not as an individual but as ‘all of us’ in spirit, and that could have been 250,000 thousand years ago or 6,000 years ago because once we liberate ourselves from the tyranny of literalism, we are free to grasp what is truly important.

“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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