The Big Tent ... and Genealogical Adam!

(Christy Hemphill) #41

You didn’t answer my question though. You basically just said that Adam and Eve are important to the doctrine of original sin. (Adam and Eve commenced us on the path and we all followed.) I understand the doctrine of original sin. None of what you wrote changes if Adam and Eve are archetypes in a true myth instead of literal historical individuals. I asked what is the point on insisting Adam and Eve have to be specially created first humans if you DON’T believe it is necessary to uphold the doctrine of original sin.

(GJDS) #42

I cannot follow you - as I understand it, real people make choices, and the consequences are real. So if we are discussing the same topic, a mythological (or non-real, non-historical Adam) could not make such a choice, and sin would be a myth (not real).

Are we discussing the same thing here?

(George Brooks) #43


Because the Genealogical Adam Scenarios are not intended to satisfy the inclinations of Unitarian Universalists… it is intended to satisfy the inclinations of Creationists generally, and American Creationists in particular.

A parallel situation, for example, are the various science professionals (and some not professionals) who participate on this list, despite being Atheists, in support of explaining the superior logic of the BioLogos viewpoint.

I believe this practice has been easy to understand for you and the other moderators. I would expect that this is a very similar dynamic that I’m explaining to you now.

(Christy Hemphill) #44

We are both discussing Adam and Eve but you aren’t answering the question I asked that you quoted before you said something.

This whole thread is about Josh’s genealogical Adam idea which harmonizes genealogical science with the idea of a specially created (i.e. not a product of common descent) first human couple.

George thinks this is beautiful because it potentially satisfies all the people who reject evolution because they believe Genesis and Romans teach that you MUST have an original, sinless, specially created first human couple who bring sin into the world by their disobedience (the fall) and henceforth every human descended from them is born with a sinful nature (original sin).

I asked if there was any reason genealogical Adam would be attractive if a person DID NOT believe there needs to be an original sinless first couple in order to uphold their doctrine of the fall and original sin. You replied by essentially saying that you need Adam and Eve to uphold the doctrine of the fall and original sin. Which doesn’t answer my question.

(GJDS) #45

If I understand this, I would say that if a person did not believe there needs to be an original sinless couple, then there cannot be a setting where they were given a choice, and it follows there would not be disobedience directly to God by a human being who communed with God. On this basis, anything that is proposed would be hypothetical, including sin (original) as taught in the bible.

I cannot make a comment about a genealogical Adam as if this were something distinctly different from Adam as found in the bible, so if this is brought in to counter some sort of common ancestor/mythological Adam, then it does not make sense to me.

Have I answered your question? :smiley:

(Christy Hemphill) #46

Not really. You just said people shouldn’t be in the place to ask it because everyone should believe in a historical first couple who brought sin into the world.

(GJDS) #47

The bible teaches it, and if we read that carefully, and also understand the scientific understanding (and historical data) of humanity, we would be satisfied that the theology is clearly stated - that sin (human disobeying God) did originate then.

(Christy Hemphill) #48

I think I understand your motivations. For me personally though, humoring scientific concordism is a deal breaker. Insisting the Bible is not intended to be a read as a description of modern scientific realities and that Genesis is not a literal history is pretty foundational to the position I am trying to convince people to adopt. Getting people to “accept evolution” is not my main goal. My main goal is better exegesis and hermeneutics, interpretations that are appropriately culturally contextualized with respect to the original audience and recontextualized with respect to our modern scientific worldview. So I’m not really interested in compromising on something that I think is foundational to good exegesis just to say, “Oh yay, we agree evolution is good science!”

(Randy) #49

I think you have a great heart if you are trying to bring agreement (as does @Swamidass) for the YEC and those who believe there was a historical Adam or Eve. I am really interested in what the YEC on the street (not Grudem or Moreland; there are several on this discourse and Peaceful Science, and I"d like to hear their thoughts) on this.I tend to be on the Lamoureux side, but we can always end every conversation with prayer meeting together or sit down for a beer (in this Baptist’s, case, a hot chocolate) together. At bottom, we are followersof Jesus and seekers of the truth.
Pray for me, because I’m a Mr Mom today–my wife is at Mom Con for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) in Louisville and I have to take my 3 kids everywhere. I already mixed up my boys’ school backpacks :slight_smile:

(George Brooks) #50


I’m not sure I really “feel” your concerns. The biggest hindrance to YEC’s becoming comfortable with your category of “good science” appears to be the absolute disdain they have for any scenario that doesn’t allow for an historical Adam & Eve, whose appearance on Earth is by God’s use of special creation.

One: The elements of “Adam & Eve” and “Special Creation” are not independent of each other; without both features, YECs have virtually no interest in your position.

Two: Treating the special creation of one couple, in exchange for accommodating the preponderance of the evidence supporting evolution for the rest of creation - - including primates and humans! - - seems well worth the effort.

Your position will be that much stronger for having moved a portion of the Creationist audience away from “Creationism Only or Die”.

(George Brooks) #51

To @GJDS and Others:

First of all, the best source of answers regarding this scenario is the author of the scenario. Joshua has set up this thread (external to BioLogos) to answer questions some may want answered in a way more nuanced than what I can muster - - assuming I am interpreting Joshua correctly to begin with:

The dilemma is really simple:

There are Christians (that Creationists really don’t understand), who believe there is
TOO MUCH EVIDENCE for Evolution to make it possible for them to discard this “natural reality”.

At the very same time, there are Christians (that Evolutionists really don’t understand), who believe there is
TOO MUCH EVIDENCE of Biblical investment in an historical Adam & Eve to make it possible for them to discard that “Biblical reality”.

But both sides have always assumed that it was ALL Evolution or nothing … or ALL Bible or nothing.

But we know this is a false dilemma. How do we know this? Because we have Christians from all walks of life who accept the singular miracle of the birth of Jesus … and the singular miracle of the resurrection of Jesus. Billions of humans have been born … Billions of humans have died. Nowhere does Christianity require people to believe the natural evidence for how they were born or died has to be overturned by the miracles invested in Jesus.

Equally so, then, are the requirements for Adam & Eve. Think of the Evolutionists who might be going to church today if YECs didn’t splash down into their world … telling them that they have to throw away millions of years of fossil evidence?

Conversely, think of the good Christians who could stop challenging science at every turn if it weren’t for the “Evolution-Only” crowd (a group of which I was a loyal member until just recently!) - - insisting that Christians can’t be a reasonable and modern person unless you disavow the miracle of special creation for two humans.

All this “babble” about Concordism is rather beside the point in my view. What does Paul tell us?
I think @Swamidass would appreciate this text from 1 Corinthians!

1Co 9:19
Even though I am a free man with no master,
I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.

1Co 9:20
When I was with the Jews,
I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ.
When I was with those who follow the Jewish law,
I too lived under that law.
Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this
so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.

1Co 9:21-23
When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law,
I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ…
When I am with those who are weak,
I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ.
Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone,
doing everything I can to save some.
I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

I wonder what “pigeon hole” we would assign Paul if he was evangelizing right now in the modern world?
Would he be a concordist when amongst those who prefer concordism? No doubt he would… as long
as the fundamental truth of the Gospel is respected and championed…

(Christy Hemphill) #52

But my “position” isn’t “Evolution is fact.” My position is “Genesis should be read in its cultural context.” Conceding “You can have specially created Adam and Eve” is abandoning my position. I understand YECs have no interest in my position because of their hermeneutics. That’s why I would prefer to talk about why their hermeneutics are misguided, not try to begin with convincing them evolution is a fact. If they concede evolution is a fact, but don’t change their hermeneutics, I don’t consider that a success at all. Being comfortable with evolution is a side effect of changing one’s approach to Scripture, it’s not the goal. The goal is understanding what the Bible means.

Again, only if your goal is “get people to accept evolution” which is not my goal.

(Christy Hemphill) #53

The way you frame your divide kind of assumes that every EC arrives at their perspective because they start with evolution and need to make the Bible fit. That’s just not true. Lots of people reject YEC Genesis interpretation purely on exegetical/hermeneutical grounds with no reference at all to modern science. You are accommodating the misconception that EC Christians believe science trumps the Bible.

(George Brooks) #54


I’m not sure I could ever say … Everyone Should Endorse Genealogical Adam. That seems to be an obvious mistake. Some people really need the hermeneutic approach you describe!

So the solution seems obvious enough to me: we should both follow our personal conscience about what feels right to us. I know I would be fairly useless with the hermeneutic approach.

But I am pretty jazzed up with Genealogical Adam!



The special creation of A&E would have to meet several constraints.
They would have to be able to mate with the pre-Adamite population and this would require similar DNA.
They would have to be able to communicate.
They would have to fit into the local social structures.
They would have to be able to engage in the same courting behaviours.

In other words they would appear to be just another 2 members of the local pre-Adamite population.

So other than trying to appeal to the YEC crowd, why call for a “special creation”? A special calling I could understand. Although you are still left with the problem of how do the results of that special calling spread world wide.

(George Brooks) #56


Thank you for your perfectly-timed question! @Randy, please note the unique nature of the “mill-stones” around the necks of the Evolutionists… while Creationists have their own stones to worry over!

So, Bill, Genesis 1 specifically tells us that “Humanity, Male & Female” bear the image of God.
So this tells us that the Pre-Adamites of Genesis 1 are not exactly monsters. They aren’t Moral Agents
yet. But they are excellent raw material. God produces the Pre-Adamites by using the tool kit of Evolution:
he installs mutations when and where necessary, and adjusts Earth’s regional climates when and where necessary.

And Genesis 2 covers the Special Creation of Adam & Eve… we have no reason to think God would not specially create a Genome different (or too different) from the Pre-Adamites. As you say… they are
sexually compatible, they speak the same language, the social structures are sufficiently within expectations of Adam and Eve that they assimilate into the larger Pre-Adamite population.

As you say: "In other words, they would appear to be just another 2 members of the local Pre-Adamite population!

So why call for a “special creation”? There are different schools of thought on that problem. Some Biblicists think there is something very important in making the founding couple based, in part, on DUST. It’s not too crucial… in that Eve is made from a part of Adam … she didn’t have to be made from dust too.

But what else is special about Adam and Eve? They were given a special garden home. They walked with God. We presume they spoke with God and got to know him far more than is indicated in the sparse lines of Genesis 1 and 2.

Genesis 2 says God gave them rules. And this is the foundation upon which their Moral Agency is both “tested” and “formulated”, right?

Now we come to the question of “how do the results of that special calling spread world wide”?

I think I posted something on this already … was it to you? Let’s just take a clean sheet and trace the few steps left:

1] I think it’s pretty clear that with the new curse, and the expectations of the Lord, when Adam and Eve appear, they are not trying to keep a secret. They tell EVERYBODY they meet about it:
a) walking with God;
b) talking with God;
c) the new curse … which some may or may not have realized was new.
d) the new curse may have only been “new” to Adam and Eve. God may have fully intended to spare
the de novo couple the anguish that the Pre-Adamites already knew! The resolution to some of these
questions will depend quite a bit on personal or denominational preferences. If there was a way to make
sure one answer or explanation worked for everybody… we wouldn’t have hundreds of different
e) Some BioLogos participants think
a] that simple social contact “spreads” the “Fall” throughout all the generations;
b] that Adam & Eve’s genetics are the source for all humanity;
c] that Federal Headship (genealogy), not genetics, is the source;
d] I’ve always preferred the idea that God installs the condition of The Fall right into each new soul.

f) In any scenario above, or other scenarios not yet suggested, the important part is that Adam & Eve’s offspring co-opt every branch of the “Human Race” by the time Jesus is born. Whether you hold to a
global flood or a regional one, very low estimates of human migration are sufficient to make every person living on Earth “genealogical descendants” of Adam & Eve (along with a few other founder couples) by the time Jesus is born.

It’s my view that the reason there was the long pause between the Old Testament period … and the start of the New Testament story line is precisely the need to have everyone satisfy the final condition: we had to wait for the few individuals who were not co-opted under the Adam “headship” (genealogically speaking) … to die. Only those descending from Adam & Eve (100%) were constitutionally “prepped” for the next phase of God’s plan.


And when did this start? Every person in the world born after that first bite? Only when a person can trace their heritage back to one particular couple out of 1.2 nonillion others?

Going back 2000 years and assuming 20 years per generation would be 100 levels of great-great. This gives a founding population, ignoring pedigree collapse, of 1.2 E 30 (thats 1.2 nonillion) people. That is quite a lot more than “a few.” Have you seen any estimates for the size of the founding population somewhere?

While “genealogical descendants” has a nice ring to it other than lines on a genealogy chart what difference does to make to people separated by thousands of miles and so many generations removed that they have no idea who their great-great was.

(Randy) #58

Awesome questions. And great discussion!

(Christy Hemphill) #59

And you think we should humor this? :expressionless:

(George Brooks) #60


You make it sound like all this was MY plan …

Mathematically, total Earth co-opting has been simulated repeatedly in less than 2000

Look… for anybody who thinks God worries about Original Sin … this is a piece of cake.
Ask @Swamidass if you want anything more specific than what I’ve already provided … twice.