The Big Tent ... and Genealogical Adam!

(Mervin Bitikofer) #81

Thanks. And my own statement is already experiencing the very bloat that I was talking about. I just added another edit. We’ll have to see how much it can expand. I’m trying to be on good behavior, though. Maybe I’ve failed that already.

(Laura) #82

That was brilliant… thanks for the laugh! As much as I laugh at this, I cringe on the inside because some of this could totally be real. :stuck_out_tongue: (I guess that’s the measure of good satire.) My son recently brought home a Sunday School paper that featured woolly mammoths and included a quiz which asked how many ice ages there were. The correct answer was “one.” Still trying to find the scriptural reference for that one!

(Randy) #83

so you suffer from pathological bloat from editing as well? I have exactly the same tendency. In fact, it applies to every where I write things. I was always the last one out of the exam Hall. But in your case, I’m sure it ripens and matures your statement. Thanks…

(Randy) #84

I guess it’s a good thing that quizzes in Sunday school don’t lead to whether we pass the entrance exam to heaven or not.


When it comes to explaining theology relying on a human invention is probably not a good idea.

I can tell you that one of my 11th great grandfathers was Christopher Carver. That is real, if people have done the genealogy research correctly. So now what is the importance of Christopher over the other 2,048 11th great grandfathers? Does that somehow make me special? Genealogy is only important if you are royalty or if you wanted to be a priest in ancient Israel for example.

(George Brooks) #86


Then you have provided the answer.

Paul has specified the sacred role of Adam. And this can be honored while at the same time human evolution is accepted.

(Randy) #87

Right, but hermeneutically with the Augustinian error of Romans 5: 12, implying that Paul wasn’t referring to Adam’s sin–that really influences how we say Adam’s role really is (as in the[other thread about significance of original sin)]



No. We are not talking about royalty or the priesthood.

And what sacred role would that be? To pass on his sin?

(George Brooks) #89


Maybe you can explain to me why i shoud be MORE realistic than millions of American Evangelicals who are perfectly willing to dismiss vast swaths of science VIRTUALLY ONLY because of what they think Paul says about Adam?


@Randy, for your consideration…


@gbrooks9 You know better. Those millions of American Evangelicals reject evolution because it is evil. That is the starting point. To support this leads to the rejection of the vast swaths of science and also brings out “The Bible is always right” which would include Paul’s misunderstood comments about Adam. At one point American Evangelicals had no problem with long time and evolution.

(George Brooks) #91


Now who knows better?

They only think it is evil because “Extreme Science” seeks to nullify Paul’s views on Adam.

Or … maybe only now this is the reality…

(Phil) #92

If only it were that simple. I am sure are using your sarcastic font in that statement. I am convinced that most click that box on the Pew poll, just to keep membership in the club, to be part of the pack rather than risk isolation and rejection.

(George Brooks) #93

@Bill_II, @Jpm, @Christy:

This is the thread where I have posted three Creationist endorsements (2 are Old Earthers) for Genealogical Adam:

(George Brooks) #94

I found yet another link with an endorsement by a Creationist scholar.

@Swamidass says there are more at the discourse site, but he is skeptical that offering citations would have much of an impact - - if critics in the BioLogos camp don’t understand how “Genealogical Adam” avoids the many Concordist cliches !

There are more stepping forward. And he’d like to talk about these steps forward with fellow pro-Evolutionists who ++ want to ++ understand the specifics of his stance.

(George Brooks) #95

Way up in this thread, @Randy, you were hoping that I would attempt to get a reaction from conventional YEC enthusiasts. At the time I had to defer because of the sheer number of deadlines I was working with. But I did encourage you to see what the reaction might be. It might even be a more sincere reaction, because they already trust your viewpoints.

Did you ever get any reaction - - either from the intended group, or from other groups incidentally, as you have discussed the topic of Genealogical Adam?

(George Brooks) #96


Perhaps I owe this nice badge I received just 6 days ago to your good work?

The thread, which goes back to 2017!, was clicked on by 25 outside visitors… and thus helped draw newcomers to BioLogos!

2 weeks or so before, I got another badge for the thread on “Intermediate Forms”, which I did for the greater glory of @Marty! ;-D

And then just 2 weeks before that I got another badge for discussing the Church Fathers of the Greek language and their unique reaction to the Latin fixation on Original Sin! I was rather surprised at how little participants of BioLogos knew about the views of the Eastern Orthodox branches.

But probably my biggest surprise badge came just the day before the Original Sin thread - - which was for posting links to someone else’s thread, the very short-lived post by @Reggie_O_Donoghue on Genesis 1:

I think there have been far better threads on Genesis 1… but apparently I haven’t promoted those as much.

(George Brooks) #97

This “Big Tent/Genealogical Adam” thread was inspired, of course, by the now infamous exchange between Drs. @DennisVenema and @RichardBuggs .

About half way through this thread, @Chris_Falter makes a good comment to @Swamidass, and Venema comments in turn:

The first link is Chris Falter writing to you, @swamidass:

Venema’s response:

@Swamidass then reacts to Venema’s reaction, and as far as I can tell, Swamidass was never answered:


A key quote is: “. . . genealogical science is part of population genetics. Moreover the the theological section focuses on genealogical ancestry, not genetic ancestry. Intentionally excluding established and relevant science is not going to serve readers. It’s certainly not upfront.”

Joshua then concludes with: “I was surprised when he [McKnight] disagreed with [“Geneal.Adam”] on scientific grounds… He seems to think it is pseudoscience. No surprise, on the other hand, because there is no mention of it in Adam in the Genome. How could he know unless scientists are upfront with him?”

“…more importantly, however, is how you plan to rework the sections involving the claims that @RichardBuggs have raised. Clarifying how you plan to revise those sections would be interesting. It seems worth revising both to fix some of the errors, and also for clarity. Any thoughts on that yet?”

As I said, there doesn’t appear to have ever been an answer to these questions…


However, In the recent thread on Venema’s podcast interview …

… Venema seems to be endorse the general concept of Genealogical Adam. Am I wrong about that? Did anyone get a different “feel” on this last part of the interview?

At some point it would be good to see the two professors come to some “meeting of the minds”.

(Dennis Venema) #98

Yes, you are wrong.

I mention that the historicity of Adam is not something that science can weigh in on. Genetics can address the question of unique genetic descent from an ancestral couple. As long as one is not insisting on sole genetic progenitorship then you’re within what science allows (and even with @RichardBuggs’s hypothesis, which as I discuss in the podcast I do not find plausible because of a lack of proposed mechanism) it would have to be back around 700,000 years ago, as we established) . That was the extent of my intent. I’ve written elsewhere on genealogical approaches, and I haven’t changed my opinions.

(Mitchell W McKain) #99

Perhaps the title of this should be, “the 12 lies creationists tell about theistic evolution.”

First lets take a look at the definition of theistic evolution from Wikipedia, because this is what we need to compare with these claims to see if what they say you have to believe is found anywhere in this definition.

Theistic evolution , theistic evolutionism, evolutionary creationism or God-guided evolution are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution .

So with that as our reference we can see that almost none of these things in the list have anything to do with it.

  1. Adam and Eve were not the first human beings, and perhaps Adam and Eve never even existed.

That is not in the definition. I believe Adam and Eve not only existed but were the first human beings. Not the first homo sapiens, but the first with a memetic inheritance from God giving birth to the human mind. Because being human is more than just having the right genetic code, much more. It is an entirely different form of life (self-organizing phenomenon) found in the linguistic symbolism of human language, which is the substance of an organization of concepts and ideas with all the features of growth, adaptation, and learning which characterizes living organisms.

  1. Adam and Eve were born from human parents.

Adam and Eve were born from homo-sapien biological parents but their real parent was God Himself who raised them and and taught them what it was to be a human being.

  1. God didn’t act directly or specially to create Adam out of dust from the ground.

Adam was not a golem of dust created by an ancient necromancer walking the Earth long ago. God created the bodies of His children from the stuff of the Earth, chemical matter, according natural laws of the physical universe, which are best understood by the sciences of physics, chemistry, biology, according to the measurable evidence, which was not placed by God or demons to deceive us. Then God spoke to Adam, and His word is the breath of life which brought the living human mind into existence within him.

  1. God didn’t act directly to create Eve from a rib taken from Adam’s side.

Eve was not a golem of bone created by a necromancer walking the Earth long ago. Her body was created just like Adam in the manner of all living things from a fertilized egg in a womb as is the case with all human beings. Then the word of God came to her from Adam and God so that in her too was a human mind brought to life.

  1. Adam and Eve were never sinless human beings.

Another lie told by creationists. Adam and Eve were indeed sinless human being as are all infants when they are born because sin is no more a genetic inheritance than our humanity is.

  1. Adam and Eve did not commit the first human sins because human beings were doing morally evil things long before Adam and Eve existed.

Incorrect. Adam and Eve committed the first human sins, bad habits which were destructive of their good character and free will making it hard to learn from God or from their own mistakes. The homo sapiens on the planet were behaving much like other primates on the planet for that is how their brain functions.

  1. Human death did not begin as a result of Adam’s sin because human beings existed long before Adam and Eve and they were always subject to death.

Yes and no. Physical death was always a part of life and the laws of nature but the physical universe is like a womb and our passing from it is like a second birth provided our spirits have life. But on the day they fell into the self-destructive habits of sin, the spirits of Adam and Eve died and so even though their bodies lived on they were like the walking dead, and their passing from this world left only a shadow without life of its own.

  1. Not all human beings have descended from Adam and Eve for there were thousands of other human beings on the earth at the time that God chose two of them and called them Adam and Eve.

Incorrect. All human beings are the children of God via the memetic inheritance they have from God via Adam and Eve regardless of their genetics. All genetic distinctions such as race or sex have nothing to do with our humanity. If monkeys and pigs started talking tomorrow then they there is no reason why they shouldn’t be considered human and the children of God just as much as we are.

  1. God did not directly act in the natural world to create different kinds of fish, birds, and land animals.

Incorrect. People, fish, birds, and trees are not things like clockwork mechanism designed by an engineer but living things which learn and grow from a tiny egg and thus the involvement of a creator is not like the design of an engineer or watchmaker but like a shepherd, teacher and parent who participates in their lives to protect and guide them. But the differences between various living things is a product of both the guidance given them and the choices they made as they learned in the process known as evolution.

  1. God did not rest from his work of creation or stop any special creative activity after plants, animals, and human beings appeared on the earth.

The creationists would have you believe that after doing all that design and manufacturing necromancy that God was tired and had to rest, but this is nonsense. God saw the living things of the Earth and He said it was “good,” for in them was a basic image of the creator – the infinite potential of life to become more than it is. But when God saw Adam and Eve, He said this was “very good” for they were a more perfect image as His own children capable of receiving all the infinite things which God had to give.

But there comes a time when a parent has to stop controlling everything and give their children a chance to learn some responsibility for themselves. And this is done with parental commandment like, “Do not play in the street or you will die.” So there is indeed a day of rest when God has to take a step back and let their children make their own choices and learn things for themselves.

  1. God never created an originally very good natural world—a safe environment, free of thorns, thistles, and other harmful things.

God created a world which was very good for life with all the challenges life requires to stimulate growth and learning. But no God did not create a world like that of the eloi in HG Wells “Time Machine” which would turn human beings into sheep with no sense of responsibility for their fellow man.

  1. After Adam and Eve sinned, God did not place any curse on the world that changed the workings of the natural world, making it more hostile to mankind.

Incorrect. After Adam and Eve not only broke the commandment but refused to learn from their mistake by blaming everyone and everything but themselves, God gave them a punishment in order to put them and their children on a long road of recovery from their self-destructive habits.

What is certainly true is that theistic evolution does encourage us to open our eyes to the evidence and our minds to using logic in dealing with fundamental questions and thus to take a closer look at this story in Genesis rather than treating it merely as a children’s fairy tale, comic book, or Walt Disney animation. And thus instead of seeing golems, talking animals, and magic fruit, we find a story explaining how evil and a separation from God could actually come about.

(George Brooks) #100

@DennisVenema, I think you know that I’ve been unusually drawn to this “Genealogical Adam” scenario since it was first laid out to me (I think the end of last year). But you seem to be linking the “best use” of Geneal.Adam to some scenario possibly imagined by @RichardBuggs.

He doesn’t seem to be a likely employer of the idea at all (for most of the same reasons that you outlined in your podcast interview and above).

You have said “it [“it” = Adam/Eve’s appearance] would have to be back around 700,000 years ago”… but that’s the Buggs viewpoint, not the Geneal.Adam viewpoint. Genealogical Adam can fit in almost anywhere from 6000 years ago to 20,000 years ago, as the Adam/Eve duo are associated with agricultural developments (most likely 7,000 to 11,000 yrs ago?): Adam and Eve would be, arguably, an agricultural family yes?

Other than that, the principle of “a credible lack of evidence for a Flea” (vs. a “less credible lack of evidence for an Elephant”) helps us keep our claims in balance: we accept the large bodies of evidence for evolution of the large human population, which veils the “miraculous” creation of just one man and one woman in a believable way.

So, Dennis, If you weigh the pros and cons of “Genealogical Adam” with a post-Evangelical “Pauline Theology has to Go”, you aren’t troubled by the fact Creationists are likely to be drawn to Adam/Eve beings specially created, while at the same time repelled by the idea that Pauline Theology becomes expendable under other scenarios?