The Big Tent ... and Genealogical Adam!

(Christy Hemphill) #101

One thing I don’t understand is how you think telling YECs that Adam and Eve were specially created 6,000 years ago and are the genealogical ancestors of everyone currently living changes their mind about anything. They already believe that. All you have done is legitimize their belief by telling them “science can’t disprove it.” How does “science can’t disprove your current beliefs” bring them to accept evolutionary theory? Aren’t they just going to say, “I knew it! I’m confident that sooner or later science will not be able to disprove all my other special, recent creation beliefs!”

(George Brooks) #102


I’ve tried to explain this before.

There are 2 times when this makes a difference (and/or 2 different audiences at different times):

  1. It makes a difference to those who are struggling with the persuasiveness of science, and what all their religious sources say is important about Romans 5. If they know about Genealogical Adam before they encounter the struggle (or learn after they start struggling), all of a sudden they have a way to keep both.

  2. The 2nd place it makes a difference - - and this seems to be much less important - - if a Creationist wants to discuss Evolution, will he more likely seek out Post-Evangelical discussions, where it is already known that Adam and Eve are treated as “figurative” figures…

Or will a creationist want to at least discuss Evolution with someone who already supports the idea that at least 2 people in the whole Universe were specially created by God?

Thoughts, Christy?

(Christy Hemphill) #103

Then they aren’t “YECs” They are fledgling ECs with Adam problems.

I don’t understand what you mean here. If a Creationist comes to BioLogos (not a post-evangelical place, by the way) they can find approaches to Genesis that presume Adam and Eve were real people in history if that is what they are looking for. It’s not a given that EC insists they are not historical figures. The issue for Creationists is usually the EC view of a real history Adam and Eve accommodates common descent and the idea that not all humans are biologically/genetically related to a single couple 6,000 years ago. I don’t see how special creation of a couple that interbred with other members of the exact same species who themselves came about via the process of common descent solves a Creationist’s Adam problem.

(George Brooks) #104

Well, here’s a story in this article:

" In a recent article [1] at the Recovering from Religion blog Ex-Communications , Suze Ambs writes on how discovering the truth about evolution helped erode her faith. While she states that there were many reasons for her deconversion, in this article she points out how the scientific evidence for human evolution was the “nail in the coffin” for her belief because it directly undermined Original Sin and the atonement theory based on it. Ambs’ observation is hardly isolated, with other ex-Christians also pointing out how evolution destroys the anthropology of Original Sin and any atonement theory based on it. As such, it is worth looking at her article in some detail, if only to show just how dangerous to faith evolution denialism and Original Sin are."

Some would say Ms. Ambs experience is “exactly how the process shoud work”!

But how many people are out there who don’t make the final break? Or, if they do, they completely leave the Church and the Faith?

“Genealogical Adam” would have made the process less traumatic, and widen the funnel of those who are trying to figure out how a Christian should be able to have Science and a portion of his or her vigorous faith! I think @swamidass would agree with this general idea.

(Christy Hemphill) #105

I’m sorry but I think if your faith can be dissolved by facts of evolutionary anthropology in the first place, I don’t think you are going to have enough faith to muster belief in a recent special creation of Adam and Eve to salvage the whole enterprise. Yet another reason why your faith should rest on the person and work of Jesus, not a particular Bible interpretation of Genesis.

(Phil) #106

While I agree with you Christy, sometimes you need a little common ground to stand on while you discuss everything else, and George is seeking that. Perhaps your point is that the common ground should be Jesus, not Adam and Eve, which is something I cannot argue against.
Just thinking out loud. On the keyboard. Nevermind me.

(Christy Hemphill) #107

Common ground is good. I’m just really skeptical that GA solves many real people’s theological problems. I realize George thinks it solves a lot of hypothetical people’s problems. If it’s helpful to someone, great. That’s why I send people over to Peaceful Science if I think the stuff there will be any use to them. But I feel like some people will not be satisfied until BioLogos makes GA their official platform and gets all evangelistic about it. Which I don’t see happening.

(George Brooks) #108


I’m pretty skeptical about that myself !!!

(George Brooks) #109


For all the world, you do sound like “one of those BioLogos unbelievers” that Reformed theologian Douglas Wilson thinks so poorly of …


"Last month, the conservative Reformed theologian Douglas Wilson wrote a blog post entitled, “Those BioLogos Unbelievers.” I was made aware of it when someone shared it in one of the Science/Christianity Facebook groups I am in. "

“The gist of the post was this: If you claim to believe Jesus, then you’ll believe what the Bible says. And if you believe in evolution and millions of years, then you don’t believe the Bible…which means you don’t believe Jesus - - you are an unbelieving liberal who accepts and promotes the far-Left social agenda to destroy Western civilization.”

[End of Quote]

When I first read this, the sweaty beads of conviction began to appear on my forehead. But then I realized I had simply left the oven door open for pre-heating the oven to make my usual “Evolution is Awesome” pizza; I got the recipe out of Mao’s little red book. He loved pizza.

(Christy Hemphill) #110

Doug Wilson of “penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants” infamy? I couldn’t care less what he thinks about anything.

(Laura) #111

Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Matthew Pevarnik) #112

Or maybe, just maybe, as the article concludes the solution to the problem is theological:

We are mortal because we are made from the dust of the ground. Adam’s sin set an example to follow, but our sin stems from our own poor choices, not from any mythical inherited sin, or inherited ‘fallen nature’ that warps us towards evil. What Christ offers then is an example for us to follow (1 Peter 2:21) rather than a reversal of any mythical Original Sin. Given this, evolution ceases to be the ‘nail in the coffin’ of Christianity. At most, it shows that the Reformed and Catholic views on Original Sin are untenable and need to be modified.

While it is reasonable to assume that Paul believed that Adam was the first human being, as Mahoney, Kalantzis, and others note, his theology is not contingent on this, and as a result, is unaffected by evolution. It is a tragedy that conservative Protestant sects fail to recognise this.

(George Brooks) #113


What I keep hearing is that because a person can’t imagine tolerating Creationist views, there is no effort to imagine how a small part of the Creationist view might be possible to sustain in the modern age.

How long before people start saying: “you know, this whole idea about Jesus being God is more an allegory”…

I’m a Unitarian… I know all about allegories. But I’m a little surprised to find so many people willing to take that road … just to prove Creationists can’t be right.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #115

Is that what people usually do right after ditching ‘mythical inherited sin’ as the article you shared phrases it?

(George Brooks) #116


I’m certainly perplexed by the whole can of worms.

I remember writing one of my first posts about Original Sin… and suggested that Original Sin was mythical. At the time, that was important to my view of Evolution, because how were you going to convince Christians invested in Original Sin that Original Sin didn’t come from Adam?

Well, it was like asking some participants on BioLogos to to put their children on the grill… with a good sauce!

I found that fairly disorienting. Here we had pro-Evolution Christians who were quite attached to Original Sin the way they imagined it … and got fairly torqued up as soon as anyone suggested it wasn’t real.

And now, some 3 or 4 years later, I’m being lectured on why Christians shouldn’t be attached to the literal notion of Original Sin.

To me, everything got easier when I just let Christians keep Original Sin if they were attached to it, and nod my head if they dispensed with it. It is much more flexible to be able to endulge such views, as long as it doesn’t require throwing out all the fossil and natural evidence that sustains the credibility of Evolutionary science.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #117

I don’t know. How can you convince YEC invested in their particular reading of Genesis that there’s no evidence to support a young earth or a global flood? Maybe you can start with how the Bible obviously teaches we are responsible for our own sin and not automatically guilty because we are genealogically related to some guy named ‘man’ who lived in some Garden in the east 6 kya.

Sorry that was your experience. Many people still have some kind of Adam that at least historically have been connected to BioLogos. Probably that camp is most interested in the genealogical special creation model but they a) already accept evolution and b) have a theological commitment to a historical Adam that did certain things that impact us today.

(James Stump) #118

Stay tuned for a new “5 Views on Original Sin and the Fall” book that comes out next year on IVP. That will be sure to clear up all the confusion!

(Phil) #119

Trying out as a writer for Babylon Bee?

(James Stump) #120

That’s funny. It does sound like Babylon Bee. But the book is real (as will be the ongoing confusion, I fear).

(George Brooks) #121


I’ll say the same thing in response to that specific question that I’ve said before.

Genealogical Adam is not a magic bullet. But for those who do eventually come to the impasse about what to do with this or that Science that they have come to accept as “looking pretty solid” …

Genealogical Adam provides the escape pod out of their personal dilemma.

Naturally, you (or @Christy, or @beaglelady, or others) ask how is Genealogical Adam supposed to work for those who are not feeling any dilemma?

I would say, most of the time it will have no compelling nature. But I can virtually guarantee that even the Creationist-feeling-no-dilemma is going to stop at the Genealogical Adam table before he or she will stop at the BioLogos table!

Why? I would ask why shouldn’t he? At the Genealogical Adam table, he will find someone who endorses the idea that Adam was flesh and blood and miraculously created by God. Yes, there’s also that nasty bit about Evolution … but let’s go talk to an Evolutionist who also believes Eve was made from a rib!