The Quest for the Historical Adam: A New Book by William VanDoodewaard

When it comes to evaluating the history of how Christians have interpreted Genesis, it's important to see the big picture, and see it accurately. Unfortunately, a new book on the subject falls short of that mark.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Great article, thanks Ted!

Being Dutch myself, I would like to point out a small geographical error of which most people (except the Dutch themselves) are unaware. Geographically, the term “Holland” only refers to a particular region of the Netherlands. The Dutch Bible belt (where most Reformed scholars were situated historically) extends from the south-west to the north-east of the Netherlands. Therefore, very large parts of the Dutch Bible belt are actually not situated in Holland. In this case, it would me more correct to say

“… orthodox Reformed authors (especially from the Netherlands and North America in modern times) …”

Of course, this doesn’t stop us Dutchies from cheering on our national soccer team with “Hup, Holland, Hup!” , but I thought it might be interesting to know about this particular nuance.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this book. I have been waiting and hoping for a substantive review of this book that I could point friends to. I look forward to hearing Numbers response. His book is one that was enormously helpful to me in my early years of grappling with science and faith and the the world of creationism. I wish I could disagree about the significance this book will likely play in the unraveling of the Adam and Eve debate but its seems you are probably right. When I first heard about this book I thought it was be only a small blip because most reformed camps consider Puritan Reformed Seminary a radicalized version of reformed theology and thus scholarship from there is not given wide credence. However, the Mohler recommendation and the general sympathies for the particular topic do seem to generated a wider audience than I would have hoped. Thus you timely and needed review. Thanks again. Joel

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Many thanks for the gentle correction. Since I’ve been to the Netherlands twice (though just briefly each time), I should have known better, but I just did not know this at all.

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I’m glad you find this helpful, but I’m still hesitant to call this a review, since I didn’t say very much about large parts of the book. I see it as a set of comments on certain aspects of the book. Nevertheless I do hope it will help prevent the spreading of an inaccurate picture of the single biggest conclusion of Numbers’ very carefully written book.

A fine article Ted. On Darwin we need to note he was virulently anti-slavery and As far as I read Darwin he accepted the Unity of humanity but with gradations.

further young earthers were not the dominant view from 1600 as most accepted some gap theory or chaos -restitution allowing in the 17th century for a few thousand more years and by 1780 millions/ undefined time. Evangelicals like Chalmers continued that tradition. There were a spate of mostly British young earthers from 1817 but these were essentially extinct by 1855. I remember once sitting with Ted at Gordon Coll in 2000 totting up YECs after 1855, using our digits we did not use our toes as well as fingers.


The Bible treats Adam in two ways: as the first parent and as the founder of the R1b peoples. Obviously, he cannot be both as the two are separated by millions of years.

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