When was Adam's life on Earth?

Genesis 2:5 states that Adam was created because “there was not a man to till the ground.”
Does this provide a clue to when Adam existed (i.e. the start of agriculture)?
Are there any other main theories regarding when Adam lived in addition to the simple back dating through the genealogies?

There are many papers out there that suggest gaps were common in the genealogies (one example)

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Since I believe in a memetic inheritance communicated from God to Adam and Eve providing some key ingredient of our humanity, I would think the proper date for Adam would be just before the beginning of human civilization. Giving the Biblical genealogies at least the possibility of being accurate, I would thus make this between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Of course this is giving no credence whatsoever to the idea that Adam and Eve are any kind of sole genetic progentators of the human race, nor even that all human beings are genetically descended from them.

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There are also many theories where Adam was not an actual person but the story is meant to do something different than describe a literal genealogical history of some sort. However as far as someone who has really tried to do some scientific estimates of when this event could have occurred, you can read Hugh Ross’ article though it appears that he misunderstands what mitochondrial Adam and Eve represent:



Cain cultivated and then fled… but he was the first to build a city, yes?


The blue eyes/dark skin topic is treated after the 18 minute mark… and the video is about 22 minutes long.

So… you can jump right to it if you want… but the first 18 minutes help you understand the chart below…

What if Cain’s descendants were the brown-skinned, blue-eyed hunter-gatherers?

Actually we are told he built a city. Where does it say this was the first city?


What’s the point of the mention if it isn’t the first city?


Well Genesis is the book of origins so it was included to show the “origin” of cities perhaps.

Also where were Adam, Eve, and Cain’s many other relatives living before Cain set out? Where they just spread out over the desert living in tents? We aren’t told that either but I suspect that they had already formed their own city first. You have to keep your relatives close by if you want to have somebody you can marry right? :wink:

The ritual erect stones found in Anatolia, about 10k or 12k years ago… didn’t seem to have any city at all near it. There was a centralized ritual center before there was a place where cities had a function.

In the desert, you could see the need for a centralized living arrangement because of the presence of water at an oasis. But even there… a caravan would move from oasis to oasis.

So it would be a city that filled and then emptied, as the seasons passed.

Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters, 70+ according to legend.
Cain would have married one of his sisters, incest not being forbidden until Moses.

There is no empirical evidence that Adam, as described in the second creation story, ever existed.


I can’t believe this. At no point was the human population ever so small…

Whether it was or wasn’t can be disputed but it is possible.

(6) A test can be made from genome-wide estimates of the time to the most recent four lineages (TMR4L)

Building on Joe Felsenstein’s comment “it would be even better to find more polymorphisms involving multiple haplotypes and put all that information together”, Joshua Swamidass has done a preliminary analysis in which he sought to examine genome-wide patterns of multiple haplotypes and put them all together to examine whether or not a bottleneck of two is plausible in the human lineage in the last few million years. He did this by estimating the time to the most recent four lineages for each recombination block in the autosomal genome (unlike mitochondrial genomes and Y chromosomes, four gene lineages can pass through a bottleneck of two within autosomes). More detail can be found here. In brief, this analysis suggested that a two-person bottleneck is plausible over approximately 500,000 years ago. Again, this is a preliminary analysis, and could be developed further with more accurate phylogeny building, and more sophisticated statistical approaches. I think that Swamidass intends to work this up for a publication. (emphasis mine) Adam and Eve: lessons learned by Richard Buggs.

I disagree with the time scale.


Care to explain exactly how Dr. Buggs got it all wrong?

Thank you for sharing this article. This was the kind of information I was looking for.

Paul, in Corinthians and Romans clearly has Jesus as the antithesis of Adam (through one man all have received (spiritual) death, through one man all have received (spiritual) life. I feel that if Adam was representative, then why could not Jesus be representative as well and die a representative death with a representative resurrection?

I feel this question is irrelevant to the discussion of Adam. I strongly feel that reading of Genesis 1 and 2 as sequential is much more consistent with the remainder of the Bible. Men and women were created in Chapter 1 (through the evolutionary process). The creation account starting in Genesis 2:5 is only described in local context around the Garden of Eden. This eliminates the clear contradictions in the sequence of creation between the two account, it is also more consistent with the genealogies given throughout the old testament (additional details in a previous post)

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