Were Adam and Eve human-like animals before God transformed them into His image?
Ever since the time of Darwin, many church leaders and academics have attempted various ways to harmonize Genesis with “millions of years” and Darwin’s ideas of common descent. Consider a new proposal by Bill Dembski, who teaches at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, reputed to be a conservative Southern Baptist school. He claims that Adam and Eve came from “human-like beings” who lived outside the Garden of Eden:
For the theodicy* I am proposing to be compatible with evolution, God must not merely introduce existing human-like beings from outside the Garden. In addition, when they enter the Garden, God must transform their consciousness so that they become rational moral agents made in God’s image.
Any evils humans experience outside the Garden before God breathes into them the breath of life would be experienced as natural evils in the same way that other animals experience them. The pain would be real, but it would not be experienced as divine justice in response to willful rebellion. Moreover, once God breathes the breath of life into them, we may assume that the first humans experienced an amnesia of their former animal life: Operating on a higher plane of consciousness once infused with the breath of life, they would transcend the lower plane of animal consciousness on which they had previously operated—though, after the Fall, they might be tempted to resort to that lower consciousness.
William Dembski, End of Christianity (B&H Publishing, 2009), p. 155.
*Theodicy refers to a defense of God’s goodness in an evil world.
You could test these claims against several scriptural teachings. But just one—the biblical teaching of “one flesh”—is more than sufficient to show how Dembski’s position undermines key biblical doctrines, including marriage, the church, and ultimately the authority of God’s Word in the Old and New Testaments.
The first step in evaluating any claim is to look closely at what Scripture
actually says. In Genesis 2, we read, “
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep
to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the
flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made
into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone
of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was
taken out of Man’” (Genesis 2:21–23).
If one takes this as literal history, then God made Adam first (from dust—Genesis 2:7), and then put the man to sleep, and from his side (a rib) made the first woman. Note Adam’s words that this woman was “flesh of my flesh.” They were one flesh.
In Genesis 2:24, God explains that marriage is to be a bond between a man and a woman and that they shall “become one flesh.” In marriage, a couple is to be spiritually one and physically one—based on the one flesh aspect of how woman was created.
Jesus refers directly to the historical account of Genesis 2 when He was asked about God’s view of marriage.
Jesus refers directly to the historical
account of Genesis 2 when He was asked about God’s view of marriage. He replied,
Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and
female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4–5).
Jesus was quoting the literal account of Eve coming from Adam and being
“one flesh” with the first man.
Paul also quotes from Genesis 2 in his discussion about God’s view of marriage:
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his
wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). In fact, he makes
a second reference to the same concept earlier in his epistle: “
ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves
himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes
it, just as the Lord does the church [emphasis added]” (Ephesians 5:28–29).
The “one flesh” aspect is used even in regard to instructing husbands to love
There is even a reference to “one flesh” in Malachi 2:15. Because the Israelite
men were divorcing their wives and marrying pagans, the prophet reminds the
people of the true meaning of marriage, as revealed in Genesis 2. “
But did He
not make them one [one flesh], having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one [why
were two made from one]?” (Malachi 2:15).
So when a Christian academic proposes that God allowed an evolutionary process to generate soulless animals, then used two of those animals or supposedly human-like creatures from an existing pool to make them into Adam and Eve—this totally undermines the teaching of “one flesh” in the Old and New Testaments.
This undermines the doctrine of marriage. It also means Jesus and Paul did not tell the truth, which undermines biblical authority!
Another plain teaching of Scripture concerning the relationship between Adam and Eve needs to be considered when evaluating this recent claim. Because Eve was made from Adam, then Adam was made first—and obviously the woman came from the man—just as Adam stated in Genesis 2:23. The New Testament refers to Adam being first:
If you deny that the first man was created before the first woman, and if you deny that the first woman came from the man (not from an existing animal or human-like creature), you undermine the biblical doctrine of marriage and ultimately the authority of the Old and New Testaments.
The “one flesh” teaching in Scripture, based on the historical “one flesh” of the first man and woman, is also the foundation of the doctrine of the church.
No matter how respected a leader might be, God’s people must carefully compare his or her ideas to Scripture.
Paul says of the church, “
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and
of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be
joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery,
but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:30–32).
And earlier in the chapter Paul says, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23).
Consider how significant this is to our faith. The church’s doctrine is that the redeemed of the human race are one body with Christ, and He is the head! We are “one flesh” with Him. In fact, the Bible makes it obvious that the church is the “bride” of Christ and Christ is likened to a “bridegroom” (Matthew 25:1).
The church’s relationship with Christ is explained in terms of the doctrine of marriage, which is founded in Genesis’s literal “one flesh” history of woman’s creation from the man. To teach that Adam and Eve came from a preexisting group of animals or human-like creatures is to totally undermine the doctrine of the church.
Adam and Eve—from one flesh or two? The Bible makes it obvious from Genesis to Revelation—they were from one flesh! Any teaching to the contrary is unbiblical and an attack on the authority of God’s Word . . . and ultimately an attack on the “Lamb’s wife.”
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven
last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the
bride, the Lamb’s wife’ ” (Revelation 21:9).