Finding Adam in the Genome: A Response to Adam and the Genome

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Evolution has long been at odds with Genesis.1 However, as new scientific data accumulate, evolutionists find new and more nuanced ways to contradict the biblical account. The recent publication of Adam and the Genome illustrates this.2 The authors don’t just deny the plain reading of Genesis 1–11 and the historicity of Adam and Eve; they extend their denial into the New Testament.

Should Christians care? Consider the theological ramifications. If the thesis of Adam and the Genome is true, then the plain reading of the text of Scripture is wrong.3 If we can deny the accuracy of one section of Scripture, what’s to stop us from denying the rest? Consistent with this predictable pattern, the theistic evolutionary group BioLogos (with whom one of the book’s authors is affiliated4) does not affirm inerrancy in their doctrinal statement,5 and the president of BioLogos makes it clear that they tolerate the view that the Bible has errors.6 Where in Scripture do the errors stop, and where does truth begin?

If one man (Adam) didn’t sin, can one Man (Jesus Christ) really save?

Consider what the nonexistence of Adam and Eve would mean for the central element of Christianity, the gospel. God through Paul makes it clear that one man (Adam) sinned, and one Man (Jesus Christ) saves.7 If one man (Adam) didn’t sin, can one Man (Jesus Christ) really save? Denying the historicity of Adam and Eve has sobering consequences for the Christian faith.8

Again, BioLogos manifests the fruit of such compromise. They are already entertaining alternative views of the atonement of Christ.9 Which doctrines will be reinterpreted next?

The publication of Adam and the Genome should concern all Christians for another reason: lay Christian audiences are the specific target of this book. The “lay” element is clear from one author’s summary: “My goal for my half of the book was to lay out, as clearly as possible for the average reader, why it is that mainstream biologists—Christian or otherwise—agree that humans evolved, and that we did so as a substantial population.”10 The “Christian” element is evident from the subtitle: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science.

What should believers do? How should they respond? This article is the first of a series in which we will be responding to the scientific claims made in Adam and the Genome. The first part of our response is designed to correct an oversight in Adam and the Genome: Adam and the Genome does not engage any of the genetic arguments we’ve advanced in our technical literature.11 In contrast, chapter 10 of our recent book Searching for Adam12 summarizes our technical papers and directly engages the claims made by one of the authors on the BioLogos website. In our chapter, we showed that recent genetic discoveries not only demonstrate the scientific merit and integrity of the biblical position but they also present a strong challenge to the evolutionary one. Consequently, we’ll begin our response by republishing this chapter over the next four weeks in whole (but divided into several parts). Then, in later articles, we’ll respond to specific claims in Adam and the Genome.

Christians need not fear the attacks presented by evolution, regardless of whether the arguments are old or new. The Bible stands infallible forever, and science will never contradict what the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient Creator has written.

Footnotes

  1. Roger Patterson, “What About Theistic Evolution?,” chapter 8 in How Do We Know the Bible Is True? Vol. 2, (Green Forest, AK: Master Books, 2011), https://answersingenesis.org/theistic-evolution/what-about-theistic-evolution/.
  2. Dennis R. Venema, and Scot McKnight, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science, Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2017.
  3. See especially chapters 1–5 in Searching for Adam: Genesis & the Truth About Man’s Origin (edited by Terry Mortenson, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2016).
  4. Venema is a Fellow of Biology for BioLogos (http://biologos.org/author/dennis-venema).
  5. “What We Believe,” http://biologos.org/about-us/our-mission/.
  6. Deborah Haarsma (president of BioLogos) said, “A brief note about the word ‘inerrancy’: at BioLogos, our range of theological and biblical perspectives will be broader than that of the Evangelical Theological Society. But ETS members are comfortable in BioLogos. Some in BioLogos would not be comfortable with the word “inerrancy.” They don’t see it as a useful concept; it’s not how they would characterize their view of Scripture. But others would be comfortable with the Bible being inerrant in terms of what God has to teach in matters of faith and practice.” “Discussing Origins: Biologos, Reasons to Believe, and Southern Baptists, Part 2,” BioLogos, January 27, 2015, http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/discussing-origins-biologos-reasons-to-believe-and-southern-baptists-part-2.
  7. “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:15–19).
  8. The author of the theological half of the book, Scot McKnight, deals explicitly with Romans 5. But you can guess how he approaches the text from the following admission: “I’ll put this stronger: if you don’t accept Dennis Venema’s section [the science section of the book], then my section of the book need not be read. I write in the aftermath of the kind of science found in Venema’s part of the book.” Scot McKnight, “Adam and the Genome: Some Thoughts from Scot McKnight,” BioLogos, February 14, 2017, http://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/adam-and-the-genome-some-thoughts-from-scot-mcknight.
  9. Joseph Bankard, “Substitutionary Atonement and Evolution, Part 2,” BioLogos, June 10, 2015, http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/substitutionary-atonement-and-evolution-part-2. Joseph Bankard states, “First, the incarnation is not primarily about the cross. God does not send Jesus to die. God does not require Jesus’ death in order to forgive humanity’s sin. . . . My view of atonement argues that Christ’s death was not part of God’s plan. This helps preserve God’s power (God can forgive in many ways, he doesn’t require blood) and God’s goodness (God doesn’t will the cross).”
  10. Dennis Venema, “Thoughts from Dennis Venema,” BioLogos, February 15, 2015, http://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/adam-and-the-genome-some-thoughts-from-dennis-venema.
  11. For example, see the following for a list of technical and lay-level articles on human origins, and on the origins of species in general: “The Origin of Species after the Flood,” Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/origin-of-species-after-flood/.
  12. Nathaniel Jeanson and Jeff Tompkins, “Genetics Confirms the Recent, Supernatural Creation of Adam and Eve,” chapter 10 in Searching for Adam: Genesis & the Truth About Man’s Origin.

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