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Dr. Deborah Haarsma (previously a professor at Calvin College, a Christian college in Michigan) is the newest president of BioLogos (an organization attempting to get the church to reject a literal Genesis). She recently contributed to a series of articles on whether there really was an historical Adam. Her article, “Historical Adam: Embracing the Questions,” does just that—it embraces questions and provides no answers. In fact, it sows more doubt and confusion than anything.
Haarsma accepts evolutionary ideas and mixes them with Scripture, a view that is known as theistic evolution or evolutionary creation. After listing a number of artifacts that evolutionary scientists have dated as anywhere from 15,000 to 200,000 years old, Haarsma claims, “These discoveries fly in the face of the conventional reading of Genesis, in which Adam and Eve lived just 6,000 years ago in the Middle East and were the progenitors of all humankind.”
Aside from the obvious problem that Dr. Haarsma relies on evolutionary beliefs to substantiate her claim, she also has misrepresented the “conventional reading” of the history in Genesis: we have no idea where the Garden of Eden was located! So we cannot begin to guess where Adam and Eve resided. You see, after the Flood, when Noah and his family exited the Ark, they may have renamed many things with names they were already familiar with. The Garden of Eden can’t be located now because there are layers of dead things covering the land that was buried during the Flood, not to mention that the land itself would be completely rearranged (see A Catastrophic Breakup). Since there was no death and suffering until sin entered the world, the Garden couldn’t have been sitting on top of layers of dead creatures.
Dr. Haarsma goes on to say that the Bible and the “book of nature” are both “revelations from God.” She’s right if she means that God has been “clearly seen,” in the way that Romans 1 explains:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuseBut Haarsma goes much further than that. She asserts that nature itself teaches evolution and millions of years. And what are Christians to do with what appears to be a conflict between the Bible and nature? Well, Haarsma writes, “the conflict is not between the Bible and nature, but at the human level: between our human interpretation of the Bible and our human understanding of nature (i.e. science).” In other words, if evolutionary ideas appear to conflict with the Bible, our human interpretation of Scripture is probably incorrect.
Of course, Haarsma claims, “God is the ultimate authority in these debates, not science or a certain interpretation of Scripture.” But if she truly meant that, she wouldn’t be crusading in support of evolution and millions of years. And really, she hasn’t made God the authority at all. We can’t “read” evolution or millions of years in the “book of nature.” No, that’s all human interpretation. Dr. Haarsma is actually making it the authority over God’s Word.
So what does Dr. Haarsma have to say about a historical Adam? Not much. She does offer a series of questions, however, such as “Who were Adam and Eve? When did they live? . . . Where [sic] they two individuals, or leaders of a group or a symbol for all early humans? Did God create them with a special miracle? . . . How did sin and death enter the world?”
She continues, “Some Christians look at this list of questions and see an exciting area of investigation, but most find it daunting!” Actually, do you want to know what I think when I look at these questions? I think, “God has provided the answers to all these questions in the history in Genesis—case closed!”
Sadly, Dr. Haarsma has given up the authority of Scripture in this area and embraced the fallible opinions of scientists instead. Now, I would never question her salvation, because belief in a young earth is not necessary to salvation in Christ alone. But what Dr. Haarsma is teaching is a grave error and it ultimately undermines biblical authority—and thus undermines the foundation of the gospel message. This actually reflects the deeper serious problem. The battle over Adam and Eve is just a symptom of the very serious problem—an attack on the Word of God itself. That’s the real issue. Haarsma, like all those who compromise God’s Word, will have to give an account for how she’s led people (adults and children) astray by placing man’s fallible word and the pagan religion of evolution/millions of years in authority over the Word of God.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,