Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Humanity before Adam. A Heaping Helping of Hominids.

As Evangelical geologist Davis Young noted in a 1995 paper for Christian Scholar's Review, if the evidence in Genesis 4 allows us to date Adam to the Neolithic Revolution in the ancient Near East, then the earliest possible date for Adam is around 10,000 years ago. The problem that confronts Biblical literalists is that the fossil evidence for anatomically modern human beings stretches back around 300,000 years, meaning that Adam simply could not have been the first anatomically modern human being to exist. As a reminder to Christian fundamentalists who have still yet to see this evidence, here's a photo review of the anthropological record for Homo sapiens stretching back from 10,000 years ago to the earliest known Homo sapiens remains 300,000 years ago.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Adam in Innocence

The dogmatic assertion that human death was unknown prior to Adam’s sin is of course incorrect. The fossil record shows that Homo sapiens has been living and dying on this planet for at least 300,000 years, with the genus Homo stretching back at least two million years ago. Add to that the fact that the human genetic evidence confirms the human race has never been smaller than a few thousand, and the belief that the entire human race descended exclusively from two people living six thousand years ago is one that can only be maintained in defiance of the overwhelming evidence against it.

Given this, it is disappointing to see conservative Christians more concerned with privileging their traditional interpretations of the Bible and their credal statements than in honestly engaging with this evidence. This is particularly the case when attempts are made to make one particular interpretation normative for an entire faith tradition. As anyone familiar with Christian theology would be aware, the number of interpretations of contested passages such as Romans 5:12 and the diversity of opinion on what happened to Adam after his sin show that caution and humility, rather than bold assertion and sanctioning of alternative views are definitely advisable.