Creation Summit: God's First Man Q&A


The idea that Adam was the first created human is under attack within evangelical circles.  Dr. John MacArthur warned about this issue in the introduction to his book, The Battle for the Beginning in 2001.  We decided to hold a conference on this topic as the theme for our annual creation conference now called the Creation Summit.  Much of what we will cover in the Summit is based on the book What Happened in the Garden, written by the faculty of The Master’s University and Dr. MacArthur.

1. In what way is the historical Adam under attack?

Theistic evolution and old age creationism groups are becoming more influential in evangelical churches and some Christian colleges and universities. In these views, in order to accommodate long ages of evolution Genesis 1-11 is viewed as partially historical or not historical at all.  Also, aspects of modern evolutionary biology involving genetics and paleontology (study of fossils) are largely accepted as part of these views.   It is now widely accepted that many Adam and Eves evolved from pre-human ancestors and therefore there was not one unique created couple.

 

2.  Did pre-human creatures exist before Adam and Eve?

Our starting point and foundation for all our disciplines at TMU is the Bible.

There is no indication biblically that there were pre-human creatures in God’s creation. In fact, the making of Eve from Adam would have been unnecessary if there were many evolving Eves.

 

3.  How do we know there were only one Adam and one Eve? 

The Bible discusses a single creation event involving Adam and Eve. God walked with Adam in the garden without mention of others.  Adam is often referred to as the first Adam and not the second or third Adam. The Bible discusses the fact that all sin derived from a single first Adam.   Jesus is referred to as the second Adam, supporting the fact that there was a single first Adam.

 

4.  Does science show multiple first Adams and pre-humans that existed before Adam?

The use of science has brought us many technological and medical advancements. Yet, as a human activity, science is fallible and subject to human bias.  It is interesting to note that there are reports in science which involve analyzing human DNA sequences and in two studies, the evidence points back to a first man and a first women from which all humans descended.[1]  In one case the DNA analyzed came from a place in human cells called the mitochondria. The mitochondria in every human comes from maternal inheritance. Thus one of the first women was called “mitochondrial eve” in the science literature.

Many paleontologists who study human fossils believe that there were pre-humans. However, creationists are now analyzing these same fossils and believe some of these so-called pre-humans were actually humans who descended from Adam and Eve. Many of the other so-called pre-humans would fall into a simian category or apes, and they were created as animals. As creationists, we believe the Bible is clear that all humans descended from Adam and Eve and therefore any humans found in the fossil record came from Adam and Eve.  Many of these humans who are now extinct looked a little different than current humans, but there is a wide variety of body sizes and shapes among living humans and within the human races today. We believe the data is showing there were more human races and cultures in the past suggesting humanity has a rich heritage in human diversity including small “hobbit” human societies who once existed in Indonesia and large bodied humans called Neanderthals who lived in Europe.[2]  It appears, in some cases, the societies of these other groups died out perhaps because of the isolation as human cultures spread out and developed their own languages during the Babel dispersal.  In some cases however, the DNA of these other people groups is found in our DNA, suggesting there was some intermarriage also among these human groups.

 

5. Is it possible in a young earth creation model an animal species in the ape group could have evolved into humans and mingled with the humans who descended from Adam and Eve? 

Creationists depend on a straightforward reading of scripture. It is clear all men sinned in Adam and Adam was distinguished from the rest of the animal creation as possessing the breath of life in a form breathed directly into man. Man is the only creature who is created in the image of God.  In the genealogies of Genesis, Scripture declares the breath of life of man was transferred to each of Adam’s descendants.  Humans are also distinguished from the animal creation as being given dominion over animals. No animal has been given this position.  Thus, because of man’s uniqueness, there is no biblical allowance for derivation of humans from animals.

Biologically and culturally, there is no ape group that comes close to the cultural artifacts and ceremonies associated with human culture like burial rites, creation of art and music and advanced problem-solving.

An evolutionary biologist Dr. Suddendorf in his book, The Gap, finds there is a large gap between the abilities of apes and humans.[3]

Although the scripture alone can be used to show that humans were uniquely created and did not evolve from animals, it is interesting that there is evidence that supports the biblical account that humans are unique.

6.  Don’t humans and chimpanzees share a lot of similarity in their DNA sequence, suggesting that they are genetically related and therefore could have evolved from a common ancestor again raising the question that Adam was an evolved human?

Yes, individual humans are typically 99.5% related at the DNA level and humans and chimpanzees share greater than 95% DNA.  However, regardless of this genetic similarity, humans and chimpanzees are very different in many ways, including many differences in anatomy: chimps do not possess the abilities of advanced problem solving and the building of complex societies based on the use of very intricate and complex language skills and technology. It’s also interesting to note God has built similarity into his living creation. Many living things share similar features.  Many animals have faces and appendages that remind us of ourselves. In Scripture, God uses these similarities to teach man lessons of how he should or should not act and in many of these lessons He differentiates man from beasts, demonstrating man as unique even though he possesses some similarities to animals. Again, the Bible alone shows humans are unique and did not evolve from pre-human ancestors or simian animals.  There are also many passages in the Old Testament, which refer to the creation of man and how God fashioned him, showing again the uniqueness of man as being above the animals (Psalm 8).

 

The historicity of Genesis and the creation of Adam, God’s first man, is important to how we view and understand our faith and the gospel.  One author put it this way, “The origin, initial context and condition of man and the rest of creation, the fall into sin, the curse, and the promise, indicate that early Genesis is innately part of what is necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation.”[4]  Simply put, our recognition of the sin in our own lives, and our understanding of who the second Adam is, our Savior,  is tied to Adam; God’s first man. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned . . .” Thank the Lord for the redeeming work of the second Adam, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

 Tickets for the 2017 Creation Summit: God's First Man have sold out, however, Dr. John MacArthur's general session "A Sin of Historical Proportions" is open to all. For more information, go to masters.edu/science-summit. 

Footnotes: 

[1] Cann et, al., Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution, 1987, Nature 325:31

Blaine, Mitochondiral Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam. 2007 The Genetic Genealogist

[2]  Brown et al, A New Small Bodied Hominin from the late Pleistocence of Flores, Indonesia, 2004 Nature 431

[3] It is our mental capacities that have allowed us to tame fire and invent the wheel. They enable us to construct tools that make us stronger, fiercer, faster, and more precise, resilient, and versatile than any beast. We build machines that speed us from one place to the other, even to outer space. We investigate nature and rapidly accumulate and share knowledge. We create complex artificial worlds in which we wield unheralded power—power to shape the future and power to destroy and annihilate. We reflect on and argue about our present situation, our history, and our destiny. We envision wonderful harmonious worlds as easily as we do dreadful tyrannies. Our powers are used for good  as they are for bad, and we incessantly debate which is which. Our minds have spawned civilizations and technologies that have changed the face of the Earth, while our closest living relatives sit unobtrusively in their remaining forests.”  

[4] VanDoodwewaard, The Quest for the Historial Adam, 2015, Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids