In a previous post, I argued that Adam and Eve's historical existence is biblically affirmed and theologically necessary—but what about the evidence? Has science disproved their existence? Is the Genesis account just a quaint fairy tale invented by ancient Jews who were trying to figure out where they came from? What does the science actually say? First it must be noted that science doesn't say anything. Scientists do.
Scientists gather evidence and then interpret that evidence to form a conclusion. Each scientist has certain pre-conceived biases, assumptions, and philosophical commitments. This is why different scientists can come to such radically diverse conclusions, even though they are working with the same evidence. This will be important to remember as you read through this post. Let's look at 3 different pieces of evidence and see how they might interact with the biblical account:
1. Out of Africa
Has science disproved the existence of a literal Adam and Eve? If you were to ask just about any scientist 30 years ago, they would say unequivocally, "Yes! Science has shown us that humans can be traced back not to one primordial couple, but to many diverse populations of archaic human forms from all over the globe." That is what is called the "multiregional hypothesis," and today it is rejected by the vast majority of evolutionary biologists.
What is now more widely accepted is what is called the "Out of Africa Hypothesis" which claims that modern humans first appeared 50,000 to 100,000 years ago in one regional location, East Africa. From there they spread throughout the globe.
2. Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam
Mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal studies have allowed scientists to trace human origins to a single pair of humans—a single male and a single female. Naturally, scientists who are Christians are going to interpret this as evidence supporting the idea of a biblical Adam and Eve, while secular scientists aren't so convinced.
As recently as the early 2,000's, the general scientific consensus was that "Mitochondrial Eve" and "Y-Chromosomal Adam" existed roughly 100,000 years apart. This would certainly make it difficult to prove that they were a couple! However, recent challenges to that consensus bring them much closer together. Biochemist Dr. Fazale Rana wrote:
3. Primordial pair or population?
Based on the Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam evidence, many evolutionary biologists conclude that there must have been many "Adams" and many "Eves"—and that this DNA evidence only tells us about two out of many of the first humans. Based on scientific data regarding genetic diversity, they estimate that the first humans were never less than a population of a few thousand people—not a single pair.
The main problem with this conclusion is that it is entirely based on the assumption that Darwinian evolution is true. It is what is called a "theory-laden" hypothesis, in which scientists assume that humans evolved from a population because that is how evolution works. (Remember those biases and philosophical assumptions?) In other words, because in the evolutionary paradigm populations evolve—not individuals, it couldn't be just a single pair—as the evidence seems to suggest.
Has science proved that Adam and Eve existed? No. Has it proved that they couldn't have existed? Definitely not. Thirty years ago, scientists believed that humanity evolved from various populations found all around the globe. Today they mostly agree that they evolved from one population, located in Africa. Less than twenty years ago, scientists claimed that the genetic evidence that traces humanity to one male and one female showed them to have lived about 100,000 years apart. Since then, studies have shown that gap to be much narrower.
Although we certainly can't claim that science proves the existence of Adam and Eve, the trajectory of science seems to be going in the direction of the biblical narrative. The main point? Over the years, science has actually brought us closer to the plausibility of a literal Adam and Eve and not the other way around.
[If you want to learn more about this fascinating subject, check out Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazale Rana's book, Who Was Adam? A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Humanity.]
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4/24/2017 03:21:06 pm
"In a previous post, I argued that Adam and Eve's historical existence is biblically affirmed and theologically necessary—but what about the evidence? Has science disproved their existence?"
4/24/2017 09:08:47 pm
Hi Barry, I never implied we should believe a hypothesis simply because science doesn't disprove it. That would be silly. I believe Adam and Eve literally existed because that is what the Bible teaches (and I have good reasons to trust the Bible that I have addressed in other posts.) The main point of this post is that there is no scientific opposition to that claim.
4/25/2017 03:34:06 pm
Christopher J Johnson
2/1/2019 06:07:18 pm
It is not possible that we evolved from a population of two. The lowest population in human history was over two thousand.
CHARLES R ROBERSON
4/27/2017 07:50:59 pm
Science is a method not a position. Therefore it is no problem if a position changes. Scientific positions can change for Christians as well but some act as if this is a problem. Our positions are getting closer to the Biblical account.
4/27/2017 11:18:56 pm
Barry, my purpose in citing the differences in the biblical account (which at the core are striking) is to answer your claim that the Bible simply "borrowed from earlier pagan myths." I'm not making the leap that this necessarily means it's from God. I might expound that and use it as *one piece* of evidence for inspiration, but it wouldn't be the *only* evidence I would use. But the uniqueness of the Hebrew story within the context of the Ancient Near East is compelling to me, and I can't conclude that they were simply "borrowing." Something else was clearly going on...
9/22/2019 08:16:37 am
"-Barry: No, it is a story the ancient Hebrews borrowed from earlier pagan myths and changed around to their unique liking. The Epic of Atrahasis is from the 18th century b.c., at least 400 years before Moses. There's a reason why Genesis has more in common with the pagan myths of ancient Mesopotamia such as Atrahasis, and less in common with the pagan myths of ancient Australia such as the Rainbow Serpent. It's called cultural influence."
4/24/2017 10:16:03 pm
If I remember my physics professor's teaching of science in 1956, Science can not really disprove something, that it is base on observable observations from which a hypothesis is drawn and later conclusions from the hypothesis are stated. So we have a long way to go before the matter of Adam and Eve are settled, if ever. Another thing, Science can not disprove something like God because God is spiritual and is not visible for observation. However there is evidence that God exists.
4/30/2017 11:03:33 pm
> However there is evidence that God exists.
11/9/2017 12:46:23 am
OK. Tell me the evidence that god exists.
4/25/2017 10:04:23 am
Thanks so much for condensing all the scientific data, so that we can see it in one text. I really appreciate it.
4/25/2017 09:24:49 pm
Why wouldn't their be parallels? If they account of Genesis and the flood are true events of course there would be parallels coming down from great antiquity. WHo cares who wrote it down first. What matters is who got it right and how God used certain people to make sure the correct version got transmitted.
CHARLES R ROBERSON
4/28/2017 01:18:33 pm
All this comparative religion stuff. Evidence. Perhaps they borrowed from us. No evidence who cares. They have hands, we have hands, we must be the source of everything. Good logical fallacy . :)
CHARLES R ROBERSON
5/1/2017 01:36:16 pm
What do you accept as evidence? Does all evidence have to fit the Scientific method? If so what is the scientific method? What is proof? How does it differ from probability? When this is answered we can go on. Alisa has presented fascinating changing interpretations of Scientific findings. Science as a method says nothing but findings support our interpretations as they have here. The Bible is coming closer to ever changing interpretations of scientific findings. Just think if there is a real Adam and Eve.
9/27/2017 02:27:20 pm
Well, there are those that teach that there originally was the supercontinent called Pangaea. So technically Adam and Eve could,ve been near the North East of Africa.
12/3/2017 05:38:14 pm
But what is the forbidden fruit? An internet search for THE FIRST SCANDAL leads quickly to both the identity of this fruit, and a news story. A link to the website is not provided, because links are sometimes viewed as unwelcome. But, your search will be easy and very quick. The story uncovered by your search will not be so easy and quick.
1/4/2018 10:31:26 am
I am not disturbed nor distracted by the logic generated to disprove Bible authenticity. I understand the logic provided by the articles author as well as the counter argument against. Science may someday disprove certain aspects of the Bible as it has in the past. However, as stated, this evidence will also be based on a premise you must make some kind of leap of faith to begin your defense of the proposed conclusion. I choose, through the faith granted me by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to begin and end my defense with the statement ‘ the Bible is the inspired word of God’. I could not have come to this conclusion without Him. I believe it. God bless you all as you search for your own personal answers. I believe if you are searching, then God is calling.
CHARLES RONALD ROBERSON
1/4/2018 01:05:08 pm
WHY IS THERE SOMETHING RATHER THAN NOTHING? However you answer this requires faith. There is evidence of God but no one has answered what evidence they accept
1/5/2018 12:08:35 pm
Your expectations of proof seems to be contra indicated. If you are truly searching for proof of a supreme being, should’nt you start the process with the recognition of the limitations of human understanding?
CHARLES RONALD ROBERSON
2/4/2019 02:20:35 pm
My argument was not from ignorance.
10/26/2020 03:34:25 pm
You've never heard of DNA dating? The accumulation of DNA changes over time shatters the Biblical timeline of 6k yrs ago for Adam and Eve (if they even existed), requiring much, much more time. It's like trying to pour a gallon of water into a 12oz can. And that's a problem for you, because you believe in the special creation of Adam and Eve as modern humans, so you have to answer for the Biblical timeline which is far less than the DNA evidence requires. How will you also answer for the presence of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans? The bible says nothing about other types of humans/humanoid beings. You must also completely reject fossil evidence for earlier human forms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_human_evolution_fossils
Andrew J Patton
4/2/2021 11:42:34 am
Most importantly, the Bible doesn't claim that Y-chromosomal Adam and michondrial-Eve were a couple. Rather, the Bible says that Y-chromosomal Adam is Noah, the common male-line ancestor of all who survived the bottleneck of the Great Flood. The female line, however, goes through Noah's three daughters-in-law, which may go back further, perhaps even to Eve herself.
Michael Michalak ok
8/17/2022 03:38:57 pm
Man fantastic arguments of facts an history, But I in the meantime will leave my heart with the king,.
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