A theologically informed evaluation of claims that genetic analyses show that Adam could not have existed.
Simple popular summaries about genetic similarities between humans and chimpanzees have alternative explanations, compatible with a supernatural origin for Adam and Eve. Statistical studies of DNA differences in the human population and differences between humans and primates have given figures of 5,000 or more as the minimal population size for human ancestry, but these technical studies use mathematical models that already exclude the possibility of a unique, miraculous origin for Adam and Eve.
Can we still believe in a historical Adam? Vern Poythress offers a theologically and scientifically informed evaluation of the claims that genetic analyses show Adam could not have existed.
Vern S. Poythress (MLitt, University of Cambridge; PhD, Harvard University; DTh, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is also the author of Understanding Dispensationalists; Science and Hermeneutics; Implications of Scientific Method for Biblical Interpretation; Symphonic Theology; The Validity of Multiple Perspectives in Theology; and The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses.
Poythress boldly and knowledgeably tackles some of the scientific reasoning that some have used to argue that humans are nothing more than advanced apes reasoning that would conclude that our Bible-based notions of Adam and Eve are false. Poythress own mathematical sophistication and philosophical acumen enable him to assess these lines of reasoning in order to show that they need not lead us to such disappointing conclusions. In all of this Poythress exemplifies the right use of critical thinking in science and in faith.
Most non-scientists dont know what to make of scientific arguments questioning the historicity of Genesis, and most theologians do not feel competent to evaluate the scientific arguments, or their reliability. There is therefore a great need for a book like Did Adam Exist? In it, Dr. Poythress, who is well-informed on the subject, breaks down the main scientific arguments about human origins in ways accessible to the general reader. He asks pertinent questions about how the prevailing Darwinian framework affects the conclusions some scientists have drawn, and shows that these conclusions may be premature or unjustified. He also presents ways that Scripture and science may be reconciled from a faithful Reformed perspective. These are difficult and broad-ranging topics; Dr. Poythress is to be commended for addressing them.