In the previous installment of my review of William Lane Craig’s In Quest of the Historical Adam we saw that many evangelical intellectuals had accepted arguments that Adam and Eve could not have existed. These arguments, in particular the claim that human genetic diversity is too great to have been reduced to a single pair, were forcefully promoted by theistic evolutionists aka evolutionary creationists (TE/ECs) affiliated with BioLogos. Prominent among these critics was Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, who compared modern-day belief in Adam and Eve with adhering to the long-refuted geocentric model of the solar system. But the arguments turned out to be wrong, as even BioLogos and Venema now admit.
To his credit, William Lane Craig is among those evangelicals who have been willing to question arguments against a historical Adam and Eve. In his book he cites the work of Ann Gauger, Ola Hössjer, and Joshua Swamidass who performed analyses showing that humanity could have originated from a single pair at least 500,000 years ago. Gauger and Hössjer noted that Adam and Eve could have lived even more recently if additional evolutionary assumptions are questioned.
When I was reading the rhetoric used by evangelical elites who advocated abandoning a historical Adam and Eve, I was struck by how much of it seemed driven by fear — fear of looking foolish before the world because you challenged evolution and were shown to be wrong. As I discussed, the lesson from this story is that it should not be taboo for evangelicals to challenge evolutionary arguments. We need not live in fear that doing so is “anti-science” or will “bring disrepute on the Christian faith” or “shame upon the name of Jesus Christ” — as some evangelical elites have argued.Casey Luskin, “Lessons Not Learned from the Evangelical Debate over Adam and Eve” at Evolution News and Science Today (November 23, 2021)
As he goes on the show, some in the Christian evangelical elite are just slow learners in these matters. Maybe being right, sticking with their tradition, would have been a bigger problem for them.
You may also wish to read: William Lane Craig on Adam and Eve as less intelligent than us Whatever else Craig’s view is, as Luskin notes, it is a far cry from the Scriptural traditional assumption that the unfallen Adam and Eve were our betters and that we have all deteriorated as a result of sin. Adopting Craig’s view is bound to have worldview consequences.
Casey Luskin: The mytho-history of Adam, Eve, and William Lane Craig. Long a defender of orthodoxy, Craig seems to want to prune the orthodoxies he is expected to defend. But the pruning process in which he is engaged can never really stop. The “sensible God” is most likely the one looking back at us from our medicine cabinet mirrors.
Why did the evangelical Christian world go nuts for Christian Darwinism a decade ago? Contra Trendy Christians: It makes sense that all humans would descend from a single couple. If you had to account for something like, say, human consciousness, isn’t it easier to address if we all belong to the same family of origin? Would you prefer to explain the development of human consciousness assuming that we come from multiple different ones? Darn good thing if someone can prove its true genetically.