A growing number of conservative scholars believe the account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:7 has become too far-fetched in light of recent findings related to the human genome.
Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist and senior fellow at BioLogos Foundation, a Christian group that tries to reconcile faith and science, told NPR: "That would be against all the genomic evidence that we've assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all."
With the mapping of the human genome, the evidence is clear that modern humans emerged from other primates as a large population ~ long before the Genesis timeframe of a few thousand years ago. And given the genetic variation of people today, scientists can't get that population size below 10,000 people at any time in our evolutionary history.
To get down to just two ancestors, Venema says, "You would have to postulate that there's been this absolutely astronomical mutation rate that has produced all these new variants in an incredibly short period of time. Those types of mutation rates are just not possible. It would mutate us out of existence."
Such statements are heresy to evangelicals. "From my viewpoint, a historical Adam and Eve is absolutely central to the truth claims of the Christian faith," according to Fazale Rana, vice president of Reasons To Believe, an evangelical think tank that questions evolution. "But if the parts of Scripture that you are claiming to be false, in effect, are responsible for creating the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, then you've got a problem."
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Etching "Adam and Eve" by William Blake.