A Heated Family Talk
Thank you for the eye-opening and unbiased "The Search for the Historical Adam" [June], and for your editorial, which affirmed a high view of Scripture without implying Christians must bury our heads in the ground. I don't know what to think about the debate—so much theology rests on the earth having been created perfect and subjected to death by sin—but I appreciated Christianity Today's plea for patience and warning against knee-jerk reactions.
Journalist Richard Ostling quoted me with the preface, "Back when genetics played little part in Adam disputes …." Actually, my 1994 Christian Scholar's Review article treated genetic arguments extensively. In the 1980s, Francisco Ayala and others "proved" that the diversity in major genes required a bottleneck population of 100,000 individuals, common ancestors to both chimpanzees and humans. This approach is now discredited, as our understanding of genetic diversity shows that common ancestry does not explain the human-chimp similarity.
The proof for a single-pair origin for Adam and Eve is even stronger now than 20 years ago. We now know that about 25 percent of human-chimp DNA does not align, and that the human and chimp Y chromosomes are very different.
I don't think it is possible to prove more than a narrow bottleneck. But that bottleneck is growing even narrower. Our exploding understanding of the genome, and the layers of ingenious coding it contains, is making the Darwinian assumption of common ancestry less and less obvious.
If we limit the Bible's truth to scientific provability, we have more problems than Adam and Eve. Virgins don't conceive, and dead people aren't raised to life. We must understand that the foolishness of God is wiser ...1
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