Ever since Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, Christians have struggled to locate Adam and Eve within an evolutionary past. According to the traditional reading of the first chapters of Genesis, God created Adam and Eve directly and all human beings descended from that first couple. Yet many Christians have discarded this belief on the basis of evolutionary science, which holds that human beings, having descended from animals, first appeared on earth as a population rather than a single, divinely created pair.
S. Joshua Swamidass, a computational biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, wants to change the terms of this contentious debate. In his book, The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry, Swamidass affirms both evolution and the traditional reading of the Genesis creation account. Drawing on findings from his field of computational biology, he contends that the lineage of Adam and Eve should be traced using genealogy rather than genetics. Viewing the origins debate through a genealogical prism, Swamidass presents a scenario in which the special creation of Adam and Eve thousands of years ago happens on a parallel track with evolution.
The Genealogical Adam and Eve carries a wide range of endorsements from theologians, atheist biologists, and believing scientists from across the origins-debate spectrum. CT science editor Rebecca Randall interviewed Swamidass about how his ideas might open new avenues of conversation between science and theology.
What is your research background? How did you come to study the genealogy of Adam and Eve?
I was raised a young-Earth creationist, and I moved to understanding evolutionary science and seeing legitimacy to it. Now, I use artificial ...1
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