Did a real historical Adam exist? This is an increasingly important question, and the discussion touches on related issues of creation, genetics, theology and more.
To help you answer this question for yourself, the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture hosted the Evolution, Genetics and Historical Adam Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. This conference featured Nathaniel Jeanson of Answers in Genesis and Dennis Venema of BioLogos.
In the coming weeks, we’ll share both sides of the issue via a four-part debate. Today, we begin with Jeanson’s defense of the historical Adam. Watch the discussion above, or read a relevant excerpt below.
Who should Christians trust?
“This isn’t the first time I’ve done a session like this. About a year and a half ago, I was at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting (I think it was held in Atlanta that year, November 2015) I spoke opposite Darrel Falk of Biologos. I got to know him some…. We had about a four-hour lunch. I interacted with Jim Stump, Brad Kramer…. We had a lovely time…. And he said something at the end of that dinner that I thought was really insightful. He said, and he has an M.Div. degree, ‘Look, I’m not a scientist. And for all of us who are not scientists, we can’t adjudicate the evidence. We’re just not trained. So it really comes down to a question of who you trust.’
“And I thought that’s very true. If the roles were reversed, if this was a discussion of Hebrew, and some of the Southeastern Old Testament faculty were discussing, I’d be sitting in the audience having to make that same decision. I can’t adjudicate ancient Hebrew. If it was a Physics discussion, I can’t adjudicate physics. … It would be a question of who I trust. So that’s I think the bigger question everyone has to answer. Everyone who’s not a biologist or a geneticist, that’s the question you have to answer by the end of this evening.
“Now that question becomes all the more acute once you look at the statistics which the Pew forum has been supplying to us for a number of years. And the surveys have showed a very consistent view of creation for the general populace for a number of years. Here’s what I’m talking about though, in particular. The Pew Forum has done surveys of the American Association for the Advancement of Science members (or AAAS members) and the results are very stark. If you look at the number of AAAS members who would say, ‘Evolution is the explanation for how humans got here; we got here by natural processes,’ 87% of professional scientists would say this. If you include those who would say God guided evolution, you’re up to 97%. In other words, less than 3% of professional scientists would endorse what I’m going to tell you this evening. So who do you trust?”