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Evolution and Creation. Where did we come from? How did we get here? What is life all about?

Adam & Eve

Postby Blue Hat O » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:15 pm

How does christians explain that all people originated from two people? Is inbreeding not a problem in your universe?
Blue Hat O
 

Re: Adam & Eve

Postby jimwalton » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:06 pm

A growing understanding around the world of Genesis 1 & 2 is that it's about function (why things exist, and what role they play) as opposed to structure (how the material universe came about). As such, Genesis 2 is about what role humans play, not how they were created. It's an idea that came from Dr. John Walton (https://www.amazon.com/Lost-World-Genesis-One-Cosmology/dp/0830837043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517447221&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lost+world+of+genesis+one+by+john+walton). Walton teaches that while Adam and Eve are historical figures, they were not necessarily the first hominids, nor necessarily the only ones. They are taught about in Genesis because as two normal homo sapiens they are representative of all homo sapiens, and their failure in the Garden is what any of us would have done if we were in the same position.

Therefore, it's altogether possible that the Bible doesn't really teach that all people originated from two people. I heard a lecture by a Christian geneticist, Dr. Stephen Schaffner (PhD from Yale in particle physics, now on staff with the Broad Institute of Harvard University and MIT), claiming that genetics do not confirm that all people originated from two people. I sent him an email for explanation, and he said, "As humans, humans, we all have lots of common ancestors, because if you go back far enough, anyone who's an ancestor to anyone is also an ancestor to everyone. One particular ancestor, the male who is ancestral to everyone by strictly male descent, is nicknamed Y-chromosome Adam, while the equivalent woman who is ancestral by strictly female descent is known as mitochondrial Eve. We descend from all of the other common ancestors by mixed male and female descent. For any given chunk of the genome, genetic diversity in the current human population is the result of mutations that have occurred since the last common ancestor for that chunk. If you know how often mutations occur, you can estimate how long ago the common ancestor lived. For almost the whole genome (which represents something like 150,000 independent chunks), this approach gives estimates on the order of a million years, give or take a few hundred thousand. For the Y-chromosome, which is inherited in the purely male line, the age of the most recent common ancestor is expected to be roughly one-quarter as old, and that’s what we find—something like a couple of hundred thousand years ago."

What Schaffner says goes along well with what Walton says. Genesis 1-2 isn't about material creation, but about God giving order to the cosmos. (This is not to claim God was not the creator, but only that's not what Genesis 1-2 is about.) The idea is we have to get our ideas about why we're here from the Bible (a question science can't answer), and we get our ideas about how we got here from science (a question the Bible doesn't answer except in naming God as the ultimate source).


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