Montreal Christian Thinker

Did Adam and Eve Live Recently? (William Lane Craig and S. Joshua Swamidass)

Cameron Bertuzzi is the host of the “Capturing Christianity” YouTube channel interviews and live discussions. Cameron interviewed both Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass on the historical Adam and Eve scientific and scholarly controversy and debates that have exploded for the past decade(s). I watched the following interview in early 2020, but I now decided to share it as I will be posting on Dr. Craig and Dr. Swamidass a bit more this year. Their collaboration is informative and interesting on the debates of the historical Adam and Eve in Genesis in light of modern genetics, genealogies, and evolutionary biology (and common descent).

Did Adam and Eve Live Recently? William Lane Craig + Joshua Swamidass

(also published at ReasonableFaithOrg YouTube channel by Dr. Craig, Did Adam & Eve Live Recently? -Dr. Craig & Dr. Swamidass Discuss)

 

 

5:30—6:00 Mins

Cameron Bertuzzi asked Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass to summarize his book and to summarize his view on the historicity of Adam and Eve. Dr. Swamidass referenced his first published book: The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry (IVP Academic, 2019).

By the way, I am currently reading The Geneological Adam and Eve by Dr. Swamidass as of Jan. 2021. I might publish a short review on this TAKEALOOK blog in a month or two. I appreciate his friendliness and his respect for others who disagree with him. Dr. Michael S. Heiser has interviewed him and Swamidass has in turn interviewed Heiser recently about Adam and Eve, and I will be blogging about this as well.

6:00—8:50 mins

Joshua said that Adam and Eve could have literally existed as early as 6,000 years ago (i.e., 4,000 BCE, as I am reading the book as well, which clarifies this point in passing). He says that the genetic evidence allows, but does not demand, that Adam and Even were literally created by God 6,000 years ago, or 10,000, or 15,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 or even 500,000 year ago. He said that there is a “blind spot” in the scientific data and that these cannot specify when the creation of Adam and Even could have happened in the past. He does not advocate for a specific view; instead, he demonstrates that some divergent views are possible given the limitations on the genetic data. (However, as I am reading Swamidass’ book, he makes a clear distinction between genetic data and genealogical data, which are not the same and do not produce the same data). He started his studies decades ago, but he was originally a Young-Earth Creationist because he grew up in such a family, but he later abandoned that view decades ago and now seems to prefer a view that is still quite textually literal, but without necessarily advocating the exact arguments used by creationists. He is opened to other views and wants to work with other scholars and scientists to think through this dilemma without fighting and becoming divided (and he is doing a great job!). He seems to want to be collaborative, rather than polemical. He is opened that another view might be correct as opposed to a “Young-Adam Creationist” view (i.e., his view, as he just coined it in this video). There is no wonder that his main website is entitled Peaceful Science, where questions are addressed by applying “courage,” “curiosity,” and “empathy;” and space is made for differences in contrast to other proponents’ views by aspiring to “humility,” “tolerance,” and “patience.” (see: https://peacefulscience.org/mission-and-values/).

8:50—12:05 mins

Dr. Craig takes a mythical reading of Genesis 1-11 (similar to me but with a few major differences!) because he noted that OT scholars have pointed out in detail that the Genesis 1-11 genre is mythical in light of the OT and the wider ancient Near Eastern literature from which the OT emerged. He says that he is also opened to other views and that the mythical view is not necessarily correct.

15:00—16:05 mins

Dr. Craig said that he prefers the view that Adam was ancient or early, and that Joshua prefers the view that Adam was quite recent (i.e., 6,000 years ago, or 4,000 BCE; my own interpretation of what he said and what I am reading in Swamidass’ book). Bill Craig said that he thinks that it’s scientifically plausible that Adam was part of the Homo heidelbergensis human species, and thus Adam would have been an “Heidelberg man” from about 750,000 years ago, to which Joshua exclaimed with a smile, “That’s really early, and this is how Bill and I first connected, too…” Bill went on to explain that they are both interested into these questions and that his preferred view is “not required or necessary…”