Adam and Genetics: What does the DNA say about our origins? This was the title of a session by Dr. Ann Gauger (Ph.D. in Zoology) at this year’s Westminster Conference on Science and Faith.
I find it somewhat amazing that there are those in the church who want to get rid of Adam and Eve. Due to their adherence to evolution, these people believe the existence of Adam and Eve as historical persons cannot be true. But is that really the case?
The Bible makes the case that Adam and Eve were real, historical persons and were the first humans to walk the earth. They were created by God, mature- fully human- and did not experience a natural birth. Adam is mentioned throughout the New Testament and was referred to in a historical context. In Romans, Paul affirmed that it was Adam who brought sin into the world, and in the book of Luke, Jesus’ lineage can be traced to directly Adam. So it seems conflicting that professing Christians would make the case that Adam and Eve never truly existed.
But that seems to be the natural progression for those who are first and foremost evolutionists. We can even see this play out on the cover of Christianity Today with “The Search for the Historical Adam”.
Now, I’m not saying that Christians who believe in evolution are not truly Christian; my point is that these evolutionists seem to place a great faith in secular science- at least when it comes to history and evaluating our origins- and, as a result, they necessarily revise Scripture. Instead of believing what Scripture states, they reinterpret it in light of what they believe about the world based on secular teaching.
Dr. Gauger recognizes this and points to Biologos as an organization pushing to get rid of Adam and Eve in the church, and I believe that’s a fatal mistake because the first eleven chapters of Genesis is foundational to the rest of Scripture, and if one doesn’t believe our origin as revealed by God, then why believe the rest of Scripture, including the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Surely that’s at odds with science, too, right?
Now, if one wanted to make the case that humans are related to apes, then it’s necessary to establish how similar we are, and then claim that this proves our ancestry. This is basically what evolutionists have done.
But Dr. Gauger referred to Anthropologist Jonathan Marks who implied that it’s not the things that are the same which makes us human, it’s the things that are different. In other words, similarity doesn’t prove anything. Why? Because, Gauger explains, evolution is a theory of transformation, not similarity: just because two things look alike doesn’t mean one came from the other. A jeep, for example, may have similarities to a dump truck, but that doesn’t mean a mechanic built one from the other and just added and tweaked a few parts. In addition, a phrase could be 93% similar, but mean exactly the opposite. The same applies to biology and proteins.
There’s no doubt that humans are unique. Even evolutionists admit this. Humans are capable of writing, and performing music, applying physics, charity, displaying humor, playing complex games like chess, competing in sports, making abstract art. Chimps don’t think about who they are or where they came from. And we’re anatomically different from chimps. Chimps have canines, long arms, short legs, split toes… even our pelvis and rib cages are different.
According to Wesley J Smith, we are “the only species capable of even contemplating ethical issues and assuming responsibilities.” David says, “Human language is an embarrassment for evolutionary theory because it is vastly more powerful than one can account for in terms of selective fitness.” And one of the foremost experts on chimps, Jane Goodall, said, “Studying chimps has helped me to realize, perhaps more than anything else, just how different we are from them.”
We’re genetically different and physiologically different. Gauger considered the differences between the Australopithecus, Lucy, and humans. Scientists still dispute whether or not Lucy could walk upright, and a study by Bramble & Lieberman found 16 anatomical changes necessary to convert Lucy to homo erectus just to run, and each would require multiple mutations.
Evolutionists, of course, would claim that all our unique human traits evolved over millions of years to confer a selective advantage. Evolution, however, doesn’t explain how this happened- just that it did. And as we look more closely at the DNA, we begin to see how improbable this is. Proteins- the ‘workhorse’ of the cell- need to fold into a 3D shape in order to function and build. It’s estimated that there’s a difference of about 3.3 billion nucleotides in chimps and humans that allow for 35 million differences. Evolutionary scientists were surprised to find that 6 to 8 percent of similar exons in chimps and humans have different splicing levels.
Gauger makes the case that it’s more reasonable to believe we descended from Adam and Even than it is to believe we descended from apes, just as the Bible describes in Genesis. This claim is supported by population genetics. Evolutionists have proposed models using a population of 10,000 individuals about 500,000 years ago, and they have claimed it’s impossible that we could have descended from just two individuals. But Gauger points out that creationists have indeed produced models where humans could have descended from two individuals, and it matches the evolutionary model with the level of genetic diversity we have now.
In conclusion, I think religion is one of the biggest differences between humans and animals. This is also true of atheists, who are very religious in their own way. But for those who believe in God, the Bible reveals our true origins. Therefore, we can have confidence that God’s word is true, and that we truly did descend from one man and woman- Adam and Eve.