Why There’s No Conflict Between Evolution and a Historical Adam


Before I became an Evolutionary Creationist, I spent two years combing through the theological and scientific literature. I read lots of blog posts on BioLogo.org, and read books written by Evolutionary Creationists such as “The Language Of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief” by Francis Collins, “Deliver Us From Evolution? A Christian Scientists In-Depth Look At The Evidence Reveals A Surprising Harmony Between Science and God” by Aaron R Yilmaz, and” How I Changed My Mind About Evolution: Evangelicals Discuss Theology and Science” edited by Kathryn Applegate and Jim Stump. In doing this, I found that my objections, both of the theological and of the scientific variety, to Evolutionary Creationism (a.k.a Theistic Evolution) fell one by one like dominoes. I discovered that one objection after another wasn’t very good.

However, one question kept nagging me. “What about Adam and Eve?” How do we reconcile Genesis 2-3 with Darwin’s theory of macro evolution? If humans descended from lower hominids and an ape like creature (i.e the common ancestor of humans and chimps) then how can The Bible be right when it says that God made Adam from the dust of the earth and Eve from his rib? And how did sin spread to the human race if Adam and Eve were only one of the first humans rather than the first humans? How could sin spread if Adam and Eve were not the sole progenitors of all humanity? The answers I read to this weren’t very satisfying. That is, until I read John Walton’s “The Lost World Of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and The Human Origins Debate.” In this blog post, I’ll be talking about the things I learned from that book.

Adam and Eve Are Archetypes

“Adam” is the Hebrew word for “man” (adult male) or “humanity” (including men and women). Sometimes occurs with the definite article, sometimes the word occurs without the definite article. Hebrew does not use definite articles on personal names. “Adam” has 34 occurrences in Genesis 1-5.

Without the definite article, Adam is sometimes used as a personal name (see Genesis 4:25, 5:1a, 3, 4, 5, 4:1*) The word is used to describe generic humanity four times it refers to humanity  (i.e Genesis 1:26, 2:5, 5:1b, 2, 1:27*).

”Adam” is not Adam’s real name. Adam is a real person, but “Adam” is not his real name. Eve is likewise a real person of history, but she was not called “Eve” (Chava in Hebrew). Now, this might sound jarring to many readers. How could I say such a thing? The Bible clearly calls them Adam and Eve? I’m directly contradicting the word of God, aren’t I? Before you brand me a heretic and report me to James White, let me explain what I mean when I say that they weren’t really named Adam and Eve. “Adam” and “Chava” are Hebrew words and the Hebrew language did not come into existence as a language until about the time of Moses at the earliest. So, those are not their historical names. Those are given names from a later audience with a different language. I would also say that these names were given with important meaning in mind. So, one could translate the Hebrew name of Adam as “human”. The name of the dude in Genesis 2-3 is Human. I’m kind of glad the translators did not do this as many people name their children after biblical figures. Can you imagine going to see a Human Sandler movie? Joking aside, imagine if the translators did render the word “human”? You’d read that biblical passage very differently, wouldn’t you? His name’s “human”, her name’s “life”. Even this issue of the names itself opens up the possibility for other types of thinking. I think the names are indicative that Adam and Eve (or “Human” and “Life”) are meant to be archetypal figures. Now, by “archetypal”, I do not mean it in the literary sense (e.g the villain, the hero) nor do I mean Adam and Eve are fictitious characters. I am firmly committed to a historical Adam. Rather, what I mean by “Archetypal” is that lots of things that are described as being true of Adam and Eve are meant to be a truth about all humanity.

John Walton, in a lecture that I watched on YouTube, gave an interesting analogy of what it would mean to describe a class of people in archetypal terms. A group of elementary school children were asked the question “What are mothers made of?” The question wasn’t “What is your mother made of?” The question is what are mothers, as a class of people, made of? The elementary school children understood that. One little girl said, “Mothers are made of angel wings, clouds, and string, and just a little bit of mean”. She wasn’t describing biology and biochemistry, and anyone who took the little girl to be speaking of biology or chemistry might accuse her of being in error if they took a blood sample and found a lack of angel wings and clouds. She was speaking archetypally, something true of all mothers. Moreover, the things the girl described had special meaning. Angel wings and clouds could refer to the nurturing and comforting nature of a mother. A mother can be like a guardian angel, protecting you, guiding you, instructing you. Also, in describing mothers archetypally, she was not at all denying the reality that her mother was a real person who existed in time and space.

I will return to this after the next subheader.

The Toledot

Most people think Genesis 2 is simply a more detailed explanation of what happened in day 6 of Genesis 1. Genesis 1 does not mention “Adam and Eve”. It doesn’t say that He only created two them. “Let us make man in our image. ….God created them, male and female” (Genesis 1:26-27).

Genesis 1 is very non-specific on this point. Genesis 2 is more likely a sequel to Genesis 1. Genesis 2:4 says “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”

The Hebrew word translated as “account” in Genesis 2:4 is Toledot. The literary formula “This is the account of X” occurs several other times in the book of Genesis. Each time it does, it reports what comes after. It is never used as a recapitulation of what the narrative described before.

In Genesis 5:1 – Parallel/Sequel – Cain –> Seth.
Genesis 6:9 — Pre-Flood Condition –> Noah.
Genesis 10:11 – Sequel – Noah and his sons –> Table Of Nations.
Genesis 11:10 – Recursive – Table Of Nations –> Shem’s Descendents
Genesis 11:27 – Sequel – Shem’s Descendents –> Terah/Abraham
Genesis 25:12 – Sequel – Abraham –> Ishmael

Recursive is not the same as recapitulation. A recursive account always happens with brothers, with the narrative detailing the less important line and returning to the more important one. Therefore, Genesis 2:4’s toledot is most likely a sequel. But in any case, toledot is never recapitulative. There is not one instance in The Old Testament in which toledot is used to retell a previous narrative in more detail. Therefore, Genesis 2:4’s toledot is most likely a sequel. If it’s a sequel, the people in Genesis 1:26-27 are not necessarily Adam and Eve. There could have been people who were created by God who preceded Adam and Eve. We cannot argue this on biblical grounds. The text allows for it.

The Forming Account – Dust

Genesis 2:7 says “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” The Hebrew word translated as “formed” is “Ysr” and “Ysr” does not always necessitate a material act of formation. Zechariah 12:1 is one example using the human spirit, something incorporeal.

John Walton, in The Lost World Of Adam and Eve, provides other examples. The following bullet points are excerpted from Walton’s book.1

  • God speaks of events that are taking place as having been formed (NIV: “planned”) long ago (2 Kings 19:25//Isaiah 37:26; cf. Isaiah 22:11; 46:11; Jeremiah 18:11).
  • When God forms the heart, the statement is not referring to the blood pump but to thoughts and inclinations (Psalm 33:15).
  • God formed summer and winter (Psalm 74:17).
  • A corrupt administration forms (NIV: “brings on”) misery for the people through its decrees (Psalm 94:20).
  • Our days are “formed” by God (Psalm 139:16).
  • Israel is formed by God (Isaiah 43:1, 21; 44:2, 21, 24; 45:11; Jeremiah 10:16; 51:19) as a people. Obviously, the individual homo sapiens that comprised the nation of Israel pre-existed the nation of Israel itself, therefore the “Formation” of Israel is not a material act of bringing new material things into being from non-being. The people who comprised Israel pre-existed Israel, yet the text says that God “formed” the nation of Israel.
  • God forms light and creates darkness (Isaiah 45:7). While we recognize light as a material substance (it’s composed of photons), the ancients did not. So Isaiah would not have thought the statement “God formed light” to be referring to the formation of anything material.
  • Servant (which God’s word tell us is Cyrus elsewhere) is formed by God in the womb (Isaiah 49:5; cf. Jeremiah 1:5) though he is born via the regular process of human reproduction.
  • God forms (the NIV uses the word “prepares”) a swarm of locusts (see Amos 7:1).

In his book The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate, Professor John Walton writes “More than half of the occurrences are shown by context to be unrelated to material. Many of the occurrences listed above communicate how God ordains or decrees phenomena, events, destinies, and roles. Most of the occurrences not listed here could easily be translated by alternatives like ‘prepare,’ ‘ordain’ or ‘decree.’ …We therefore discover that our predisposition to understand ‘form’ as a material act has more to do with the English translation than with the Hebrew original.”2

*Dust – The referent to dust simply means that man was created mortal. This is supported by a biblical passage in the very next chapter (Genesis 3), in which God says to Adam and Eve “Dust you are and to dust you will return”. Obviously, this is drawing from the imagery of decomposing bodies, which ancient Israelites would have been aware of as they collected the bones of their dead to put them into ossuaries a year after burial. It is not true only of Adam and Eve that dust they are and to dust they will return, it is true of all of us. What is true of all of us? That we are created mortal. Moreover, Psalm 103:14 says “For He [God] remembers how we are formed. He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14 says we are all dust. We are all formed from dust. Psalm 103:14 strongly implies that being formed from dust is not something unique to Adam, but true of all humankind. Moreover, The Apostle Paul alludes to this archetypal nature of Adam and Humanity when he contrasts Adam with Jesus in his first letter to the Corinthian church. In 1 Corinthians 15:47-48, Paul writes “The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.” (emphasis mine). Ecclesiastes 3:20 also supports the conclusion that when The Bible uses “dust” language of humanity, it is referring to our mortality. Ecclesiastes 3:20 says “All go unto one place. Are all of the dust and all turn to dust again.” (KJV)

Further evidence can be found in Job 10:9: “Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?” Here, Job says to God that He molded him from clay. Obviously, no one thinks that Job was miraculously transformed from a clump of clay into a living human being. Nor does anyone think that Job himself thought that. While “clay” is not the same word as “dust”, it certainly indicates that ancient peoples’ could know full well that they were born through the process of natural procreation, yet say of themselves that God formed them out of earthly material. If Job being formed from clay doesn’t mean Job didn’t have a Mom or Dad, then why should Adam being formed from dust mean that Adam didn’t have a Mom or Dad. However, notice that Job does say “Will you now turn me to dust again?” This implies that Job believed he “was dust” at a prior point in time, since He asks God if he’s going to turn Him to dust “again”. How can anything happen “again” unless it happened a first time?

What all this leads to is the conclusion that God created Adam to be mortal, and this trait that Adam has is true of all humanity. It is not only true of Adam. I am made from dust. You are made from dust. The Psalmist explicitly said that we are all formed from dust. Job said he was.

Now, popular teaching on Genesis is that Adam and Eve were created inherently immortal and that they lost this immortality when they sinned. They would reject this explanation in spite of the biblical evidence because, they would say, it contradicts what Romans 5 says about human sin bring death into the world. However, people who say Adam and Eve were created mortal and draw this conclusion from a reading of Romans 5 are reading something into the text that isn’t there. Genesis says that God placed a tree of life in the garden and specifically says that He had to ban Adam and Eve from re-entering the garden, otherwise they would eat of the tree of life and live forever (see Genesis 3:20). If Adam and Eve were inherently immortal, they wouldn’t have needed a tree of life. So the very presence of the tree of life suggests that Adam and Eve were created inherently mortal. This does not come into conflict with what Paul says in Romans 5 because obviously if humanity is cut off from the remedy of death, death would come to us. Without that miraculous fruit, Adam and Eve (not to mention their descendants) would grow old and die! Adam’s sin leads to being banned from the Tree of Life. Being banned from the Tree of Life meant that immortality was no longer available to Adam. Therefore, Adam would die, as would his descendants. Adam’s sin brought death not because God removed his immortality in response, but because Adam no longer had access to the cure.

The Forming Account -Rib

“So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” – Genesis 2:19-25

Genesis 2 says God put Adam to sleep and took a rib from his side to make Eve. The word translated here is “Sela” which often refers to the side of a mountain or the side of the temple (See chapter 8 of The Lost World Of Adam and Eve for the biblical examples). What this implies is that God didn’t just take a piece of Adam’s side (rib), but took his entire side! He broke Adam in half! That’s pretty radical surgery, right? Well, as I pointed out in “Hermenuetics – Part 3: The Cultural Context” and in “The Cosmic Temple View Of Genesis 1”, we need to interpret scripture the way its original author and audience would have understood it. They wouldn’t have had any concept of anesthetized surgery. Anesthesia hadn’t been invented yet, so they wouldn’t have viewed God putting Adam to sleep as a sort of divinely caused anesthesia to keep him from feeling pain as He extracted one of Adam’s ribs. Moreover, according to many Christian interpreters, there was no possibility of pain before the fall, not just simply an absence of it. These are the same people who believe Adam and Eve had inherent immortality. If that were the case, Adam wouldn’t have needed anesthesia. He would be impervious to pain.
So if anesthetized surgery isn’t what the text has in view, what does it have in view? The Hebrew word translated as “rib” is “sela”. Several commentators and Old Testament scholars do not believe “rib” is an accurate translation because there is a Hebrew word for rib and it’s not sela. God put Adam into a tardemah took Adam’s sela to make Eve.
The Hebrew word translated as “deep sleep”  is “Tardemah”. Several examples in the Septuagint translation of Old Testament instances of this refer to a trance someone would go into to receive a vision from God (Abraham, in Genesis 15:12; Eliphaz in Job 4:13; Daniel in Daniel 8:18; 10:9; cf. Job 33:15)
As John Walton notes “the Septuagint translators chose to use the Greek word ekstasis in Genesis 2:21. This word is the same as the one they used in Genesis 15:12, suggesting an understanding related to visions, trances and ecstasy (cf. the use of this Greek word in Acts 10:10; 11:5; 22:17 [NIV: “trance”]).”3

What the use of the word tardemah and sela suggest is that God put Adam into a trance, a visionary state. In this state, he saw a vision of God taking him and cutting him in half to make a woman. The point of the vision is that woman is ontologically equal to man.

Eve serves as an archetype for women. Just as all men are created mortal (from dust), all women are made from the side of all men (i.e all women are ontologically equal to men). Matthew Henry echoes this sentiment when he writes “Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”To be equal with man, to be under man’s arm to be protected, and to be loved by a man are true of all women, not just Eve. This was God’s intention for all women, not just Eve.

What can draw from the information we concluded thus far? We can conclude that The Bible does not speak to the material origins of Adam and Eve, nor of humanity in general. Therefore, The Bible does not demand that we take a de novo view of Adam and Eve’s creation. Adam and Eve could have had parents, grandparents, great grandparents. Indeed, Adam and Eve’s ancestry could go back to lower hominids such as homo erectus, homo habilis, and Australopithecus. In other words, Genesis 2-3 does not rule out human evolution from lower primates. Now, this does not mean that Christians should automatically jump on the evolution bandwagon. Just because an idea is compatible with The Bible doesn’t mean that idea should be adopted without much thought. However, one cannot say that we are barred from accepting the scientific consensus on human origins on the basis of biblical authority if The Bible doesn’t speak on the material aspect of human origins.

The Bible Does Not Demand That Adam and Eve Are The Sole Progenitors Of The Human Race
The evidence of genetics points to the conclusion that there was no first human that existed on his own thousands of years ago, with no other humans around. Rather, the human race came about as the result of an evolving population of primates. The theory of evolution would not get you only two people at the end of the so-called “Ape-Man March”. Rather, you’d have many human persons who can all trace their ancestral lineage (along with the many chimps, gorillas, and orangutans) to a common ape-like ancestor millions of years ago. The only way that you could end up with only two human persons is if some catastrophe occurred that would wipe out all but two of the remaining members of the homo sapien species, which there is no scientific evidence of. Of course, you could say “Well, even though there’s no evidence of it, couldn’t it still be a possibility?” The problem with maintaining that it’s even an unproven possibility is that the evidence of genetics indicates that the genetic diversity that exists in humanity today cannot be traced back to a single couple, but that such diversity requires a genetic source population of thousands.5 Denying common ancestry in favor of special creation wouldn’t solve the problem. Even if you maintained that 6,000 years ago, God created two humans de novo, you’d still have to account for how those two humans could produce such a wide array of genetic diversity in the human genome in such a short amount of time.
Now, it is possible that the science is wrong here, but the question we need to ask is what The Bible demands of us. If the Bible demands that we accept Adam and Eve as the original human couple with no human contemporaries, then we would have to take a stand against this emerging scientific consensus. Contrary to what young earth creationists will tell you, I take The Bible as my ultimate authority, not science. If any idea contradicts the claims of God’s word, so much the worse for that idea.
I would argue that the relationship of Genesis 1 and 2 allow for the possibility that the Adam and Eve account in Genesis 2 could have come after an en masse creation of humanity in Genesis 1, though Adam and Eve should be considered as having been included in that group. Moreover, other things in the biblical text make more sense if Adam and Eve weren’t the only human beings around at the time of their origins.
1: If other people were around, it would provide an answer for where Cain got his wife. The incest option has never been an attractive one. This view actually has some problems. Some time ago, an Evolutionary Creationist friend of mine pointed out that Leviticus says that God condemned the nations surrounding Israel for practicing incest even before the Law of Moses was given, indicating that incest was always deemed sinful by God. Leviticus 18 provides prohibitions against many sexual activities, including incest. Verse 24 of Leviticus 18 says “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean,” God says that the sexual sins that he listed previously are among the reasons that He would judge the Canaanites. Yet, The Canaanites did not have the Mosaic law, nor had it been given to anyone yet. Indeed, God is laying it down for Moses for the first time in this very passage! What we can conclude from Leviticus 18:24 is that incest had always been a sin. There was never a time in which it was ok. What can be drawn from this? We can draw the conclusion that since God always considered incest to be a sin, He would not set things up in such a way that made it necessary to kickstart the human race. Therefore, we should conclude that God created many human beings at the start, not just a single couple, whether that be through an evolutionary process or de novo. On the traditional view, Adam and Eve’s children would be forced to sin to make the human race grow! I cannot bring myself to believe that God would require sin to be committed in order to carry out his command to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth…” (Genesis 1:28)
2: Cain moved to a “city”. “City” would not be an appropriate term unless it was a human settlement with a large number of people.
3: As already noted above, Genesis 2:4 is a sequel to Genesis 1, meaning Adam and Eve’s formation occurred after Genesis 1:26-27. The word translated as “account” in Genesis 2:4 is Toledot. The literary formula “This is the account of X” occurs several other times in the book of Genesis. Each time it does, it reports what comes after. It is never used as a recapitulation of what the narrative described before.
How Did Sin Spread From Adam and Eve’s Sin? 

Just how did sin spread to humankind? Romans 5:12 says that “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” Traditionally, Christians have held to the Augustinian position that the sinful nature was inherited from Adam. We all have a sin nature, this causes or inclines us to sin. Because we’ve sinned, we’re in need of salvation. If Adam and Eve aren’t the sole progenitors of the human race, how could we have all inherited the same sinful nature from Adam?

It should be noted that Romans 5 (nor does the entire Bible) give us an explanation as to how sin spread to humankind. It only says that it did. We are therefore free to speculate and come up with theories on how this occurred.

One possibility is that when Adam and Eve sinned, they obtained a sin nature. This sin nature was passed on to their offspring, and then onto their offspring’s offspring, and so on. Adam and Eve and their children had a bad influence on their contemporaries, leading the contemporaries into sin and this lead to the contemporaries of Adam and Eve developing a sin nature. The contemporaries were then bad influences on other contemporaries, and so, sin spread like a contagious disease. Once the whole human population was infected, the sin nature became a universal feature of human nature. This was passed down through all lineages, Adam and Eve’s lineage as well as the lineages of their contemporaries. Thus, one possibility is a modified version of the inheritance view.


The view that Adam and Eve as historical persons and being the ones through whom sin was introduced into the world does not have to be forfeited in light of what modern science says about human origins. Genesis 2 does not address the material origins of Adam and Eve, but uses “dust” and “side” as indicating archetypal features that they have. We are all made from dust, and all women are made from the side of all men. Yet, we have material continuity with previous biological ancestors. Furthermore, there are clues within the biblical text itself that indicate that Adam and Eve were not the sole human beings on the face of the planet at the time of the fall, such as incest always being considered sinful (cf. Leviticus 18:24) and God not making sin a requirement to populate the Earth, and Cain building a “city”. Finally, there’s no issue regarding a theology of the fall. Adam and Eve could have been a bad influence on their contemporaries who were bad contemporaries on others who were bad contemporaries on others and so on, until all developed a sinful nature that would be transmitted through their lineages.


1: Walton, John H.. The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate (p. 72). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

2: ibid.

3: Walton, John H.. The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate (pp. 79-80). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

4: Quote taken from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. DaleN

    Evan, it seems to me that Rom 5 speaks of judicial imputation. — by one man many were made sinners / righteous. We were not made righteous by contagion with Christ. And it is hard to believe that all humans before Adam were sinless. What if we were to find a 100000 year old skull with an arrowhead in it in austrailia?

    1. I'll admit that dealing with how Adam and Eve's parents and grandparents and so on could be assessed morally in their standing before God is difficult on EC. Walton tries to provide a solution in the book, but I don't think he does a very good job. Every creation model has problems and unanswered questions. I think Evolutionary Creationism has the least of them. This is an issue that needs to be discussed and studied on more. Until then, it's a mystery to me.

      I don't take the judicial imputational view of Romans 5. I hold to inherited depravity, but not inherited guilt. Ironically though, if one does take the inherited guilt view, that's just one more way in The Bible that Adam is treated archetypally. Indeed, Walton himself holds to this view and used judicial imputation to support his arguments. But as someone who holds a more Eastern Orthodox view of original sin, I never mentioned that in my own defense of the position.

  2. dga

    You should check out the Genealogical Adam and Eve model! It can reconcile de novo creation of Adam and Eve 6-10 thousand years ago with evolutionary science. Parts of your interpretation (such as that Genesis 1 refers to the creation of humans in general and Genesis 2 to Adam and Eve) fit with this. See http://peacefulscience.org/genealogical-rapprochement/.

    1. I've heard of this view before, and it seems very plausible, but I still don't think the text compels us to except a de novo view of Adam and Eve. However, this guy's proposal would be my fallback position if I ever am.

    2. It is a nice alternative to those who find evolution compelling but also find The Bible demanding a de novo view of Adam and Eve.

  3. Anzu Thunderbird

    You mentioned that incest was considered a sin by God even before the Mosaic law was given,but in Genesis 20:12 Abraham mentioned Sarah was his sister(half-sister?) And in Exodus 6:20 Moses's mother Jochebed was the aunt of his father Amran. So technically were their marriages considered sinful? Or is there some ANE explanation/context

  4. Anzu Thunderbird

    I'm not totally opposed to your view Cain's wife could be from another tribe of humans/hominids, but like your argument that incest was forbidden prior to moses is weak here. I know I sound concordist here but I've heard marriage with close relations banned due to genetic decay over time,while in the earlier ages it was still seen as acceptable. Plus,in Jewish traditions/legends Cain and Abel married their sisters,and these sages didn't have an issue with that

  5. Anzu Thunderbird

    Hi Evan so hv u done ur research why incest was allowed in the earlier days of the patriachs?

    1. Evan Minton

      Not really. I’ve been too busy reading books publishers and authors sent me in exchange for reviews and for coming on The Cerebral Faith Podcast. I’ve also been working on my upcoming book “Yahweh’s Inferno: Why Scripture’s Teaching On Hell Doesn’t Impugn The Goodness Of God”, and I’ve been busy blogging about other things; responding to Q&A e-mails, interacting with people in the blog’s comment sections, recording audiobook versions for Cerebral Faith patrons and so on. Plus, some non-ministry related things have kept me busy lately. I hope to get around to it soon, but there’s only so much I can do. I’m hoping that, especially if I can get enough patronage going, I can hire someone to help me in the research department so I don’t have to bear the burden alone.

  6. Luiz21

    I have an objection to the archetypal interpretation, Genesis 2 is echoed in Genesis 15, which is the only other place in the Torah that contains the word “deep sleep,” and in this case it’s Abram who goes into a deep sleep, in the context of him literally “dividing” a sacrifice on the altar and having the fire of the Spirit pass between the halves and unite them together as one. This is why in Genesis 2, after the creation of Eve, Adam is called Esh, which is a play-on-words for the Hebrew “fire”, and Abram didn’t dream about dividing the sacrifices, he actually did it. Just as Adam didn’t just dream that Eve was created from his divided side, it actually happened.

    1. Evan Minton

      That tardemah (the Hebrew word translated “deep sleep”) only occurs in Genesis 15 is simply not true. Yes, in the Torah, it only occurs twice. But in the entirety of the Hebrew Bible, there’s more. Why consider just the Torah? As I even pointed out in this article, we have it applied to others.
      “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep [tardemah] falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;” – Job 33:15
      “In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep [tardemah] falleth on men,” – Job 4:13
      It’s applied to Daniel in Daniel 8:18; 10:9 right before he has a revelatory vision. Moreover, As John Walton notes “the Septuagint translators chose to use the Greek word ekstasis in Genesis 2:21. This word is the same as the one they used in Genesis 15:12, suggesting an understanding related to visions, trances and ecstasy (cf. the use of this Greek word in Acts 10:10; 11:5; 22:17 [NIV: “trance”]).”
      Although Tardemah does not HAVE TO refer to a visionary experience (it is used just of a dead-to-the-world kind of sleep in verses like 1 Samuel 26:12 and Proverbs 19:15), that it has a handful of places where that meaning is clearly intended makes it plausible that it was meant in Genesis 2:21 as well. And the argument is made stronger by the fact that God would have no reason to put Adam into a deep sleep of the Proverbs 19:25 kind to create Eve. There was no anesthesia at the time this was written, so it would be anachronistic to read the text as God putting Adam under so he didn’t have to feel the pain of having his rib removed. And by the way, it wasn’t just a rib. It was his entire side. I’m not sure if I made that point in this article or not. I have made it elsewhere and John Walton points this out in “The Lost World Of Adam and Eve”. So if you want to argue that what the text describes happened in real time rather than simply in a vision, you’re committed to saying that Adam was walking around with only half a face, half a torso, he had one arm, and was hopping around on one leg after the fact, which is a pretty absurd interpretation.
      You said “Abram didn’t dream about dividing the sacrifices, he actually did it.” – that’s true, but notice that the text describes the chronology for us. Abram did the dividing, and THEN he fell into a deep sleep and saw a vision of God passing through the sacrifices. In Genesis 2, God doesn’t create Eve AND THEN puts Adam into a deep sleep. In Genesis 15, the vision occurs after the sleep. And the sleep occurs after Abram divides the sacrifices. In Genesis 2, we simply read of Adam’s sleep, the whole taking a side from him to making Eve, and then Adam waking up.
      So, the chronology supports Abram dividing the sacrifices in the real world, but the same cannot be said for Eve’s formation. If Adam had been put into a tardemah after Eve was formed, then you’d have a point.

  7. David Liu

    Hi Evan, My feelings are beyond words. I hope the story I share next will not trouble you in your busy work: I grew up in the church – not surprisingly, my grandmother, father and mother are both Puritans. In this way, my values and worldview were established around the Bible. But now I think I was just performing some kind of religious ritual – just like my parents did, they would tell me: you should pray, that’s the right thing to do. But when I was 22, things changed: I entered graduate school to begin my graduate degree in cancer. Being away from my family, I seriously thought about my faith from a biological and scientific perspective for the first time. Only then did I realize that he had so many questions, mainly focusing on Genesis. How could Adam and Eve be the ancestors of mankind? How could the earth be created in six days? Plants appeared before the sun—gosh, that’s the most ridiculous thing I know. I fell into great pain, almost suffered from depression and almost dropped out of graduate school. When a person’s long-standing belief collapses, I think that is the most painful, more serious than physical pain.
    However, thanks to your apologetic article, after reading it, I think most of your points are logical and well-founded. This rekindled my hope in Christianity, because I think the descriptions of the Messiah’s salvation of the world in the New Testament and the Old Testament are so harmonious and beautiful that it is difficult to imagine that this was done by human beings, let alone the experience before and after the Bible. by many different authors. Your work helped me bridge this huge contradiction and tear, and made me feel that my life had a backbone again. This is precious to me because I live in a country where the vast majority of my fellow citizens are atheists and are hostile to Christianity. Although I am no longer a Christian, I am willing to start to know Christ and His salvation again. As for whether I will stand with Him in paradise in the future, that will be out of God’s mercy.
    May God bless you and the work of your hands. I believe He has great hopes and great plans for you.

    1. Evan Minton

      That’s wonderful! I am very happy to hear that this article has been a great help to you! I would recommend that you continue to look around this website to see what other questions you may have that I may have addressed. There’s a lot on this website and you may have enough information to where you feel intellectually comfortable (for lack of a better term) to embrace Christianity again.
      Also, my comment section is always open. So if you have any further questions about what I wrote, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.
      “If you seek me, you will find me if you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13).

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