Examining the story in the light of science and history
Aren't they mythological, the remnants of some moral tale bequeathed to the Bible writers in the second century BCE? If the account in Genesis is mythological, as is the general perception, then the overwhelming evidence, in all fields of science, would expose it as false.
Let me apply three tests to the story of Adam & Eve;
1) A statistical analysis, incorporating historical population data
2) A biological analysis, examining what biologists now know of the human genetic ancestry
3) A historical analysis, examining the available records of civilized humanity
First of these Litmus tests is the statistical evidence available. Because human records only go back so far in history, it is necessary to extrapolate data from known quantities, and then project statistical conclusions.
We can start with the world demographic figures, which are generally accepted as accurate as is possible, when dealing with worldwide historical populations.
The current global population on earth is approximately 7.5 billion. We know, as near as possible, that the population of the world reached approximately one billion in the year 1800 CE. This represents a 700% increase in the space of 200 years. This rate of increase would be decreased the further back in time we go. It has been estimated that the global population in the first century was between 200 million and 300 million. When this is compared to the more recent figures, it becomes apparent that the population of the earth has only recently become significant, in the billion realm. In the ancient times, before the Christian era, the population would have been less than 200 million, reducing to a proportionate level as we count back in time. If we apply the proportionate growth rate, from statistics available, it soon becomes apparent that the population figure reduces significantly the further back in time we consider.
The increase in population between the first century and the 18th was about 75%. Working on reducing totals as we go back in time, we would arrive at an approximate figure of 9% increase per century. Applying that to pre- historical history, we start to see a significant reduction in numbers between 0 BCE and 4,000 BCE.
Although it is not possible to project an actual figure of population in ancient times, it is clearly demonstrated that the population numbers would have dwindled (in a reverse setting) to a mere few thousand within several millennia of history on earth.
If we divide a whole number, we reach a smaller number. We can keep applying this mathematical principle to populations until we reach a certain impasse point. Did the human race start with multitudes, or one, or two? Numbers will regress until they become negative. Since human (or any other biological life) can not become a negative, we can assume that there was a point where the human species started at a handful, or one or two. What these statistics do confirm is that intelligent, civilized human beings cannot have existed for hundreds of thousands of years but, in fact, only a few thousand.
Yet doesn't this data contradict what we know from the fossil record, that modern humans are the product of a series of adaptations to primitive creatures - Primates?
An extensive study of fossil history was undertaken by the “Geological Society of London” and the “Palaeontological Association of England”. Professor of natural science John N. Moore reported on the results: “Some 120 scientists, all specialists, prepared 30 chapters in a monumental work of over 800 pages to present the fossil record for plants and animals divided into about 2,500 groups. ... Each major form or kind of plant and animal is shown to have a separate and distinct history from all the other forms or kinds! Groups of both plants and animals appear suddenly in the fossil record. ... Whales, bats, horses, primates, elephants, hares, squirrels, etc., all are as distinct at their first appearance as they are now. There is not a trace of a common ancestor, much less a link with any reptile, the supposed progenitor.” Moore added: “No transitional forms have been found in the fossil record very probably because no transitional forms exist in fossil stage at all. Very likely, transitions between animal kinds and/or transitions between plant kinds have never occurred.”
Zoologist Harold Coffin concluded: “If progressive evolution from simple to complex is correct, the ancestors of these full-blown living creatures in the Cambrian should be found; but they have not been found and scientists admit there is little prospect of their ever being found. On the basis of the facts alone, on the basis of what is actually found in the earth, the theory of a sudden creative act in which the major forms of life were established fits best.”
Dr. John Rosholt of Miami University, working with Dr. Cesare Emiliani, worked out an age prospectus based on minuscule amounts of uranium which have settled to the bottom of the seas as proactinium 231 and thorium 230. Uranium requires thousands of years to decay, and, by testing amounts found in sediment on the ocean floor, the so called warm period of the earth can be determined. Their tests show that, if man came from the sea as a two-legged fish, or as an ape, it took place 95,000 years ago. The time is too short for the fish (or ape) to have evolved into a two-legged man with a will of his own and the ability to impart knowledge to his young. In the universe, 95,000 years is nothing.
“Science now corroborates what most great religions have long been preaching: Human beings of all races are ... descended from the same first man.”—Heredity in Humans (Philadelphia and New York, 1972), Amram Scheinfeld.
The World Book Encyclopedia says: “Scientists state that cells which make up the human body are the same for all people. . . In the same way, a biologist can tell human blood from that of lower animals. But all the many types of human blood can be found among all the stocks and races of mankind.”
“The Bible story of Adam and Eve, father and mother of the whole human race, told centuries ago the same truth that science has shown today: that all the peoples of the earth are a single family and have a common origin.”—The Races of Mankind (New York, 1978), Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish.
The book Nanomedicine states that the human body is made up of 41 chemical elements. These basic elements—carbon, iron, oxygen, and others—are all present in the “dust” of the earth. Thus, as Genesis states, humans truly are formed “Out of dust from the ground.”
What of the description in Genesis that Eve was created from Adam’s rib?
In January 2008, scientists in California, U.S.A., produced the world’s first mature cloned human embryos from adult skin cells. The same has been done with animals, to the extent that scientists managed to clone a sheep. If human intellect can manipulate biology to achieve such astounding feats, why is it not credible for the designer of life itself to replicate a human from the DNA of another human? Interestingly, surgeons routinely use the rib in reconstructive surgery because of its ability to regrow and replace itself. No other bone in the body has this property. This is why men and women have the same number of ribs. Was the writer of Genesis simply very lucky to choose the rib as the building material for the first woman? Or was he given this information by someone who knew?
In recent years, scientists have researched human genes extensively. By comparing human genetic patterns around the earth, they found clear evidence that all humans have a common ancestor, a source of the DNA of all people who have ever lived, including each of us. In 1988, Newsweek magazine presented those findings in a report entitled “The Search for Adam and Eve.” Those studies were based on a type of mitochondrial DNA, genetic material passed on only by the female. Reports in 1995 about research on male DNA point to the same conclusion—that “There was an ancestral ‘Adam,’ whose genetic material on the [Y] chromosome is common to every man now on earth,” as Time magazine put it.
Language and writing are peculiar and distinctly human. There are no “Primitive” languages or texts. Neither do animals have language and syntax.
Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics G. L. Trager says: “Historical knowledge about existing languages goes back only a few thousand years.”
Did language really start with simple grunts and barks? An article in Science Illustrated of July 1948 stated: “Older forms of the languages known today were far more difficult than their modern descendants ... man appears not to have begun with a simple speech, and gradually made it more complex, but rather to have gotten hold of a tremendously knotty speech somewhere in the unrecorded past, and gradually simplified it to the modern form.”
Linguist Dr. Mason also points out that “The idea that ‘savages’ speak in a series of grunts, and are unable to express many ‘civilized’ concepts, is very wrong.” He adds that “Many of the languages of non-literate peoples are far more complex than modern European ones.”—Science News Letter, September 3, 1955.
On the origin of language, lexicographer Ludwig Koehler wrote: “There has been, especially in former times, much speculation as to how human speech ‘came into being.’ Writers strove to explore ‘animal language.’ For animals also are able to express audibly by sounds and groups of sounds their feelings and sensations, such as contentment, fear, emotion, anger, sexual desire and satisfaction in its fulfilment, and perhaps many other things. However manifold these [animal] expressions may be ... they lack concept and thought, the essential domain of human language.”
After showing how men can explore the physiological aspect of human speech, Koehler adds: “But what actually happens in speech, how the spark of perception kindles the spirit of the child, or of mankind generally, to become the spoken word, eludes our grasp. Human speech is a secret; it is a divine gift, a miracle.”
In contrast to ancient mythologies, Genesis points to a specific location in the Middle East, naming the four rivers which converged in Eden. Palaeontologists have since confirmed that mankind emanates from a starting point in the Middle East.
The Bible statement, in Acts 17:26, that “[God] made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth” is acknowledged by many scholars and scientists to be backed up by the facts. John Peter Lange wrote;
“The greatest naturalists have mostly declared themselves against the originality of different human races ... in regard to the alleged fruitfulness of sexual combinations among the various races, the proof of such fruitfulness is justly pronounced one of the strongest proofs of unity. ... The autochthonic theory [that living things (in this case humans) were formed or occurred in the places where they were found] cannot deny the fact that the origin of the various types of men points back to a common home in Asia.”
And so, despite recurring accusations against the Biblical account of Adam and Eve by critics, science does lend serious credibility to their existence. In light of the above facts, it would be both unscientific and unreasonable to dismiss Adam and Eve as simple mythology. In fact, the evidence here presented strongly suggests that such characters are historical and factual. In conclusion, I can state;
Adam and Eve –Yes, Seriously!