Posted in: What Books Are You Reading in 2020?
Joshua Swamisdass, The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry (IVP, 2019). Josh has his MD/PhD and is an associate professor at Washington University. His PhD is in computational biology and he teaches genomic medicine. His book is a game changer in how to think about genetic science and the account of all humanity descending from Adam and Eve. A game changer in this way. Swamidass argues that we mistakenly read the Adam and Eve story thinking it is about genetic ancestry when in reality it is about genealogical ancestry. Once that mistake is brought to light, as it turns out, genetics (and evolution) offers no evidence against an Adam and Eve being genealogical ancestor of all living people on earth at AD 1, and even of all people living today. Josh turns to genealogical (not genetic) science that shows that all humanity really does descend from a single pair, whom we can by faith call Adam and Eve. Biologos had a statement that affirmed that science has ruled out all humanity today is descended from a single couple; they have removed that statement affirming Swamidass's argument. All books that concede the science argument against universal ancestry and then seek to re-interpret the Genesis accounts accordingly are, according to Swamidass, simply wrong. The Genesis origen stories must be interpreted on their own terms in their own cultural contexts. But Swamidass's argument requires that there are people "outside the garden" with whom Adam's descendants interbred (Where did Cain's wife come from? Who was Cain fearful would kill him?). Swamidass's thesis to be explored includes a de novo Adam and Eve though that is not required (John Walton thinks Adam and Even could have had parents). Genetics also rules out the mistaken notion of polygenesis which led to racist views (maybe think here the recent kinism heresy). Polygenesis is the view that there are descendands of Adam but also other "humans" who arose in isolation--so they thought of people in Tasmania and, wait for it...Hawaii. Genetic science shows instead that we are one human race (hence, monogenesis) and genealogical sciences shows that all people living today did descend from a single pair between 6000 and 10,000 years ago. This book ends by looking at various origin story interpretations Christian traditions have held. Science has no evidence that counts against almost all of the various interpretations. It's a remarkable book that we need to read and share. Imagine all those young people in our churches who felt that science has ruled out belief in a real Adam and Eve as the ancestor of us all AND THEN decided they will abandon the Christian story in favor of Science. According to Josh Swamidass, this was a false choice always, and all the more so now that we know better.