Evolution, Entropy, and Human Beings 2 (RJS)

This is the last post on the recent book by Karl Giberson and Francis Collins,  The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions. This book has its origins in the avalanche of questions unleashed on Collins following the publication of his earlier book The Language of God. But this new book is not an encyclopedia of frequently asked questions – it is a readable book walking through many of the frequently asked questions and the important issues in a narrative form. It is written for the non-scientist and will make a good resource for those with questions, for discussion groups, and for church leaders.

Chapter eight of The Language of Science and Faith addresses the always controversial issue of evolution and human beings. Here we hit on what I find to be the center of conflict between evolution and Christian belief. Yes, the issues of the interpretation of Genesis one, the reliability of scripture, and the place for God in creation are important. But the significance of humans in creation, nature of what it means to be human, and the centrality of human sin to Christian doctrine provoke serious theological conundrums in the context of evolution and common descent.

In this chapter several questions are posed and discussed. Did evolution have to result in human beings? Is human evolution an accident? So how did God create humans? What about Adam and Eve?

It is popular among some who describe evolution for a lay audience (or a scientific audience) to describe the appearance of humans as a “glorious accident.”  Yet from a Christian perspective mankind is a significant part of creation, perhaps the most significant part of creation. We are created in the image of God (Gen 1) a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor (Psalm 8). God sent the son so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life (John 3). This is not the interaction of a creator with a glorious or ignoble accident.

There are both theological and scientific responses to the assertion of purposeless creation and accidental humans.

What do you find most troubling in the idea of evolutionary creation of humans?

First the theological approaches to evolutionary creation. Here Giberson and Collins provide three possible scenarios. We’ve suggested all of these in posts and comments over the years.

1. God outside of time.

For starters, a sovereign God can certainly create humans through an inevitable process that appears entirely random from within the system, so to speak. While we cannot know how God relates to time, it may be that God’s purposes are largely invisible from our vantage point.  … There may be trajectories of purpose within the universe that we can only dimly perceive or not perceive at all.  (p. 199)

2. God active in creation within time.

Another way to think about God’s relationship to evolution is to view God guiding the evolutionary process, working within the randomness. In this view, God is within time, working through the laws of nature in ways that only become apparent much later when we see how things turned out. … What appear to be genuinely random events might actually be the subtle influence of God working within the system of natural law. (pp. 199-200)

3. God uses freedom within creation to create, but the playing field, the “fitness landscape” ensures the intended result.

Finally, we might also imagine, as a third possibility, that God intentionally integrated freedom in the evolutionary process and chose not to predetermine the detailed trajectories of its many winding pathways. But perhaps there are favored directions within the system that tilt the playing field, so that things tend toward certain results. (p. 200)

In each case the evolution of human beings is an intentional and necessary part of God’s grand plan in creation. The first two scenarios do not speak to the scientific issue of evolution – evolution may appear random with patterns, deviations from randomness that are impossible to discern from the inside. We take the evidence as given and develop our scientific conclusions. But God is at work, either transcending time or directly active within the temporal progress of creation. These are plausible scenarios.

The third possibility requires some scientific evidence in conjunction with the theological assumption. If the playing field is tilted there should be scientific evidence for the inevitability of life, and once life is established for the inevitability of humans as a product of the process. I find this scenario particularly attractive and believe that there is, in fact, evidence for or reason to believe in the inevitability of humans given the constraints of the physical universe within which we live and breathe. Simon Conway Morris describes this in his book Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. Here he works through an approach to evolution that sees humans as inevitable and evolutionary convergence as scientific evidence for this position. I have had scientific conversations with non-Christian colleagues who take a similar view at least in part. Giberson and Collins summarize the arguments in their book (pp. 201-205). (I posted on the book about a year and a half ago, you can find the links in the Science and Faith Archive on the sidebar.)

Unless we assert that such details as five fingers and one central protruding nose are essential features of what it means to be human the scientific evidence is fully compatible with the intentional and purposeful creation of humans in the image of God.

What about Adam and Eve?

Here we run into a number of issues. Literalist historical readings of Genesis 1-11 are not textually consistent, historically consistent, or scientifically consistent with the evidence available including archaeological evidence, geological evidence and genetic evidence. Here we can list several points starting with the text of scripture itself. Genesis 1 and 2 are distinct creation accounts, Cain clearly had a wife, feared the people, and built a city.  Scientific evidence indicates a substantially larger population, with persons spread around the globe 10,000 years ago. Genetic data demonstrate descent from a population of several thousand, not two. The similarities with creation stories in other Ancient Near East sources and the clear inclusion of ancient cosmologies also inform our understanding of Genesis.

Genesis 1-11 is true, but must be read for the text it is looking for the intended theological message. There are several possible directions to take regarding Adam and Eve, but these must be both theologically and scientifically sound.

1. Non literalist readings with Adam and the fall as an “everyman” story. The story reflects the dark side present within all of us. We all rebel against God and we need God’s grace. This interpretation runs into problems with Romans 5 and our understanding of the atoning work of Jesus. It is not so much that Paul thought Adam was an individual as that he thought the Fall was real and cast his understanding of Jesus in this context.

2. Rather than an “everyman” story, some suggest that the story of Adam is the beginning of Israel not the beginning of humanity.  Pete Enns has suggested this “Adam is Israel” approach as an angle on the text and put it out for discussion. (See Adam is Israel).

There are two ways of looking at this parallel. You could say that the Adam story came first and then the Israelites just followed that pattern. But there is another way. Maybe Israel’s history happened first, and the Adam story was written to reflect that history. In other words, the Adam story is really an Israel story placed in primeval time. It is not a story of human origins but of Israel’s origins.

3. Finally, there are also historical views that work with the evidence.

A common synthetic view integrating the biblical and scientific accounts sees human-like creatures evolving as the scientific evidence indicates, steadily becoming more capable of relating to God. At a certain point in history, God entered into a special relationship with those who had developed the necessary characteristics, endowing them with the gift of his image. With this spiritual gift came the ability to know and experience evil – an opportunity grasped with tragic consequences that have carried through the history of our species. (p.212)

Personally I lean to the third option here. This is similar to the view suggested by CS Lewis in The Problem of Pain, CH 5 The Fall of Man:

For long centuries, God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself.  … Then in fullness of time, God caused to descend upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology, a new kind of consciousness which could say “I” and “me,” which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgments of truth, beauty, and goodness, and which was so far above time that is could perceive time flowing past. … We do not know how many of these creatures God made, nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state.  But sooner or later they fell.

Christ is the point. The central point of Christianity is Christ – God’s relationship with his people and the incarnation of God becoming human, entering time and creation. If salvation through Christ requires only that humans are sinful and accountable before God any of these three scenarios are possible. If we conclude that the entrance of sin is a key piece of the theology of atonement, then a historical scenario of some sort becomes the preferred route. Much more conversation and prayer is required to think through all of the details.

What do you think? Which of these scenarios for understanding evolutionary creation in general and Adam in particular seem reasonable?

Are there other scenarios making sense of all the data, from both scripture and nature, that you would suggest?

If you wish to contact me directly you may do so at rjs4mail[at]att.net

If interested you can subscribe to a full text feed of my posts at Musings on Science and Theology.

  • Tim

    Thanks RJS for an excellent post. I think you’ve ably summed up the conversations surrounding Evangelicals’ appropriation of Evolutionary science – including the most prominent issues, challenges, proposed reconciliations.

    I find your language describing option (3), the “historical view” of Adam, also balanced when you described it as a “synthetic view integrating the biblical and scientific accounts.” It certainly is a route one could take if intent on merging a certain interpretation of scripture with the scientific record. Hence “synthetic” and “integrating” our excellent descriptors IMO.

    However, regarding C.S. Lewis’ take on the instilling of a new kind of consciousness in the image of God upon the organisms that would become humanity, I am uncertain as to how much of his view you were endorsing. It would seem his scenario of a “new kind of consciousness which could say “I” and “me,” which could look upon itself as an object” doesn’t comport well with the “mark-in-the-mirror” experiments which demonstrate this type of consciousness (i.e., self awareness) for our closest evolutionary cousins, as well as high functioning mammals such as whales and dolphins.

    But really that’s just quibbling :) Again RJS, excellent post.

  • GerardoR

    Ignoring their origin for second. I noticed that Adam and Even as individuals, as parents of all humans, was not discussed. Is it that implausible to Francis Collins that, God created a man and women (through whatever process) who went on to give birth to the human race?

  • Holly

    At this point I lean toward door number 2, since the entire OT is about the history of Israel, which ultimately, is about how Christ came. We don’t necessarily NEED the history of everyone else…that of Israel is enough for what the Bible is trying to say. I have wondered, too, if “God awareness” was the first sign of a truly human soul. Some say that we become “less human” when we choose sin….so, in a sense, we become “more human” as we draw near to God.

    I have an odd idea about creation that I would like to throw out: What if God created not from the beginning – but from the end of time? He is outside of time, not bound by the constraints of time. The Universe is still expanding – it’s almost like He is standing at the end, calling all things, even creation, toward Him. He calls, it creeps particle by particle toward Him – so slowly it is almost imperceptible except by looking at deep time.

    This way, there would be no scientific discovery that is going to show the spark of catalytic agency. There would be no “nudge” to perceive through difficult stages….just God, calling all things TO Him.

    I’m almost embarrassed to even try to take part in the conversation – I have no background in scientific things. I am just reading and trying to understand….so thought I’d throw my two paltry cents into the ring.

  • rjs

    GerardoR (#3),

    It is plausible that God selected (created) two creatures out of a larger population as Adam and Eve, distinct individuals ad the first humans. They were not, however, the sole biological progenitors of all future humans (i.e. their children did not mate only with siblings etc.).

    Within several generations all humans would be descended from this pair. (See a discussion here for example A “Historical” Adam?)

    There is also a federal headship model suggested by John Stott and Derek Kidner in commentaries on Romans and Genesis respectively. Unique individuals were the federal, but not biological head of humanity.

    You can also see the posts by Denis Alexander at BioLogos on a slightly different variation. He does retain a historical Adam.

    I find these models somewhat less satisfactory than the three discussed in the post above. They are not discussed directly in the book by Giberson and Collins.

  • Adam

    I think I’m with you on option #3. I like to think, “when God breathed life into the man” he turned an animal into a human. This idea can also let us think about death differently. Even though the physical body is moving around, the creature itself may be dead.

    I also like the statement, “Christ is the point.” Which is where I get my phrase, Jesus is not plan B. I think when God says in Genesis “Let us make man in our image” he meant Jesus. More specifically, what I’m saying here is that Adam and Eve are not the image of God, only Jesus is. But by creating Adam and Eve (or whatever those names represent) God started a process that would eventually lead to Jesus.

  • Tim

    RJS (4),

    “It is plausible that God selected (created) two creatures out of a larger population as Adam and Eve…”

    Is “plausible” the descriptor you want to stick with here, rather than something closer in meaning to “possible”?

  • Alastair

    Has anyone here ever read Hugh Ross’s take on creation? I think he has a lot of neat insight. An old earth, but not theistic evolutionists
    Perspective. His organization is Reasons to Believe if anyone is interested.

  • Dan

    Alastair, there really is no room for Hugh Ross here. Intelligent Design does not fit into this discussion. Go to BioLogos and you will learn the truth.

  • Travis Greene

    “Genesis 1-11 is true, but must be read for the text it is looking for the intended theological message. There are several possible directions to take regarding Adam and Eve, but these must be both theologically and scientifically sound.”

    Do these have to be mutually exclusive options? I tend toward the view that Scripture is multivalent – there is not one single eternal meaning for the text. Nor can it mean anything. There is a limited but wide range of possible meanings depending on the reality the text is speaking into.

  • rjs

    Dan,

    There is room to discuss anything – as long as it is done civilly.

    But the arguments will be tested and critiqued … including ID, YEC, old earth progressive creation, and even evolutionary creation. I don’t put ideas out to be accepted on faith.

    We gain nothing if this critical evaluation isn’t the procedure. I will defend my statements, and expect others to challenge them when they disagree. Likewise I will challenge others when the arguments don’t seem to make sense to me.

  • rjs

    I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at Travis.

  • Tim

    RJS,

    Perhaps a different way to put my question to you in #6, is if you feel that the “historical” take on Adam isn’t only possible, but that a case can actually be made to suggest that it is reasonably probable, will we be expecting a post from you at some later point to present such a case?

  • rjs

    Tim,

    As I see it the issue here is really the interpretation of scripture. If the conclusion from scripture is that there must be a unique Adam are there plausible scenarios that fit both the scientific data and the scriptural data? The answer is yes – of the sort that I allude to in the previous comment.

    Do I think that, apart from the inclusion of a constraint from scripture, they are probable? No – but that is a different question.

    Personally I think that we misinterpret scripture when we insist on Adam as a unique historical individual – but there are many who disagree, and I respect their reasons for disagreement. This is not a hill I will die on.

  • Travis Greene

    RJS,

    You said there are several possible directions to take. I’m saying, why not take all of them?

  • Tim

    RJS,

    Thank you for your response. After reading through your initial post and #4 & #13, it looks like you are favoring a “historical” view on some sort of “fall”, though not necessarily tied to any “federal” Adam – whether such an “Adam” & “Eve” are taken to mean a primordial couple or tribe.

    It seems you mainly see a more global, non-”headship” specific early interaction between God and man where we transitioned from base creatures (albeit ones with consciousness, emotion, and pro-social community-oriented behaviors such as our closest evolutionary cousins) to what we are now as a species. A race with inclinations toward both good as well as evil, and a constant struggle between the two.

    Is this interpretation of your view correct?

  • rjs

    Tim,

    Without getting into too much detail just now – I do favor a historical view of a fall, but not tied to a unique individual Adam.

  • Alastair

    Ok. I just wanted to mention Reasons to Believe because I wasn’t sure if someone on here thought RTB’s prospective provided good answers too.

  • Tim

    Thanks for your response RJS. I’d be interested in reading your post when you do chose to present a detailed view. If I were to guess right now, however, I’d say you probably haven’t yet settled on anything so specific you’d want to post on it publicly. But if I’m wrong on that point, please don’t take offense. I view withholding one’s judgement when lacking sufficient information as typically a good thing.

  • AHH

    Alastair @7 and @17,

    This isn’t the thread for a full critique of Reasons to Believe, but what many of us lament in RTB is an unshakeable commitment to what is known as concordism, the idea that the Bible must be a scientifically accurate document by modern standards and therefore must “line up” with modern science.
    In my view, concordism (at least in its strong forms), because it tries to ask the Bible questions it is not trying to answer, inevitably leads to distorting Scripture, or distorting science, or both.

    Having said that, I would also say that the approach of Hugh Ross and RTB is enormously better (both in tone and in scientific quality) than that of Ken Ham and that crowd.

  • Alastair

    AAH, I really appreciate your reply. Thank you!

  • http://messageofgenesis.blogspot.com Val

    I have been working through this for a while – my husband is a geneticist and I have some Ancient Middle Eastern courses from my BA degree.

    I read some writings by theologians, but I don’t really keep up with all the debates, I find no real debate out there on our origins in the light of genetic evidence – we were never down to one breeding pair in the human population (genetics has shown). I don’t really know what I think, since, evidence has unproven the facts of the story (if we can even call them facts and not literary devices).

    There are a few things I struggle with. First, everything else in the Adam and Eve story doesn’t work. Gen. 1 and 2 are opposing creation accounts, not complementary accounts. To take one literally, overthrows the other. Next, Eden is non-existent – and I don’t believe in a worldwide flood – as there isn’t enough water to cover the world, so I don’t believe the flood could have distorted the head waters of the rivers. Finally, after they leave the garden, Cain goes off – into a world with other people – and builds a city, while Adam is cursed to farming hardships.

    The huge problem is, everything… 1) Eden doesn’t exist- with one river in Saudi Arabia, one in Ethiopia and the other two rivers have their headwaters in Turkey or the Kurdish areas. 2) Humans have walked this earth for 200,000 years, but agriculture (Adam farming) was only invented 10,000 years ago. Without Agriculture, humans couldn’t really build cities – since hunting and gathering require moving around with the food source or to find more once it runs out. There were areas of abundance (Pacific Northwest for example) where people could gather in huge numbers, but it was seasonal, so cities weren’t built and…

    3) this is another problem I have – too much of the story has references to Mesopotamian culture – the Tree of Life – a goddess on an Island Paradise, Eve’s name and Eve being taken from Adams rib – ‘woman’ and ‘rib’ have the same name in Mesopotamian but not Hebrew (a Mesopotamian story of how one goddess got her name – and all women their name as well) – plus portions of the great Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgemesh – woman tempts man out of paradise by getting him to eat forbidden food run very similar to the Eden story.

    I guess, looking at historical and genetic evidence, I don’t take Adam and Eve literally.

    I wonder if it isn’t a story of how humans fell, but a proof of our sinful nature. What if we didn’t have parents to mess us up, genetically or psychologically, if no sin passed down to us? What if there were no other people to sin against us? What if we never suffered hunger or want? What if God always came to us? The answer – even with no excuses, we would still sin – it’s in our nature.

  • rjs

    Val,

    Thanks. I agree – the story doesn’t work as a literal historical account, not internally, not in context of what is known about history and culture from outside sources, and not scientifically.

    I don’t think it is a story of how humans fell – it just doesn’t fit. But I also don’t think it is a story as a proof of our sinful nature.

    It seems to me that the element of “fall” – i.e. humans fell collectively and fall individually – is a significant piece of the story. While not a story of how humans fell, it is a story that humans fell – and the rest of Gen 1-11 conveys the same message. The theological intent is not to convey that all are sinful but to convey that all rebelled and rebel and this has consequence.

  • http://messageofgenesis.blogspot.com Val

    Thanks rjs – that helps, I sometimes wonder what will happen if I state I don’t believe in a literal Adam and Eve on a blog. Thanks for discussing the meaning without getting too upset or sidetracked that it isn’t likely literal. I have had trouble finding discussions on the true meaning – without the author taking it as an historical event or debating whether it was real scientifically.

    So, continuing with the idea of our Fallenness, my next thought is, in the story Adam is told to avoid the tree of Knowledge, not Eve, she thinks touching it will kill her. The serpent uses her ignorance against her. The serpent, according to Ancient Jewish scholars, pushes her against the tree when telling her she won’t die if she touches it. Once she realizes she is alive and touching the tree, she feels she can disregard the command not to eat. Somewhere along the way she got some false info, she got confused once she saw she could touch it and live, and thought she was free to eat from it also – she seems more deceived than rebelling in this case. Adam was probably the one who told her not to eat form the tree or she would die (in an immediate sort of way) – making him more culpable in the Fall than Eve (who was more tricked into disbelief rather than out-right rebellion). Is a weak understanding of a situation rebellion? or just naturally doubtful?

    For me, following God has been more about doubting He will come through with his promises than wanting to rebel. I still sin, but not with a “whatever” attitude I imagine rebellion to look like. I find believing what God said will come true harder than just following His rules. Could it also be a story about how deceit and doubt also cause us to Fall?

  • Ken Litwak

    I find all the proposals for matching the biblical text and the “scientific” explanation of origins of humans deeply problematic. First, if we can toss out the biblical text that describes how God created everything, it is inconsistent to say, but even though we reject or explain away the rest, we do want to affirm that humans are made with God’s image.” If God did not make humans, they are not in his image. Do these views imagine that God had some sort of big syringe to inject his image into an existing creature? You get the essential biblical narrative or you don’t. It’s not intellectually valid to pick out the pieces you want.

    Second, if humans came solely through evolution, how many early humans never sinned? Surely that must be possible and therefore there were/are humans who have no need of atonement.

    Third, if we are to accept the entire evolution package, who needs God at all? Why in the world would we even want to consult a Bible when its very first words are patently false? We don’t need God to have humans after all, if you ask many scientists who affirm evolution. Gould, Simpson, and others didn’t see any problem with humans evolving with no help from the outside. It’s not scientifically valid to smuggle God into the process now that scientists claim needs no god. Sure, one could believe some of the Bible, but if the first statements of it are fantasy or must be so oddly interpreted to fit some modern scientific understanding, then the rest of the Bible surely has no value either. Maybe the story of Jesus is likewise a metaphor for something else. There’s no reason to believe anything in the Bible if the first things it says are not true and I see no way to make them true and have evolution be true.

    Fourth, I’m no scientist but I’m aware of the history of science enough to know that the theory of evolution was not proposed because the data was overwhelming (and from what I’ve read it is still not compelling–similarities in structure do not prove descent but only similarities in structure)–but specifically because Darwin wanted to get rid of the Christian faith. He was a bitter, disillusioned recovering theist. Why on earth would I as a believer accept a theory that exists solely to avoid having to affirm the existence of the God of Scripture?

    Fifth, when someone can take me into a lab and produce a new phylum before my very eyes, I’ll accept that there’s evidence for evolution. Until then, I find the notion that God created everything directly, instead of by making millions, aye, billions of mistakes (not very smart that deity), far more compelling intellectually.

    Ken

  • AHH

    Ken L. @24,

    There are several misconceptions in your comment, but I’ll just note the one historical falsehood:
    because Darwin wanted to get rid of the Christian faith. He was a bitter, disillusioned recovering theist.

    Read any decent biography of Darwin. While Darwin’s own faith faded away (apparently due to “the problem of evil” after his favorite daughter died), he was not an opponent of Christianity by any means. His wife was devout and he seemed glad of it (in that culture, he could have forbid her from going to church had he wanted). He encouraged his servants to go to church, for their benefit and that of the household. He was unhappy about those who turned his science into anti-religious polemic. He carried on cordial correspondence with the prominent American Christian biologist Asa Gray, who was a theistic evolutionist.

    So I don’t know where you got the idea that Darwin was out to destroy Christianity, but if you saw that on some website you probably should disbelieve whatever is on that website as they seem to be promulgating lies.

  • http://messageofgenesis.blogspot.com Val

    Ken L. Let’s forget the science, and deal with everything else then.

    First, chapters one and two of Genesis cancel each other out (chronologically), next try to find Eden (the headwaters of two of the four rivers are in the Kurdish areas, the other two aren’t – one is in Ethiopia, so that doesn’t work (I am only using cartology here, not really science).

    Second, after they are kicked out of the garden and had kids, Cain worked the soil (NIV). I will use archeology to show what is wrong here. Humans have walked this earth for 200 thousand years, not until (at most) 10 thousand years ago, did humans begin using agriculture. Not until a few thousand years after this, did humans start building permanent settlements – once agriculture was established enough to feed many people and livestock in large numbers. About 8,000 years ago the first urban civilizations rose from the dusts of time (in Mesopotamia).

    Sooo, even if we make Adam and Eve first humans (ignoring all genetic evidence to the contrary, and the fossil record and everything else ‘science-y’), none of the rest of the story is possible. There is no place on earth that could have been Eden (although Mesopotamia had an Edin – a wilderness to the west). Cain (and, it seems, God cursed Adam to a struggled existence as a farmer also) could not be both a second generation human (even if Adam lived about 900 years) and a farmer and build a city – unless Cain lived for 190,000 years.

    There are other problems with the story
    - there is not enough water in our system to flood the whole earth ch. 6
    - people were living all over the earth (including the Americas and Australia) by the time a city in Shinar (Iraq) was built (so the Babel story couldn’t have had everyone together, then scattered afterwards).

    Now for Literary reasons the Adam and Eve story isn’t a historical account:

    Not only is the account contrary to what we do know of the past, it also parallels Mesopotamian history. Many of the references in the Garden of Eden are about Mesopotamian goddesses and myths – the tree of life (a goddess), Eve being taken from Adam’s rib and being called living (in Mesopotamian Ninti means “lady of the rib” and “lady of life” – but it is not the same word for each in Hebrew), parallels a story of the Mesopotamian goddesses being made to heal a god’s rib. The idea of a paradise was common in Mesopotamian stories and the wilderness west of Mesopotamia was called the Edin. These parallels point to a retelling of another culture’s myths, not a factual account.

    So, also, does the whole Adam and Eve account parallel a story from the Gilgamesh epics (oldest written records in the world). It is a story about a man who lived naked and free, eating only grass and drinking water – he ran in the wilderness called Edin and played with the antelopes and wild cows. Along came a beautiful temple prostitute who seduced him, then convinced him to visit a shepherd and eat meat and drink wine. After this, the man was ruined and could never return to his wild life – the animals ran away and the grass made him sick. He was now cursed to living like a city-dweller.

    I look at these accounts as why the Adam and Eve account are in our Bible – the Hebrews had close ties to the Mesopotamian (Abe from Ur), and later the Jews in Babylonia (which emerged from the Mesopotamian civilizations and continued to use/follow their gods and myths). I also think that this undoes any literal meanings, these are myths were rewritten so the Hebrews could understand who they were and what their relationship to God was amidst the powerful Nations of Babylon and Persia (post exilic) or, if you think the story was pre-exilic, Abraham’s Mesopotamia. Rather than an account of what really happened.

    Not until we get to Abraham is there any historical or archeological support. After Abraham, archeological evidence begins to match peoples and places to the ones named in the Bible.

    So, without using DNA or fossils we can see Genesis chapters 1 -11 are not historical. They are still inspired and teach us about who we are in God’s sight. They belong in the Bible. I am glad they are there, but I know they aren’t historical, and that is fine with me.