This is a very good question, and it brings up one of the most important
issues one faces in dealing with question relating to the Bible and to
faith. The fact is that we will almost certainly never find a “smoking
gun” sort of proof that Adam and Eve were actual historical people. It is
unlikely that an archaeologist will find a verifiable inscription on a
cave wall or building saying “Adam and Eve slept here.”

And it is very reasonable to relate the question of Adam and Eve to the
question of the evolution of mankind from apes. On the face of it, it
would certainly seem that if the biblical story of Adam and Eve is true,
then one can conclude that people did not evolve from apes.

The first comment to be made in answering the question is to say that
belief in Adam and Eve is without a doubt based primarily on belief that
the Bible as a whole is inspired by God. In other words, one will believe
in Adam and Eve, not because of some sort of very indirect evidence, but
simply because their story is recorded in the Bible. Based on all the
other evidence which can be found at this web site and elsewhere, or to
anyone simply willing to read the Bible with an open mind, the fact that
the Bible is inspired by God appears to be an inescapable fact. Based on
that, we accept that Jesus will come back to the earth some day. Based on
that, we accept that there will be a Judgment Day, a heaven and a hell.
Based on that, when one sees the story of Adam and Eve recorded in the
Bible, one can assume, by faith in God’s word, that it is true. Besides
that, other Bible writers clearly expressed a literal belief in the
reality of Adam and Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Timothy 2:13, Romans 5:14,
1 Corinthians 15:45, etc.). Remember, then, that the strongest “evidence”
for Adam and Eve is the proven reliability of the Bible. In discussing
evidence for Adam and Eve, it is very important to remember that one’s
belief in the biblical account is based principally on faith in the Bible

Nevertheless, there is more that can be said about this first couple. In
the answer to question #4 above, a strong case is presented that Genesis
chapter one is a scientifically reliable account. It is not a huge jump to
accept that Genesis chapter two, the story of the creation of Adam and
Eve, is reliable as well.

But this brings us inevitably to questions about evolution. Does the
evidence from science, and particularly from paleontology support a belief
that mankind evolved from apes? Let us not pretend that this is a simple
question. If you want to get in on a very contentious discussion, you
might want to listen in on a group of anthropologists as well as human and
primate paleontologists argue over the evidence for the evolution of
modern humans. Were Neanderthals really a slightly variant form of humans,
or were they a separate species? Did modern homo sapiens derive from homo
erectus? What about the australopithecus afarensis (Lucy being the most
famous example)? The editors of National Geographic try to create the
false impression that this is all pretty well understood, and that the
evolution of people from apes is pretty well established. The fact is that
the supposed gradual ascent from primitive primate to humans through a
succession of ever more human-like species has not been proven. Although
it is true that humans share nearly 99% of their DNA with modern
chimpanzees, the evolution of the two from a common ancestor remains an
unproven hypothesis.

On the other hand, to say that it is absolutely ridiculous to believe from
the scientific evidence that humans could have evolved from apes would be
going to far. The fossil record is: ape, ape, ape, man, man, with no
ape/man in between. What one is left with, then, is the biblical claim–a
claim contained in a book that has every sign of inspiration–that the
first humans were created by divine intervention. One also has an unproven
scientific claim that humans evolved from apes. Given the choice between
an inspired claim and an unproven theory, this author chooses to believe
that Adam and Eve were created.

Can one successfully combine the two? Is it possible that God took an
already evolved human-like being and put his spirit into him–creating
Adam? Could he have done the same with Eve? Perhaps one should be careful
not to absolutely dismiss this theory out of hand, but it certainly would
appear to be inconsistent with the clear statement in Genesis 2:7 that
Adam was “formed from the dust of the ground.” Besides, the evolution of
humans from apes remains an unproven scientific theory. We will let the
reader decide, and suggest the biblical admonition to “avoid foolish
controversies,… and arguments and quarrels” (Titus 3:9).

John M. Oakes, PhD

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