Many people think that Adam and Eve are mythological figures, being under the impression that evidence of humans going back hundreds of thousands or even millions of years rules out the possibility of the first humans being created some 6,000 years ago. But in fact, the paleontological record does not rule out Adam and Eve.
Two new books, one by Joshua Swamidass and another by William Lane Craig, maintain that Adam and Eve are compatible with the scientific evidence and with evolution.
I haven’t read either one yet, but their theses are quite plausible.
In the beginning, there were animals and humans. Adam and Eve may have appeared on the scene much later. What was unique about Adam and Eve is that they likely were the first humans endowed with souls.
Their offspring, such as Cain, Abel, and Seth, had souls. They (apart from Abel) in turn may have mated with non-ensouled humans, and the new offspring would have had souls. The process would continue so that eventually all humans had souls.
Adam and Eve are also compatible with the findings of paleoanthropologists of a class of Homo Sapien known as anatomically modern humans (AMH). These may have evolved from a human subspecies such as Homo Erectus. As described by Ronald L. Conte in Adam and Eve versus Evolution, AMH physically were like us but, like animals, lacked the ability to reason abstractly, lacked free will, and lacked souls.
Paleoanthropologists have estimated that behaviorally modern humans (BMH) – i.e. us – came on the scene around 50,000 years ago, displacing AMH. Unlike their predecessors, BMH are able to reason abstractly, have free will, and have souls. This is consistent with Adam and Eve and the Bible.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say Adam and Eve existed 6,000 years ago – that’s only an estimate from genealogies. Twenty-one generations from Adam to Abraham are named, but that may omit many, many generations. And who knows – maybe at some future date paleoanthropologists will revise their estimates of the origins of BMH to a much more recent date.
So with a little analytical thinking, examination of recent scientific discoveries, and an open mind, Adam and Eve skeptics may come around to allow for the possibility of that famous pair after all.