RE: Kline article in PSCF (D. Kidner on Adam)

Glenn Morton (
Wed, 03 Apr 1996 23:25:04

Terry wrote:
>>According to molecular data, this would have to have occurred somewhere
>>between 800,000 - 100,000 B.P. because that is the range of when the last
>>common human ancestor existed.
>The genetic data has been taken as low as 80,000 years ago. (was your
>800,000 a typo?). Thus, modern man at 100,000 years ago is a date that all
>parties seem to agree upon.

Well, there does appear to be some more controversy in the molecular data area
now. The 800,000 was from my memory but my memory was only off by 28,000
years. Trinkaus and Shipman write:

"Templeton also challenged the calibration of the molecular clock used
by the mtDNA researchers. Instead of trying to pinpoint a specific date at
which the mtDNA in all modern human groups separated evolutionarily, Templeton
estimated the 95 percent confidence limits on that time. In other words, he
defined a divergence period by picking the most recent likely date and the
ancient likely date, between which there was a period when the divergence
actually occurred, with 95 percent certainty. Basing his work on conservative
assumptions, Templeton showed that the mtDNA divergence lay not in the
relatively narrow band of time between 166,000 and 249,000 years ago, as had
previously been estimated, but in a broad swath sometime between 191,000 and
772,000 years ago. This time interval embraces the period in which Homo
erectus was spreading out of Africa and across Eurasia--meaning that the
divergence in mtDNA might well have occurred long before the appearance of
modern humans."~Erik Trinkaus and Pat Shipman, The Neandertals, (New York:
Alfred Knopf, 1993), p. 394-396

Note the date of the book. I included the 100,000 figure because that is the
lowest figure I have heard. Apparently it is not in as good a shape anymore.
The problem lies in the complexity of the problem. For those who know math,
the molecular data is a traveling salesman problem where the salesman needs to
visit X number of cities in the shortest distance. As X increases, the
computations necessary to calculate the shortest distance goes to infinity

>But I don't understand your last point. Kidner is saying in this paragraph
>that all human beings may NOT have descended from Adam, but that Adam as
>the first human being in the image of God existed sometime after the most
>recent common ancestor. This could have been fairly recently, say 30,000
>years ago. Note that Kidner says that even if all mankind did not descend
>biologically from Adam that Adam could still be the covenantal head of the
>human race and that God bestowed image-bearing on Adam's "collaterals" so
>they too become divine image bearers (this cuts through all the problems
>with pre-Adamites and racism).

Then I wonder why that was not stated in the scripture and we are left with
the table of nations explaining how we are all related. (or at least a Hebrew
attempt at that.) There is also the theological issue of the first and second
Adam. If Adam was just an individual chosen at random by God, was Jesus just
an individual chosen at random by God and somehow blessed? I would not like
this posibility and I know it has been suggested.

>As I've told you before, I think that you put too much stock in
>morphological and even behavioral evidences as to your definition of man.
>As Kidner wrote:
>> The answer may lie in our definition of man.
>Kidner invites us to differentiate between *homo faber* and man in the
>image of God (what John Stott called *homo divinitatis*).

But this leaves nothing in the fossil record that can tell me WHEN it
happened. And most Christian theologians want to exclude Homo erectus from
the spiritual family in spite of the fact that he made the first dwellings,
the first woodworking tools, controlled the first fire, etc.

>Thus, we could have anatomically modern *homo sapiens*, behaviorially
>modern *homo faber*, and true man *homo divinitatis*. According to
>Kidner's proposal, all *homo sapiens* and *homo faber* since the time of
>Adam are also *homo divinitatis*. *Homo sapiens* and *homo faber* that
>died before the time of Adam were not *homo divinitatis*. I'm not sure the
>fossil record or the anthropological record can help us here.
>This leads to Kidner's last point in the section I posted (it probably
>makes your concordist blood boil ;-) but I think that he is essentially

The guy's who work for me think my cold blood is incapable of boiling. :-)

>> Thirdly, however, the interests and methods of Scripture and
>>science differ so widely that they are best studied, in any detail, apart.
>>Their accounts of the world are as distinct (and each as legitimate) as an
>>artist's portrait and an anatomist's diagram, of which no composite picture
>>will be satisfactory, for their common ground is only in the total reality
>>to which they both attend. It cannot be said too strongly that Scripture is
>>the perfect vehicle for God's revelation, which is what concerns us here;
>>and its bold selectiveness, like that of a great painting, is its power. To
>>read it with one eye on any other account is to blur its image and miss its
>>wisdom. To have God's own presentation of human beginning as they most
>>deeply concern us, we need look no further than these chapters and their
>>New Testament interpretation.

Let me see if I can make your biologist blood boil. :-) If these are two
separate realms, then maybe we evolved in nature and did not evolve in
theology. Maybe theology is correct in its area that the earth is young, but
science is correct in its area that the earth is old. Maybe science is correct
that no one arises from the dead but theology is correct that people do
resurrect. Since there are two levels of truth here it would seem logical
that the above statements must be considered possible. They produce a
composite picture. Somehow this makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland. I
simply can not go with a dualistic approach to truth. Truth can not be self
contradictory or it is not truth.

Foundation,Fall and Flood