Review: The Genetics of Adam and Eve

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Dr. Georgia Purdom is a research scientist and speaker for Answers in Genesis. In this presentation, Dr. Purdom, who has her PhD in molecular genetics from Ohio State University, addresses the importance of the existence of a literal Adam and Eve. She then goes on to explain that the science of genetics is consistent with the existence of a literal Adam and Eve, who were the first two human beings, directly created by God.

Purdom begins by citing the views of several well-known Christian scientists who don’t believe that the traditional understanding of Genesis 1 lines up with scientific evidence. Francis Collins and Karl W. Giberson, for example, state that “literalist readings of Genesis imply that God specially created Adam and Eve, and that all humans are descended from these original parents. Such readings, unfortunately, do not fit the evidence, for several reasons.” They go on to assert that, “it is simply not reasonable to try to turn the brief comments in Genesis into a biologically accurate description of how humans originated.” It is impossible for Adam to have been created from “dust and God’s breath,” they state; nor is it feasible that Eve was actually created from Adam’s rib: “Human beings are mainly water, not dust, and there is no process by which an adult person can be made quickly from a rib” (The Language of Science and Faith, 2011).

Purdom also quotes Denis Alexander, who argues that “the disciplines of both science and theology should be accorded their own integrity. The Genesis texts should be allowed to speak within their own contexts and thought-forms, which are clearly very distant from those of modern science. We can all agree that the early chapters of Genesis exist to convey theology and not science.” According to Alexander, “the data are overwhelmingly supportive of certain scientific truths, for example that we share a common genetic inheritance with the apes.” What Christian scientists must do, Alexander claims, is “to treat both theological and scientific truths seriously and see how they might ‘speak’ to each other.”

Finally, Purdom quotes Peter Enns, in his 2012 book The Evolution of Adam, who argues that “the evidence points us clearly in the following direction: the early chapters of Genesis are not a literal or scientific description of historical events but a theological statement in an ancient idiom, a statement about Israel’s God and Israel’s place in the world as God’s people.” Enns goes on to write that it is not necessary for Christians to hold to the existence of a literal Adam and Eve, asserting that, “attributing the cause of universal sin and death to a historical Adam is not necessary for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be a fully historical solution to that problem.”

Purdom disagrees strongly with these conclusions, and spends the first half of this video dealing not with the interpreting the evidence of science, but with the teaching of Scripture. This is the great strength of her presentation – the fact that, despite her scientific specialization in the field of genetics, she begins with God’s Word, and draws her conclusions from that starting point.

Unlike Collins, Alexander, and Enns, Purdom understands the devastating results that denying Adam and Eve’s existence as actual human beings will ultimately have on the Christian faith. As Frank Zindler, editor of American Atheist Magazine, stated in a debate with William Lane Craig, “Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin…” And if there never was an original sin, there is no need for a Saviour. If there is no First Adam, what are we to think of the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)?

Only after discussing the necessity of Adam and Eve’s existence to the message of the gospel does Purdom move on to discussing the genetic evidence. It is to her credit that she does not draw unwarranted conclusions from the available data. She does not argue that genetic evidence proves the existence of a literal Adam and Eve. Rather, her thesis is that the evidence of genetics, far from disproving their existence, is actually consistent with their existence as the first humans.

I won’t go into the details of Purdom’s discussion of the evidence in this presentation. However, her conclusions show that many of the “assured results” of scientific inquiry are not nearly as assured as they sometimes claim to be. Peter Enns has made the claim that “The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, has shown beyond any reasonable scientific doubt that humans and primates share common ancestry.” For those of us who aren’t “in the know,” who have little knowledge of the intricacies of genetics, let alone the findings of the Human Genome Project, statements like this can be troubling. But Purdom shows that “beyond any reasonable scientific doubt” is, to say the least, an overstatement.

I highly recommend this video without reservation, especially to high school level science students, or those who may be struggling with how to interpret and understand the claims that are being made about the current scholarly consensus, and how those claims affect the Christian faith and the reliability of Scripture. Dr. Purdom’s methodology is sound, and she shows a clear understanding of the importance of our presuppositions, the foundations of our thinking, in leading us to draw conclusions from the evidence in creation. Her concluding statement is a radical rephrasing of a statement made by Dr. Bruce Waltke, and it’s a good one:

“We have to go with Scripture. We can’t ignore it. I have full confidence in Scripture, not in man’s ideas about the past. Only when we begin with the Bible’s authority can we rightly understand the science of the past and it is consistent with the existence of a literal Adam and Eve.”

The Genetics of Adam and Eve is available as a DVD ($12.99) or for download ($7.99) on the Answers in Genesis website. The presentation is 62 minutes long.

 

FREE VIDEO: Buddy Davis Amazing Adventures: I DIG DINOSAURS!

Family / KidsBuddy Davis
26 min. / 2011
RATING 7/10

Buddy Davis is a musician, dinosaur sculptor, and children’s entertainer. In this children’s video Buddy invites along to go on a dinosaur bone dig to see how paleontologists find them and take them out of the ground, and then put them on display.

Davis really knows his stuff. Dinosaurs have long been promotional tools for evolutionists, but Davis will have none of that. He approaches the topic of dinosaur and their fossils from a thoroughly Christian, creationists perspective. In a number of instances he contrasts the biblical position with the evolutionary one. So, for example, he explains that fossilization doesn’t need to take millions of years – as he explains, they’ve even found fossilized teddy bears! And kids are also told about how elastic blood vessels have recently been found in dinosaur bones that shows they couldn’t possibly be millions of years old. These animals aren’t as old as they have been made out to be!

Our host is enthusiastic and energetic and keeps things hopping without it getting frantic. While I enjoyed this, I’d recommend it more as a kid’s video than family viewing. I mean, parents won’t be bored, but they likely won’t want to watch this as many times as their children!

I Dig Dinosaurs! is the first of four in the Buddy Davis Amazing Adventures series (so far) and it can be watched for free online here: www.answersingenesis.org/media/video/science/i-dig-dinosaurs/.

The others three episodes aren’t online, but you can buy them at www.answersingenesis.org/store/ (just search for “buddy davis amazing”).

This review was originally published on www.ReelConservative.com.

Documentary review: LIVING WATERS

Documentary
69 minutes / 2015
Rating 8/10

This is one part nature documentary and one part evolutionary takedown. Illustra Media understand that a great way to expose evolution is to take a close in-depth look at some of the creatures that God has made. In Darwin’s day scientists didn’t have the ability to look inside the cell, and only had a glimmering of how incredibly complex even the simplest living creatures are. Now we know so much more – it turns out that even the simplest cell in our body has astonishingly complex and coordinated inner workings. Some have compared the complexity of a cell to the complexity of an entire city! In other words, the more we know, the more apparent it is that evolution can’t be so.

In previous films Illustra Media took a close look at butterflies (Metamorphosis) and birds (Flight). This time they have turned their attention to four maritime creatures: dolphins, sea turtles, pacific salmon, and humpback whales.

Time doesn’t allow a full detailing of just how awe-inspiring this investigation is. But I’ll give you a small sampling of what the documentary shares about the complexity of dolphins. These creatures can distinguish between a ping pong ball and a golf ball via echo-location. This is a form of sonar, and better than anything man has ever constructed. The dolphin’s sonar system can spot fish up to six inches under the sand and can find a BB at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Dolphins also have a complex air return system which allows them to make the high frequency sounds they need for echo location by blowing air past two sets of “phonic lips” and then recoup that air and redirect it back to its lungs. This air return system allows it re-use this air and to echo locate for more than ten minutes without needing to surface for air.

This is only scratching the surface of the dolphin’s complexity but this is already enough to expose the impossibility of evolution. The dolphin is able to:

  • make the sonic sound
  • focus and direct it
  • receive it
  • and, finally, have the ability to interpret and understand the signal they are getting back

All four of these elements are needed or else the system won’t work at all. So how could evolution – random mutation and natural selection – be responsible? The idea that all four elements evolved to be at the very same time is beyond fantastic. So too is the idea that they would evolve one after another and be selected for, despite having no function (despite having no evolutionary advantage) until all four are finally developed and the whole system is up and running. Evolution simply can’t account for systems such as this, which are so obviously and clearly designed.

Living waters is a remarkable documentary with wonderful visuals of all the creatures discussed. My pre-school children weren’t able to follow the discussion, but the close-up videos and computer animations kept their attention. Meanwhile their mom and I were stunned by the sheer brilliance and creativity of God!

I should add that while mention is made of an Intelligent Designer, He is never specifically named as the God of the Bible. That is disappointing, but every Christian watching this will most certainly give God glory. I can’t recommend it enough – this is a amazing look at some seemingly simple but incredibly complex creatures.

This review was originally published on www.reelconservative.com.

DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: “Flight” is a film that will have you praising God’s artistry

Flight: the Genius of BirdsFlight
Documentary
63 minutes, 2013
Rating: 9/10

I watched this with my three-year-old daughter and we had the exact same reaction: “Wow!” Flight takes a look at the design of birds and focuses particularly on hummingbirds, starlings and arctic terns, all of which have their “wow!” moments:

  • the starlings with how thousands of them can come together in giant, flexing, living clouds – we watched this section repeatedly, rewinding and then rewinding again!
  • the arctic terns in how they can migrate from one end of the planet to the other every year over vast tracts of featureless ocean.
  • the hummingbird with how its tongue works – it folds out! (See the video clip below).

While the hour-long film did tax the interest of my daughter – half way through she returned to her Lego – the next day she was asking to see the rest of it. The impressive computer graphics, and the continuous close-up, slow-motion, and wide-angle shots make this a visual feast. It is intended for adults, but suitable for, and enthralling for, children too – unlike some nature documentaries, this has no violence (no predator and prey shots) so it really is child-friendly. So whether three or one hundred and three, I really can’t imagine anyone not loving this. It would make a great video for any school, church library, or nature-loving kid’s (or dad’s) Christmas stocking.

I will note one caution of sorts: the thesis of Flight is that the intricacies involved in birds’ ability to fly gives evidence of a Designer. But the producers don’t specifically name the Designer; they don’t specifically give God the credit He is due. However what the producers don’t do, viewers are sure to – you can’t watch this without praising God!

This review was first posted to www.reelconservative.com where you can find more like it.

DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Spectacular introduction to evolution’s fatal flaws

Evolution’s Achille’s Heels
Documentary
2014 / 96 minutesAchilles
Rating: 10/10

I’ve watched this at least 5 times now, and many sections many more times than that. This is the best, most succinct, most content-dense, anti-evolution presentation I’ve ever seen!

That said, my first go-through didn’t leave me all that impressed. I was watching it while doing some paperwork, not giving it my full attention, and what I saw just seemed to be a bunch of interviews, lots of talking heads. It didn’t seem all that interesting.

But when I gave it another go and actually paid attention…. Whoah!

What the folks at Creation Ministries International have done here is, in one hour and a half presentation, boiled down all their very best arguments into the shortest possible form. That’s why I’ve watched it so many times already – I had to keep stopping, rewinding, and then listening to sections again, because so much of what these interviewees say in just a sentence or two is something that others have written articles and even whole books on.

For example, here’s a line from Dr. Donald Batten: “The survival of the fittest does not explain the arrival of the fittest.”

At first listen, this struck me as a great turn of a phrase, and it certainly is. But let’s hit the pause button and just think about all that’s being said here in just this one line. Survival of the fittest (AKA natural selection) is supposed to explain how species adapt and change: those with advantageous mutations will prosper, while those without will eventually die off. But survival of the fittest is a selective process – it picks the best out of the group. How then, does it work before there is a group to pick the best and brightest from? Natural selection is a key mechanism for evolution, but it doesn’t offer any explanation for how animals come to be in the first place! This one, short, ever so quotable line, points out a gigantic problem with evolutionary theory.

In addition to Dr. Batten, the documentary features 14 other PhD scientists, and together they highlight, as the title puts it, Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels. They cover a wide range of problems, grouped under categories that include:

  • the Fossil Record,
  • Genetics,
  • Natural Selection,
  • Cosmology
  • Radiometric Dating
  • the Origin of life
  • the Geologic Column
  • Ethics

I really can’t say enough nice things about it: from beginning to end this is brilliant, and as good an introduction to the problems with Evolutionary theory as you will ever find. The Dove foundation said, “If we could award Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels more than five Doves, our best rating, we would!” and I echo the sentiment.

You can rent it for online viewing at just $5 by clicking here or buy it on DVD or Blu-ray at Creation.com. There is also a book, of the same title, that would be of interest to anyone who wants to dig further into this material – you can find that at Creation.com too.

Movie Review: A courtroom drama, a romance, and a battle over creation vs. evolution

ALLEGEDAlleged
Drama / Romance
93 minutes; 2011
Rating: 8 / 10

Dayton, Tennessee is a small town in 1925, and too small for local reporter Charles Anderson who wants to make a big name for himself by going to the big city and working for legendary Baltimore Sun editor H.L. Mencken. His fiancee and coworker Rose is rooting for him, and when a legal battle in the town’s courtroom garners attention from the national media, it looks like Charlie may have just the news story he needs to grab Mencken’s attention.

Only, things don’t go quite how he was expecting. He does get Mencken’s attention, who is even willing to teach Charlie how to craft a news story. But this close-up tutelage lets Charlie see that his mentor won’t let a little something like the truth get in the way of a good story. Mencken is more than willing to make up a story if it will sell papers. Is Charlie willing to go that far to land the job he’s been dreaming of?

Setting

Though Charlie Anderson is fictional, the story’s setting is true. In 1925 an anti-evolution law that forbade the teaching of evolution in public schools was challenged in a Dayton, Tennessee courtroom. John Scopes, a high school teacher, was charged with violating the law by teaching his students about Charles Darwin’s theory.

The “Scopes Monkey Trial” pitted creationists vs. evolutionists and enlisted big name “stars”: the Scripture-quoting, Bible-believing, 3-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution; and for the defense, Clarence Darrow, infamous for his defense of two indefensible child-killing clients. These big names got the attention of one other: Baltimore Sun editor H. L. Mencken. His columns largely influenced how the trial was perceived by the public – while the creationists won the court case, Mencken made sure that the evolutionists won the publicity battle.

Cautions

The film is excellent, with only a few cautions to consider.

First, Charlie is drunk as a skunk in one scene, though his fiancee’s disappointment and disapproval makes this an object lesson in the idiocy of drinking to excess, so there’s not too much to object to on that point.

Also one character shouts “Hallelujah!” insincerely in a church service.

I should add, because the film teaches about the implication of Darwinian thought, there is a subplot that deals with eugenics. This is a topic that our older children need to learn about, but is also too much information for a younger audience that doesn’t yet need to know how horrible the world can be.

Conclusion

This isn’t the first film to depict the Scopes Monkey Trial. Three decades later the events of the trial were again fictionalized as a play (1955) which was then adapted to film as Inherit the Wind (1960). Both the play and the film presented creationists as ignorant, foolish, bigoted and even bloodthirsty (Inherit the Wind has the townspeople threatening to burn John Scopes!) and because the film was shown to generations of American public school children it has had a lasting impact on the way the creation/evolution debate is conducted. It can be given much of the credit for why creationist arguments are assumed to be ignorant and more often mocked than answered.

Alleged is an enjoyable counter to Inherit the Wind, presenting a much more accurate account of the trial. It could be enjoyed as an above average Christian romance, but the setting makes this more than a fun little film. The historical importance of this event means this is a film for just about anyone. It is educational and informative, yes, but also fun, romantic, generally light, and quite well acted. Highly recommend for older teens and adults it is available at Amazon.ca. This review was first published on www.ReelConservative.com.