Searching for Adam: Genesis & the Truth about Man’s Origin. Edited by Terry Mortenson. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2016. 524 pp. Paperback, $24.99.
This book consists of sixteen chapters, each written by a different author. The book deals with many issues. Among these are: Did Adam exist in history or is he a myth?; Was Adam supernaturally created from dust or did he evolve?; Are the six days of creation in Genesis literal, or do they refer to long periods of time?; and if we believe the Bible must we at the same time deny science?
All the authors are young-earth creationists. They all believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures. They present “biblical, theological, historical, paleontological, anatomical, genetic, anthropological, archeological, and social arguments” to argue that Genesis and the rest of the Bible is literally true when the Bible discusses Adam and human origins and the creation of the universe (p. 8).
The editor points out that many in the evangelical world deny the literalness of the creation account. Young earth creationists are becoming more and more marginalized and seen as anti-science by many. However, there are many accomplished scientists who accept the young earth view. Five of the contributors in this book hold PhDs in science from top secular universities in the United States.
Chapter One argues that the Old Testament as a whole teaches a literal Adam and Eve. Chapter Two points out that the New Testament shares the same perspective and that the NT authors used Genesis to describe the issues of sin, death, the atoning work of Christ, as well as His resurrection. Several NT authors, and Jesus Himself, affirmed a historical Adam.
Mortenson’s article deals with those evangelicals who believe the Bible does not say when Adam was created. He maintains that “old-earth” creationists simply believe that the “Bible is not a science textbook” and we can’t appeal to it to argue for a young earth (p. 139). Many evangelicals have adopted a gap theory or a day-age view of Genesis 1 to argue that the world is very old. Mortenson’s conclusion is that Genesis 1-11 cannot be harmonized with an old earth view. When one takes into account the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, even taking into account certain “fudge factors,” Adam was created less than 7500 years ago.
The book, however, does not simply argue from biblical evidence. There are also chapters that argue for a young earth and a literal creation of Adam using science. David Menton uses fossil records and the sequencing of the human genome to show that mankind did not evolve but that all share a common ancestry (pp. 229—255). He also asserts that evolutionists have strong disagreements among themselves as to the evolutionary process.
Another chapter (chapter nine) also uses the fossil record to show that the Neanderthal Man was not a step in the evolutionary process. Instead, the Neanderthals were, quite simply, fully human. What are designated as Neanderthals were much more advanced than often maintained and lived alongside humans classified as modern humans. Their advancement is seen in things like the artworks they left, as well as the tools they used.
Jeanson and Tomkins maintain that genetics confirm the recent and supernatural creation of Adam and Eve (chapter 10). By definition, then, genetic studies do not support an evolutionary view of human origins. The discussion, while complicated, is done in a way that nonscientists can understand. These studies indicated that humans did not originate from ape-like creatures or from a population of ancestors. Instead, mankind originated recently from a pair that were fully human. An interesting point of this chapter is that DNA studies indicate that major human ethnic groups originated near Mount Ararat. This is what we would expect in light of the Noahic Flood.
Chapter 12 studies the uniqueness of human design, which suggests man is “fearfully and wonderfully” made. The author says many aspects of man are “overdesigned” (p. 374). This design is purposeful and involves more than mere survival. This argues against evolution, which maintains that evolutionary changes have as their result simple survival.
I found the chapter of the relationship between evolution and racism fascinating. The author contends that the Darwinian revolution strongly contributed to biological racism (p. 375). This is because evolution taught that some races are superior to others become some races are further down the evolutionary process than others. These views were held by Nazi Germany, the Ku Klux Klan, and Planned Parenthood, among many.
This is an excellent book. The inspiration of the Scriptures is under attack today. This attack has influenced the Christian Church. Many, even in Christendom, do not think believing in a recent creation of the world and a recent creation of man is tenable because of “science.” Those who do not accept evolution as an established fact are considered ignorant.
The writers of this book, however, show that if we accept an evolutionary view we will have to deny many of the statements of Scripture. They also show us that a person can appeal to science to support what the Bible teaches about creation. Some of the chapters, especially those heavily involved in scientific discussion, are hard for the layman to follow. But the authors have done a great job, including the use of charts and other visual aids, to help us digest the information. This book has great apologetic value, and will be an encouragement for those who hold to the inspiration of God’s Word. I highly recommend it.
Kenneth W. Yates
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society