I recently wrote the blog “Were Adam and Eve Historical Figures?” where I argued that the Bible speaks of them as being historical. It isn’t figurative language used to make a point or anything like that. Instead, both Jesus and Paul point to Adam and Eve as being historical. If Jesus believed it, then I am convinced.
This blog was met with two objections in the comments that I wanted to respond to in this post. 1) The DNA evidence pointing to the “Out of Africa” theory seems to undermine the literal Garden of Eden. 2) Evidence shows early man being hunters and gathers, not farmers and herders like Cain and Abel. So let’s look at both of these objections.
Does the “Out of Africa” theory undermine a literal Garden of Eden?
The “Out of Africa” theory states that humans originated in Africa instead of earlier theories that proposed we evolved from different areas of the globe. If this is true, then how could the Garden of Eden also be true? Well, I want to propose that the evidence for the “Out of Africa” theory actually makes the biblical view stronger. At the same time, I think this theory challenges the evolutionary model of needing many different points of evolution.
First, before this theory, it was believed that humans evolved from different species living in different parts of the world. This would be very difficult to reconcile with a Genesis account. It wouldn’t match a single location and it would discredit humanity coming from a single man and woman. However, the theory that humans originated in eastern Africa lines up closer with the biblical model.
There is also DNA evidence is showing that humanity came from a single man and a single woman which also points to a biblical view. Y-chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, the first man and first woman, were believed to live thousands of years apart. However, new studies suggest that they lived around the same time. Again, strengthening the biblical account.
Second, the exact location for the Garden of Eden is unknown. Different locations have been proposed, and even some have the garden stretching down into Africa. These two locations are closer now based on the evidence than they were with different theories. It is possible then for the Garden of Eden to overlap with the origin of humans in the “Out of Africa” theory. For that reason, I don’t see any immediate reason to think that this theory undermines the literal Garden of Eden.
What about evidence for early humans being hunters and gatherers instead of farmers and herders?
It seems like this idea is starting to change with new evidence. Dr. Hugh Ross from Reasons to Believe has written this article giving evidence that first humans were likely farmers (Check it out here). We also have to understand that the first humans lived for many years. To think that they didn’t learn over their life span stretching hundreds of years would be crazy.
What do you all think about the “Out of Africa” theory? What about evidence from Y-chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.