Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Did Adam Exist

Did Adam Exist?
by Vern S Poythress
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Christian Answers to Tough Questions series from Westminster Seminary Press and P&R Publishing is a blessing to the church.  These short booklets provide just what they promise, Christian answers to tough questions.  Vern Poythress offers guidance to the reader on navigating the debate over a historical Adam and if humans evolved from a common ancestral group of primates.

This volume deals with the historicity of Adam but instead of offering an argument strictly from Scripture, Poythress chooses to interact with the science of the debate and interpret the science in light of Scripture.  This approach is particularly appealing to those who enjoy the world of science and are convinced that the realm of the natural sciences lie as much within the scope of God’s sovereign reign as any other part of creation.

Poythress covers genetics and scientific investigation.  His point about data interpretation is applicable not just to the issue of Adam and origins, but to everything.  When looking at the commonly cited statistic of chimps and humans genome being 99% identical and why this statistic is often misleading and misunderstood Poythress writes that,
“(t)he data from the human-genome project and similar projects for chimpanzees and other animals has to be interpreted. It does not interpret itself.”

Not only that, but Poythress addresses well the interpretations that are made from genetic similarities.

“The most striking genetic similarities between humans and chimps lie in many of the protein-coding regions within the dnA. That is understandable from the standpoint of design because proteins are the backbone of chemical machinery inside a cell.”

Poythress continues, highlighting some flaws that show themselves in certain conclusions of naturalism and her proponents.

“(I)n the midst of rapidly expanding research, popular claims made in the name of science easily fall victim to one of three failings: they overreach or exaggerate the implications of evidence; they misread the significance of technical research; or they argue in a circle by assuming the principle of purely gradualistic evolution at the beginning of their analysis.”

This is a great booklet to engage the debate of origins and a great example of how to interact with scientific research and propositions from a Christian worldview.  Read and enjoy.

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley.

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