The Two Faces of Adam:  When Creation Meets Evolution

M. Sue Benford
This article was written by Benford as a result of insights she had received about the occurrence of the "great flood," which resulted in numerous myths and stories.  It was originally published in The Church Herald (New Hope Reformed Church) in February 1998, pp. 21-24.  The article prompted the most response that The Church Herald had ever received on an article.  Later, Benford's timeline and proposed cause of the events were verified by researchers.
    While walking through the Museum of Natural History in New York City, it all started to make sense.  The pieces to the ancient Genesis account of creation were fitting together for me.
    As I researched the subject, what I found amazed and thrilled me.  My own theory began to surface as a potentially credible explanation of the creation and evolution of humankind.

Two Accounts

    A mystery plaguing theologians surrounds the two stories of creation found in the Book of Genesis, one in Chapter One and another in Chapter Two.  Why include two closely related yet disparate accounts?  My theory is that these two accounts tell us that human beings were formed in a two-part process.
    The first part of human creation laid down the foundation for our physical selves:  that which can be seen with the human eye.  This is represented in Chapter One of Genesis.  "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them:  male and female he created them.  God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply' " (Genesis 1:27-28).  The creation of God's other creatures is compared with the creation of both the male and female human being.  The command to be fruitful and multiply is given to both this human creation and to the other animal creation.
    Also significant in Chapter One is that the first humans were both sexes and, similar to the animals God created, humans were not yet named.
    The concept of naming things was highly significant to the early Jews.  " 'To label or call a thing by a name' the forming of word symbols.  This is the work of the soul.  Without naming things, nothing can come into being" (Fred Alan Wolff, The Spiritual Universe).  The early Jews did not see humans as complete beings until they were named in Chapter Two.
    Likewise, "sin" did not exist with the earliest creation of biological humans.  Similar to other creatures, humans could not deviate from their biological compulsions and instincts.  As a result of this sinlessness, early humans truly lived in paradise.  For them, ignorance of the spirit was bliss.  After all, they could not deny something they did not know or did not yet possess.  Humans lived harmoniously and unaware as a part of God's nature-based infrastructure.
Chapter Two
    Through the evolutionary course of millions of years, the human creature finally obtained the intellectual capacity required to become an offspring of God.  Homo sapiens, which comes from
(to know) were individuals who, by definition, "know."  These sapiens subsequently evolved further into sapiens sapiens--individuals who know that they know.  It was within the evolved status of the sapiens sapiens in which humans, unlike other creatures, developed the capacity to ask the god-like question, "Who am I?" and, likewise, to search for the god-reflecting answer, "I am."
    Following this same pattern of logic, the second chapter of Genesis, then, represents the introduction of the divine spirit within the soul of human beings.  "Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7).  No longer is man the image or reflection of God; now humans are eternally living beings with their own spirits.
    Historical evidence supports this evolutionary stage in human development 100,000 years ago.  Richard Leakey, in The Origin of Human Kind, notes, "The first evidence of deliberate burial in sapien history is a Neanderthal burial not much more than 100,000 years ago...Earlier...there is no evidence of any kind of ritual that might betray reflective consciousness. there any art."
The Fall
    In order to fully mature, the evolving homo spiritualis had to have free will to choose love over fear, good over bad, the spirit over the world.  The fall of humankind represents humans making a conscious choice to rebel against spiritual law.  It shows that, for the first time, humans realize they can choose to sin, or more specifically, to deny their spiritual natures, unlike the other animals.
    After they sin, humans tried to hide from God:  they tried to tune him out of their thoughts and pretend he did not exist.  When God said, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9) it signified this separation.  At this point, disobedience and discipline became part of the human equation.
    But when did this original sin actually occur?  My theory is that the story of Noah represents the floods that occurred following the end of the last Ice Age, between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago.  With the end of an ice age comes significant amounts of rain and flooding.  This would have been especially true in the flood-prone Mesopotamia region.
     If the great flood did occur at the end of the last Ice Age, then tracing the years from Adam to Noah will determine when humans first spiritually separated from God.
     The biblically recorded ages of Adam and his descendants until the time of the flood represents a period of 8,155 years.  Adding this to the time of the flood--between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago--the original sin and Adam's departure from Eden occurred approximately 16,155 to 18,155 years ago.
    This time frame makes sense in terms of archaeological evidence from that period, known as the Magdalenian era.

    Richard Leakey writes:

    Lorblanchet found a similar rock surface in a nearby cave and determined to paint the horses anew,
    using a blowing technique.  "I spent seven hours a day for a week puff...puff...puff...It was
    exhausting, particularly because there was carbon monoxide in the cave.  But you experience
    something special painting like that.  You feel you are breathing the image onto the rock--
    projecting your spirit from the deepest part of your body onto the rock surface.
    What evidence do we have that the Magdalenians viewed the world with a new and sinful countenance?
    "One of the skulls found in the triple burial at Dolni Vestonice has a healed fracture, seemingly caused by a club, over the right eye, and paintings of human figures impaled with spears have been found on cave walls," notes John Pfeiffer in National Science Foundation's magazine.
    Could it be concluded, then, that approximately 17,000 years ago, give or take a thousand years, the fallen Adam emerged--fully conscious of his superiority to God's other creatures, exercising that superiority with a childlike abandon, and beginning his search to rediscover who he was in relationship to his divine Creator?
    Understanding that our biological and spiritual journeys are parallel courses of both evolution and creation helps answer many riddles.  But new questions arise.  For starters:
    *Where are we now in our development?
    *Are we now progressing through more rebellious years, further  upping the ante with more powerfu ways to deny God?
    *When will we realize that our spiritual maturity lies exclusively in our capacity to love--God, ourselves, and others?
    One thing is certain.  The hope for God's children remains--that one day we will all confidently answer the question "Who am I?" the same way Jesus did:  "I tell you, before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58).
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