Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics

Human MtDNA migration map

Our genes carry a record

by Dr Robert W. Carter

The evolutionary map of world migrations is startlingly close to the biblical account of a single dispersal of people from Babel. The evolutionary “Out of Africa” theory tells us there was a single dispersal of people, centered near and travelling through the Middle East, with three main mitochondrial lineages, with people traveling in small groups into previously uninhabited territory, and that all of this occurred in the recent past. Every item in that list is something directly predicted by the Tower of Babel account in the Bible.

It comes as a surprise to most people to hear that there is abundant evidence that the entire human race came from two people just a few thousand years ago (Adam and Eve), that there was a serious population crash (bottleneck) in the recent past (at the time of the Flood), and that there was a single dispersal of people across the world after that (the Tower of Babel).1 It surprises them even more to learn that much of this evidence comes from evolutionary scientists. In fact, an abundant testimony to biblical history has been uncovered by modern geneticists. It is there for anyone to see, if they know where to look!

For our purposes, the most important places to look are in the Y chromosome (which is only found in males and which is passed on directly from father to son) and in the mitochondrial DNA (a small loop of DNA that we nearly always inherit from our mothers only; males do not pass it on to their children). These two pieces of DNA record some startling facts about our past.

Over the last decade, a vast amount of information has been collected that allows us to answer questions that we could not even consider earlier. The tools of modern genetics allow us to specifically ask questions about history, for our genes carry a record that reflects where we came from and how we got to where we are. The tools at our disposal are powerful.

Creation and genetics

There are two brief passages in the Creation account we can use to draw some conclusions about human genetic history. Please note that we cannot use these verses for land animals (because we do not know how many of each kind were initially created) or any of the swimming critters (“with which the waters abounded”—Gen 1:21). These statements apply to people only:

“And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” Gen 2:7

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.” Gen 2:21–22

These simple statements have profound implications. They put a limit on the amount of diversity we should find in people living today. The Bible clearly says the human race started out with two people only. But how different were these two people? There is an intriguing possibility that Eve was a clone of Adam. The science of cloning involves taking DNA from an organism and using it to manufacture an almost perfect copy of the original. Here, God is taking a piece of flesh, with cells, organelles, and, importantly, Adam’s DNA, and using it to manufacture a woman. Of course, she could not be a perfect clone, because she was a girl! But what if God had taken Adam’s genome and used it to manufacture Eve? All he would have had to do was to leave out Adam’s Y chromosome and double his X chromosome and, voilá, instant woman!

I do not know if Eve was genetically identical to Adam. The only reason I bring this up is because we have two possibilities in our biblical model of human genetic history: one original genome or two. Either result is still vastly different from the most popular evolutionary models, but we need to discuss the range of possibilities that the Bible allows.

Your genome is like an encyclopedia (almost literally). And, like an encyclopedia, the genome is broken down into volumes, called chromosomes, but you have two copies of each volume (with the exception of the X and Y chromosomes; women have two Xs but men have one X and one Y). Imagine comparing two duplicate volumes side by side and finding that one word in a particular sentence is spelled differently in each volume (perhaps “color” vs “colour”). Can you see that if Eve was a clone of Adam, there would have been, at most, two possible variants at any point in the genome? If Eve was not a clone, however, there would have been, at most, four possible variants at any point in the genome (because each of the original chromosomes came in four copies). This still allows for a lot of diversity overall, but it restricts the variation at any one spot to 2, 3, or 4 original readings.

Does this fit the evidence? Absolutely! Most variable places in the genome come in two versions and these versions are spread out across the world. There are some highly variable places that seem to contradict this, but most of these are due to mutations that occurred in the different subpopulations after Babel

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image credit: mitomap