Book Review: Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science

Ceiling of the Sistine chapel in Vatican city. The thoughtful Christians are now trying to read the Bible in light of the theory of evolution. Likewise, the thoughtful Muslims have no choice but to read the Quran in its light. Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times has started doing that and as such leading in the domain of the Quran and science: Surah Al Baqara (The Cow): Section 4: Adam and Eve

By Scot McKnight  (Author), Dennis R. Venema (Author), Daniel Harrell (Afterword), Tremper Longman III (Foreword)

Genomic science indicates that humans descend not from an individual pair but from a large population. What does this mean for the basic claim of many Christians: that humans descend from Adam and Eve?
Leading evangelical geneticist Dennis Venema and popular New Testament scholar Scot McKnight combine their expertise to offer informed guidance and answers to questions pertaining to evolution, genomic science, and the historical Adam. Some of the questions they explore include:

– Is there credible evidence for evolution?
– Do we descend from a population or are we the offspring of Adam and Eve?
– Does taking the Bible seriously mean rejecting recent genomic science?
– How do Genesis’s creation stories reflect their ancient Near Eastern context, and how did Judaism understand the Adam and Eve of Genesis?
– Doesn’t Paul’s use of Adam in the New Testament prove that Adam was a historical individual?

The authors address up-to-date genomics data with expert commentary from both genetic and theological perspectives, showing that genome research and Scripture are not irreconcilable. Foreword by Tremper Longman III and afterword by Daniel Harrell.

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Key Features

  • Addresses up-to-date genomics data with expert commentary from both genetic and theological perspectives
  • Attempts to display that genome research and Scripture are not irreconcilable
  • Features a foreword by Tremper Longman III and an afterword by Daniel Harrell


  • Foreword by Tremper Longman III
  • Evolution as a Scientific Theory
  • Genomes as Language, Genomes as Books
  • Adam’s Last Stand?
  • What about Intelligent Design?
  • Adam, Eve, and the Genome: Four Principles for Reading the Bible after the Human Genome Project
  • Adam and Eve of Genesis in Their Context: Twelve Theses
  • The Variety of Adams and Eves in the Jewish World
  • Adam, the Genome, and the Apostle Paul
  • Afterword by Daniel Harrell

Praise for the Print Edition

Adam and the Genome is both hugely needed and splendidly written. Anyone who has wrestled with the notion that science is an obstacle to faith will benefit from its clarity and informed insight. I hope it’s widely read inside the church—and out.

—John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and best-selling author

Few topics generate greater passion among evangelical Christians today than the question of the literal accuracy of the biblical creation story. With the advances in science, we have two accounts of the origin of living beings—one scientific, the other scriptural—and many believe that they are mutually exclusive. Choose science or choose the Bible, we are told, but we can’t have it both ways. This book, by two of evangelicalism’s most articulate communicators—one a scientist, the other a biblical scholar—carefully considers whether that claim is true. The result is the most lucid and thorough discussion of the topic I have ever read. Dennis Venema marvelously explains genetic concepts by using everyday illustrations. Scot McKnight’s approach is pastoral. In an awe-inspiring manner, he sensitively leads us into an appreciation of the biblical issues and shows us how theologically rich and intellectually satisfying they are. Because it is so clearly and carefully written, this book will mark a watershed moment in the history of evangelical Christianity. The radical distinction between two seemingly disparate positions ought to disappear forever, these authors show, as each position melds with the other to form one harmonious whole.

—Darrel Falk, professor emeritus of biology, Point Loma Nazarene University

This is an unlikely book. Who could imagine a geneticist and a New Testament scholar teaming up to write about Adam and Eve? We are fortunate that they did. Venema and McKnight address in a learned yet accessible way issues about which many of us have little understanding. We are indebted to them for giving us information and insights that enable us to think about human origins in ways that are both scientifically informed and grounded in a carefully nuanced interaction with the biblical text and early Jewish traditions. The church is well served by this sort of interdisciplinary collaboration, which assists us in both adapting and adopting Adam (and Eve) as interpreters have through the centuries.

—John H. Walton, Wheaton College

This is a unique and valuable book: an expert geneticist and a leading New Testament scholar come together to address questions of Adam and Eve. Venema and McKnight guide readers in an in-depth look at the genetic evidence for human evolution and at the views of Adam in the ancient Jewish world. As these two Christian scholars listen to each other, share their personal journeys on origins, and address the questions of evangelicals, their pastoral concern for the church and for students shines through. Not all readers will agree with their conclusions, but the book is essential reading for all who seek an understanding of human origins that respects both Scripture and God’s creation.

—Deborah Haarsma, president of BioLogos

Product Details

  • Title: Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science
  • Authors: Dennis R. VenemaScot McKnight
  • Publisher: Brazos
  • Print Publication Date: 2017
  • Logos Release Date: 2017
  • Pages: 237
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible and evolution; Creationism; Human beings › Origin; Genetic engineering › Religious aspects–Christianity; Genomes; Adam (Biblical figure)
  • ISBNs: 97814934101709781587433948
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2020-09-03T18:51:59Z

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