Who Was Adam Second Expanded Edition Book Review
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About the Book
Who Was Adam? was written by Dr. Fazale Rana with Dr. Hugh Ross and is published by Reasons to Believe Press. Dr. Rana, who wrote most of the book, has a PhD in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry from Ohio University. He was in R&D at Proctor & Gamble until he joined the Christian science-faith think-tank Reasons to Believe (RTB) in 1999; he is currently VP of Research & Apologetics. Dr. Ross is the President and Founder of RTB; he holds a PhD in astronomy from the University of Toronto. Both have written several books on science, faith, and Christian apologetics issues. The authors are well-qualified to write a book on human origins.
Who Was Adam? was originally published in 2005. The 2nd edition is also called the “10 year update” and was published in 2015. The original text has been left intact, and a new section (121 of the book’s 378 pages, excluding endnotes) has been added with text on new scientific findings, their meaning for the human origins model espoused by the book (henceforth known as the RTB human origins model), and the state of their model today. The authors wrote this book because, “Researchers typically don’t see religious ideas, including creation, as testable and therefore meaningful to the scientific enterprise.”1 The authors propose such a testable model of human origins, saying, “With RTB’s model, creation is testable. The concept of creation has entered the scientific domain.”2 As Christians, the authors wrote this book as an apologetic tool to promote a Christian view of human origins.
Who Was Adam? is divided into three sections. Part 1 lays out an introduction and general overview of the RTB human origins model. Part 2 contains the remainder of the pre-update book. Rana and Ross evaluate evidence and data pertaining to human origins, then decide how well it supports the evolutionary model and their model. Part 3 contains the updated 2015 edition material. The authors evaluate new evidence and in response to the new data. They then address recent criticisms, reevaluate the model to decide if it is still valid, and look to the future.
This book takes an old-earth creationist (OEC) view of origins. OEC models generally agree with modern dating methods placing the earth and universe at billions of years old. However, they also generally deny that macro-evolution occurs. Instead, they take a special creation approach, claiming the data leading to a punctuated equilibrium approach to evolution could equally apply to God’s creation of new animal body-plans. Who Was Adam? seeks to show how God most likely created mankind as described in the biblical book of Genesis.3
The meat of the book, parts 2 and 3, covers two main areas: hominid fossils, and molecular biology as it pertains to hominid DNA. A few other chapters address ancillary topics such as: Genesis’ account of humans who lived hundreds of years, and how astronomy shows humanity came into being at an improbably ideal time.
Who Was Adam? provides a wide-ranging argument with supporting evidence from a variety of scientific fields. The authors provide evidence for their proposal that key expectations of the evolutionary model are less plausible than their own.
They point out that paleoanthropology has shown an “explosion” of culture occurred alongside the advent of humanity. They argue this explosion is far more likely on the RTB model than the evolutionary model.4 The authors additionally use molecular biology and DNA evidence to show why the secular Out of Africa (OOA) model is more likely than the multi-regional model. But, they then propose the data behind the OOA model makes little sense from an evolutionary point of view and propose the RTB model is a more likely interpretation of this data.5
In an interesting chapter, the authors additionally explore astronomy, and propose that modern humans appeared at an implausibly perfect time for a high-technology culture to exist.6 These wide-ranging chapters do well to provide a comprehensive structure supporting their central theory that God created man.
Generally, Who Was Adam? does not attempt to address the plausibility of the Christian conception of God, nor of God in general (this is done in other books by RTB authors). Instead, the authors are attempting to propose that the creation model of Genesis chapter 1 is plausible. Therefore, whether you agree with this book will likely largely depend on your a priori beliefs about God. It seems to me that this book is unlikely to convince the secular skeptic due to a priori assumptions, and will more likely appeal to the Christian skeptic of OEC who hold to a different creation model.
The authors are gracious in granting the flaws of their argument, but these flaws still hold some force. For example, in the original book, the authors argued that the younger date for Y-chromosomal Adam than mitochondrial Eve was because the flood constrained the male population to one individual, while it only constrained the female population to three unrelated women.7 In the 2015 update, the authors admit that newer data has pushed the dates for mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam together and their previous argument cannot be used.8 The last chapter ends with a discussion of where science challenges their model.9
I give Who Was Adam? a strong recommendation.
This book is targeted at the college-level student and above who wishes to know what a modern OEC human origins model looks like and how it is supported. The authors do a good job of delving into the research data while also providing a summary for the layman. This makes the book accessible to educated laymen but also substantial for skeptical scientists interested in how the authors reached their conclusions. The wide-ranging evidence and rebuttals to secular evidence will leave the evolutionist with much to attempt to refute.
I recommend this book to the old-earth creationist who wishes to see how modern scientific data is reconciled into a cohesive human origins model. I mildly recommend this book to the young-earth creationist skeptical that an OEC model can be theologically cohesive. The book does not deeply address the theological issues surrounding young-earth and old-earth creationism – this is largely a scientific book – but if they wish to see an up to date OEC view, this is a good place to start.
I recommend this book to the theistic evolutionist who believes they cannot reasonably justify being a creationist of any stripe. Finally, I recommend this book to the secular evolutionist. This book is perhaps the most wide-ranging and up to date scientific model for the OEC view. If the evolutionary scientist wishes to refute creationism, they should start with Who Was Adam? .
Fazale Rana with Hugh Ross, Who was Adam?, 2nd ed. (Covina, CA: Reasons to Believe, 2015), 17 ↩
Ibid. 47, italics in original ↩
Ibid. 47 ↩
See Who Was Adam chapter 5: “Bones and Stones” ↩
See Who Was Adam chapter 9: “Is Human Evolution a Fact?” ↩
See Who Was Adam Chapter 6: “The Best Possible Time” ↩
Ibid., 70-71 ↩
Ibid., 268 ↩
Ibid., 376 ↩