A reader recently emailed me with a question. She wrote:
When the bible says he created them male and female and called them Adam it occurred to me that we assumed only Adam and Eve but what if more than one of each was created and all were given the name Adam but of the lineage of Christ we specifically get the story of the first Adam and Eve and they are the first but not the only. Hopefully that makes sense.
Here is my response:
It is great to hear from you and your question is very thoughtful.
That view is called "polygenesis" - that God created multiple original couples. This is opposite to the idea of monogenism, which posits a single origin of humanity.The Roman Catholic Church rejects polygenism. Genesis does not eliminate that possibility, but it does indicate that God created human beings fully human from the beginning, and suggests that the Adam and Eve must be placed in Africa, which is where Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors originated.
Some people hold the polygenesis view. They use it to explain different races and languages. Many African oral traditions feature polygenesis in their creation stories. In Bambuti mythology the Creator made three different races out of three kinds of clay: one black, one white, and one red. We find this idea in Genesis 2:7 where we are told that the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the earth. Abraham's ancestors lived where red soil washed down from the Ethiopian Highlands. These soils have a cambic B horizon. Chromic Cambisols have a strong brown or red color.
From the beginning these skin tones were known to be indigenous to Africa.
|Red and Black Nubians|
Detail from a Ippolito Rosellini painting
from the Franco-Italian Expedition to Egypt, 1828
The evidence today goes against polygenism. Genetics and linguistics have demonstrated a point of origin in Africa for modern humans and modern languages.
You might find these articles interesting:
Phoneme Study Pinpoints Origins of Modern Languages
Migrations Out of Africa
Genetic Evidence of Long-Standing African Presence in Britain
Adam and Eve: The "Blood" and the "Birther"
Alice C. Linsley