Hello, what do we make of this criticism of Ed Feser’s argument for a literal Adam & Eve? I believe that evolution doesn’t conflict with my faith:
“(Gen 2:4-8) Notice that, prior to the creation of Adam, we are told explicitly that there was no one to till the ground. Notice further that this account quite explicitly describes the creation of Adam’s physical body, and not just his mental endowments. Of course, later we are told of Eve’s creation from one of Adam’s ribs. This is further evidence that the story means to account for the origin of Adam and Eve’s physical bodies.
All of these points are in conflict with Feser’s account. Where in the Genesis story does he find a preexisting population of physically human but unensouled creatures? And how does he account for the Genesis language, which explicitly tries to account for physical bodies and not just for mental endowments? A story in which Adam is created as the first man and Eve is then created from one of his ribs is very different from a story in which Adam and Eve are singled out from a preexisting population to receive enhanced mental abilities…
If evolution had finally produced a large population of animals now physically capable of receiving a proper human soul, what purpose of God’s could be served by singling out just two? Why not the entire population?..
(Gen 2: 4-8) Now, I really don’t think you need to be a fundamentalist to believe that when the Bible says, ‘there was no one to till the ground,’ it does not mean, ‘there were lots of human-like creatures tilling the ground, but they lacked souls and therefore were not metaphysically human.’ And when the Bible speaks of forming man from the dust of the ground, it seems clear that it is man’s physical attributes, and not just his mental attributes, that are being described.
Sadly, his further claim that ‘we think of the matter God used to form that body as derived from pre-existing hominids rather than straight from the earth,’ is ridiculous. Recall that under Feser’s scenario there was a population of hominids that were genetically and physiologically indistinguishable from human beings, but which nonetheless lacked souls. ‘Adam’s creation,’ in his scenario, refers to the moment when God infused one of these already-existing bodies with a soul. Under that understanding, it makes no sense to say that God, in creating Adam, ‘formed man from the dust of the ground’…
(Gen 2:7-18) This makes it sound like Adam was created, and then removed from his earlier environs and placed in a different location. He is described as being alone, and as being needed to maintain the land. This all suggests there were no other hominids around. Nor can we reasonably argue that being ‘alone in the Garden of Eden’ is symbolic language for the idea of being the only soul-bearer among a population of animals. The verses above relate the physical location of Eden to familiar landmarks of the time.”