Zimmerman concluded that Adam and Eve were Homo sapiens. So he placed the stories of Adam and Eve – as the first humans – before the dates of the first appearance of fossils belonging to our species. He reviewed the results of mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA tracing to an originating population – or maybe, couple – dating to over one hundred thousand years ago.
Of course, the Genesis text indicates a couple. After all, Adam and Eve (as a population) could not sire Seth (as an individual).
What does this imply? Did the first genealogy cover a huge timespan, from the first humans, through the expansion of humanity to all the continents, through the dawn of civilization? Almost unaware of the absurdity of his conclusion, Zimmerman estimated the timespan to be 200,000 years.
Zimmerman then quoted from the encyclical letter Humani Generis (Pope Pius XII, 1950): The first eleven chapters of Genesis … have a naïve, symbolic way of speaking, well suited to the understanding of primitive people. But they disclose important truths, upon which the attainment of our eternal salvation depends, and they also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and of the chosen people … (perhaps) the ancient authors drew some of their material from current popular stories … but in must be remembered that they did so under the impulse of divine inspiration which preserved them from all error in selecting and assessing the documents (materials) that they used.
After this quote (in Chapter 5), Zimmerman moves directly to a reading of Genesis 2:4 on.
The jump – concatenation – from the association of Adam and Eve to the evolution of our species to the Genesis 2:4 text is revealing. The pope’s quote serves like a patch joining two garments. The patch covers 198,000 years. Even more amazing, Zimmerman does not try to show how the first association meets the criteria contained in the literary patch.
In the next blog, I want to examine how An Archaeology of the Fall meets – or fails to meet – the criteria formulated by Pope Pius XII in 1950.