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I recently read an article which talked about Mitochondrial DNA, and it placed quite a bit of emphasis on how different female DNA was from male DNA. It even went so far as to say that Mitochondrial DNA could be traced back to one single female who was the source of all female DNA.

I believe whole heartedly that these Scriptures are true:

Gen 2:21 through 23 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

But if God used the same DNA and Genetic signature in the rib, why would the woman not then have been an exact duplicate Adam.

How do Theologians explain this apparent variance?

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You are ignoring Genesis 1: 26 - 31. The physical creation and therefore the source of DNA. Do you not believe'whole heartedly' that they are true as well? –  gideon marx Jul 27 at 18:48
Isn't this asking for opinions on how it could be as worded? Would you mind editing it to ask how Apologists or Young Earth Creationists have answered it so that it's answerable? As it is, it's just an opinion-based or general philosophical question. –  David Stratton Jul 27 at 19:21
@DavidStratton I hope this edit makes the question acceptable. –  Bye Jul 27 at 21:35
@gideonmarx not true God is Spirit and DNA is material. Being made in God's image does not mean physical since God has no physical characteristics. As far as I can determine, being made in God's image means being tripartite. that is having body, Spirit and Soul. the original word used was צלם tselem tseh'-lem From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: - image, vain shew. –  Bye Jul 27 at 21:44
Didn't like my edit? I guess I should've explained more. As usual, it started with a retag (nature-of-god doesn't seem relevant), then went to a slight edit (turning the broad "theologians" to "creationist apologists"). The whole heartedly believing part isn't very academic (though not objectionable if you really want to keep it). I wanted to add in the translation you used but when I looked it up and saw it was the KJV I thought I'd switch it to a more modern one seeing as it isn't a translation issue. –  curiousdannii Jul 28 at 12:00

4 Answers 4

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Although I am not comfortable thinking of the account of God's creation of Eve as being in any way allegorical or mythical, I do, however, think of the account as a kind of artistic and symbolic version of what actually transpired when God created another human being--a female human being--in His image who would complement the male of the species whom He had already created.

Several observations:

ONE. While the people of Moses' day could not appreciate the complexities of the double helix and the human genome, they did realize that all living critters, including humans, give birth to other living critters "after their kind."

TWO. Prior to God's making for Adam a "helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18), God brought all the critters He had made to Adam and gave him the assignment of naming all the animals. Interestingly (but certainly not coincidentally), among the perhaps tens of thousands of animals Adam named, he found not one "helper suitable for him" (2:20).

THREE. God then "fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man and brought her to man" (2:22). Just as God had fashioned, for example, a male and female sheep, so also He fashioned a human female counterpart to the human male. God made something different, not identical, out of Adam's rib! Part of that difference was a major "tweaking" of the human genetic code. Subsequently, the man and woman would procreate "after their kind."

FOUR. At the exciting "reveal" after God's surgery on Adam,

The man-person said, "At last! This is bone from my bones

And flesh from my flesh.

She is to be called Woman [Hebrew: ishah],

Because she was taken out of Man" [Hebrew: ish] (2:23 CJB).

Contrast, then, Adam's inability to find a helpmeet among the animals, with his actually finding what he could never have found in the animal kingdom. Notice how the Complete Jewish Bible phrases his first words upon seeing his helpmeet: "At last!" It's as if Adam was saying,

"Whew, God, I was beginning to think you didn't know what you were doing with all those boring animals you had me name. Don't get me wrong. They were wondrous to behold, but this, this lovely creature you have made is now truly "bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." Thank you, Lord!"

FIVE. Scripture then goes on to tells us,

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (2:24)

This part of my answer goes WAAAAAAAY beyond the scope of your question, but it is nevertheless germane in a prophetic and hermeneutically responsible way.

In a seminal passage on marriage, the apostle Paul lays out in Ephesians 5 the duties of wives to husbands and husbands to wives, and in doing so he quotes Genesis 2:24 in verse 31. Why? Because the marriage of one husband to one wife was God's design from the very beginning. And what pattern did God use in creating what we call today the "institution" of marriage? To answer that question I'll quote liberally from John Piper's book, Desiring God, pp.212-213 (excerpts):

It looks as though Paul uses the relationship of human marriage, learned from Genesis 2, to describe and explain the relationship between Christ and the church. But if that were the case, marriage would not be a mystery, as Paul calls it in Ephesians 5:32; it would be the clear and obvious thing that explains the mystery of Christ and the church. So there is more to marriage than meets the eye. What is it? The mystery is this: God did not create the union of Christ and the church after the pattern of human marriage—just the reverse! He created human marriage on the pattern of Christ’s relation to the church.

The mystery of Genesis 2:24 is that the marriage it describes is a parable or symbol of Christ’s relation to His people. There was more going on in the creation of woman than meets the eye. God . . . patterned marriage very purposefully after the relationship between His Son and the church, which He had planned from all eternity.

Therefore, marriage is a mystery—it contains and conceals a meaning far greater than what we see on the outside. God created man male and female and ordained marriage so that the eternal covenant relationship between Christ and His church would be imaged forth in the marriage union. As Geoffrey Bromiley has written, “As God made man in his own image, so he made marriage in the image of his own eternal marriage with his people.”

The inference Paul draws from this mystery is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned, but are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and His church. . . ..

This is the foundation of the pattern of love that Paul describes for marriage. It is not enough to say that each spouse should pursue his or her own joy in the joy of the other. It is also important to say that husbands and wives should consciously copy the relationship God intended for Christ and the church.

In conclusion, even more significant than God's handiwork in creating a female egg and a male sperm, each of which when united at fertilization brings half the genetic information necessary for the beginning of a new human life, is the profound reason for God's creation of male and female: 1) to reveal to us through the analogy of marriage His grand plan of redemption and His eternal covenant with all true believers; and 2) to grant to "us in marriage the privilege to image forth . . . divine realities infinitely bigger and greater than ourselves" (ibid.).

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There are at least two possible answers to the question. Some Christians consider the stories in Genesis to be allegorical, describing what God did in language and concepts that the original audience would understand. Since the original audience was neither aware of DNA, or mitochondria, this would have been a detail that obscured the message.

Those who believe the bible to be inerrant in all respects, would likely propose that since God was all powerful, it was trivial at the time of creation to make the changes to male DNA that would permit Eve to have female DNA. They would argue that, after all, God was sufficiently powerful to create all DNA in just a few hours.

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I think this answer is on point, but I'll note the question was "How do theologians..." and not "How might those who believe the bible to be inerrant..." –  Andrew Jul 28 at 14:56

God is more amazing than we will ever comprehend. We still don't know what all is a part of this planet we live on, and yet He was able to create it all just by speaking. (Genesis 1) He knew how to make everything work together to sustain life. He knew how to form us so that we could function the way we do. All the intricacies that "make us tick" that we're still trying to understand He understood from the beginning.

Psalms 139:13-16 talks of how amazing we really are. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (NIV)

Just because He took a rib from Adam doesn't mean He's constrained to use the DNA from that rib to form Eve. An interesting side-note to this that I learned is that our ribs can regenerate in a rather short period of time. Not a game changer by any means, but still interesting to know when considering that God chose the rib to use.

God's abilities are incredibly beyond our understanding. As David said in Psalm 139:6, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." How He went about creating Eve from Adam is nothing we're going to truly figure out. But we'd be foolish to say He couldn't alter the DNA even though He used Adams rib.

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It doesn't really make sense to try to reconcile DNA and Genesis. The only way to combine them is to awkwardly shoehorn our understanding of DNA into the Genesis account, and simply say, God made the DNA to look different than Genesis says it should look.

For example, Genesis 1 has land plants being made first, then water creatures and birds, then land animals. That's simply not compatible with our understanding of DNA.

You can see on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_plant_evolution -- see the first simple graph) that land plants (and even multi-cellular life) are relatively new compared to life itself, so the Genesis account of plants being first doesn't work.

But anyway, the answer to your question is, assuming the Genesis story is real, their DNA must have been different, and the reason it's different is because God made it that way (after all, dust doesn't have human DNA, so where did Adam's DNA come from?).

Or, maybe they had the same DNA, but were physically different, because of some reason we don't know about. Maybe they had DNA that covered both male and female, but over time the DNA of individuals changed so that now male and female are different. But that doesn't match our understanding of DNA.

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Ah, the creation order the Bible presents may not be easily reconciled with evolution, but it's perfectly compatible with DNA itself. –  curiousdannii Jul 27 at 21:39
"so the Genesis account of plants being first doesn't work" Yet another problem for Theistic Evolution. –  Steve Jul 28 at 0:05
Wow, a bunch of comments got deleted here. To summarize, no, the creation order in the Bible is not reconcilable with DNA. DNA shows a tree of life, where we can determine how different life forms are related and how they split apart through evolution. The idea that birds were created before land animals is simply absurd according to DNA. –  pergendum Aug 17 at 2:56
Show me the order, please ... –  ties asvWil Oct 25 at 17:25
@tiesasvWil There is a basic tree on the second page of this paper. Molecular DNA as well as fossil evidence shows that birds come from land animals (lizards, dinosaurs..). Another diagram can be seen here. You might notice that turtles have moved (due to newer evidence). The entire exact order is not very relevant to the discussion. The simple case is that the order presented in Genesis is not compatible with the evidence and sense. One may not know what 241x532 is, but it's not 4. –  pergendum Oct 28 at 4:07

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