Data from the United Nations Population Division estimates that the world population reached eight billion in November 2022. This is a huge population and some skeptics have expressed doubts that such a population could have originated from the first biblical couple, Adam and Eve. If it was because of them, then how was it possible? Furthermore, are there other ways to explain how the earth was populated? Let’s answer these questions below.
The Bible holds the position that all humans trace their origin to the creation of Adam and Eve. While our population could be past the eight billion mark today, it’s important to remember that we could have reached this mark long ago if Noah’s flood hadn’t decimated almost 100% of the world’s population at the time.
The Biblical Account of Man’s Origin
The account of man’s creation is found in Genesis 1. Says Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…..”
From the words above, it’s evident that God intended that the world population be more than it is today – man was supposed to fill the entire earth. While our current population is vast, we’re certainly far from filling the earth.
The first earthly couple later gets children. We know of Adam’s sons Cain, Abel, and Seth. In addition to the three, Genesis 5:4 says:
And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
Since God had ordered the first couple to fill the earth, we expect that the sons and daughters of the first couple married and they too had children. The whole of Genesis 5 shows the genealogy of the first family from Adam to Noah and their offspring.
People who doubt the creation story point out that, to populate the earth, these ancient people were engaged in incest. Such skeptics wonder how God would have allowed Adam’s children to marry one another and yet condemn sexual relations between close relatives in Leviticus 18. The whole of Leviticus 18 forbids sexual relations between close relatives such as brothers and sisters, fathers and their sons’ daughters, a man and his father’s sister, etc.
What we need to appreciate is that Adam and his immediate descendants could have no other way of populating the earth. Since the family tree of Adam was still young, there was little risk of any genetic disorders. Modern science suggests that genetic disorders are common among children sired by blood relatives. Such disorders include sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and neurological disorders. So as the multiplication continued, it became necessary to put a stop to incest. Besides, the population had already increased greatly and people could now afford to choose.
The Great Flood and Decimation of Most Humans
When God got angered by the wickedness that had pervaded the earth, He purposed to destroy all human life except the family of the righteous man Noah. Before the commencement of the great disaster, God had told Noah in Genesis 6:18: But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark-you and your sons and your wife and you sons’ wives with you.
According to Genesis 6:10, Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Eventually, the flood came and destroyed the entire human population and only eight people survived. Noah’s family, which traces its roots back to Adam, therefore became the parents of the human race as we know it today.
Adam is mentioned severally in the New Testament and given credit as the first man. When the genealogy of Jesus is given in Luke 3: 23-38, we note that Christ himself, through his earthly father, Joseph, traces his roots to Adam.
Are Adam and Eve Metaphorical?
Some people believe that the story of Adam and Eve is just a metaphor – that it does not refer to the first couple that was created but to “every man and every woman who has ever lived.” People who take this view dismiss the bible account as a myth that should not be taken to represent true human history.
Apart from those who write off the creation story as a myth, some evolutionists assert that life on Earth arose from a series of chemical reactions. According to evolutionists, human beings are primates and the modern man has similar characteristics to apes. Although there’s no consensus among the scientific community about the specific number of early human species, they still hold that humans originated from apelike ancestors.
The evolutionists take human history to millions of years and, in their view, humans developed the ability to walk about four million years ago. They also believe that crucial human characteristics are much more recent. The debate between believers in creation and evolutionists has raged on for centuries and there’s no end in sight. For a Christian, to give credit for the beginning of life to accidental chemical reactions would be anathema. To give in to such claims would be to deny God the credit that is rightly due to Him.
As we’ve noted, the bible teaches us that God created Adam and Eve as the first couple. From this first family, sons and daughters were born and, through marriage, the children of the first family got more children as documented in the genealogies of Noah and Jesus. Even after the great flood decimated the entire human population except Noah’s family, the eight that survived sired future generations of human beings. Since Noah traces his roots to Adam, we can rightly say that Adam and Eve have populated the earth. It’s also important to note that if the flood did not place, the world would have more people today than the estimated eight billion.