Likely this post will open up a hornet’s nest but so be it as the topic here is prehistoric man and the Bible. Let me begin by saying I read nowhere in the Bible where it says anything even remotely similar to, “and on the sixth day God created man a Homo sapien.” And, frankly I have never believed God created humans as Homo sapiens sapiens! In fact, I find plenty of biblical evidence of possible archaic humans! Consider Noah for instance. It’s said that Noah was born covered in a white down “like the angels” and his father questioned if Noah was even his son at the time. Consider Esau whom I’ve posted about before on this blog. Esau was a “man of the forest.” His body was covered in a reddish hair. He was a hunter and lived as a primitive man. Also, consider John the Baptist who wore skins and dwelt in the wilderness during the day of Jesus. He was somewhat unkept and primitive according to what we read in the New Testament. All of these examples could pass for being archaic humans and I can’t help but wonder if some of them didn’t have distinctive brow ridges and protruding jaws. Were they hybrids? Were they surviving examples of H. erectus, Neanderthals, or some other ancient human ancestor?
Anthropologist and author Dr. Susan Martinez in her book entitled, “The Mysterious Origins of Hybrid Man,” postulates that the first human was Ardipithecus who lived in East Africa about 4.4 mya. Although this was the first human Dr Martinez believes “Ardi” did not have a soul. He was an animal-man, an ape-man. She says that the first human to have what we call the soul was Australopithecus who lived in East Africa around 4.2-3.9 mya. This was ADAM in her opinion! Australopithecus was slightly more evolved than Ardi but still basically what we might call an “ape man.” Actually, if correct then Australopithecus would have been the ADAM-S as there was certainly more than one. I, frankly, believe Dr Martinez may well be correct about this.
Here’s something else I’ve considered…………
Was “Adam” actually Homo erectus? This species was close to modern humans and it was the first species to be a great adventurer and colonizer. Dr. Martinez believes H. erectus was a “warrior” type species and it may have well been. They may have worn clothing at least in the colder climates. They were the first to harness and use fire and they may have cooked their food before consumption. They invented a new stone tool technology known as the Acheulean Stone Tool Industry. These stone tools were far more sophisticated than the simply Oldowan stone tools and much more effective when it came to hunting and killing. Dr. Martinez postulates that H. erectus was a warrior species bent on conquest and, indeed, the anthropological evidence suggests that this species was adventurous, innovative, intelligent, and perhaps aggressive.
Homo erectus lived roughly between 1.89 mya to 143 kya with some estimates claiming this species may have survived to about 200 kya! This species was more MAN than ape! Their average height was between about 5 feet to over 6 feet tall and their average weight was between 88-150 lbs. This species was more gracile than all of its predecessors. The legs were long and it stood fully erect. This was a species built for exploration, adventure, and even war! And so I’ve wondered was this the biblical “Adam”?
Two people, one couple, cannot create and maintain a population and that is scientific FACT. To have anything near a viable population you must have around 500 couples (1000 people). Otherwise you run into problems with inbreeding such as birth deformities and mental retardation. So even when the biblical account speaks of the “creation” of man and woman (Adam & Eve) it MUST be referring NOT to simply two individuals, one couple, but to a race or species of humans!
The behavior of Homo erectus was very much like modern humans as far as we can tell. So in my mind Homo erectus is the most likely candidate for “Adam” AND for “Eve.” I think “Adam” (and “Eve”) may well be the biblical term(s) for Homo erectus.
Moving onward we come to archaic modern man (Cro-Magnon) who came about near 200 kya and possibly as early as 300 kya. Let us keep in mind that human evolution is NOT one of progressing from one species into another. Evolution is NOT a ladder but, in fact, is more like a twisted bush or vine! We now know that there were periods (sometimes long periods) when various species of humans coexisted and possibly interbred creating hybrids! These “Cro-Mags” were very similar to H. erectus and I think we might even say that early archaic humans were evolved H. erectus! Our so called “junk DNA” might one day prove that if we can obtain some viable DNA for sequencing from H. erectus fossil remains.
Assuming the Out of Africa Theory is correct and H. erectus evolved in Africa it appears that he started out nice, peaceful, and content BUT then something happened to make him want to migrate OUT of Africa and conquer the rest of the world! Was this the fall from Eden the “Earth Den”? What happened in Africa to motivate H. erectus to migrate outward? And what motivated H. erectus to basically colonize remote places such as Java and such?
And so I wonder often is this what the Bible is telling us about the story of man and is that story the same or pretty close to what evolution is telling us? I would say YES!
CLEARLY there was something DIFFERENT about Homo erectus!! He was the first human species to be fully bipedal and his body features were very close to modern humans overall. Erectus, I believe, was the first man, the first REAL human. And I also believe that the mind of H. erectus was similar to our modern minds! And so, now would come the million dollar question….. “did Homo erectus have a soul?”.
Let us assume now that the soul is real, that it exists. I would then say that in my estimation Homo erectus was teh first ancient human ancestor with such a soul. Ardipithecus, the Australopithecines, and Homo habilis were basically evolved apes! But there was something VERY different and very distinct about Homo erectus that set him apart from those before him! I therefore believe Homo erectus is what the Bible is referring to when it speaks of Adam and Eve.
We don’t know the intricate workings of the mind of Homo erectus because soft tissue (the brain) does not fossilize normally. We don’t have a Homo erectus alive today so that we can study him, dissect him, and see what makes him tick! But, judging from what we do know about Homo erectus from the fossil record it appears to me that this was ADAM! And, if so, then that puts the biblical account and the evolutionary account of man in AGREEMENT!
Psychology is concerned with the mind. Religion is concerned with the spirit or soul. Psychology and religion are two separate entities that study two separate things. OR are they separate? Not so long ago the study of the mind and soul were one study and NOT separate. Psychology originally began as the study of the mind and soul. But, today we’ve compartmentalized everything in our specialized world. We’ve separated the mind from the soul leaving the mind to be studied by modern psychology and the soul to be studied by our religions. But it wasn’t always that way, historically. This said let us return to the mind of Homo erectus…………………….
I think we can be close to 100% certain that Homo erectus was a curious species. He wanted to know what was out there in the great unknown beyond Africa! And when we went into that great unknown he had to be innovative and develop the mind and the SPIRIT of a SURVIVOR. If not then he would never have survived that great unknown (ie: the rest of the world). If for no other reason he had to have developed the mind and soul of a survivor because the unknown dangers of the unknown would have driven him into extinction. But that didn’t happen! Homo erectus survived and kept moving on, migrating, expanding, colonizing!!! That took not only a survivor’s instinct (mind and spirit) along with innovation but also INTELLIGENCE and MOTIVATION. He could have given up! He could have returned to the “safety” of Africa. But, instead, this species kept moving on into the unknown. And judging from the fossil record this is something that no species before him did at least NOT to the extent that Homo erectus did!!
Everything on our planet and, indeed, the universe we live in was created from something. It all didn’t just one day magically appear! When Homo erectus arrived upon the hominid scene there was something about him not seen before in those ancient human ancestors who came before him. And had it not been for Homo erectus modern humans (YOU!) may well not exist today. Homo erectus had something that his predecessors did not possess. Larger brain? A soul? BOTH?
This all said let me now say this. Religion and evolution have been at odds for a very long time now. Sometimes that conflict has gotten really ugly. One thing I’ve noticed about religion, however, is it seems to forget that God gave us a MIND not only a spirit. God gave us fantastic MINDS and we are expected to actually USE THEM not let them vegetate! In contrast, some evolutionists would have us believe that we are simply mindless robots responding to stimuli in the environment. Where does the human MIND fit into such a scenario then??
There is much that separates humans from animals and other primates. There is something DIFFERENT about humans. That “something different” is our minds AND I believe our souls which I see as an energy within us. That energy, like our minds, is DYNAMIC to say the least. And it is this energy along with our minds that has brought humanity to where we are today in terms of technology and civilization be it good or bad. There IS something different and unique about MAN AND WOMAN! Something that sets us apart from the rest of nature. Something that is STILL motivating us to explore the unknown! That’s why we are exploring space, the oceans, and unexplored areas of land. That same drive to explore and move into the unknown that obviously motivated Homo erectus CONTINUES TO MOTIVATE MODERN HUMANS TODAY!!
Make of this post what you wish but in my mind “Homo erectus” and “Adam/Eve” are just two different names for the same species of ancient human ancestors! I do not agree with Dr. Martinez’s theory that Australopithecus was the first “man with a soul.” I believe that was HOMO ERECTUS. Those before him were truly APE MEN but he was something different and I think the fossil record CLEARLY points that out. He had a more modern look rather than an ape-look. His behavior was certainly different from that of Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, and H. habilis. This species was something very different from what is seen before in the evolutionary record and of that there is NO DOUBT!
Finally, allow me to open up this hornet’s nest a bit further. The word “Adam” means a “ruddy color” (reddish) of human skin. In Akkadian it is rendered as “Adamu” meaning “to make.” In Hebrew it is rendered as “Adamah” meaning “earth.” In Greek it means “the leader of men.” Its earliest form is “Adamu” found in the Assyrian King’s List meaning “human” or “man” and “mankind.” Christians believe Adam was created from the clay of the earth and if so then it must have been a reddish colored clay. Red clay (known as Ultisol) is found in climates with humid temperate or tropical regions. It is found in the southern USA, Africa, Asia, and South America. BUT, red clay is also found in other places such as Sedona, Arizona in the Southwestern United States! Ironically, a brownish-reddish color is the perfect camouflage and some researchers believe that Homo erectus may well have had that color of body hair and/or skin! Now what are the chances of that? 🙂