Origins: Neanderthals

John Zimmer (
Mon, 28 Oct 96 13:24:25 CST

Jan wrote with respect to Glenn's ideas:

> And: did the Neanderthals
>descend from Adam? (Sorry for the typo in my previous post. "some" should hav
>been "same"). My point was, that in my opimion, not knowing enough archeology,
>biology etc., Gen.4:15 might show the possibility of both descending from Adam,
>and being contemparies for a while. If you take the bible seriously: "As
>through one man sin entered into the world, . . ." Rom.5:12, then all men
>descended from Adam. And if then one of the distinguishing marks of man is
>being able to make art, then the Neanderthals descended from Adam. What then
>was the distinguishing mark between those that descended from Cain and the othe>r Adamites?

Glenn replied:

>What you describe above is my position. I believe (although I badly mis-spoke
>on one post) that Neanderhtal and modern man are both descended from Adam, but
>that Adam was a long, long time ago. I see no other way to fit the scientific
>data into a Biblical framework.

I think that Jan points out the downside of aesthetically locating Adam
in distant evolutionary history. I use the word aesthetic because we are
drawing parallels between what appears to be mythology and what is
research in the evolutionary sciences. The story of Cain and Abel
to me and to Fischer, points to the Developed Neolithic. If Adam
represents an event millions of years ago, Cain cannot possibly be
his son. The context of the story indicates that perhistory rater
that evolutionary history.

Also, remember that Genesis 1-2.3 comes from a different written
(and presumably oral) tradition than Genesis 2.4 - 4. Chapter one of
Genesis is written in what has been called the P or Priestly style
and the Story of Adam and Eve in the J or Yahwist style. I think that
chapter one images the evolutionary record in such a distinct way that
it could have been a vision of the what we currently know as the
evolutionary record. I think that Fischer is correct in that the
stories of Adam and Eve should be aesthetically linked to events
in Mesopotamian prehistory. In addition, elements of Adam's story and the
semantic link between humans and earth (or humus) are found throughout
ancient cultures of the Fertile Cresent - as Fischer has pointed out.

The phrase that Eve is the mother of all living may perhaps be thought
of along the same lines as Jesus' mom being called the Mother of the Church.
So maybe we don't have to link Adam with the transition from the
Australopithecus to Homo genus'. Rather, we can link verse 1:26 -
God intends to create humans - with the earliest species of the
Homo genus all the way down to the late archaic human speciations
(as seen in the earliest Neanderthal - which correct me if I'm wrong -
dates 100,000 years before the earliest anatomically modern human find).

Personally, I think we need to get Dick Fischer's book so we can give him
a hard time. Maybe our critique of his work will put us better on target.

On another note. Bill Moyers has a special on Genesis which
-according to TIME magazine - pointedly excluded anyone who might have
stated that the early chapters of Genesis contain any physical meaning (i.e.
connection to real events). The modern world has caged Genesis and
put it on a shelf labelled mythology. I really think that the best
way to respond is to figure ways to aesthetically link the stories
to real (or evolutionary or prehistorical) events.

J. Raymond Zimmer