Re: Adam and Recognizing the Creator...

Glenn R. Morton (
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 19:09:06 -0800

At 11:42 AM 11/17/98 -0500, Rasmussen, Ryan J. wrote:
>Native Americans and other people around the world who were relatively
>isolated all seem to have some idea that there was is a being (or beings
>for some) beyond this world. Seems to me that all humans have the
>ability to see that there is something beyond this plane of existence.
>We all have the ability to recognize the Creator. God just sent people
>like Abraham to let the people of the world know it is Him. Maybe
>that's what makes a creature a human being... being able to recognize
>the existence of the Creator?

I knew this would come in handy at some point. I recently read a book on
the evangelism of the Tierra del Fuegians. It was written by the son of the
first missionary to them and it contains much anthropological information
about them.
The interesting item about what Bridges writes of the Ona concerns this
view of the image of God. And Bridges observation makes me worry more about
the limited Adam view. Bridges writes ( Klokten were novices in the men's
lodge of the Ona. Initiates who had passed their first exam.):

"I have met white men who told strange stories of Tierra del Fuego, and, as
far as I could judge, believed in what they told. One claimed to have
found a mysterious spot in the Forest, where there was a great stone on
which human sacrifices had recently been made. Another spoke of a cave
where young guanaco, fat birds and other luxuries were deposited as gifts
to the gods, later to be devoured, no doubt, by some cunning medicine-man
or priest. I heard one lecturer solemnly telling his audience:
'They believe in a god called klokten'
Imagine anyone giving a talk on the Navy, and announcing:
"They believe in a god called Midshipman.'
"According to other so-called explorers, the Ona also worshiped Hyewhi,
which means a song or chant, and joon, which has occurred too often in
these pages to need translation here. One authority went so far as to
prove, to his own satisfaction, that Joon, is directly derived from the
Hebrew Jehovah."
"These stories demonstrate how a vivid imagination, combined with wishful
thinking and the desire to impart interesting information, may influence a
certain type of otherwise enlightened and educated men.
"During the many hours I passed in the Lodge, listening to the exhorations
of the older men, and during the years I spent almost exclusively in the
company of the Ona Indiands, I never heard a word that pointed to religion
or worship of any kind; no expectation or hope of reward--no fear of
punishement--in a future life. There was dread of death by witchcraft and a
lesser dread of the ghosts of the woods, but not the ghosts of the departed
dead. Respect there was for individual mountains such as Heuhupen, who,
annoyed at being rudely pointed at, might wrap herself in clouds and bring
on bad weather. Fear of death, end of life, may have existed; possibly
some unexpressed terror of the unknown; but there was no worship, no
prayer, no god, no devil." ~ E. Lucas Bridges, The Uttermost Part of the
Earth, (New York: Dutton, 1949), p.429

A joon was a magician or medicine man.

Now, the interesting thing to this discussion is the apparent lack of
worship among the Ona. Bridges was no mere outside observer,he was raised
from birth with them and he went through the entire manhood ceremonies with
the Ona and was initiated into their society. Here we have a people who
didn't worship. Were they descendents of Adam? Do they have the image of
God? Assuming that Adam is a late figure, and assuming that prior to Adam
were non-human humans, then can we treat the Ona like animals? The case of
the Ona is one of those that would be firmly in the gray area. I believe
that the Ona, with or without religion, are fully human.


Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information