Mark Swint

Adam, Eve, and Cavemen

In Adam and Eve, Bible, creation, Genesis, Geology, God, Moses, Philosophy, science, Science and Religion on October 11, 2008 at 1:29 pm

By:Mark Swint

author of

Oculus book cover

             

Nothing brings out the howls of derision among scientists like the subject of Adam and Eve in the garden, and the related subject of the age of mankind. This derision is not without foundation as the evidence that some form of human habitation has walked this earth for far more than the traditional 6,000 years or so that theologians claim is pretty strong. This is one area that seems pretty strongly in the scientists corner. Is the Bible wrong? Is the creation story and the account of Adam and Eve pure fantasy? Must people of faith take a bloody nose on this one? Maybe, maybe not. Even here I’ll bet we can find a plausible compromise that, at least, might be true. It could be true. If in fact we believe that there is a common source for all Homo- sapiens, which, by the way, anthropologists are constantly looking for and many believe they have found, then there Must be a story that satisfies both the evidence and the revealed truth.

Several obstacles stand in our way as we explore this story. Chief among them are the arguments that;

1.  Adam and Eve were the first people on the earth.

2. Adam and Eve were immortal before the fall.

3. The Earth is only about 6,000 years ago.

These seem to be daunting obstacles that cannot find common ground with well established scientific theory. Fair enough, I love a good challenge. Let’s start by discussing the firstness of Adam and Eve.

Scientists love to classify things. They classify anything and everything from rocks to butterflies to bacteria to hominids – the general class of primates that includes Monkeys, Apes and Humans. Humans fall into a sub-classification of Homo which includes several extinct species including Kenyanthropus, Paranthropus and Australopithecus.  Homo Neanderthalensis, (or Neanderthals) is considered to be the last ancestor of modern man. Homo-Sapiens (Us) are different from these ancestors; not in the way Africans are different from Asians who are different from Caucasians, but different as in the way Chimpanzees are different from Baboons who are different from Gorillas. To say that Australopithecus is human is incorrect on several levels. To say that Australopithecus is similar to human is correct. But similar is not the same as SAME. To disregard the claim that Adam and Eve (Admittedly just Anglicized names for whatever their real common names were) were the first humans because we have found bones from the Olduvai Gorge in Kenya, Africa that are dated at over a million years old is just not right. You see, none of those bones were from Homosapiens. In fact, anthropologists argued over what class they were from. The Leakeys, discoverers of those great finds, classified them one way and other researchers saw them differently. In no case, however, were they classified as Homosapiens. By the way, Dr. Louis Leakey was also a Christian missionary who believed in the theories of Darwin. He said “Nothing I’ve ever found has contradicted the Bible. It’s people with their finite minds who misread the Bible.”

So what is it that makes a human a human? I’m sure philosophers could debate this issue forever. We’ll forgo that and offer our own hypothesis. I believe that the single most defining trait of humans is that they have an innate sense of right and wrong. They have a conscience. While it is true that some people have pretty effectively erased those traits from their own lives, isn’t it also true that we accuse those same people of being ‘inhuman’? It is this innate sense of right and wrong that is variously called “the Light of Christ” or “the Divine Spark” that also makes us accountable for our ‘sins’ or misdeeds. When animals do something bad we say they are just following their instincts but when people do those same things we accuse them of wrong doing and say “you know better than that!” This accountability allows us to work righteousness and commit sin. This accountability is the only thing that allows us to be Judged of God (or however you view it) and allows us to be classified (I guess we all do it) as good or evil.

Could it be that when the Bible says that Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth what it was really saying is that Adam and Eve were the first Hominids to have a conscience and to be accountable for their actions? In this way, the disobedience that Adam and Eve displayed in the Garden of Eden would truly have been the “original sin”. Interestingly, the Bible says that God directed the creation and organization of all life on earth yet it is only mankind that is referred to as “the children of God” and it is only to humans that God calls himself our “Heavenly Father”. In this broader view could we not say that Adam and Eve are appropriate tags for the first of the species that we belong to, even though precursor species might have paved the way for our development?

The scriptures say that there was no death before the fall of Adam and Eve; that in fact death was introduced by the commission of the original disobedience in the garden. Hum? On the face of it, this just doesn’t make sense. After all, what about the food they, and all the animals, ate? Let’s say they ate fruit, a plum or a peach. Didn’t that fruit have to develop from the blossom of the tree from which it came? Didn’t that blossom have to flower to attract the bees that pollinated it? Isn’t it true that once a flower is pollinated the job of the flower is done and the petals wilt and die and fall away, leaving an ever swelling bud that turns into the fruit. Isn’t the death of a flower a death just the same? What about the fruit itself? If Adam and Eve ate anything didn’t that mean that whatever they ate died when it was plucked or at very least when it was eaten? Well, you get the point. This immortality claim is one that seems hard to accept. However, as we have discussed before (See previous blog “The 900 year old man”) age and aging is a very relative thing and it certainly is possible for a living being to have a much longer lifespan than is commonly thought.

But what is Death? The word is used in many different ways.  When a living organism ceases to live we say it is dead. But we also use that word to signify the end of lots of other things. We all, for instance just witnessed the ‘death of Lehman Brothers’ a Wall St. firm that had lived for 150 years. When two lovers break up we say it was the death of a Romance. A fundamental societal shift can mark the death of an age as in “the death of innocence”. Indeed, the word death can denote many things, most of them bad.

There is one other form of death which all spiritual people fear; that is “Spiritual death”. Let’s say that spiritual death means the separation – or permanent separation if you like – of man from the presence of God. If the scriptures say that eternal life is being with God then eternal death would be the eternal separation from God. It must be something like this because the scriptures say that we can overcome spiritual death and that we can be born again; all words that indicate not an actual physical death or birth but a symbolic or spiritual death or birth. The bible states that the wages of sin is death so it is reasonable to say that we separate ourselves from God and Godliness when we sin – that is, when we disobey a principle that we know is true, something that animals don’t and can’t so.

It is plausible that the biblical account of the creation and of our first parents was referring to this death when it said that prior to the establishment of a life form that resembled and had the spark of God within; there was no death on the earth. The account in Genesis says that Adam and Eve’s death would come about if they disobeyed one of the Father’s edicts; that is, if they broke a rule, which was a sin. Sin separates us from righteousness and the spirit of God so it would have been true for Adam and Eve that in the day they ‘broke the rules’ they would surely die (spiritually die that is). We know that they did not die the very day they sinned (there’s that word die again) because as a punishment they were cast out of the garden into the ‘dark and dreary world’ where they had to toil for their food and shelter. In fact, Adam lived for over 900 years after he left the garden and we have no idea how long he and Eve were in the garden before the fall. Obviously God did not lie so obviously he meant something more esoteric when he said that “in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die!” If God can speak in metaphoric or symbolic terms then why can’t we take a more metaphoric or symbolic interpretation of his words? It is not a far stretch to say that Adam and Eve enjoyed the presence of God while they were in the garden. This was tantamount to eternal life. By sinning and being thrust out of the garden, and more importantly, being thrust out of the presence of God they were separated from Him and thus suffered a spiritual death. Again, I am not trying to preach any type of theology here; rather I am trying to see if it is possible to satisfy both Scientists and theologians; or, if there is any common ground from which to start the process of reconciliation.

The third claim (Well, actually it is an inference) of Genesis is best displayed by Matt Damon’s recent ‘call out’ of Sarah Palin over whether she actually believed that the earth was only 6,000 years old. It is true that the genealogies of the Bible indicate that about 6,000 years have elapsed from the days of Adam to the present. This is actually pretty well documented as the Biblical writers all seemed obsessed with genealogies. The truth is that all cultures up until the last hundred years or so have been obsessed with genealogies. Much of the social order was maintained by rights of survivorship and the traditions of the firstborn and so on. In modern times we don’t seem to care much about this anymore but it was an issue of vital importance throughout human history.

If we accept the ideas presented in the discussion of death just a few paragraphs ago we can cover this argument quickly. The Biblical account of the 6 creative periods indicates that the creation of the earth was a process of steps. The Haggadah says that the creation was actually many more steps but I guess it all boils down to how narrowly you define one individual step. The point is, the creation, even by biblical accounts didn’t occur in one giant ‘poof’ moment. It was an orderly process where one event followed another. Whenever anything follows a process I believe science can explain it. I personally believe God believes in order and all things were and are done in an orderly process. The scriptures imply that God is a god of order so it would follow that He used processes to organize and prepare the world for the eventual human habitation that it is today. The fact that Moses recounts this process in only 3 pages does not in any way imply that it occurred overnight. I have blogged before that the word day has many meanings and could easily, and surly, referred to a creative period much longer than a 24 hour period. How long each creative period was we can only speculate but the tectonic processes that could have caused the ‘Waters be gathered together and let the dry land to appear” could easily have taken many thousands or millions of years. The introduction of plants should have taken many eons as ecosystems were developed and stabilized. Likewise the animal kingdom must have gone through many iterations (as it continues to do even to this day) before becoming what we know today. Researchers say that twice in pre-Cambrian times more than 95% of the animal kingdom went extinct only to be followed by what they call the pre-Cambrian explosion when the majority of animal life appeared all at once (relatively speaking). The point is, the Earth could have been many millions, or thousands of millions of earth years old before we see the introduction of Adam and Eve in the Garden. The Bible, concerning itself with man and his relationship to God, would concern itself, except for a 3 page recap of the creation, only with the dealings between God and Man and that could well have been for only about the last 6,000 years.

I don’t know, I could be wrong.

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  1. Adam and Eve were not alone, and, they were white, and, the Bible tells us. (And no, this is not racist)

    Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    The word “man” in Hebrew is aw-dawm’ which means ruddy and comes from the root word aw-dam’ which means to blush or to show blood in the face of which the Caucasians are the race which blushes.

    God created all of the different races, they did not all come from Adam. In Genesis chapter 2, there is a parable in where, the trees in the garden are symbolic for people. And, Ezekiel 31 explains that parable.

    Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
    Gen 2:9 And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;

    And here we have the trees in the garden of Eden (garden of God) which, symbolize people.

    Eze 31:3 Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches
    Eze 31:8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; the fir-trees were not like its boughs, and the plane-trees were not as its branches; nor was any tree in the garden of God like unto it in its beauty.
    Eze 31:9 I made it fair by the multitude of its branches, so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied it.

    Trees are used to symbolize people all through the Bible. Remember, Jesus himself said, “I am the vine, you are the branches, and also,

    Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    Now, as for Adam and his line being white, the Bible tells us even more:

    This is David before he was king. He was also of a “ruddy” complexion

    1Sa 16:12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look upon. And Jehovah said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he.

    And more:
    Son 5:10 My beloved is white and ruddy, The chiefest among ten thousand.

    And those of Zion (Jerusalem) were white

    Lam 4:7 Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire.

    There are many places in the Bible that tell that Adam and his line were white. And, since the line to Jesus was kept pure within Israel’s and Adam’s blood line, he would be white also. Adam was the beginning of the Caucasians only. All of the other races were in the garden of Eden, and, Adam was placed there to look after them:

    Gen 2:15 And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

    The garden of Eden was people. You just have to read it in the Hebrew, and, understand that God speaks in parables, even back then.

    The Bible is an account of Jesus and his lineage only. It is NOT a history book of the world.

    And, if you’re wondering how all of the races got past the flood, remember, God told Noah to bring 2 of ALL life on the boat.

    Gen 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

    Notice it says “EVERY” living thing. That would include the other races which God made also.

    Have you ever wondered where Cain got his wife from, or, who he was afraid of when he was sent away after killing Abel? It doesn’t say, because, it’s wrapped in a parable. Most speculate that it was his sister he married, which, is not the case. He went away to the East, and, found a wife from one of the other races which God made.

    Who was he afraid of below?

    Gen 4:14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me.

    Who was his wife, and, who did he build a city for?

    Gen 4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
    Gen 4:17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

    There were other people on the earth which God made. That is who Cain married, who he built a city for, and, who he was afraid of.

    Man has speculated how all of these things came about, and, most have gotten them wrong. The trees in the garden of Eden were symbolic for people, and, Adam who was a type of Christ (Rom 5:14) was to look over, and, to cultivate those people.

    In short, Adam was white, and, the father of the Caucasian race, and, there were other people on the earth. And, God made them all. And Adam’s line continues today.

  2. Thank you for your comments. While I have strongly held theological beliefs, I tend not to share them in this blog. Rather, I try to show that Biblical claims are not necessarily in direct opposition to scientific theory. My hope is that I can in some small way help bridge the gap that currently keeps science and religion apart. This is not to say that I want to reduce religion to a set of formulas and theorums. On the contrary, personal religious faith is a matter of, well, faith! Probably the most overriding principle of the scriptures is the necessity of personal and active faith in our relationship with God. Having said that, I also believe that there is absolutely no need for science and religion to be at war! My most recent post – In The Beginning_- briefly goes over the history of the development of this rift.

    As to your ascertain that Adam and Eve were the progenetors of only the Caucasian race, I leave you to your beliefs. I try not to expose my own beliefs here but I will depart from that policy this once. I appreciate your comment to this blog and I approved it without reservtion although I humbly take a different interpretation of the scriptures you cite. I do not want this Bolg to engage in censorship and I welcome all comments.

    I wonder if your position might not be a little too tightly interpreted? I guess my query is about whether or not you consider the house of Israel, or, if you like, just the tribe of Judah, i.e. the Jews, to be caucasian? I have never heard this before. As the Israelites and the Ismaelites – the Arab people – all descend from Abraham, who descends from Noah etc.etc. Do you consider the Arabic peoples to be caucasian as well? I ask this because of all the geneologies in the world since the beginning of time I believe the Savior’s geneologies, both patriarchal and matriarchal are probably the most well established, and I believe he certrainly descended from Noah. Additionally, the people of the Orient, the Central Asains, the English and the Irish, the Kurds and the Pastun Afganis, and many others – all make claim to Abrahamic descent through the ten lost tribes of Israel. The eentire Arab world holds Abraham to be their father. Are all these white according to your view?

    Additionally, anthropologists are hot on the trail of finding our first mother. They embark upoon this quest with what they call the “Eve” gene. They are pretty confident that they have found a Mitochondrial gene that connects all people of the Earth to one single mother. I present these thoughts only for your consideration and include a plea that while you are certainly free to hold to your beliefs, and I respect your freedom to do so, I encourage you to be open enough to at least consider that there might be more to the story than any of us know.

  3. Very interesting questions and account. I agree that the first commenter appears to offer a very narrow interpretation, and you raise very good questions.

    You assert: “The scriptures say that there was no death before the fall of Adam and Eve.”

    Do you have a Biblical reference for that? Regardless, I like your flexible interpretation of “death.” as a separation from God.

    I actually agree well with your conception of Adam and Eve as an individual with a conscience–ability to judge between right and wrong.

  4. Well ! I have gone through all the paper and also the comments on it . I believes that Bible and science actually goes together, for example: like in the Bible we found it is written that IN THE BINGING GOD CREATED HEAVEN AND EARTH. I see that astro physics starts here. In the paper one thing that appeals me is that God is a god of order. it is very true. in the end I would like to say thanks to the writer and commentators for sharing this. It really helped me in writing my researches and papers.

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