Farewell Adam and Eve?
Not everybody who opposes the biblical account of origins can be characterized as bigoted. Many can give you solid evidence that, for instance, Homo sapiens (modern man) had been around long, long before 4000 B.C., the approximate time of the creation of Adam and Eve according to the biblical date data. Human bones have been found going back almost a quarter of a million years. (See Earliest Humans Not So Different from Us). The evidence that they lived during the Ice Age and that they were contemporaries of and dined on megafauna is incontrovertible. The variety of cultures displayed is quite impressive, too. Yes, many remains of small groups have been found in caves throughout Europe and the Middle East. But huge communities of pre-Adamic peoples have been uncovered in some locations. For instance, Gault, Texas (pic top left), boasts a site from the Clovis culture (from approximately 12000 B.C.) that has yielded a massive number of stone artifacts - more than 600,000 have been recovered from less than 3% of the site. Some lived a nomadic life in pursuit of big game, such as horses, camels, mastodons, and bisons (those living in Europe and North America) which they cut down with spears while others lived a sedentary life in large communities and enjoyed "a full-blown generalized hunting and gathering culture".
Until a few decades ago, prehistoric man was stereotypically depicted as utterly dim-witted, thicker than two bricks, communicating in animal-like grunts. Anthropologists now know that prehistoric man, although not capable of doing much of what we do today, was invested with an impressive degree of intelligence. They used wooden and stone tools, particularly flint, of different designs for different purposes. The Gault community had "projectile points, performs, bifaces, adzes, blades, tools on blades, [and] blade cores". In Europe, " Homo sapiens fossils first appear. together with complex stone tool technology, carved bone tools, complex projectile weapons, advanced techniques for using fire, cave art, beads and other personal adornments." They even appear to have had some form of organization. Assuming the correctness of the date for the stone tower mentioned below (9000 B.C., at Jericho), researchers tell us that it was built at a time ". when hierarchy began and leadership was established". At Jericho the evidence suggests, according to some, that its ancient residents even had a religious shrine.1All these capabilities suggest communication was a lot further advanced than grunting and chest-beating.
But note the limitations. Though they gathered and hunted, and even included grain in their diet, they did not till the land or husband cattle. Though they built wooden huts, houses of beaten earth and small mud bricks,2 wells and stone pavements, stairs and stone towers,3 they showed no sign of decorative architecture. Though they seem to have
crafted some "crude, hand-made pottery, bearing roughly devised patterns"4 further refinement was unknown, even though they had had a couple of hundred thousand years to make such improvements. Cave art and beads indicate some kind of aesthetic sense - but not much.5
The big question is, should we therefore ditch the Genesis account of Adam and Eve as religious myth. Not at all. Although some problems remain to be resolved, reconciliation can be achieved if. if we can absorb the concept that the Bible presents a heavily truncated account. The Bible is literally true but far from complete. God's mind is infinitely complex and imaginative; the Bible was never intended as an exhaustive catalog of all His works.
Can we grasp the notion that God created Adam and Eve just as Genesis tells us, against the backdrop that archaeologists and anthropologists have discovered (bearing in mind that they can be wrong on many details). What a priori considerations make such an idea impossible? A significant qualitative difference of some kind separated Adam's descendants from prehistoric man. Prehistoric man, though intelligent to a fairly high degree and biologically identical with Adam and Eve, probably lived by instinct, not free choice. We can only speculate as to all the details. What we can say is this; Adam's descendants have free will and other attributes that set them apart from their predecessors. Adam's descendantss have the potential to enter the kingdom of God. Somehow, "cavemen" were incapable of repentance, of loving God, of sanctification and perfection.
The difference between prehistoric man and "the daughters of men" is reflected by the massive transition that occurred between the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods:
The. Chalcolithic period (c. 4500-3000 B.C.) succeeded the Neolithic, and with it came the increasing use of metal for implements and utensils. This period is characterized by an advanced degree of culture that is often regarded as marking the transition from primitive life to the great civilizations of antiquity.6
Note the date for the Chalcolithic - fits perfectly with the biblical dates. Prehistoric man had been hunter/gatherers for possibly a quarter million years, while Adam's descendant, Jabal, introduced animal husbandry (Gen. 4:20) within centuries. Prehistoric man had used stone and wood for "eternity", while Adam's descendant, Tubal-Cain, invented metallurgical processes long before the Flood. The Bible, while it may not be "the whole truth" is nevertheless "the truth and nothing but the truth".
1R. K. Harrison. Old Testament Times, p. 34
3 First Skyscraper Was a Monument to Intimidation: How Jericho's 11,000-Year-Old 'Cosmic' Tower Came Into Being
4 Harrison, p. 34
5 In the 1960s archaeologists excavated the ancient city of Catal Huyuk in Turkey which they date at around 7000 B.C., three thousand years before Adam and Eve. This city "was a community with an extensive economic development, specialized crafts, a rich religious life, a surprising attainment in art and an impressive social organization" (Mellaart, A Neolithic City in Turkey, Scientific American, April 1964). Skepticism as to the accuracy of radiocarbon dating that far back is still strong in numerous circles, and may yet be proven well-founded. Alternatively, the inhabitants of Catal Huyuk did indeed precede Adam, and had a high degree of "instinct-based intelligence".
6 Harrison, p. 34