I just read the article by Professor Geisler about early monotheism and
had a few questions. I’m guessing that the author is assuming that Adam
and Eve were the first ‘homo sapiens’ , and that the levant civilizations,
particularly that of the ancient ‘habiru’ was the very first. I have read
that the Chinese and Indus Valley civilizations predate Bible chronology,
and even that the Mohendaro city state originally may have seeded the
cultures of the levant through trade routes to what would become Sumer,.
Do you have any information or recources on this subject? Also I’d be
interested to know how you, and or, the ‘intelligent design’ community
views the findings of Leakey or the prevalent scientific assertation that
there were humans in various forms inhabiting the earth for thousands of
years before Adam and Eve. It would seem to me like 6,000 years isn’t
enough time for the amount of racial intraspecific variations that we have
to occur. By which I mean of course all the different skin colors, hair
textures, epicanthic folds etc.
Thanks for the insightful questions. I cannot speak for Prof. Geisler. I
would assume he believes that Adam and Eve were the first humans, but that
he does not believe that the ancient “habiru” (quoting from the Tel el
Amarna letters) were the first civilization. I know of no reason to think
that the Hebrews were the first civilization, as they began with Abraham.
The Bible has the Hebrews beginning as a group well after the flood in
Genesis 7,8, some time around 1900 BC, give or take a century. The
evidence is that settled, “civilized” cultures sprang up about 6000-4000
BC. Jericho is the oldest known city so far. I believe it dates to
nearly 8000 years ago, based on C-14 measurements. The earliest evidence
for Egyptian culture goes back to around 3500 BC. Mohenjo Daro and the
Harrapan Civilization evidence (present-day Pakistan) dates to about 3000
BC, and the Sumer civilization to about 3500 BC, making it a bit unlikely
that the former established the latter. Such numbers are fluid and can
easily change with further archaeological discovery.
As for genetic variation and time, a conservative reading of Genesis would
have us dating any “evolution” of human beings from the time of the
flood. We simply do not know when this flood happened. The Bible
certainly does not give a date, and we know that Hebrew geneologies can
have large gaps in them. By the way, I do discuss these issues fairly
carefully in the brand new edition of my book “Is There a God?” The new
edition is coming out December, 2005. It will be available at
www.ipibooks.com In this book, I discuss the Australopithecus, Neandertal
and other homo species. You can also find some useful material on this
question in Douglas Jacoby’s book, Genesis, Science and History, also
available at www.ipibooks.com Given that we cannot put a date on the
flood in Genesis, it is a bit hard to speculate how much natural genetic
variation might have occurred since that time. Scientists do not agree at
all on how fast evolution works. What we are left with is a fair amount
of room for speculation. I prefer to not make strong statements in such a
situation. The honest truthis that I am not an expert on evolution, being
a chemist and a physicist. In the book by Douglas Jacoby mentioned above,
he speculates on the possibility that Adam and Eve are evolved
proto-humans into whom God put a spirit/soul, creating the first humans.
I may be misrepresenting Doug’s view here, but that is what I got from
him. Personally, I would not go that far. I believe that Adam and Eve
were special creations, but I would not base fellowship on such a
non-essential thing as the details of how God chose to create human
beings. I could be wrong.
About the “Intelligent Design people,” and Leakey, I do not believe you
can characterize all those in the ID movement by one statement. The ID
folks include a very wide variety of beliefs. Some will have absolutely
no problem with humans evolving from apes. They believe that creation was
intelligent, but do not necessarily ascribe to biblical inerrancy. Others
believe that Adam and Eve were real people and that they were a special
creation of God. I guess you are left needing to decide for yourself what
to believe on this.
Yes, I do know Joel Castellaw. I am the director of our honors program,
and I have been trying to get him to teach an honors communication/speach
class for us. I do not know him well, but am acquainted. Small world.
Anyway, I hope my response is at least some help.