How did the human race originate? This question is obviously very closely related
to the question of evolution. This was the real issue behind the Scopes monkey
trial. Did man evolve from apes? Or is humanity a special creation of God?
It has already been shown that life was created. Editor?s note:? that is in
the article Did Life Just Happen, found under the heading God in the Reference
Library.? It can also be seen that the fossil and genetic evidence is consistent
with a model which allows for different species having been created at different
times in the past. But what about man? Did man evolve from a lower form, or
is he one of those created species? This is clearly a highly emotionally charged
question for many people. The first question which should be asked is what does the
Probably almost every adult American has seen by now the familiar pictures from
one of the many National Geographic series on the evolution of man. They show
a series of species, beginning in the fairly remote past, gradually standing
more erect, gradually having a more pronounced forehead and presumably larger brain.
The next-to last picture is the Neandertal (also known as Neanderthal), followed
by the Cro Magnon, modern man. The implication is clear. A statement from the
National Academy of Sciences brings out the full implications of this picture.
Studies in evolutionary biology have led to the conclusion that mankind arose
from ancestral primates. This association was hotly debated among scientists
in Darwin?s day, before molecular biology and the discovery of the now abundant
links. Today, however, there is no significant scientific doubt about the close evolutionary
relationships among all primates or between apes and humans. The ?missing links?
that troubled Darwin and his followers are no longer missing. Today, not one
but many such connecting links, intermediate between various branches of the primate
family tree, have been found as fossils.
This statement is a dramatic overstatement of the facts, but it would typify
the view of many scientists, especially those who are atheists.
So what are these ?links,? and what do they prove? Consider an outline of the
evidence as well as the conclusions of anthropologists from this evidence. In
Darwin?s day there was virtually no direct evidence that man evolved from apes.
Presumably Darwin made the claim based on faith in his theory as well as the relatively
similar anatomical form of apes and humans. Since that time, some evidence regarding
proposed links between apes and humans has been discovered. These discoveries
are worth listing.
One proposed link is the species known as Australopithecus afarensis. This species
is conjectured to have lived from about four million years ago until about one
million years ago. The most famous afarensis find is known as Lucy. This fossil
find was made in 1976. However, it is missing a skull, the most important part of
the skeleton for making comparisons to human features. Since the discovery of
Lucy, over three hundred fossil finds have been classified as being afarensis.
Most of these are fragmentary?a part of a jaw or a few teeth and the like. However, in
1992 a nearly complete skull identified as afarensis was discovered. Other proposed
links have been discovered and identified as distinct from Australopithecus
afarensis. These include Homo erectus, proposed to have lived from about one million
to a few hundred thousand years ago. Conjectured to be distinct from this species
is ?archaic? Homo sapiens, proposed to have lived from a few hundred thousand
years ago until about two hundred thousand years ago. The distinctions between
these species are hotly debated among anthropologists, and it can be assumed
that the current labels will change with time as new discoveries are made.
On a more solid footing is the more recent Neandertal. Specimens identified
as Neandertal have been dated from about two hundred fifty thousand years in
the past to about forty thousand years ago (these numbers are vigorously debated
as well). Unlike the species mentioned above, there is a wealth of evidence
concerning Neandertals. Hundreds of skeletons have been identified. Most recent
of all is the fossils known popularly as Cro Magnon. Most anthropologists would
concur that Cro Magnon is modern Homo sapiens. In other words they are people.
So what about the evidence? As one looks at the skeletal remains, one sees ape,
ape, ape, people, and people. The first three species named above were all clearly
apes. They all had arm hand and leg features of apes. The major distinction
between these apes and modern chimpanzees and gorillas is that their hip structure
would imply they might have moved about mainly by walking upright. Anthropologists
hotly debate even this conclusion. They all had brain sizes about one third
that of modern humans, the same size, more or less, as modern apes. On the other
hand, Neandertal had brains on average slightly larger than modern man?s. They
had significantly different muscle structure and facial bone structure on average,
but if dressed up carefully, they could pass as modern man. They used fire,
they made tools and built simple living structures.
Please bear in mind that the writer of all this is not an expert in the field.
As mentioned, I am a chemist and a physicist. The interested reader should read
up on this subject in order to reach his or her own conclusion. Find an anthropologist
and talk to them. Be skeptical but open-minded and ask questions.
It is time to relate the evidence to what is found in the Bible. Biologists
would claim that man appeared gradually by evolution from a half-ape/half-human
ancestor. What does the Bible have to say about this? To answer the question,
one must return to the book of Genesis. The creation of Adam and Eve is recorded
in Genesis chapters one and two. ?So God created man in his own image, in the
image of God he created him.? (Genesis 1:27) ?And the Lord God formed man (Adam)
from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and man became a living being.? (Genesis 2:7)
According to the Bible, man was created. He did not evolve from apes. It is
hard to imagine interpreting these scriptures any other way. Some, in an attempt
to reconcile the Bible with the scientific evidence, have taken the creation
of Adam and Eve to be an allegory to describe in the most general terms the creation
and fall of man. Others have speculated that God took an already-evolved being
and simply imbued that creature with spiritual qualities to make man in his
own image. Perhaps these explanation should not be dogmatically ruled out, but it should
be conceded that throughout the Bible, the story of Adam and Eve seems to be
taken as fact.
So what about the evidence? It has already been shown that life was created.
It has also been suggested in the previous section, using evidence from the
fossil record, that God has created many different species at different times.
It is not a great stretch to imagine that God could have created man.
There is a very important point to be made about this however. The bottom line
is that belief in mankind as a separate supernatural creation of God is based
at least partly, if not mostly, on faith. The strongest reason to believe the
creation of man was by miraculous means is because the Bible says so. Remember
that it is importa
nt to separate what is believed by faith from what is believed
primarily because of the evidence. A conviction that the Bible is inspired by
God would lead to a conviction about heaven. It would also lead to confidence
that Jesus Christ will come back some day. It is also part of the reason to
believe the Adam and Eve account.
It is true that the evidence from paleontology points to ape, ape, ape, man,
man. It so happens that this is not in conflict with the Biblical account, claiming
that man was created. However, this is not the same as being able to claim that
the belief that man evolved is ridiculous. Although the ascent of man from apes
is far from proven, it is not an outrageous leap from the evidence either. In
fact I would be so bold as to admit that if it were not for what is recorded
in the Bible, I would probably have accepted the evolutionist?s conclusion about
the origins of man. The theory of the evolution of man from apes is a virtual
religion to many such as the Leakys. Their zeal may cause them to be overconfident
in their claims.
One could justify calling into question the accuracy of the dating of afarensis
and other fossils. Many times scientists have ended up red-faced because they
were not sufficiently skeptical about unproved theories. Nevertheless, the fact
is that as evidence has been accumulated, it has lent more credence, not less, to
the claim of the evolutionists in this area.
In summary, one is left with an unproven theory of human origins?a theory which
is unproven but which has enough supporting evidence to make it believable.
One is also left with a Biblical claim that man was created?a claim which does
not conflict with the scientific evidence. Acceptance of the Biblical claim
that man was a special creation amounts to a belief in the supernatural?a belief
that science cannot explain every event that has ever occurred. For reasons
too numerous to list, I believe the Bible is inspired by God. I believe in the
Biblical account of creation.
 Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 1984,
National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
 Several recent National Geographic articles present some of the evidence
discussed here in a very readable form. These include articles in the September
1995, January 1996 and March 1996 issues.