Friday, 9 June 2017

Was the world populated before the arrival of Adam and Eve?

This article was originally published in my blog on Friday, August 11, 2006.  Now it is published  again with some slight changes in the text.

The King James version of the Holy Bible says this about the creation of Adam and Eve in verses 26, 27 and 28 of chapter one of Genesis; “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the Earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them; Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the Earth.”

A question that has been asked by millions of Christians, Jews and Moslems alike is; was the world populated before Adam and Eve arrived.

In chapter two, the Bible says in verse 7; “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” In verse 19 of Chapter 3 of Genesis, God says to Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit;  “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Truly it would be a miracle for any living thing to be suddenly created from a non-living entity, such as dust. Living things, such as humans, animals and even trees must have the following major elements within them for them to be living things. I am speaking of, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and proteins --- long chains of amino acids. Without these four main elements, especially proteins, a living entity, be it a tree, bird, fish, insect or a human being, wouldn’t exist.

A fundamentalist will argue that God (if there is a God) was capable of creating a man from dust and that by itself is the miracle. If that happened, it truly would be a miracle. However, how would a fundalmentalist define a miracle? According to the fundalmentalists of many religions, a miracle is an intervention by God in the universe—a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of God. In one sense, most people would conclude that if they can't adequately explain a phenomenon according to their ideas of how the world works, therefore it's must be supernatural.

For many centuries after the birth of Jesus, no-one ever believed that Man would fly above the trees and yet if they saw such an event, they would believe that it was a miracle when in fact, in reality, there is a logical explanation for the possibilty of seeing a human being flying above them in some form of craft as the so-called miracle unfolds before them. It is a logical event that takes the event out of the realm of the supernatural. No-one believed that it was possible for humans to create diamonds and yet, in the last century, scientists were able to create diamonds from the bones of deceased human beings. That is not a miracle brought about by God but instead it is brought about by Man through the efforts of scientists. The early Christians believed that after the birth of Jesus, a star shone directly over the manger he was born in and guided the three wise men from the east. They say that that was a miracle. In actual fact, what the three wise men (who were not kings but astrologers from Babylon) saw overhead far away in space was the conjunction of two planets (Saturn and Jupiter) which even then they knew was not a star. To them, Saturn represented a king and Jupiter represented Jerusalem and that’s why they went to Jerusalem to search for the new king. They knew that if a king was born in Jerusalem at that time, their predictions after seeing the bright light (reflections of the sun bouncing off the surfaces of the two planets) would have come true. The brightness of the two planets was not a supernatural event. It was extraordinary but not miraculous and certainly not a star.

What I am trying to say is that whatever the people who populated the Earth after the onset of human beings believed were miracles, there was a logical explanation for the occurences or alternatively, many were myths that were told over and over again by the early human beings for many centuries even when the myths had no possibility of reality to them. It is far too easy for fundalmentalists to simply say that if the event cannot be explained, it must be a miracle brought about by God. In other words, if the first human being was created by dust, (and that event can’t be explained) that it must be a miracle, in other words, a supernatural act of God.

Without attempting to be disrespectful to fundalmentalists who honestly believe that the words of the Holy Bible should be interpreted literally, the possibility of a human being (homo sapien) thinking man being created from dust is pure unadulterated foolishness since it is a physical and scientific impossibility that defies logic.

The natural world is all-inclusive, and even if our world and the universe were to include elves and spirits, honest politicians and space beings, then all those things would be considered as being natural. It's just that our conception of what's natural is what is often mistakenly referred to as miraculous.

'Adam' is very often understood simply as the proper name of the first human being. But 'Adam' is identical with the Hebrew word for human being (adam = 'human being') The Hebrew definition in the collective sense means ‘humanity’ or ‘mankind’. The Old Testament uses the Hebrew term ‘adam’ many times in the sense of ‘man’ or ‘mankind’. Most recent translations of the Bible, such as the New Revised Standard Version, makes the point that the ‘man’ in this verse was meant to encompass all humanity, rather than a single individual.

From verse 7, one is being asked to consider that Adam was the first human being that lived on Earth because the authors of the Bible used the word ‘man’ which is singular rather than use the words, ‘a man’ which could imply that he chose one of several or one of many men to form a human man in his own image.

This could mean that the correct interpretation of the word ‘Adam’ is ‘mankind’ and that the verse 7 in chapter two of Genesis is to be read as; “....then the LORD God formed mankind out of dust from the ground, and breathed into their nostrils the breath of life; and mankind became living beings.” The word ‘Adam” is a derivative of the word, ‘Adamah’ which means ‘ground’ or ‘earth’ which may have been the clay that would have to be used to mold a body of a human man since a figure couldn’t be molded from dust. The words, ‘breathed into their nostrils the breath of life’ could simply mean the air which God made earlier for mankind and the animal kingdom to breathe.

I refer you to chapter one, verse 26 of Genesis. "Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

The use of the word, ‘our’ is an august or regal term used by kings, emperors and the papacy so the authors of the Bible wrote of God in august or regal terms. But we are forced to ask ourselves, did he form human beings after his or her or it’s own image and likeness? If we are willing the accept that proposal, then we have to presume that God is both a man and a woman or is one or the other. Of course millions of atheists believe that there is no god anywhere.

I will quote from the Concise Revised Bible Dictionary which has an answer to that question. It says in part; "The creation of Adam in God’s image and likeness is best understood as creation with all those qualities which make a being truly a person as God is a person ---- with spiritual, aesthetic, rational, emotional and moral capacities." This implies that, according to the authors of The Abingdon Bible Commentary it is more probable that the expression ‘in the image of God’ has no physical implications but is meant to suggest that man differs from all the rest of creation in the possession of self-conscious personality, in which he alone of all creatures resembles God.” unquote

It’s ironic when one thinks about it. According to the Old Testament, God made man in his own image. But mankind believing that it is supreme over all living things (which mankind is) makes the presumption that God is made in the image of a man since the early writers never saw God and therefore believed that God must be like a human male. God’s image in paintings is as an old man. In the paintings, he was never pictured as a female because in verse 25 of chapter 2 of Genesis, God said that he would make ‘man’ in his own image. Could he have meant ‘mankind’? If so, why didn’t he choose to make the angels in his own image since they existed prior to him making mankind? Angels are painted as human beings with large wings. That really adds to the confusion because it is difficult to determine from the paintings as to whether or not the angels are of both sexes; male and female or just one sex.

Kenneth C. Davis in his book Don’t Know Much About the Bible, on page 50, said; "The universe was created by some force—call it the Big Bang or God or Allah or Vishnu or simply energy  that set in motion the cataclysmic string of events that brought the Earth into existence 4.5 billion years ago. So began the long line of events that brought the chemical chain reactions that created the spark of life on earth. That incredible process resulted in the appearance, a brief moment in time, a two-legged creature that walked upright. This creature (eventually) held tools in hand and his hands were no longer needed for moving through the trees. He built fires and eventually held a short, pointed stick that made intricate symbols in pieces of hardening mud, It was the beginning of the (written) word."

Somewhere in that early stage of evolution, Adam was supposedly created. According to The Bab, (the holy book of the Bahai faith), Adam lived about 10,500 B.C. When looking at the Christian Bible and then extrapolate back from the date of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, (1446 B.C.) and calculate the ages of the main characters in the Bible prior to that time, Adam came into existence approximately 4000 B.C. That premise conflicts with the conclusions of scientists world-wide who agree among themselves that the first species of the genus Homo (humans), evolved in South and East Africa in the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene period.(1.81 million to 11,550 years before the birth of Jesus.

It has been said that Man began walking on his legs about 1.8 million years ago. Homo sapiens (Latin for humans with intelligence) has lived from 200,000 years B.C. to the present. It follows then that human beings existed almost two million years before the biblical Adam came into existence. It also follows that human beings in that period of time had a self-conscious personality long before the biblical Adam arrived.

There is proof that Mankind existed long before the Bible described the beginning of Mankind. In the year of 2004, the bones of human beings were discovered in a cave in Morocco that scientists have determined were those of humans that lived around 200,000 years ago. This should force us to rethink where, when, and how we evolved.

There is another way to look at the question of Adam and Eve being the first human beings on Earth. Was Eve the first woman on earth? In strictly biblical terms, Eve was the first woman on Earth and as such, was Adam’s wife. But Hebrew legend has another story about his first wife. As recorded in the medieval Alphabet of of Ben Sira, Lilith was Adam’s first wife who preceded Eve. In this version, Lilith was created from the earth, just as Adam was.

I point this out to illustrate that it is conceivable that the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis is simply another story that has been passed from one person to another for thousands of years.

Cain, the first born was a farmer and his younger brother, Abel was a Sheppard. But were they really human beings?

In Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, S.H. Hooke writes on page 181; "Cain and Abel represents two different types of community, the agricultural and the pastoral, each carrying out its regular ritual of sacrifice. In the story, one ritual is successful and the other is not. That is what is implied when it says that Yahweh (Hebrew word for God) accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s.” unquote

It is the belief of many (and myself included) that the two sons of Adam and Eve as depicted in the Bible were in fact two groups of people ( planters of plants etc and shepherds ) living side by side in one group of human beings. At some period in time, someone in the agricultural community killed someone in the pastoral community which resulted in the killer or perhaps his clan being evicted from the community." That would explain how a city outside of Eden was later built. 

Genesis 5:4 tells us that Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters. Jewish tradition has it that they had 56 children altogether. They base that figure on the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote; (during the time of Christ) "The number of Adam’s children, as says the old tradition, was thirty-three sons and twenty-three daughters.” According to the Old Testament, Adam lived for 930 years (Genesis 5:5) although I don’t think that any scientist or most Christians, Jews and Muslims alike nowadays really believes that any human being could live that many years. Justification for this doubt is the fact that the Old Testament also states that God created the Heavens and Earth in six days. No right-thinking person believes that either.

If Adam and Eve were the first humans and all people have descended from them (Acts 17:26) ‘And hath made of one blood all nations of men . . .’), then somewhere on Earth, brothers had to marry sisters. Many people believe that after Cain killed his brother Abel and was ordered out of the garden of Eden, he married one of his sisters. I don’t believe this is what happened considering the fact that there were already over a million human beings on Earth at that time. 

If you look at verse 14 in chapter 4 in the book of Genesis, you will see the first hint that there were other human beings on Earth before the death of Abel at the hands of Cain. After Cain murdered his brother, God told him that he had to leave the garden of Eden, Cain then said to God; “Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face I shall be hidden and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the Earth, and whoever finds me will slay me.”

Who was he speaking about when he used the words, ‘whoever’ during his communication with God? Since there is no mention in the Old Testament that Adam and Eve or any of their children (other than Cain) that were born after Cain, was ordered out of the garden of Eden at that time. Then who was Cain afraid of? Obviously he was afraid of being slain by other human beings who were not in the garden of Eden after he left but rather, were outside the garden.

Verses 16 and 17 of chapter 4 of Genesis says; "Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden." Cain knew his wife, (meaning he had intercourse with her) and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch."

Who did Cain marry? Were there not other people on the Earth before he met his wife? Who lived in the land of Nod that was east of Eden when he met his wife? We don’t even know her name and yet she is the most talked about wife in the entire world. Many people believe that for Cain to find a wife, there must have been other ‘races’ of people on the Earth who were not descendants of Adam and Eve.

To many people, this question is a stumbling block that obstructs their acceptance of the Biblical account that states that Adam and Eve were the first human beings on Earth.

Defenders of the words in the Old Testament must be able to show that all human beings are descendants of one man and one woman. (Adam and Eve) Thus, believers need to be able to account for Cain’s wife and show clearly that she too was a descendant of Adam and Eve. That is not possible.

I realize that a lot of people say that Cain's wife was his sister, but that is impossible. Why? Because if you know anything about Anthropology, you will know that in all primitive societies, it was a general rule that brothers did not marry their sisters oe have sex with them. The strictest of taboos were applied to this particular form of incest. They were aware of the physical and mental problems that were inherent when brought about by such incest. Secondly, if you read the story carefully, Seth (Adam’s third son) was not born until after Cain was banished, and thus after he spoke of whoever (Genesis 4:14) would slay him, who was Cain speaking about?

After Seth was born, Adam (according to the Old Testament) lived another 800 years, producing more sons and daughters. This obviously shows that there was Cain, Abel, Seth, and then other daughters and sons followed. Thus the explanation that Cain's wife was his sister cannot be correct, because females (other than Eve) did not enter the current population until after Seth was born, and by that time, Cain was already banished.

God planted a garden in Eden according to the scriptures. Note: the entire earth was definitely not Eden sibce only a very small portion of the Earth was Eden. What does the Bible say was outside of Eden? It doesn’t say anything about what was outside of Eden at the time Cain was banished from Eden.

But there was a desert wilderness in that area if we believe that the land of Nod was in the Middle East. And who lived in this wilderness? It was Australopithecus, Homo-Erectus, Neanderthal man, and Cro-Magnon man, who roamed the wilderness outside of Eden. Remember that this all occurred well over a million years ago.

These beings were very tall, broad-faced, had retreating foreheads (indicating a small brain—unlike humans today) with massive brow ridges and their bodies were covered in very course dense hair. This means that Cain was fearful to leave the place of his birth, because he believed that there were other people out there who would kill him.

That is very strange considering that the supposed God marked him as the "first murderer?" If that is so, how did he know that others would kill him? The reason is because this type of very violent behaviour was typical throughout the species of Australopithecus, Homo-Erectus, Neanderthal man, and Cro-Magnon man, hence, Cain was obviously not the first murderer among these beings.

Where did Cain get his wife from? She was one of these very primitive "creatures" roaming the wilderness. As a result of this successive hybrid inbreeding over thousands of generations, we get what we call the "other races." ie. Negroes, Orientals, Caucasians, etc. I refer you again to Verse 17 of chapter 4 of Genesis which says; “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”

From this, we are to understand that after Cain’s first son (Enoch) was born, Cain built a city which he named after his son. The word, ‘city’ is defined in The Revell Concise Bible Dictionary to mean; “a large or important population center, usually (especially in the Old Testament) walled or fortified.” Somehow, for Cain to build a large and important city that was fortified against the enemies of its inhabitants, there would not only have to be a great many people building the city, but also a great many enemies of the inhabitants outside of the city that necessitated the need for the inhabitants to build walls to protect them from their enemies. We are not talking about a few hundred people but perhaps thousands of people both inside the city and outside the city.

It follows that Cain had every reason to build a city of that size considering that there was approximately a million people on Earth at that time and many of them in the area where he lived.

Now true believers of everything that is said in the Bible is to be accepted as absolutely true, may argue that Cain lived a long time, just as Adam did. Unfortunately, there is no record in the Old Testament with respect to the age of Cain before he died. This being as it is, there is no way that we can conclude that the city comprised of a great many of his sons and daughters. In fact, the only mention of his offspring is found in verse 17 of chapter 4 in which it says; "Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch." That is the last time Cain is spoke of so we have no way of ever knowing whether or not Cain had other children.

If this is so, then this means that his city was not populated by his children other than Enoch and it hardly makes sense that he would build a city just for himself, his wife and his son. He would however build a city for other humans in Nod (with their assistance) and name it after his son and this means that there were many human beings in Nod when he arrived therefor at least, after Enoch was born. And if that is so, then Adam and Eve could not have been the first humans on Earth.

Pictures of Adam and Eve are painted as if they are human beings like we are so we are led to believe that Adam and Eve looked just like we do. Unfortunately, the first appearance of man did not look like us at all.

It seems beyond doubt that primitive man had religious beliefs. For instance, the Neanderthal man, who lived 50,000 years ago, is known to have buried his dead with ceremonies that clearly suggest a belief in a life after death.

There existed at that time the prehistoric custom of dusting corpses with red ocher (a mixture of clay and iron oxide) which was found throughout the prehistoric world. It is thought that the red pigment was a ritual substitute for blood, hence a symbol of life. Belief in survival after death would seem to be confirmed convincing proof of  the reason for  burials, since nothing else could explain the effort involved instead of simply abandoning the corpses of their loved ones in the desert. 

The Neanderthal (Homo Neanderthalensis) or Neandertal was a species of the Homo genus that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia. They walked and their bone structures and skulls were almost identical to that of modern man. The first proto-Neanderthal traits appeared in Europe as early as 350,000 years ago and by 130,000 years ago, full blown Neanderthal characteristics had appeared and by 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals disappeared from Europe, although they continued in Asia up to 30,000 years ago. As I mentioned earlier, if you extrapolate back from the time of the exodus of the Jews, according to the Bible, Adam was allegedly created only 4000 B.C. That is far too late in history for Adam to have been created as the first human being.

Mankind (at the Neanderthal stage in history) would not have the ability to build a city such as the city built by Cain, the son of Adam and Eve. That being as it is, mankind did not begin with Adam and Eve.

The difficulty we have finding the truth in Genesis is trying to discover where the source originated from. It was not God since it is written in the third person, not the first person. In a book written by Kenneth C. Davis called Don’t Know Much About the Bible, he gives a good explanation on page 16 when he wrote; "...researchers have learned that some of what appears to the most ancient sections of the Bible, including some of the stories in Genesis, was probably ‘borrowed’ from other more ancient civilizations, particularly those of Egypt and Babylon."

For example, various aspects of the ‘Laws of God’ given to Moses in Exodus are similar to Babylonian laws known as the Code of Mammurabi, which is a few centuries older than when the Old Testament was first written.

In Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, that has 62 authors, S. H. Hoke, one of the contributors wrote on page 177; "What we have called as origin-stories represents a type of literature which is not peculiar to the Hebrew people. In the earlier literature of Egypt, Babylon, and Caanan, and indeed most so-called primitive peoples, similar stories are to be found, purporting to give an account of the beginning of things." unquote

What this means is that before opinions and stories were put to writing on hardened mud and later on tablets, they were passed oraly from person to person and anyone familiar with the popular game in which people sit in a circle and one says something to another and the second person passes that information to the one sitting next to him or her, they will realize that as the story is passed on from person to person, the more it will be changed. I believe that this is how Genesis came about; various stories passed about from one person to another until the original stories were vastly altered.

Although the purpose of the Book of Genesis is to give us some idea as to how the Earth as we know it came about, it is not historically, scientifically or chronologically correct.

The story of Genesis was handed down by word of mouth for thousands of years before the coming of Jesus and obviously, during the retelling of the story, it got twisted about until finally in the time of King James of England, the body of scholars he appointed to revise the previous writings, (The King James Bible ) printed it into what it is today.

When I was a child, I accepted the writings of the Bible as being literally true. But as I got older and more knowledgeable about life, history and science, (just like many millions of other people around the world) I realized that not everything written in the Bible is to be taken as fact. And one of the things I am truly convinced of is that Adam and Eve were not the first human beings on Earth. It’s a great story but like many stories, the creationist view of the first people on Earth is in fact, a myth. Although myths have some basis of truth in them for the most part, I find it difficult to really believe that the myth with respect to the origins of mankind, as defined in Genesis, has any semblance of truth in it at all. 

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