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Did “Pre-Adamic” Men Exist?



Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble aside, were there really any cavemen?  To be more serious, has the theory of evolution shown that there were “pre-Adamic men.”  The core issue here is the reliability of the dates derived from radiocarbon dating relative to the teachings of the Bible when interpreted in a literal or straightforward manner.


The Bible reveals that Adam was the first man.  Genesis 2:8, 18-25 are clear on this point, which includes the creation of Eve as well.  Reinforcing this conclusion is Paul’s statement in I Cor. 15:45:  “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.  The last Adam [i.e., Jesus] became a life-giving spirit.”  So then, if radiocarbon dating indicates that there are human bones older than roughly 6,000 years old, does that mean Scripture is wrong?  Alternatively, does this mean that the Bible’s genealogies, which include Christ’s in Luke 3, are wrong?  Could Jesus have died for the sins of other men who weren’t descendants of Adam and Eve?


Now, it’s necessary to back up and examine the issues related to the age of the earth, which are the ultimate background for the questions that you have raised. This is the premise behind the theory of evolution’s claims that the earth is much older than 4004 b.c., the date for the earth traditionally attributed to Usher’s chronology.  Is it reasonable to think the earth is much younger than around 4.5 billion years old?  The scientific creationists of the “young earth” school, such as the late Henry Morris and Duane Gish, have argued that the earth is around 10,000 years old or so.  What kind of arguments do they use for this belief that aren't based on the Bible?   Should we be open-minded enough to examine them?


First of all, does the Bible necessarily teach that the earth is a few thousand years old?  Likely there was a long gap between Gen. 1:1 and Gen. 1:2, as implied by the word in Hebrew translated "was" in the beginning of v. 2, which can also be translated "became." The terms vaguely translated in verse 2 as “without form, and void” really should be translated more like “waste and empty.”  So then the earth became waste and empty.  How did that happen?  Did God make the world a mess (cf. Isaiah 45:18) and then have to clean it up?  That’s hardly plausible.  Scofield's reference Bible popularized the gap theory roughly a century ago, but it has a history older than that.  We can’t know how long this gap is, but it allows us to sidestep the evolutionists’ attacks on the Bible’s scientific accuracy on issues of evolutionary dating. 


However, it could be the earth is much younger than 4.5 billion years while being older than 10,000 years old.  Let’s take some examples of geological processes that use the same kind of assumptions (i.e., there is no change in rate, the amount of the parent element is 100% of the total material, etc.) as used in the radioactive decay sequences, yet yield much younger ages for the earth.  The earth’s magnetic field has been weakening at a rate with a half-life (i.e., 50% loss) of 1,400 years.  If we assume it will reverse itself, and grow stronger, that contradicts the uniformitarian assumption that “the key to the past is the present,” that major rates of change in geological processes don’t happen, which was the traditional assumption of geology for many decades.  Likewise, over the eons, meteoritic dust should have produced a layer roughly 182 feet thick on the earth and the moon as it slowly accumulated over the years.  But the moon has only a very thin layer, and there’s no evidence so much dust accumulated on the earth and then mixed into its crust, since its iron and especially nickel are very distinctive elements.  Interestingly the earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down.  If it had existed for billions of years, it would have stopped or be much slower than it now is.  If the moon were 4.5 billion years old, it should be orbiting much further away from the earth than it now is (i.e., the recession of the moon).  Helium is escaping into the earth’s atmosphere at a rate that indicates the earth is much younger than evolutionists believe.  Unlike hydrogen, this gas can’t easily escape into outer space as it is slowly produced from radioactive decay of rocks like uranium and thorium.  If the earth’s atmosphere was millions and billions of years old, the concentration of helium should be much higher than 1 part in 200,000.  Another interesting proof of instantaneous creation is what are called pleochroic halos in rocks produced by the radioactive element polonium 218.  The marking produced by polonium in mica and fluorite rocks indicates  they had no parents (surprisingly enough) to decay from and that the period for decay was very short, since this element has only a 3 minute half life.  (These examples are taken from Scott M. Huse, “The Collapse of Evolution,” pp. 20-207)  Other geological processes could be cited, such as the deposition of salt in the oceans and the build-up of what’s called juvenile water from volcanoes, which indicate the earth is much younger that 4.5 billions years old.  Although these processes don’t prove necessarily that the earth is 10,000 years old, they do call into question any theory that believes speciation that created new life forms occurred gradually over millions of years.


Next, let’s zero in on radiocarbon dating, which is used for dating objects less than 100,000 years old.  (Potassium-argon and other methods are used for dating dinosaur bones).  Radiocarbon dating is not a reliable as evolutionists think it is.  It’s based on assumptions that are decidedly shaky for anything over three or four thousand years old.  Let’s give some examples of C-14 dating at work.  Henry Morris once reported that the shells of living mollusks (seashells) have given radiocarbon date up to 2,300 years old..  In northern Iraq, a prehistoric village named Jarmo has given radiocarbon dates for over a 6000-year range, yet according to the archeological evidence, was occupied for only about 500 years.  The same antler was dated by Yale University three different times, and it gave three different ages:  5,340 years, 9,310 years, and 10,320 years.  The University of Chicago and the University of Michigan dated the same piece of bark at ages varying from 1,168 to 2,200 years.  The reason for such obvious dating problems results from the flawed assumptions of radiocarbon dating, such as the belief the amount of radiocarbon in the atmosphere hasn’t been increasing.  For the specific evidence on these points, see Henry Morris, ed., Scientific Creationism (San Diego, Calif.:  Creation-Life Publishers, 1974), p. 162; Josh McDowell and Don Steward, Reasons  Skeptics Should Consider Christianity (San Bernardino, Calif.:  Here’s Life Publishers, 1981), pp. 115-117; Morris, Scientific Creationism, pp. 161-167; Harold S. Slusher, Critique of Radiometric Dating  (San Diego:  Institute for Creation Research, 1973), pp. 34-41; Walter E. Lammerts, ed., Why Not Creation? (Nutley, N.J.:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1970), pp. 80-105.


Concerning purported pre-Adamic men themselves, all Christians may need concede is that various monkeys or apes lived prior to the disaster spoken of in Gen. 1:2.  Such creatures as propliopithecus, dryopithecus, ramapithecus, oreopithecus, and even the various australopithhecines, are all far more like monkeys than men.  Even the latter had a brain size of only 500 c.c., which is close to a gorilla, and is about one third of modern men.  (See Duane T. Gish, Evolution:  The Challenge of the Fossil Record (El Cajon, Calif.:  Master Books, 1985), p. 145).  It does appear that the australopithecines could not walk upright, or did so no more than gorillas do today. (See the discussion of Oxnard and Zukerman’s research in Gish, pp. 148-151).  It has been claimed that the famous fossil “Lucy,” which is a member of the australopithecine family, could walk upright (was bipedal) when it lived.  However, the key joint bone in the leg used to argue for this came from an area significantly distant from the rest of the skeleton, and most likely shouldn’t be considered as part of the rest of the skeleton.  (This is like the Java man problem, which had two key bones put together which weren’t close to each other). Anatomist Solly Lord Zuckerman maintains:  “Our findings leave little doubt that  . . . Australopithecus resembles not Homo sapiens but the living monkeys and apes.”  Concerning the famous australopithecine skeleton called “Lucy,” the magazine New Scientist said it had a skull “very much like a chimpanzee’s.” (As quoted in Life:  How Did It Get Here?, p. 94).


By contrast, the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons are very similar to present-day men, and should be seen as descendants of Adam.  A Neanderthal is so much like Homo sapiens that:  “It has been said that if he were given a shave, a haircut and a bath and dressed in a business suit, and were to talk down one of our city streets, he would be given no more attention than any other individual.”  (As per Gish, Evolution:  The Challenge of the Fossil Record, p. 204.)  Cro-Magnons (which are the race of men who made the famous wall drawings found in a cave in southern France) are classified as modern humans.  All we Christians need to do is maintain these bones of “hominids” are either those of monkeys and apes on the one hand, or modern men (homo sapiens) on the other, without any obvious transitional forms in-between, which is easy to do. 


A particularly useful book in this regard is the detailed research found in Marvin L. Lubenow’s Bones of Contention  A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils (Grand Rapids, Mich.:  Baker Book House, 1992).  Lubenow brilliantly lays waste evolutionist speculations on the subject of human evolution, particularly by pointing out the known diversity of the shapes and sizes of human beings, which evolutionists have ended up categorizing as different species.  For more on this subject, see Gish, Evolution:  The Challenge of the Fossil Record, pp. 130-228, who deals with the austropithecines, unlike Lubenow.  Additional sources are:  Evan Shute, Flaws in the Theory of Evolution (London, Ontario:  Temside Press, 1961), pp. 206227; R.L. Wysong, The Creation-Evolution Controversy (East Lansing, Mich.:  Inquiry Press, 1976), pp. 295-300; and Life:  How Did It Get Here?, pp. 83-98.


Finally, much evidence exists for geological strata to be analyzed from the point of view of catastrophism as opposed to uniformitarianism.  Catastrophism maintains the fossil record and geological strata was largely laid down by disasters and rapid geological processes such as massive flood(s) which can’t be currently observed, while uniformitarianism says these were laid down by slow, gradual processes such as erosion, wind, rainfall, etc. which can be currently observed.  The strata aren’t as orderly as we may like to think.  Dr. David Raup, an evolutionist and curator of geology at the Field Museum of National History (Chicago), was willing to say:  “The fossil record of evolution is amenable to a wide variety of models ranging from completely deterministic (i.e. compatible with evolution) to completely stochastic (i.e. random in order).”  He was also willing to say in another place:  ‘so the geological time scale and the basic facts of biological change over time are totally independent of evolutionary theory. . . . One of the ironies of the evolution-creation debate is the creationists have accepted the mistaken notion that the fossil record shows a detailed and orderly progression and they have gone to great lengths to accommodate this “fact” in their flood geology.” 


While in reply the likes of Van Til and company in Science Held Hostage dwell on the Grand Canyon in one chapter in this book, they totally ignore the many, many more anomalies that exist for any thorough-going uniformitarianism.  For example, there is the “Lewis overthrust” of Montana, which includes Glacier National Park, in which ancient pre-Cambrian rock sits directly on top of (much more recent) Cretaceous rock in apparent conformity.  This formation is around 330 miles long by 35 miles wide and six miles thick.  There is every reason to believe the (supposedly) nearly billion years old rock was formed in situ over the (allegedly) hundred million years old rock layer underneath, which constitutes a particularly troublesome anomaly to uniformitarianism.  Many, many other anomalies could be cited, but I’ll leave them to my references:  Derek V. Ager, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (New York:  Macmillian, 1981); Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood,; Immanuel Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval (New York:  Dell Publishing, 1955); Reginald Daly, Earth’s Most Challenging Mysteries (The Craig Press, 1972).  Suffice it to say, we should stick with the views of the Seventh-day Adventist geologist George McCready Price and other creationist scholars, instead of embracing uniformitarianism, which even some secular scientists seriously question (such as Derek Ager).  A few evolutionists agree that their theory faces a problem with circular reasoning as it uses fossils to order the strata, and then uses the strata’s order to fossils to “prove” evolution.  As evolutionist Tom Kemp conceded:  “A circular argument arises:  Interpret the fossil record in the terms of a particular theory of evolution, inspect the interpretation, and note that it confirms the theory.  Well, it would, wouldn’t it?”


In conclusion, we shouldn’t assume that radiocarbon’s dates are reliable nor concede that any “men” lived before Adam.  The fossil record, such as it is, allows us to make an obvious distinction between what we would call “monkeys” or “apes” as opposed to modern men (and women).


Eric Snow



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