Does the bible/ Christians / the church (any church) say anything about pre-humans, not just neanderthals, but all the other kinds of pre-humans?

Points to consider.

  1. I read in a National Geographic magazine that Neanderthals actually buried their dead ceremoniously, possibly hinting that they had a religion/after-life belief.

  2. These other people existed, there have been bones found that prove that, so any answers saying that they didn't exist are not valid.

  3. These pre-humans were people. They had cultures (however primitive) and possibly, very likely, language.

My question is this- Is there anything at all that tries to explain these "other" people in biblical terms?

I am very interested in finding an answer to this question. If there are any problems with it please let me know.

  • 4
    Some Christians accept theories of the evolution of humanity. I believe they take the creation story less literally. I.e. one day could be an epoch of billions of years. In taking this view there are simply no details and it is all an unknown. I.e. there is no explanation sought or expected. Others deny the idea assumed in the question. They are often called YEC young earth creationists. Both groups visit this site.
    – Mike
    Mar 26 '13 at 4:47
  • 4
    As a YEC, I would not deny that these groups existed, merely that they were an earlier civilization (and that they were more human than the modern scientists would have us believe)
    – SSumner
    Mar 26 '13 at 5:04
  • 2
    The question of the Neanderthal bones is not whether they exist, but whether they were pre-human or not. icr.org/article/neanderthals-are-still-human
    – Narnian
    Mar 26 '13 at 13:50
  • This question is far too broad. Entire theological syntheses have been devised to explain these things. Most go by the generic name "Theistic Evolution".
    – fгedsbend
    Aug 17 '15 at 7:16

There is the classic question of where Cain's wife came from and who the people he feared would kill him were. One answer to that question is that they were other hominids alive at the time.

Some, like Hugh Ross and his ministry Reasons to Believe (RTB), suggest that God used hominids to prepare the way and help other species adapt and that if he had not done so, homo sapiens would have burst on the scene and wreaked havoc with the ecosystem balance.

Here's a blurb from RTB:

RTB’s biblical creation model views the hominids found in the fossil record as animals created by God’s direct intervention. These creatures existed for a time and then went extinct. RTB’s model considers the hominids to be remarkable creatures that walked erect and possessed some level of limited intelligence and emotional capacity. This ability allowed these animals to employ crude tools and even adopt some level of “culture” much like baboons, gorillas, and chimpanzees. While the RTB creation model posits that the hominids were created by God’s divine fiat, they were not spiritual beings made in His image. The RTB model reserves this status exclusively for modern humans.

The model treats the hominids as analogous to, but distinct from, the great apes. Because of this, the RTB model predicts that anatomical, physiological, biochemical, and genetic similarities will exist among the hominids and modern humans to varying degrees. But since the hominids were not made in God’s image, they are expected to be clearly distinct from modern humans, particularly in their cognitive capacity, behavior, “technology,” and “culture.”

Their more detailed speculations are in the book Who Was Adam? (I should note I don't buy all of RTB's views about creation, but I'm just reporting what they say.)

Theistic evolutionists typically see God as working in and through the natural world to bring about his desired end, viz. humans who are in his image. Some think God did something new and special with Adam or that Adam crossed some evolutionary threshold that distinguished him from his predecessors, while others think there was no historical Adam at all, often identifying the first eleven chapters of Genesis as mytho-poetic rather than strictly historical. (Biologos.org has readings on both of these views.)

Young Earth Creationists typically see the hominids as not so different from us, or no more different than, say, an Aborigine from New Guinea is from Shaquille O'Neal.

  • I seem to recall reading/seeing recently that there is evidence of Neanderthal DNA in many (most?) modern humans, suggesting inter-breeding between "modern" numans and Neanderthal Man. If that is true, I wonder how RTB would feel about that. I'm sure they would not condone wide-scale inter-breeding between humans ans spirit-less animals.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 27 '13 at 6:45
  • Not sure, but they regularly comment on the latest findings. See their topics on hominids and the historical Adam.
    – metal
    Mar 27 '13 at 12:39

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