Humankind: The Crown of Creation

By Hugh Ross, Ph.D. (From his Book Creation and Time)

After meticulously and miraculously fashioning the cosmos, the earth, and life on the earth, the Creator culminated His masterpiece with the special creation of human beings. Here is a point on which young-universe creationists and I (and many other old-earth creationists) agree: The creation date for people. Though the biblical genealogies provide little or no help in establishing creation dates for the cosmos and Earth, I and many others agree with the young-earth creationists that they do provide a rough date for the advent of humanity.

I say rough because the Hebrew words used for father and son, 'ab and ben, have broader definitions than the English translations indicate. 'Ab sometimes refers to grandfather, great-grandfather, or great-great-grandfather, etc. Similarly, ben can mean son, great-grandson, etc. In the book of Daniel, Belshazzar's mother refers to Nebuchadnezzar as her son's father though, in fact, two kings separate them, and they are not even related. This flexibility in usage of 'ab and ben explains why parallel genealogies (e.g., 1 Chronicles 3, Matthew 1, Luke 3) are at variance with one another.

Even in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, where the years between the birth dates of the father and the son are given, the chronology may not be as tight as it seems. Luke 3, for example, inserts at least one generation, namely Cainan, between Shelah and Arphaxad, while Genesis 11 simply records Shelah as the son of Arphaxad.

Some scholars argue that the biblical genealogies can be stretched indefinitely. Such stretching seems unwarranted by relevant biblical and scientific data. The most reliable and conservative Hebrew scholarship I have read places the biblical date for creation of Adam and Eve between about 10,000 and 35,000 years ago (with outside limits at about 6,000 and 60,000 years).

In Genesis 1, God speaks of adham (male and Female), and only adham, as being made in His image. The point is emphasized by repetition. As humanity's story unfolds through subsequent chapters, we discover that what makes humans different is a quality called "spirit." None of the rest of Earth's creatures possesses it. By "spirit" the Bible means awareness of God and capacity to form a relationship with Him. Worship is the key evidence of the spiritual quality of the human race, and the universality of worship is evidence in altars, temples, and religious relics of all kinds. Burial of dead, use of tools, or even painting do not qualify as evidence of the spirit, for non-spirit beings such as bower birds, elephants, and chimpanzees engage in such activities to a limited extent.

Bipedal, tool using, large brained primates (called hominids by anthropologists) may have roamed the earth as long ago as one million years, {1-3} but religious relics and alters date back only 8,000 to 24,000 years. {4,5} Thus, the secular archaeological date for the first spirit creatures is in complete agreement with the biblical date.

Some differences, however, between the Bible and secular anthropology remain. By the biblical definition, these hominids may have been intelligent mammals, but they were not humans. Nor did Adam and Eve physically descend from them. (According to Genesis 1:26-28 the human species was created complete and brand-new by God through His own personal miraculous intervention.) Even here, though, support from anthropology is emerging. New evidence indicates that the various hominid species may have gone extinct before, or as a result of, the appearance of modern humans.{6,7} At the very least, "abrupt transitions between [hominid] species" is widely acknowledged.{8,9}

References :

Ross Hugh, Ph. D., "Creation And Time" Navpress, (1994) Reasons to Believe, p.140-141

Dr. Hugh Ross's References:

-1. Bower, Bruce, "Retooled Ancestors," Science News 133 (1988), p. 344-345.

-2. Bower, Bruce, "Early Human Skeleton Apes Its Ancestors," Science News 131 (1987), p. 340.

-3. Bower, Bruce, "Family Feud: Enter the 'Black Skull,' " Science News 131 (1987), p. 58-59

-4. Simon, C., "Stone-Age Sanctuary, Oldest Known Shrine, Discovered in Spain," Science News 120 (1981), p.357.

-5. Bower, Bruce, "When the Human Spirit Soared," Science News 130 (1986), p. 378-379.

-6. Jones, J.s., And Rouhani, S., "Human Evolution: How Small Was the Bottleneck," Nature 319 (1986), p. 449-450.

-7. Bower, Retolled Ancestors, p. 344-345.

-8. Bower, Early Human Skeleton Apes Its Ancestors, p. 340.

-9. Lewin, Roger, "Unexpected Anatomy in Homo Erectus," Science 226 (1984), p. 529.

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