The existence of cavemen vs. Genesis

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
In Genesis, Adam is condemned to toil on the earth and to eat bread for all of his life. Do you think this is literally true in the sense of referring to human bread made out of grains and grasses? If so, wouldn't it imply that cavemen never existed? It seems like the consensus is that early humans (according to natural science) were big meat-eaters and certainly did not have ready access to agriculture. Note that I'm talking about human history here, not evolution.
 

An0dyne

Robin
Man was not created to eat meat. The production of bread is an application of wisdom, using the gifts of God’s creation to create something—to offer to Him in sacrifice, which He turns around and offers back to us in the Eucharist. Anyway, meat eating is an allowance, not part of God’s design.

Interestingly, fasting from meat in Lent can positively recall a return to this edenic state.
 
Man was not created to eat meat. The production of bread is an application of wisdom, using the gifts of God’s creation to create something—to offer to Him in sacrifice, which He turns around and offers back to us in the Eucharist. Anyway, meat eating is an allowance, not part of God’s design.

Interestingly, fasting from meat in Lent can positively recall a return to this edenic state.
Excellent, more juicy meat for me
 

An0dyne

Robin
Can you explain this?
God did not create the world to die. Killing and eating animals is a result of sin. God allowed man to eat meat because of the difficulties of living in the world due to sin. It is better for animals to die that man might live. But in the world to come this will not be. As the holy prophet Isaiah tells us, nothing will hurt or kill on His holy mountain, and the lion will lie down with the Lamb while the baby plays with the cobra.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Can you explain this?
There was no death until Adam's sin/the first fall and therefore no dead animals, therefore man didn't eat meat.

From Genesis chapter 1:
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
You can see from this that from the beginning, both animal and man were given plants to eat for their "meat."

Romans chapter 5:
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
In Genesis, Adam is condemned to toil on the earth and to eat bread for all of his life. Do you think this is literally true in the sense of referring to human bread made out of grains and grasses? If so, wouldn't it imply that cavemen never existed? It seems like the consensus is that early humans (according to natural science) were big meat-eaters and certainly did not have ready access to agriculture. Note that I'm talking about human history here, not evolution.
The art of agriculture could have been given to Adam and then lost by certain people but retained by others. You don't see Australian aboriginals or Bornean or Amazonian natives with farms, and the latter case is an example of a people without agriculture who came from a people who did have agriculture, since we know all of the surrounding civilizations (Peruvians, Mayans/Aztecs) had agriculture.
 

newcomer

Pigeon
Orthodox Inquirer
I assume even animals were not devouring one another in Eden, or am I wrong? How did the fall of man affect animals, given that for example tigers as we know are meat eaters and its almost only dish on their menu?
Long-term vegans run into a lot of health problems, we as humans need to have some animal products for optimal health and function.

I recall reading about young st. Porphirios spending some time in town, outside of mount Athos, so he can eat eggs, dairy and meat in order to get his vitality and health back - he contracted pleurisy and was losing all his strenght
 

Elipe

Pelican
If we’re not supposed to eat animals...
Then why are they made out of meat???
Meat being delicious is a side effect of how animal bodies work. Animal bodies are nutritionally rich because they are designed to efficiently store nutritions. It is like the difference between eating a piece of lasagna noodle, the sauce, and the cheese separately vs eating the whole lasagna put together. The animal has done the work of putting together all the stuff your body would need. That was most likely not a primary design goal on God's part, but a secondary effect that resulted from the overall design.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Keep in mind that when we say we weren't originally made to eat meat that doesn't mean we shouldn't now, and I wouldn't be surprised if our bodies changed slightly after the fall, or the purpose of some parts changed, for instance the appendix helps with digesting raw meat - something useless in Eden.

Some people may get the idea from this thread that Christians are against meat, that is not the case. We are against excessive meat just like anything else, and Apostolic Christians fast from meat at times.
 
When people say there was no death in the garden, they have to explain how, if you pull a carrot (it's the root, so you're pulling the whole plant), there was no death there. You just killed a plant. Also, you mean to tell me they never stepped on a bug?

Also, you will have infinite growth of populations of plants, animals, and people. How is that supposed to work on a finite planet?
 

The Penitent Man

Woodpecker
When people say there was no death in the garden, they have to explain how, if you pull a carrot (it's the root, so you're pulling the whole plant), there was no death there. You just killed a plant. Also, you mean to tell me they never stepped on a bug?

Also, you will have infinite growth of populations of plants, animals, and people. How is that supposed to work on a finite planet?
This is all beyond the scope of human inquiry and we will never know so long as we remain flesh and blood beings. It’s an interesting question but I won’t bother to speculate as that is all we can do.

The bottom line is we are meat eaters. God provided us with the animals of the earth to use as such as explicitly stated later in Genesis and throughout the New Testament. I’m not going to sit around and ponder questions no man can possibly answer.
 

Stirfry

Woodpecker
We are designed to eat everything we can. Look at our mouths- we have teeth with thin, knife-like edges to cut through sinew and muscle like the carnassials of tigers, lions, wolves, etc., that are apex predators and therefore eat other animals (i.e. meat), and we have teeth with flat, grinding surfaces and salivary glands that produce enzymes, both of which break down tough fibrous foods that contain sugars and starches (i.e. pulses, grains, etc.).
 
In Genesis, Adam is condemned to toil on the earth and to eat bread for all of his life. Do you think this is literally true in the sense of referring to human bread made out of grains and grasses? If so, wouldn't it imply that cavemen never existed? It seems like the consensus is that early humans (according to natural science) were big meat-eaters and certainly did not have ready access to agriculture. Note that I'm talking about human history here, not evolution.

I do not know if God created the Earth several thousand, or several billion, years ago. I know Biblical years and times are open to interpretation and often do not have a literal meaning. However if God wanted to create the world several thousand years ago, he could have easily created it "already aged" as Jesus created wine out of water as His first miracle, wine being already aged but created new out of water. When we look at the world through the lens of natural science i.e. using the senses, mind, logic and reason God gave us to the best of our ability, the world certainly looks as if it's many billions of years old. So I will write as if the world is billions of years old, although it may simply appear that way. The aged wine looked, smelled, and tasted aged to the master of the feast at Cana, and the world we live in absolutely appears to be billions of years old.

Also, using the senses and reason God gave us, we notice all animals including ourselves form one large family tree. No human, animal, or plant fossils have ever been found that do not fit into the family tree in a logical and expected way, both in time and geography. So personally I find it impossible to deny that God uses environmental, competitive, and other pressures to cause His creatures to survive or die based on His will, and causes new creatures to come forth and others to go extinct as He wills, to bring about the diversity of life we see on Earth today and in the fossils of past ages. It is an incredible work of genius that God brought forth all life on Earth by an extremely complex yet perfectly orchestrated process of evolution by natural selection.

I realize that is not the standard Christian view, but it's my view so I'm hoping it can be tolerated and reasoned with. I am not holding any "alternative" view to scripture, I view all scripture as absolutely true, and my interpretation here is how I make sense of everything humans have observed about the world around us, in light of the truth of Scripture.

To get to the OP's question about human origins, here's my personal view. Humans came forth according to God's will from the dust of the Earth as all creatures before them, being placed first on both the Eastern and Western sides of the Sahara as well as the farther southern regions of Africa. This is the first (Genesis 1) creation of man, the original mankind who preceded Adam (Genesis 2) and did not till the earth, but lived as hunters and gatherers in the African jungles and grasslands for hundreds of thousands of years, learning to use fire, stone tools, and advanced brains to communicate, pass knowledge down generation-to-generation, coordinate large actions as a tribe with leader(s), hunt large prey animals using weapons and teamwork (yes we are meat-eaters by design, look at your pointy incisor teeth that are specifically designed to tear meat, not chew plants like your molars), create art and religious items showing a consciousness of God i.e. something higher and more sublime than the simply material, and many other things that make us human and different than any other animals. This creation of original, "caveman" prehistoric man corresponds to the following from Genesis 1:

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 heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on 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 heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28

There were cyclic periods of warmth and wetness in both the Sahara and Arabian desert in recent history (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_humid_period). During these periods both deserts had abundant rainfall, were lush and green with flowing rivers which are now dry "wadis" or dry riverbeds, and would have allowed the humans living in East Africa to easily migrate through the now-desert Arabian Peninsula. There were many of these periods when various groups of pre-Adam humans left Africa via Sinai and the Arabian peninsula and spread across the world. The map below shows rough dates for various waves of these migrations which are educated guesses based on distribution of human remains that have been found and dated:

pic2.PNG


The latest warm, wet period began about 14,000 years ago and lasted until about 6,000 years ago. I believe during that time, the latest wave of African humans migrated out of Africa and settled in Arabia, the Levant, and Mesopotamia, and became the ancestors of Adam, and eventually Abraham. The map below showing the distribution of Semitic languages shows where these people lived and established their own languages which became modern Hebrew and Arabic, among others. Notably the Semitic languages are very different from the Indo-European languages that were already established across Europe and Asia and eventually diversified into all modern Western, and many Eastern, languages from Latin and Greek to Sanskrit. That is because the Semitic languages come from a people who lived in Africa much more recently. In my mind that could also be why these people had a much closer spiritual connection to God. They came more recently from the prehistoric homeland of man (our spiritual roots) so they had a stronger inborn awareness of God. Now the Gospel has gone out to the whole world and the Holy Spirit has been given to Jews and Gentiles alike, but I'm talking about the initial human times before Christ came.

pic1.PNG


About 6,000 years ago God caused the desert regions to dry up again, leaving this distribution of fertile land known as the "fertile crescent," where the first agriculture and settled towns (civilization) began.

pic3.PNG

At that time man was suddenly expelled from his easy existence in a warm, wet paradise with abundant food and forced to live on the east and west regions instead, forced to settle in one place to plant, harvest and store grain, and till the ground for his existence.

In my mind this event corresponds to the creation of Adam to till the ground in Genesis 2:

"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." Genesis 2:7-9,15

The oldest evidence of agriculture found to date is in the northern part of the Levant, between Israel and Syria. In my mind that is the location God placed Adam, the first settled and agricultural man who did not roam, hunt and gather as his ancestors, but was the first modern civilized man who built towns, developed division of labor, social hierarchy, began domesticating and selectively breeding crops and livestock. Also with social hierarchy, increased commerce, and many people living in one place which required authority to keep order and could be abused, all manner of evil and sin were also born as people lived out of harmony with God's will for the first time.

I realize these views may cause me to be condemned and hated on this forum, but they are my views regardless and I would love to hear any well-reasoned point of view beyond "but that's not what the Bible says," or "my pastor told me believing in evolution is a sin," because I firmly believe this is what the Bible says, and this is how God created everything. I am commanded to love God with all my mind. Denying the reality of what God placed before our eyes, how He created the diversity of living creatures, is willfully turning my mind off against His will. That would be denying the truth on purpose just to conform to a man-made church tradition of human origins that is by no means the only way to interpret Genesis 1 and 2.

A similar example of a huge "controversy" between science and religion that was actually no controversy at all, is the question of the Earth orbiting the sun. The church (not God) was spectacularly wrong on this question. I believe it took until the 1960s for the Catholic church to formally admit that the Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. Not sure when other churches recognized this fact. And this was not because the reality of God's creation contradicted His Word in any way, it was because of the stubbornness of the Church who thought it was somehow against God to have a different view based on actual observed facts. I would stand with Galileo, who was a devout Christian, and said the following: "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect intended us to forgo their use."
 
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Elipe

Pelican
When people say there was no death in the garden, they have to explain how, if you pull a carrot (it's the root, so you're pulling the whole plant), there was no death there. You just killed a plant. Also, you mean to tell me they never stepped on a bug?

Also, you will have infinite growth of populations of plants, animals, and people. How is that supposed to work on a finite planet?
I don't have time to really get into it, but in a nutshell, Jewish belief used to be that God gave spirit to humans and animals, although humans have a different kind of spirit than animals, but both have the breath of life. Plants don't have that breath of life, so they don't really die like animals and people do.

And as for infinite growth, keep in mind that God walked among us in the garden. If that ever became a problem, God would have expanded the Earth, populated other worlds, or something. Nothing is a problem when God is involved.
 

Rotten

Robin
In Genesis, Adam is condemned to toil on the earth and to eat bread for all of his life. Do you think this is literally true in the sense of referring to human bread made out of grains and grasses? If so, wouldn't it imply that cavemen never existed? It seems like the consensus is that early humans (according to natural science) were big meat-eaters and certainly did not have ready access to agriculture. Note that I'm talking about human history here, not evolution.
The goyim don’t count as human beings, so there could well have been Cavemen or even whole Civilizations around by the time Adam shows up.
 

Dijkstra

Pigeon
My best guess is that, when reading the account of creation, we humans were intended to live as vegetarians. God in his wisdom and foreknowledge knew our hubris would result in the sin which had Adam cast out of Eden, thus when He designed us, He made our physical bodies able to function omnivorously. Clearly many, many, many species of animals were designed to be carnivores or omnivores, though the scriptures do not speak to whether or not animals preyed on each other prior to the expulsion from the garden (personally, animals consuming each other as prey seems a pointless thing to even spend time dwelling on).

I do think it seems quite clear God has instituted the profession of agriculture as consequence for our sin the the garden. However, prior to large-scale regionally centralized agriculture, a noticeable portion of human nutrition was still acquired through so-called "hunter-gatherer" means. Even throughout history, being a hunter of game was a common profession, and while mainly hobby now, is still common in all areas where farming is logistically impossible or insufficient to provide the local populace with all necessary nutrients and caloric intake.

Humans are humans. Always have been. We are what God made in Genesis, caveat being our bodies wear down, decay, and are preyed upon by disease as consequences of our original sin.
 
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