GENESIS VERSUS ANTHROPOLOGY
131, 2010 March)
Were early humans
peaceful or were they violent and fought wars?
the world of humans before Noah’s Flood as:
Dangerous “anyone who meets me may kill me” (4:14);
Full of sexual predators “they took wives for themselves of all that
they chose” (6:2);
Violent and corrupt “the earth was filled with violence” (6:11).
In a 2001
Internet write-up Brian Ferguson, an anthropologist who specializes in
the origin of war, wrote: “In recent times, my main efforts have been
to challenge a variety of biologically oriented explanations, and
archaeological claims that war has always been a part of human
says: “Brian Ferguson of Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, also
believes there is nothing in the fossil or archaeological record
supporting the claim that our ancestors have been waging war against
each other for hundreds of thousands, let alone millions of years. The
first clear-cut evidence of violence against groups as opposed to
individuals appears about 14,000 years ago, he says…” (4 July, 2009, p.
ancestors-at-peace paradigm is under challenge. Them and US
(2009 Kardoorair Press) by Danny Vendramini presents a new assessment
of early humans by examining their interaction with Neanderthals.
Them and Us
exposes Neanderthals not as docile omnivores but as savage predators at
the apex of the Stone Age food chain — carnivores whose prey included
humans. Neanderthals, says Vendramini, hunted, abducted, raped, killed,
and ate humans in the Middle East for thousands of years.
predation generated selection pressure that transformed surviving
humans into aggressive predators like themselves besides imbuing them
with “dark atavistic fears.” One reviewer of Them and Us wrote:
“Every monster from every myth, every horror novel and every scary
movie is derived from this quintessential beast.”
We have then a
picture of early humans at war with Neanderthals, a picture that
squares better with Genesis. To fully reverse the peaceful-ancestors
picture we’ll also need evidence of humans fighting each other. But a
start has been made.
This is a
science-versus-Bible issue to watch for developments.