Did cavemen really exist? have souls?


#1

I’ve always wondered:

How should we as Christians, and more specifically Catholics, view cavemen? Yes, cavemen. Did they really exist? What’s the proof? If they did exist, what were they? Humans? Human-Apes? Did they have souls?

I just can’t imagine God creating a man-like being that was so undeveloped he could only communicate through grunts and crude etchings.

Well, what say ye?


#2

How would a cave-man differ from a chimp (which also communicates via grunt-like noises and uses primitive tools)?


#3

UK << Yes, cavemen. Did they really exist? What’s the proof? If they did exist, what were they? Humans? Human-Apes? Did they have souls? >>

Yes they existed. The evidence is skulls, bone fragments, and complete skeletons (Lucy, etc). The Australopithecine hominids date to around 3-4 million years ago, to Cro-Magnon (homo sapiens, our species) date to 50,000 - 150,000 years ago. Adam/Eve according to Genesis would date to around 4000-5000 B.C. since Genesis 4 talks about cities, sophisticated farming, iron tools, and musical instruments which didn’t exist until the Upper Paleolithic period (about 10,000 years ago). So that places Adam/Eve around 4000-5000 B.C taking Genesis literally. My contributions on this subject are

Adam, Eve, and the Hominid Fossil Record (from Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, etc)

and Adam was a Neanderthal (one Catholic physicist’s opinion)

Phil P


#4

I vaguely remember a news report some months back about historical genetic studies linking all of modern mankind back to a specific couple somewhere in Africa/ the Middle East (I think). I believe the premise was that all living people could trace their lineage to this same couple. Interesting…


#5

*Quotations taken from G.K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, published 1925

[The Cave-Man] seems to be quite familiar to us, not only as a public character but as a private character… So far as I can understand, his chief occupation in life was knocking his wife about, or treating women in general with what is, I believe, known in the world of the film as ‘rough stuff.’ I have never happened to come upon the evidence fothis idea; and I do not know on what primitive diaries or prehistoric divorce-reports it is founded.

The first thing we need do is separate ourselves from the common depictions of and biases toward cavemen that we have. Who’s to say that cavemen were the grunting, savage beasts we see in films and novels? Aren’t cavemen, by definition, cave-dwelling folk still in the stone age, and simply that? Adam and Eve were cavemen! And, to my understanding, the Britons who constructed Stonehenge, that engineering marvel, were cavemen themselves, with nothing but stone tools and such. They were still ingenious, productive people; but they were still discovering, unable to draw on the wealth of knowledge and authoritative information that we take for granted.

When the realist of the sex novel writes, ‘Red sparks danced in Dagmar Doubledick’s brain; he felt the spirit of the cave-man rising within him,’ the novelist’s readers would be very much disappointed if Dagmar only went off and drew large pictures of cows on the drawing-room wall. When the psycho-analyst writes to a patient, ‘The submerged instincts of the cave-man are doubtless prompting you to gratify a violent impulse,’ he does not refer to the impulse to paint in water colours; or to make conscientious studies of how cattle swing their heads when they graze.

I think it’s too simple to call cave-art “crude etchings.” I’m tempted to say similar things about a number of different artistic schools, but there are also a number of art critics who would take issue with my critique. Art, like so many other things, simply had not developed. Taken for what it is, I personally think they can be considered quite lovely. I think it notable, with Chesterton, that they actually had art. They were students of form, movement, and a number of other artistic disciplines.

God bless.

ps. Read ch. 1 of The Everlasting Man


#6

Forest << I believe the premise was that all living people could trace their lineage to this same couple. Interesting… >>

Yes, we do trace back to two people, but not to a male-female couple that lived at the same time. My understanding is that Mitochondrial “Eve” (mt-Eve) lived about 80,000 - 100,000 years before Y-Chromosome “Adam” (Y-Adam). That would not be the Genesis Adam/Eve. A book that describes the DNA studies for Y-Adam is The Journey of Man by geneticist Spencer Wells.

Phil P


#7

I thought “Lucy” and all the rest had all been proven to be hoaxes or badly deformed humans? (But this might just be the brainwashing of Protestant Creation Science, lol!)


#8

AmI << I thought “Lucy” and all the rest had all been proven to be hoaxes or badly deformed humans? (But this might just be the brainwashing of Protestant Creation Science, lol!) >>

Nope, Lucy is not a hoax. It’s a (almost) complete Australopithecus lady dating to around 3 million years ago. You probably mean the “Piltdown man” which was a hoax exposed by evolutionist scientists in the 1950s. The rest are quite real. Some legitimate hominid species here. Many are simply skulls, but we do have (rare) complete skeletons.

Which one is Adam/Eve I’m still trying to work out. But taking Genesis 4 literally, that places their immediate descendents (Cain/Abel, etc) in the Upper Paleolithic (about 4000-5000 BC), well after Lucy. :smiley: I don’t buy any of the creationist stuff anymore, though they mean well (trying to reconcile science and religion). The best “creationist” interpretation is probably Marvin Lubenow’s Bones of Contention (1992 original, and revised 2004). For the real science, simply go into any university library and look for books on human evolution. Here’s what I found at USF (St. Pete).

Bones, Stones, and Molecules: “Out of Africa” and Human Origins by David W. Cameron and Colin P. Groves (Elsevier, 2004)
Where Do We Come From? The Molecular Evidence for Human Descent by Jan Klein and Naoyuki Takahata (Springer, 2002)
The Human Fossil Record (volume 1, forthcoming in 4 volumes) by Schwartz / Tattersall (John Wiley and Sons, 2002)
Extinct Humans by Ian Tattersall and Jeffrey H. Schwartz (Westview Press / Perseus Books, 2000)
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution edited by Steve Jones, Robert Martin, David Pilbeam (Cambridge Univ Press, 1992)
The Search for Eve by Michael H. Brown (Harper and Row, 1990)
Guide to Fossil Man by Michael H. Day (Univ of Chicago Press, 1986, 4th edition)
Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind by Donald C. Johanson and Maitland A. Edey (Simon and Schuster, 1981)

Phil P


#9

[quote=PhilVaz]Forest << I believe the premise was that all living people could trace their lineage to this same couple. Interesting… >>

Yes, we do trace back to two people, but not to a male-female couple that lived at the same time. My understanding is that Mitochondrial “Eve” (mt-Eve) lived about 80,000 - 100,000 years before Y-Chromosome “Adam” (Y-Adam). That would not be the Genesis Adam/Eve. A book that describes the DNA studies for Y-Adam is The Journey of Man by geneticist Spencer Wells.

Phil P
[/quote]

Fascinating! Thanks!

[quote=Sgt Sweaters]I think it’s too simple to call cave-art “crude etchings.”
[/quote]

I recall hearing that 3-dimensional eyesight is “learned” (or something along those lines.) Perhaps Phil will know more about this area. If this is true and they saw in 2D, it would be obvious why they also drew in it. No matter if I am right, one can clearly see the evolution of art and the usage of perspective and relational height and depth through time.

[quote=PhilVaz]The rest are quite real.
[/quote]

Isn’t there a newer find that is even older than Lucy?


#10

Forest << Isn’t there a newer find that is even older than Lucy? >>

Of course, and they have named him Linus. Sadly, the blanket was not preserved.

And they wrote a song about them

Just kidding, I’m not an expert, but I am trying to get beyond my “creationist” brainwashing from long ago. :thumbsup: Wikipedia is a very handy online encyclopedia, compiled by non-experts like myself.

Phil P


#11

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]I’ve always wondered:

How should we as Christians, and more specifically Catholics, view cavemen? Yes, cavemen. Did they really exist? What’s the proof? If they did exist, what were they? Humans? Human-Apes? Did they have souls?

I just can’t imagine God creating a man-like being that was so undeveloped he could only communicate through grunts and crude etchings.

Well, what say ye?
[/quote]

Great topic, I have thought about this many times as well. Unfortunately I have no answer so I’m going to sit back and listen in on the discussion.

Hope you are doing well, it’s been a while!

:blessyou:


#12

[quote=PhilVaz] I don’t buy any of the creationist stuff anymore, though they mean well (trying to reconcile science and religion).
Phil P
[/quote]

Out of curiosity, do you still believe God created us, maybe theist evolution? Im not really bothered by the fact that God created mankind, in his image, and then His creation grew and matured. As long as we understand God created us using his own freewill and was uninhibited in doing so, no rules are being broken. Also when it says God created us in his own image, does that mean we look like he does, i.e. mirror image or does it mean what he wanted us to look like, i.e. imagination?

dxu


#13

Also, IF Adam and Eve were neanderthals, they must’ve had a cognitive process, otherwise they would not have been able to sin and deny God. You must have the ability to comprehend, even if it is still a misunderstanding of something (protestant views on Catholics for example) before you can go against something.Therefore, IF Adam and Eve were neanderthals, they must’ve had an idea of right and wrong and some level of intellect. It is possible that God communicated to them in a way that they understood. But we must remember, they became aware of their nakedness and death.The question is, did they have intellect before they went against God, if they were truly neanderthals? My answer is yes, but in a limited fashion. They were aware of right and wrong. That is as far as I can take my argument. Feel free to agree, disagree, critique, or praise. Just enjoy!

dxu


#14

[quote=snowman10]Also, IF Adam and Eve were neanderthals, they must’ve had a cognitive process, otherwise they would not have been able to sin and deny God. You must have the ability to comprehend, even if it is still a misunderstanding of something (protestant views on Catholics for example) before you can go against something.Therefore, IF Adam and Eve were neanderthals, they must’ve had an idea of right and wrong and some level of intellect. It is possible that God communicated to them in a way that they understood. But we must remember, they became aware of their nakedness and death.The question is, did they have intellect before they went against God, if they were truly neanderthals? My answer is yes, but in a limited fashion. They were aware of right and wrong. That is as far as I can take my argument. Feel free to agree, disagree, critique, or praise. Just enjoy!

dxu
[/quote]

If Adam and Eve were Neanderthals, then they had parents.

How is this Biblical?

Blessings,
Richard


#15

[quote=Richard_Hurtz]If Adam and Eve were Neanderthals, then they had parents.

How is this Biblical?

Blessings,
Richard
[/quote]

God created them. I should’ve said that. God created Adam and Eve. They had DNA. We know the why, but sometimes, not the how. Even if Adam and Eve were Neanderthals, who said God couldn’t have created them that way, and his creation evolved or whatnot. Just thinking out loud…:D! Thanks for your response!

dxu


#16

[quote=UKcatholicGuy] Did they have souls?

[/quote]

FYI,

Every living material creature has a soul. A soul is what animates the otherwise inanimate matter.

Plants have souls, animals have souls, humans have souls.

The difference is that humans have spiritual, immortal souls, while the souls of plants and animals are finite in their existance.

Plants have Animative souls that provide the basics, metabolizism ect…

Animals have Sensitive Souls. Souls that have knowledge\memory and can respond to input from the senses (hence the name)

The souls of plants and animals cease to exist when their material lives end.

Humans have Rational Souls that also are Spiritual in nature. We, unlike the animals (which are entirely material) or the angels (which are entirely spirit) are both material AND Spirit.

Adam and Eve were the first material creatures endowed with immortal, spiritual souls.


#17

Also, IF Adam and Eve were neanderthals, they must’ve had a cognitive process, otherwise they would not have been able to sin and deny God.

Adam and Eve were not neanderthals – the current state of scientific research suggests we are not descended from neanderthals, who were a separate branch of the hominid tree.

They did, however have a cognitive process. Neanderthal burials have been found with flowers and other things placed with the body. There are neanderthal skeletons with healed injuries that would have rendered the individual unable to care for himself – someone else cared for him. And, of course, they had art.

Did they have immortal souls? Science cannot tell us, and revelation does not extend so far.


#18

[quote=Forest-Pine]I vaguely remember a news report some months back about historical genetic studies linking all of modern mankind back to a specific couple somewhere in Africa/ the Middle East (I think). I believe the premise was that all living people could trace their lineage to this same couple. Interesting…
[/quote]

Not quite right. All living humans today can be traced back to one woman in Africa about 200,000 years ago. This can be traced through mitochondrial DNA which is passed down through the mother so everyone (male and female) inherits this from their mother. However, this does not mean she was the only woman alive at that time, nor does it mean there were no women before her (there were going back millions of years). It simply means that hers is the only line that survived until today.


#19

[quote=Forest-Pine]Fascinating! Thanks!

I recall hearing that 3-dimensional eyesight is “learned” (or something along those lines.) Perhaps Phil will know more about this area. If this is true and they saw in 2D, it would be obvious why they also drew in it. No matter if I am right, one can clearly see the evolution of art and the usage of perspective and relational height and depth through time.

Isn’t there a newer find that is even older than Lucy?
[/quote]

Maybe I am wrong, but I read somewhere that the reason that predators have their eyes in the front of their heads is because it gives them the advantage of seeing in 3-d. So, I would surmise, perhaps incorrectly, that our ability to see in 3-d is not learned.


#20

[quote=Brendan]FYI,

Every living material creature has a soul. A soul is what animates the otherwise inanimate matter.

Plants have souls, animals have souls, humans have souls.

The difference is that humans have spiritual, immortal souls, while the souls of plants and animals are finite in their existance.

Plants have Animative souls that provide the basics, metabolizism ect…

Animals have Sensitive Souls. Souls that have knowledge\memory and can respond to input from the senses (hence the name)

The souls of plants and animals cease to exist when their material lives end.

Humans have Rational Souls that also are Spiritual in nature. We, unlike the animals (which are entirely material) or the angels (which are entirely spirit) are both material AND Spirit.

Adam and Eve were the first material creatures endowed with immortal, spiritual souls.
[/quote]

aha. Good call. Thank you! God bless


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.