Today’s blog features an interview with Jim Brenneman. Jim studied anthropology at a state university as an honors student with a specialized interest in Neanderthals. He has also taught classes in biblical Hebrew and biblical archaeology, has directed two study tours in Israel, and has an avid interest in the biblical flood.
Question: Neanderthals, or cave men, are found in most textbooks as large brutish animals, stooped over and carrying a club. Are Neanderthals fully human, half-human, or, just an animal?
Jim: What a Neanderthal might “look like” has no bearing at all on whether or not they are fully human souls. All people are of one blood, and descendents of Adam and Eve, and more recently descendents of the three sons of Noah.
Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. . . . These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. Genesis 9:18-19
The human genome studies are well known to creationists. And also familiar to us are the creation-denying views of those who try to find a reason to believe that the Neanderthals are pre-human non-souled creatures, animals that are less than human. Ever since the introduction of Evolution, there have been those people who consider many “races” to be less than human. These include Neanderthals, the Australian aboriginal natives, Jews, “Gypsies,” as well as people of African descent and Native Americans.
Neanderthal fossils are all post flood humans. Mainstream creationists for the most part view the “early man” fossils as formed entirely since the end of the Flood. The fossils are found in locations above the many hundreds of feet of strata that were deposited during the Flood.
Cave culture is never a “level,” or even an “age” in some sort of sequenced progress of human development. “Cave Culture” or “Stone-age Culture” is a life-style or type of technology that is shared by various groups of humans simultaneous with other types of technology and circumstances of living.
Cave culture is mentioned in the Bible as a phenomenon immediately following the Flood. As people dispersed throughout the earth they found shelter in the most convenient locations they encountered during their migrations. They would stay in a particular area for a while, and then move on, perhaps leaving some individuals behind. But the cave was a mere matter of convenience for many early peoples, as in the case of Lot (Gen. 19:30). Others are also mentioned as hiding in caves or living there temporarily. David wrote a couple of his psalms while he hid in a cave, glorious passages to read when you go to explore a cave (Ps. 57:1; 142:1).
Job 30:3-7 mentions those who lived in caves as outcasts of society, whose appearance suffered as a result of poor diet.
Question: Are Neanderthals only found in areas of Europe and not in Africa or any areas?
Jim: Yes, that is basically correct. Neanderthals are found entirely in Europe and its fringes -some up into the steppe regions of western Asia, and down into Mt. Carmel of Israel, but predominately in Europe.
Question: Dr. Jack Cuzzo has studied a number of human skeletons that are stored in museums. He proposes that many of these old human skeletons show signs of being extremely old. Is the old age (longevity) of human skeletons something that scientists are looking at?
Jim: By “old,” we are referring not to the time in which they lived (millions of years ago, or thousands of years in the past). Rather, by old, we mean that the fossils represent individuals who apparently experienced considerable longevity. They lived to a very ripe old age.
Opponents of “creation” would refer to” old” skeletons with tongue in cheek, because the old age (in excess of 200 years) of any human is never “looked at” by mainstream science, except to laugh at it as silly religious mythology. However, the skeletons show evidence (bone density and teeth enamel) of very advanced age.
Dr. Jack Cuzzo presents evidence that predominately the Neanderthals were unique not due to disease or genetic malformation, but due to extended lifespans that involved later entrance to adulthood, and a more gradual development through adolescence. He has been virtually banned from further examination of Neanderthal remains in the museums of Europe and even received threats of physical violence because of his research.
Dr. Cuozzo has his own web-site: http://www.jackcuozzo.com/
At Creation Conversations, Cuozzo was featured in the “Ask the Expert” section and there has been much discussion of his work there as well: http://www.creationconversations.com/main/search/search?q=jack+cuozzo+buried+alive
Question: Is there evidence that Neanderthals and modern humans lived together during the same time period?
Jim: Caves in Israel show evidence of shared habitation by Neanderthals and by Anatomically Modern Humans at the same time. Other locations throughout Europe show over-lapping habitation, both in time and in location. And there is also evidence that they produced children together. Both body-types were thoroughly human.
Marvin Lubenow writes: “But the strongest evidence that Neandertals were fully human and of our species is that at four sites Neandertals and modern humans were buried together….That Neandertals and anatomically modern humans were buried together constitutes strong evidence that they lived together, worked together, intermarried, and were accepted as members of the same family, clan, and community. The false distinction made by evolutionists today was not made by the ancients. To call the Neandertals ‘Cave Men’ is to give a false picture of who they were and why caves were significant in their lives.”
“Although anthropologists have yet to agree on a formal definition of the Neandertals, there is a set of physical characteristics that are used in referring to a classic Neandertal morphology…. [eg. larger average brain case, low forehead, heavy brow ridges, prominent nose, thick body bones] Any one of these characteristics, several of them, or all of them could be found in some humans living today, or even perhaps all of them might be found in some humans living today. There is nothing profoundly distinct about them….”
Marvin Lubenow is a young earth creationist, and has written a book, Bones of Contention. He uses an alternate spelling for some terms. More information about his work and other articles can be found at Answers in Genesis: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/m_lubenow.asp and http://www.answersingenesis.org/search/?q=lubenow&site=articles