Neanderthals—Where Do They Fit in the Bible’s History?

“Oh, he’s such a Neanderthal!” Have you ever heard someone use such a phrase to insult a person with “backward” views or coarse manners? (A couple of our political leaders used that term recently in referring to the abortion issue.) While the man in question might be insulted to be called a Neanderthal, the poor historical Neanderthal behind the slight might take more offense! You see, Neanderthals weren’t backwards, coarse brutes—they were humans, just like us.

Based on the archaeological record, scientists now believe that Neanderthals:

Made and used tools.Made musical instruments, jewelry, and even make-up.Dove for fresh shellfish.Organized their cave homes and had hot water.Used toothpicks and practiced oral hygiene.Cooked vegetables.Painted on cave walls.Fed and weaned their children like we do.Had children with “modern” man.

In other words, they behaved like humans! How do we understand this within the Bible’s account of creation and early history?

Well, the Bible teaches that God created two people, Adam and Eve, in the beginning (Genesis 1:27). These two people were made in God’s image and from them, every person has descended (Genesis 3:20). Since Neanderthals give overwhelming evidence to their humanity, we know they must have descended from Adam and Eve as well.

Neanderthals aren’t some sort of human cousin that died out. They are humans with slight morphological and genetic differences from us, reflecting the genetic variation within the human “kind”. They must have lived after Noah’s flood (otherwise their habitations would’ve been washed away during this global catastrophe), in a harsh world settling down from the devastating effects of a global event. This means one, or more, of the eight people who survived the flood aboard the ark must have carried the unique genetic variations that Neanderthals possessed, allowing those genes to survive and be passed on for a time, before they eventually died out.

We can only properly understand human history and anthropology (and the history of the rest of life and the universe!) if we start with God’s Word. And you can discover the history in God’s Word, and how it applies to science, at the Creation Museumhere in Northern Kentucky. One of our world-class exhibits is on “starting points” (i.e., man’s word vs. God’s Word); it dives into human history with replicas of ancient skulls, including Neanderthal and the famous Lucy specimen (an ape). In this exhibit, you’ll discover where we came from and how we got here, using the Bible’s history as the interpretive lens. And that’s just one of the fantastic exhibits here at the Creation Museum!

You can see people enjoying this exhibit in this short video from just last week—I love seeing all the people pouring into the museum and Ark to learn about the truth of God’s Word!

And if you’re unable to make it to Kentucky right now, you can enjoy a tour of the Creation Museum right from your living room with Journey Through the Creation Museum, a guided tour of the entire museum and grounds featuring filmmaker Peter Schriemer. It’s not the same as visiting these attractions, but it’s a wonderful way to experience them from home!


Answers in Genesis videos on demand

You can find the DVD or download on our online store, or you can stream Journey Through the Creation Museum today on our streaming platform, Answers TV, with a free seven-day trial.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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