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Early Man and Human Fossils
  • A Creationist Perspective of Ancient Humans
  • Notes / Further Reading

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Early Man and Human Fossils

Ray Bohlin

  1. A creationist perspective of ancient humans.

    Many of these individuals do look very different from modern humans. Who are they? Where did they come from? Does any of this make sense from a creationist perspective? While we need to be careful not to over-interpret the data as we have accused evolutionists of doing, there are a few suggestions that make some sense.

    1. One big happy family.

      The most obvious first step is to recognize that Homo erectus, archaic Homo sapiens, neandertals, and Homo sapiens form a continuum of the human family.

      1. The different forms represent genetic variation within a species and not distinct species. Many evolutionists themselves have difficulty drawing the line between these four different labels. Some have even speculated that Homo erectus and modern humans may have been able to interbreed if they existed at the same time. Some evolutionists actually suggest that Homo erectus should be labeled within modern humans anyway.

      2. Human fossils from Kow Swamp, Australia, are no more than 13,000 years old yet contain many of the skull characteristics of Homo erectus. Some of the explanations for this involve cultural modifications and not genetic differences.{13} In other words, many of the characteristics of Homo erectus can be achieved in modern humans by lifestyle changes. These could include deliberate forehead compression, deformation due to inbreeding, modifications due to dietary deficiencies and peculiarities.

      3. The late Arthur Custance documented differences in the modern skulls of Eskimos due to the massive jaw muscles that are developed because of their diet.{14} Many of these changes would be labeled as primitive if dug up in some ancient river bed, yet they exist in fully modern humans today.

    2. Post-flood divergence?

      Marvin Lubenow offers the interesting suggestion, current dating techniques notwithstanding, that many of these ancient humans are the remains of individuals within the first millennia after the flood of Noah.{15}

      1. Effects of the ice age, constant cloud cover (preventing Vitamin D formation leading to rickets), largely vegetarian and uncooked diet, and expression of local genetic variation could readily account for the many different, yet anatomically related human forms.

      2. Are these ancient humans former ape-like creatures that are evolving towards humans, or are they humans caught in a unique and harsh world that brought about numerous interspecies variants? Evolutionists never bother to ask the latter question. A creationist perspective, in this case, may lead to questions that evolutionists may never ask. That is the value, in science, of different perspectives.


  1. Time, 14 March 1994.
  2. William Howells, Getting Here: The Story of Human Evolution (Washington, D.C.:Compass, 1993), 79.
  3. Marvin Lubenow, Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils (Grand Rapids, Mich.:Baker, 1992), 21.
  4. Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin, Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes Us Human (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 83-84.
  5. Ibid., 137-72.
  6. Lubenow, 36-39.
  7. Ibid., 52-58.
  8. William Howells, quoted by Lubenow, Bones of Contention, 56-57.
  9. Ibid., 173-75.
  10. Leakey and Lewin, 103.
  11. Howells, 79.
  12. Lubenow, 266.
  13. Ibid., 131-33.
  14. Arthur Custance, Genesis and Early Man (Grand Rapids, Mich.:Zondervan, 1975), 12-57.
  15. Lubenow, 144-56.

For Further Reading

Custance, Arthur. Genesis and Early Man. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1975.
Custance was a brilliant and original thinker. His assessment of human fossils and his ideas for a creationist interpretation were outstanding. The book is volume II of a series of papers written by Custance over many years entitled the Doorway Papers. This volume includes "Fossil Remains of Early Man and the Record of Genesis," "Primitive Cultures: A Second Look at the Problem of Their Historical Origin," "Establishing a Paleolithic I. Q.," "The Supposed Evolution of the Human Skull," "The Fallacy of Anthropological Reconstructions," "Who Taught Adam to Speak?" and "Light from Other Forms of Cultural Behavior on Some Incidents in Scripture."

________. Noah's Three Sons. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1975.
This first volume of the Doorway papers sets forth the basic concept that from the three sons of Noah have arisen all three divisions of the human family, which even at this time, can still identified with some certainty. Custance draws upon his scholarship in anthropology, the physical sciences, and oriental languages to make his case. The five papers included are "The Part Played by Shem, Ham, and Japheth in Subsequent World History," "A Study of the Names in Genesis 10," "Why Noah Cursed Canaan Instead of Ham: A New Approach to an Old Problem," "The Technology of Hamitic People," and "A Christian World View: The Framework of History."

Howells, William. Getting Here: The Story of Human Evolution. Washington, D.C.: The Compass Press, 1993.
William Howells is a Harvard paleoanthropologist who has written extensively on human evolution over the years. This book deals with the entire story and is meant for the non-technical as well as the technical reader. You will find a candid and thorough discussion of the latest available data from within an evolutionary framework. All of the important fossils and controversies are covered in a well-written flowing style. A solid read.

Leakey, Richard and Lewin, Roger. Origins Reconsidered. New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1992.
Leakey and Lewin cover much of the same ground as does Howells except that they delve a little more into the personality conflicts that underlie many of the controversies in human evolution. Leakey reveals much of his thinking processes in evaluating new data as it arrived. This is very helpful to show the deep disagreements that exist over some of the most basic issues. Leakey and Lewin also discuss some of the aspects of cultural evolution which Leakey considers more critical in making us human than our physical evolution. A helpful look into the mind of one of the most prominent anthropologists in the minds of the public.

Lubenow, Marvin L. Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1992.
This is the best creationist book on human evolution to date. Though Lubenow is not an anthropologist, he has followed this issue for over 25 years and has interacted personally with many top anthropologists over the years. So he seems to really know the data. Strictly a young earth creationist, Lubenow does an excellent job of showing the weaknesses and twists of interpretation necessary to maintain a coherent picture of human evolution before the public. The appendix covering the dating of Leakey's Skull 1470 is worth the price of the book alone.

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