Life in the land of Nod

The origin of the human species is a curious subject for study. These days, there are two predominant methods for gathering information upon which to form conclusions about that origin. There is science, and there is faith. These two are quite different from each other, so different, in fact, that there is no argument between them.
Each one is a language established for communicating certain messages.
Faith was established in human experience thousands of years before science was. It’s inception is clouded in human antiquities.  Faith is established upon human testimonies of divinely-revealed truth; by definition, it requires no proof, except the shared conviction of those who wield it.
Science came along only a few thousand years ago, having been initiated by analytical thinkers in ancient Greece. But the pragmatic use of scientific method only reached its critical mass in our modern period beginning about 700 years ago in the work of such thinkers as Copernicus, Bacon,  Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, Curie, Einstein, Watson and Crick, etc. The evolution of the scientific method has brought the practitioners of science to a regimented system of establishing fact through hypotheses that are confirmed by empirical proof and data.
Science, a systematic proof of hypothetical statements, is a language unto itself with strict rules for establishing that proof.
Faith, a cultural manifestation of shared belief, is a language unto itself having no rules, but having morals, which are its chief end.
In our era, the body of scientific work following the work of Charles Darwin and others is presented as evidence that the human species evolved through genetic mutations from other species. The evidence for this is quite convincing.
As a practitioner of faith, a Christian, I have no argument with this. And the reason is found not in the scientific evidence itself but in the Scripture, fourth chapter of Genesis, verse 13:
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
So we see from divine revelation that there were, in Adam’s time, other beings on earth who were capable of killing the son of Adam, Cain. Whoever these violent entities are, I know not, for scripture does not say. Whoever they were, they were not sons of Adam; for scripture is quite specific that Cain was the first son of Adam and Eve. The second son was Abel, whom Cain killed. The third son was Seth, who was born after God and Cain had their discussion about Cain’s problems that resulted from his murder of Abel.
Furthermore, we see from Genesis that God granted mercy to Cain in spite of his murderous act and that (Gen. 4:15ff) …Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.  Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was building a city and he named it after his son Enoch.
To identify these people who might have wanted to murder Cain is now impossible, and also unnecessary. If readers of the scripture would speculate upon their identity, some may suggest that these violent ones were some variant of Neanderthals, or more likely CroMagnons.
At any rate they were, it seems, a pretty violent lot, and God was quite upset when Cain’s behavior revealed a tendency toward their brutality.
Therefore, if scientific enquiry produces evidence of pre-Adamic humanoids, I have, as a believer  whose faith is founded in scripture, no problem with that.
My faith is formed by divine revelation. My knowledge of this earth is formed in science, among other things.
The history of the human species, as revealed in secular writings as well as in holy scripture, is evidence to me that man is a deficient creature. That is to say, we’re not playing with a full deck, and we all have a few loose screws. Christian theologians use the term depraved. That assessment is correct. There is plenty of evidence in  history of our rampant depravity.
What’s essential to me as a person of faith is this: the existential dilemma presented as a consequence of our depravity requires God’s own salvation, not our own, for we are incapable of it. When God breathed life into Adam, that intervention introduced a new work of His upon this earth. That divine work later found its fullest expression in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
So Jesus becomes my role model. That’s not to say that I attain the perfection that he did. But I’m following him.
If you want to trace your ancestry to the CroMagnons, or even to the blue people of Pandora, and identify with them, go right ahead. Knock yourself out.
Have a nice day.

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