Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Does The Bible Teach There Were Human Prototypes?

Questions about ancient peoples, even cavemen, possible human prototypes, were brought up in my mind since I've just returned from visiting the Navajo Nation and regions known to Comanche, Ute, Cheyenne, Kiowa nations/tribes (Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Four Corners, Palo Duro Canyon, Washita River Battlefield, etc.), and because of a recent discovery in the Galilee mentioned in Israel National News, which prompted me to write a rabbi friend, Yehoshua, in Israel.

Yehoshua Friedman and his wife Janet are among the original founders of Kochav HaShachar, a Jewish Pioneering Community in the Israelite Tribal Territory of Eretz Binyamin (Land of Benjamin), located in what is today known as the Shomron (Samaria). He is the founder and chairman of The Noahide Fellowship of the Root & Branch Association, Ltd.

I wrote Yehoshua:

Three 9,000-Year-Old Skulls Found in Galilee
"Some Torah authorities explain that findings which are dated before the Jewish date of creation are remnants from worlds which G-d created and destroyed before this world."

Do such "Torah authorities" teach these human or human-like creatures had the "spirit" in man that enables us to have a relationship with our Creator or what? Dr. Herman Hoeh and others of the Worldwide Church of God apparently used to teach or privately believe something similar (Pre-Adamic World), saying they didn't have the "spirit in man" (Herbert W. Armstrong called it "the human spirit" for lack of a better word) and were something like prototypes, but it raises disturbing questions and offers radical ramifications. Why would God need or want a prototype?


We are not fundamentalists. For us scripture is mediated by the Oral Torah which Moses received coevally with the written or perhaps even before. To give two examples, we are enjoined to slaughter an animal "as I have commanded you”, but it is nowhere elaborated what is considered proper slaughter (i.e. majority of the two places in the neck, the windpipe and the esophagus); regarding the fruit of the four species of Sukkot, it is simply said "pri etz hadar", a beautiful fruit. Only by tradition can we know which fruit it is. The main issue for us is that G-d created the world and how we are meant to behave in it. Within those parameters there can be differences of opinion regarding how the tradition was transmitted, but G-d authorizes the actions of a duly constituted court. It is possible that there were human beings who had souls obligated in the Noahide laws or that they were subhuman and like animals or robots. Either is possible. It says, "were it not for my covenant (Torah), I would not have established the laws of heaven and earth". These sources are not particularly binding in their details because they are not matters that affect either the love of fear of G-d and certainly not the fulfillment of the mitzvot of the Torah.
This should be sufficient.


Then I responded:

I also am not a strict fundamentalist, but am careful to not let legitimate traditions get confused with others. Thank you for your response, your kosher food for thought, but now I wonder how there could be pre-Adamic life if everything was tohu v'bohu [without form and void or desolate]...

Yehoshua replied:

Two possibilities come to mind: the preamble is a general introduction to all creations and precedes all of them, or the tohu va-vohu is a relative term. We use it to refer to the government, for example.


Our good friend and brother, Aryeh Gallin, president of the Root and Branch Association, aware of our email conversation, contributed that Jewish sources refer to pre-existing, pre-human "humans" and noted how Professor Gerald Schroeder utilized some of these sources in his talks in the R&B Lecture Series in Jerusalem.

I was blessed to hear some of those lectures years ago in our beloved Jerusalem, and even read Genesis and the Big Bang, but didn't recall Professor Schroeder mentioning "humans" and found all this fascinating and bewildering. He then, also aware of this email conversation, graciously informed me his second book, The Science of God, offers the Jewish references in detail, so I immediately went to our main library in Toledo, Ohio and checked out The Science of God and finished it within a day and conclude:

It appears Hominids, not humans, predated Adam and Eve. They were 'animals' with human bodies and brains but devoid of human spirituality (neshama).

As Gerald Schroeder, author of The Science of God, chapter 9, The Origin of Humankind, explains:

The fact that Adam was first "made" (Gen. 1:26) and only later "created" (Gen. 1:27) informs us unequivocally that some amount of time passed during which Adam was fashioned. The neshama was implanted only after that vessel was complete... The Bible explicitly states that the body of mankind was formed from the dust of the ground. The Hebrew word for man, adam, meaning ground or soil: "And the Lord God formed the adam dust from the adamah..." (Gen. 2:7).
The Bible also explicitly states that the bodies of animals were formed from the same material as Adam, the ground: "And the Lord God formed from the adamah all the animals..." (Gen. 2:19).
... The Hebrew word for formed, ya-tsar, when used for the forming of mankind, is spelled with two Hebrew letters yud...
Yud is the abbreviation of God's explicit name best translated as the Eternal. As the ancient commentators, Rashi, Maimonides, and Namanides explain this verse, by doubling the yud for mankind, the Bible is telling us that although mankind and animals may share a common physical origin, there is an extra spiritual input in humanity. The neshama, the spiritual soul of humankind, is the factor distinguishing man from beast...
...According to Nahmanides...the biblical text [Gen. 2:7] has told us that before the neshama there was something like a man that not quite a human...
[The Talmud makes mention of Adam having children with other beings - during an alleged 130 year separation from Eve - that]... "were not human in the true sense of the word. They had not the spirit of God... It is acknowledged that a being who does not possess this spirit is not human but a mere animal in human shape and form."
...Science has also confirmed the biblical assertions that less-than-human creatures with human-like bodies and brains existed before Adam.

[Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed; Part One, Chapter 7.

Talmud Eruvim 18A.

Jerusalem Talmud Peah 1:1].


Herbert W. Armstrong taught that the key difference between animals and man is "the spirit in man." And that such a non-physical component imparts the power of intellect to the human brain and enables us "... to have a special relationship with God—to have the potential of being born into the family of God... To make it possible to bridge the gap—or to make the transition of mankind, composed wholly of matter, into spirit beings in God’s Kingdom, then to be composed wholly of spirit...

In Job 32:8, we read, “[T]here is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” ... I call this spirit the human spirit, for it is in each human, even though it is spirit essence and not matter. It is not a spirit person or being. It is not the man, but spirit essence in the man. It is not a soul—the physical human is a soul. The human spirit imparts the power of intellect to the human brain. The human spirit does not supply human life—the human life is in the physical blood, oxidized by the breath of life.

It is that nonphysical component in the human brain that does not exist in the brain of animals. It is the ingredient that makes possible the transition from human to divine, without changing matter into spirit, at the time of resurrection..."

-Excerpt from What Science Can’t Discover About the Human Mind by Herbert W. Armstrong

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