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The Bible and Archeology.


There is no and never was any absolute unity in the Biblical and scientific knowledge. The most drawing closer of the Biblical and scientific ideas was reached in the holy fathers’ times, when such great Christian teachers and fathers of the Church as Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Damascus were at the same time highly educated people of their époque.

The attempts to reach the full unity of religious and scientific knowledge in the later times Попытки же достигнуть полного единства религиозных и научных знаний в позднейшее время — in the Middle Ages, when the religious character grew dull, and the scientific level dropped, did not bring anything but harm both to religion and science. This does not mean that religion and science are incompatible, as the enemies of religion want to assure us of.

But this means that religious and scientific knowledge are in the different layers of human cognition, that they have different goals and methods. The Holy Scripture has one goal: the salvation of human souls, the preparation of them to the acceptance of the Heavenly Reign. That is why the Holy Scripture is meant equally for all times. Equally in all times the man needs to know that he, as everything in the world, is created by the Lord God, but contrary to the rest of the terrestrial world — material and spiritual, he is created in his spirit on the image and after the likeness of God, that all people originated from one couple and even from one creature, that the first couple of people committed a grave sin, but they too set the way for repentance and correction.

That first mankind was so corrupted that the Lord had to destroy it by the waters of the Flood, keeping only righteous Noah and his family, from whom he restored mankind again; that among the descendants of righteous Noah were many sinners, but there were the righteous, too; that one of these righteous became the antecedent of the Chosen nation, from the medium of which appeared the Savior of the world — Christ.

All these things a Christian should know to believe in a right way and be prepared to defend the faith. Not by chance Christ Himself referred to these facts from the book of Genesis (math. 19:4, 24, 38; Mark 10:6 etc.).

The Holy Scripture does not give any anthropological or archeological facts. They are not necessary for the matter of salvation of human souls.

That is why, on the question, how one should imagine the first people, according to the Bible: like beautiful, as they are drawn in the Biblical illustrations, or like those monkey-like beasts as they are drawn in the popular books on anthropology, we would not find the answer in the Holy Scripture, for the knowledge of all this is not necessary for the soul and the pastoral tasks of the Church.

But this does not at all mean that this question is unlawful and that you have no right to ask about it.

A Christian has an inalienable right to be interested in all questions. Not right are those, who assert that one should simply believe, without asking questions. Behind such statements there often hides indifference and cold attitude towards faith.

Ap. Peter teaches: "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Pet.3:15). And Ap. Paul confirms: "Ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Col.4:6). So, the one needs to answer the question: how to imagine the first people in the Christian way?

But one should search for an answer to this question, as the answer for all the outer for the Church question: scientific, economic, state — not in the lines of the Bible, but in the free conclusions of human mind, to which the Lord gives freedom, not assigning, how to do scientific research, how to trade or build a state.

In it the Church demands from a Christian only one thing — that every of these actions he should fulfill honestly, i.e. that he should strive to find the scientific truth in the scientific field, but not in the installed on him by other considerations conclusions.

The contemporary materialistic science both in our Motherland, and in the Western world sins gravely, but not in the way that it poses questions and asserts hypotheses, which sometimes seem incompatible with the Christian truths, — it happens because it treats these contradictions not thoroughly, not longing for the truth assertion, but wishing to cause as much harm to the Christianity as possible.

With that such fighters of Anti-Christianity often show absolute ignorance, concerning the Holy Scripture and matters of faith on the whole.

For example, when the leader of the militant atheists E. Yaroslavsky mocked at the Biblical text, using the opportunity that his listeners, though in their time they had the lessons of the Divine Law, but unfortunately knew the Bible in a bad way; he asserted that in the Bible it is knot clear, whom the sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, married, because, besides them no one else is mentioned in the Bible, though it is clearly said there that Adam and Eve begat sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4).

There surely cannot be any original incompatibility of the truthful scientific data and the data of the Bible. The law of nature, which are studied by science, and the truths of the Holy Scripture, belong to One and the Same Law-Giver, Creator and Thinker, Who does not contradict Himself.

But I shall repeat again: there can be no full coincidence between this and that data, except for the mentioned cause, because of the fact that religious truths are given once and forever for all people, and for their variety of cultural level. But scientific truths are accessible only for the people with special preparation and all the time undergo changes, depending on the new conclusions of science.

One cannot draw connections between the motionless rock and the fast flowing river. Let us remember that if the mendacious, God-opposing statements of materialistic science are criminal, then, the opposite ideas, instilled upon science, seemingly dictated by the interests of the protection of the Bible, are far from being useful.

The Bible does not need protection and "confirmation." But science needs absolute freedom in its conclusions.

Surely, the thoughts, given for the protection and "confirmation" of the Bible are less bad than the malicious tricks of atheists, but they too can cause harm.

How much harm brought the censure of the theory of Copernicus or the theory of evolution of Darwin. They must not have hurried with this censure; moreover the inventors of these theories were the believing people.

I shall mention, along the way, the more or less known cases of harmful usage of the scientific terms, concerning the Bible.

In the Biblical narration about St. Prophet Elijah in the original, in Hebrew text, it is said that he was swallowed by "the big fish," in Hebrew "dag gadol." In the translation of this text into the modern languages instead of "big fish" was put "a whale." For according to the ancient scientific idea, exactly a whale is the biggest fish. This idea was preserved till the middle of the 19th century, and even in the English zoology of O. Goldsmith, published in 1857, a whale is assigned to the class of fishes.

And how many mockeries were tolerated by the Church because of this unsuccessful change of the word, how many instable souls hesitated and doubted.

The same can be said about the word "a hare’ in the Pentateuch of Moses. In Hebrew here stands the word "shafan." This is a small hoofed animal, which in Russian zoology is called daman, and in English hyrax. It inhabits Syria and Africa.

In the translation, according to that time zoological terminology, they were called hares. In our time the enemies of the Church surely did not miss an opportunity to laugh at the holy Biblical text, in which it is said: "Do not eat a hare (shafan), for his hoofs do not bifurcate." A hare, of course, does not have hoofs, but a daman has 3 small hoofs on each pad.

But let us get back to your questions: what the first people look like, and who exactly of the known to science foremen and the earliest types of man can be called people, from our Christian point of view?

As I have said twice, the comparisons of the scientific data and the truth of the Holy Scripture are not safe. But, if we do it resignedly, carefully and indirectly, then maybe, we shall not sin, but on the contrary have a useful talk. Looking for a method to apply to this matter, I remembered that essentially the same problem had to be solved by the Europeans in the époque of great discoveries. And then a question: who of the newly discovered looking like people creatures — are people, and who are not, was to be solved not only theoretically, but practically as well.

In Africa they met gorillas and chimpanzees, in Asia — gibbons and orangutans (what in Malaysian means "a forest man"). Were these people or monkeys? In their bodily aspect, (especially the recently discovered type Bonobo) they are extremely close to people. But they do not talk; do not lead any spiritual life. That means that they are not people.

When in America the Spanish and Englishmen met red-skinned Indians, then they did not understand at once, who is in front of them: people or not?

The Spanish applied the correct method: they began to ask Indians, if they believed in deity and life after death? Being convinced that the Indians believed in both the things, the Spanish admitted that they are people and took pains to convert them into the Christianity.

The English, basing their speculations on the physical lack of similarity of the Indians with white Europeans and on their hostility towards the conquerors, rejected to admit that they were people, did not try to convert them into the Christianity and hunted them as wild animals.

This method is incorrect.

The question is: who of the mentioned creatures are people, and who — not, is solved not according to the outer, but inner features. With this will agree all zoologists and anthropologists. But if for zoologists and anthropologists the inner features are the details of the skeleton composition, digestive and nervous systems, then for us, the Christians, these signs are outward, and the posed question we shall solve without basing our views on them.

Let us apply the Spanish methods to the pre-historic anthropology. If we cannot ask the ancient fossil pre-people and people: "What do you believe in?," then we can attentively look at their remains exactly from this point of view.

The Driopitecus, Australopithecus and similar to them creatures are surely not people, in spite of their unquestionable resemblance to people. Bonobo is a little less developed than the man in his body structure, and still he is not a human, but a monkey.

The crucial for us idea is that neither by the Driopitecus, nor by Australopithecus were found any traces of spiritual processes.

The same we can say about the Pithecanthropus and Sinantropus (now both of them are called Homo Erectus), and even about the Heidelberg man. About all of them it is said in the American manual on Paleolith-anthropology of M. Day: "Their brain was from 850 till 1200 cub.sm. In volume (the brain of the contemporary man is approximately 1300 cub.sm), and how far it can be judged by the structure of their legs, they walked straight… It seems, they had all to start elaborating the first traits of their language. But there are no signs that any of the Pithecanthropus could talk."

Coming after the mentioned stages of pre-mankind is the Neanderthal. Is he a human? He used fire, made stone tools. All this as if makes us see a human in him. K. Marx and Engels assert that exactly the working out the system of tools for production makes the pre-man the man. And nevertheless there is no final assuredness that the Neanderthal is a human.

In him are noted no signs of spirituality or inspiration: we see no works of at least most primitive art, no attempts to decorate his tools or place of living in the comparatively multiple remnants of the Neanderthals.

As far as the primitive tools are concerned they can be made even by a Chimpanzee (even not a Bonobo), as testifies G. Gudoll, who observed chimpanzees for 9 years.

And only with the coming of the next period, with the change of the lower Paleolith into the upper, with the change of the Neanderthal by the Cromanion, we can without hesitation state that in front of us is a human.

Sometimes he draws highly artistic drawings on the walls of caves, in which he dwells, decorates his tools, he buries the dead, that means, he believes into life after death. In front of us there are some unquestionable signs of not only emotional, but spiritual moves. On the basis of all this we, following our method, can without a shade of doubt assert, that the Cromanion is the bearer of the created on God’s image and after His likeness eternal human spirit.

But if it is so then the first question can be answered rather positively. The first people had very attractive appearance. All scientific researchers draw the Cromanion beautiful. The average size of his brain is not less, and can be even more than the average size of the brain of the contemporary man. His artistic works in the caves of France and Spain cause unanimous admiration of all people, who at least a little love the beautiful. Not in vain the caves of Lasco and Alta Mira are often called the Sixteen Chapels of the Paleolith.

But we shall not hurry to assert that our idea is absolutely right. For several times I said and shall repeat again that the comparison of religious and scientific facts is very questionable.

Jordan Bruno was burnt by the Catholics not because he admitted the possibility of life of people on other planets, but because he stated that as an absolute truth, on his logics: if God created many worlds, then He had to inhabit them with reasonable creatures. He demanded the acceptance of this truth as of an absolute of the Pope of Rome and all the Catholic bishops.

His teaching was accepted to be heretical, and he was burnt. But now we clearly see, what harm could have caused his teaching, if it would have been accepted by the Christian way of thinking as an absolute religious truth.

They will not burn us for our statements. Now they burn for other things. But we, too, can do harm to the church way of thinking by making our statements absolute.

So, let us be resigned, not make out conjecture, that Adam and Eve and the first generations of people were that race, which the pre-historic anthropology calls the Cromanions, absolute.

More than that, I see another opportunity of comparing the Biblical and scientific data in this field.

Before the époque of the Cromanions the most predominating and spread type of people or pre-people were the Neanderthals. Close to them lived the forerunners of the Cromanions. From the discoveries on Mount Cramil we know that these two races of mankind mixed between themselves and gave rather full-blooded progeny.

The Neanderthals made tools, knew how to use fire, but did not show any spiritual process. Originally they were much multiple than the Cromanions. But all of a sudden and absolutely unexplainably from the scientific point of view, both Neanderthals and their mixture with the Cromanions disappeared without a trace. Not the least tinge of Neanderthal blood could be found in further generations.

Thus, there was the time, when there existed two types of mankind simultaneously. This can embarrass someone. But if we read attentively the Biblical lines, we shall see that there it is said about the two types of original mankind: about the sons of God and sons of men, about the descendants of Seth and Cain.

There it is also said about the mixing of these two types. And, as the descendants of Cain, the same way the Lord characterizes the mixed with them descendants of Seth with such words: "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh," Only flesh, there is nothing spiritual in them.

Oh, we know such a state of mankind well enough, due to our contemporary time.

The waters of the Flood exterminated these, exceptionally carnal people, so that they did not leave any progeny. Only righteous Noah with his family was saved. In him there was no slightest tinge of the sinful part of mankind’s blood. The first generations of his descendants (in spite of the presence of Ham), we can imagine as spiritually and physically renewed, fresh, and outwardly attractive, emotionally enriched, able to make the beautiful creations of Lasco and Alta Mira.

But I repeat again: let us not make these comparisons absolute.

In the conclusion, I think it to be my duty to come out of the limits of the outlined by you topics and tell you in brief, why our merciful and human-loving Lord destroyed entire pre-Flood mankind. I remember, in my childhood the picture of the Universal Flood of Gustav Dore upset my heart.

For the correct understanding of this question, one should step off the unstable soil of scientific theories onto the firm soil of the Christian understandings. The Lord wants to save, i.e. to make all people the participants of the Heavenly Reign. But people are created free on the image, and after the likeness of God, and that is why their salvation is possible only with, at least, the smallest participation of them in it.

After the downfall of the first people the Lord at the same moment began the preparation of them to the matter of salvation. Adam and Eve took part in that: they started repenting. Cain with his crime and unrepentant state within him rejected this way. His descendants and mixed with them descendants of Seth showed no repentance and got absolutely carnal.

It seemed that the Divine plan about salvation of people was absolutely ruined. People were born, lived absolutely unspiritual, purely carnal life, and dying, descended to hell without a hope to get freed from there ever. What could be more senseless and opposite to the Divine plan about the people?! There was left only one righteous man, Noah and his family shared righteousness with him. But if they have stayed in the medium of the corrupt people, then in one-two generations they would have been corrupted too.

But the Lord destroyed hopelessly dissolute mankind and saved Noah and his family, and in them the guarantee of salvation of all people.

I remember, what a joyful discovery of the youth for me were the lines of the Epistle of Ap. Peter that the Lord did not forget the destroyed by Him pre-Flood mankind, did not neglect those souls, but led them out of hell, when the achieved through their destruction plan of salvation of mankind ripened.

Ap. Peter writes: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins…By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water" (1 Pet.3:18-20).

 

Thus, fulfilling the commandment of same Ap. Peter, on his word "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."

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