Why Did God Create Hominids? | Q&A


Question:

Why did God create Hominids?

Answer:

Whenever we find an object or see an event, it’s natural to ask, “where did that come from?” or, “why did that happen.” A philosopher or theologian will approach such questions from a teleological point of view, while a scientist would approach the question from a material point of view. These are not contradictory approaches but parallel.

Consider the question of why the water is boiling on the stove. We could answer such a question by describing the heat from a stove burner increasing the temperature of the water to the boiling point and so on. Or we could answer such a question by saying we wanted a cup of tea. Both statements answer the question but in very different ways. It’s important to see that these two answers are not in conflict. The question being asked for this post presumes intentionality on the part of God in creating these strange animals.

Regardless of exactly what these creatures looked like, what their capabilities were, or when they lived, they certainly did exist. What kind of creatures are included in the identification “Hominid” was considered in another post. For this post, I am choosing to ignore the scientific/anthropological issues surrounding their existence and simply assume that these are creatures that have gone extinct sometime in the past.

The survival of any species depends on the stability of the ecological niche that it inhabits. For example, some scientists are concerned about the survival of some sensitive species because there is evidence that the climate is warming. Some Alpine plants and animals have been noticed moving to higher altitudes.1 Many species have gone extinct, even recently.2 So, it is not surprising to find the remains of a large variety of animals that are no longer found on earth. What troubles us is that because some of these animals show some resemblance to modern humans, they are claimed to be evidence that we have gradually evolved from more primitive human-like animals. Of course, we are ignoring this argument here. But, if God created them, why?

A possible answer to our question is not so hard to find as it might seem. As described in the video referenced in the “Resources” section below, the answer seems to be that they were provided to put environmental pressure on existing species to prevent them from being brought to extinction by the superior abilities of man to hunt them. There is evidence that where these creatures lived larger mammals have survived the advance of modern human civilization. Where these animals were not prevalent before the arrival of modern humans most or all of the large ancient mammals (which would be good for food, etc.) became extinct.

Consequently, the survival of larger useful mammals necessary for the prosperity of human populations would depend on their learning to be wary of humans. So, it appears that God created increasingly intelligent hominid populations to “train” larger mammals to avoid human contact and thus survive the advance of the human hunter who had vastly superior hunting skills than any other creature.

What about Genesis 9:2a—“The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea.”? Could not God have simply put this fear directly into the animal? Of course. But, how the “dread” was put into the beasts is not said. This brings us to an important observation. Questions about nature must generally be answered from nature. Notice that in the Garden of Eden God gave man the responsibility to name the animals, He did not name them for him. This tells us that it is our responsibility to study nature in order to know how to manage it. The Scripture constantly uses nature to teach us important lessons, but rarely tells us how the natural realm works.

This last point bears emphasizing. When two great men of God thought that Scripture did tell them about how nature worked they made a significant mistake. Based on the obvious meaning of Ecclesiastes 1:5 and Psalms 104:5, both Martin Luther3 and John Calvin4 thought that the new theory of Copernicus that the earth rotated around the Sun was wrong.  Today, we pretty much agree that, in fact, Luther and Calvin were wrong.  

Resources

Fuzale Rana, Question of the Week: Why Did God Create Hominids? https://youtu.be/mrIb7auFDdI (Accessed 01/28/2021)


Endnotes

1.  Global warming pushing alpine species higher and higher. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180910093526.htm (Accessed 01/30/2021).
[This reference is only used to support the contention made in the text and should not to be taken as a recommendation for other material in this article or on this site.]

2.  Extinction of Plants and Animals. https://naturalhistory.si.edu/education/teaching-resources/paleontology/extinction-over-time (Accessed 01/30/2021).
[This reference is only used to support the contention made in the text and should not to be taken as a recommendation for other material in this article or on this site.]

3.  Martin Luther, Table Talk, quoted in Nicolaus Copernicus, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, reprinted in Great Books of the Western World (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1939), 499–838.

4.  John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949), 4:6–7.

By Roy Touzeau

Roy Touzeau is a regular teacher at Grace and Truth Gathering in Portland, Oregon where he has been faithfully attending since 1981. He was instrumental in founding Principles in Focus, an annual biblically focused retreat for young people. Roy and his wife Pamela have been married for forty-nine years and enjoy visiting their children and grandchildren and studying God’s creation using Roy’s eight-inch telescope.

4 Comments

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    Brian Warren -

    Thank you for taking the time to answer this question Roy. I had not noticed how often I attempt to use the Bible to understand natural phenomena, and how often that misapplication actually keeps me from understanding Scripture and nature.

    • Roy Touzeau
      Roy Touzeau -

      Yes, it is important to appreciate the relationship between the revelation of God in nature and His verbal revelation in the Scriptures. Both reveal God in their own way. They are in harmony. This view is expressed at least as far back as the Reformers in the classic article 2 of the Belgic Confession of 1561.

  • Avatar
    Brian Warren -

    I do have a question. The first two chapters of 1 Corinthians speak in detail about what the natural man can know verses what the spiritual man can know. This suggests to me that those who are merely natural can study and understand natural phenomena, but only those who are spiritual can understand God’s mind in these matters (ex: the cup of tea). Am I reading that correctly?

    • Roy Touzeau
      Roy Touzeau -

      I think that is generally true. It is certainly true for “deeper” spiritual truth. However, God does reveal Himself to the natural man as described in Romans 1:19-21. In addition, the work of the Father and Spirit is to draw men to the Lord Jesus as described in John 6:44 and elsewhere.

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