Out of Eden vs. Out of Africa

By Roger Marshall*
Many Pan Africanists often postulate an evolutionary “Out of Africa” explanation for the origin of the world’s various people groups. This fact is borne out in the first display under the theme “The Dawn of Civilisation.” in the new African Gallery at the Barbados Museum. The display plots an imaginary path of my African ancestors and all mankind’s supposed evolutionary descent from apelike animals. Nothing in the display informs the public about the fact that the so-called missing links between apes and men have all been scientifically debunked in one way or the other.

However, there is a much better explanation for man’s origin that best fits with the scientific evidence. That explanation is found in the Bible.

The Bible has long advocated the doctrine – which is now supported by mitochondrial genetic evidence – that all human beings are the descendants of the same mother. Genesis chapter 3, verse 20 reads: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Furthermore it is stated that by analysis of some of the genes of the y-chromosomes some scientists have traced our origin back to a singular man (audio tape Origins of the Races featuring Biochemist Dr. Duane Gish). That is a further plus for the veracity of the Scriptures.

Nevertheless, while acknowledging the scientific evidence for a single mother of homo sapiens sapiens (i.e. humans like you and I) evolutionists and their adherents seek to sandwich their “African Eve” (a term that is however anathema for some apparently because of its Biblical connotations) between an evolutionary sequence of characters beginning in Africa with ape-like animals like the australopithecines (e.g. “Lucy”) and ending with “modern” man.

Yet if we take a closer look at the fossil evidence we find that Homo sapiens existed contemporaneously with the australopithecines and even before them, thus invalidating the belief that Homo sapiens descended from these animals. Examples of these fossils are the Kanapoi elbow fossil discovered in northern Kenya and dated at 4.4 million years old (according to the evolutionary time scale) which, as William W. Howells of Harvard University said, “… could not be distinguished from Homo sapiens morphologically or by multivariate analysis …” (see Homo erectus In Human Descent: Ideas And Problems by William W. Howells p. 70-71). Then there are the Laetoli footprint trails discovered in northern Tanzania dated again, according to the evolutionary time scale, at 3.6 million years old but yet as Russell H. Tuttle of the University of Chicago said, “ In discernible features … are indistinguishable from those of habitually barefoot Homo sapiens” (The Pattern of Little Feet by Russell H. Tuttle and D.M. Webb, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Feb. 1989).

The point is, as far back as we go in the fossil record man has always been man and has not arisen from ape-like animals just as the Bible indicates.

As for our “racial” features, (genetic variations would be a better term) these are indeed the result of genetic isolation due to dispersion but not the “Out of Africa” monkeys to people evolutionary version. Rather, the initial dispersion was from the Tower of Babel in the Mesopotamian valley some time after the Flood of Noah’s day as the Bible reveals. Interestingly enough an overwhelming number of cultures, long before any Judeo/Christian contact, recall in accounts of their origins the events of a worldwide flood and some of its after effects as if they had borrowed it from the Bible. This is exactly what we would expect if the Bible’s account of our origins is true. Thus again the historicity of the Bible is validated giving further assurance that it is a book we can trust even as it addresses the subject of mankind’s origin.

*Roger Marshall is executive director of Project PROBE Ministries a Barbadian Christian apologetics organisation.