Question: What Are The Various Views As To The Origin Of Human Beings?
Answer: One of the most basic of questions we can address concerns our origin. Who are human beings? Where did we come from? Thousands of years ago the psalmist asked a similar question.
What is man that you are mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4 NIV).
Where, if anywhere, can we find the answers to these questions? Indeed, is there anywhere we can go to discover who we are? In fact, there are several possibilities. We can make the following observations.
Anthropology – The Study Of Human Beings
The study of humanity is called, “anthropology.” This comes from two words, “anthros,” means “human” and “logos’ means, “the study of.” Therefore, an anthropologist is a person who studies all questions connected with the human race.
Where Did We Come From?
Human beings are born, they live, and then they die. This process has been going on for long ages. Back of all of this the questions are asked, “Where did humanity first originate? What exactly are human beings? Is there any meaning to life?
There are a number of answers that have been given to this crucial question as to our identity. We can summarize them in the following manner.
Option 1: Human Tradition Outside Of The Bible
All nations and peoples have some sort of traditional account of the origin of the human race. Yet each of these accounts differs; there is no consensus of opinion as to how the human race originated.
Furthermore, there is no objective evidence that any of these accounts may be true. We look in vain for some sort of final answer concerning our origin from human tradition.
Option 2: Non-Biblical Religions
There have also been answers given to this question by religions that do not accept the authority of the Bible. They have their own accounts of the origin of humankind. Once more, we find that the various religions differ among themselves as to the question of our origin as human. There is no consensus on this issue. In addition, as is true with human tradition, there is no evidence that these accounts found in non-biblical religions are true.
Option 3: Atheistic Evolution
Modern science has its own idea of the origin and development of the human race. Their theory is known as atheistic evolution. While non-biblical religions and most human traditions argue for some type of creator of the human race, this is not the case with atheistic evolution.
Indeed, according to atheistic evolution everything arose by blind chance or dumb luck. There is no absolutely no plan or purpose for the human race; our existence is merely due to a number of fortunate accidents taking place over millions of years.
Option 4: Theistic Evolution
Atheistic evolution leaves people without any meaning to life and without any hope for the future. It is a rather depressing outlook. This has led some people to bring some type of God into the equation. Uniting God and evolution is known as “theistic evolution.”
Simple stated, while human beings are here upon the earth due to millions of years of the evolutionary process, there has been a God behind the process.
Option 5: Biblical Creationism
A final possible answer is the biblical creation account. According to Scripture, we are not here by blind chance, neither are we here by millions of years of the evolutionary process.
Adam, the first human was made by direct creation of God. The Bible says.
And the LORD God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person (Genesis 2:7 NLT).
This describes an act of divine creation. Adam was formed by the Creator God. There is no evolution here. We have been created by an infinite God and we have a purpose for our existence here upon the earth. Thus, God made human beings unique from everything else which He created.
Therefore, we can only understand who we are and why we exist in light of the God of the Bible and His divine revelation to us. Without His explanation of these matters, we are in complete darkness.
This sums up the various views which humans put forth to describe our origins. In this course, we will concentrate on the biblical perspective. Elsewhere we have dealt with atheistic and theistic evolution and have shown the inadequacy of these particular positions.
Summary To Question 1 What Are The Various Views As To The Origin Of Human Beings?
We human beings want to know where we came from. We want to know if we are here by blind chance or by some intelligent design. A number of answers have been given that attempt to explain our origin.
The history and tradition of the nations and peoples of the world gives a variety of answers to this subject. However, none have any objective basis for their belief. Furthermore, they disagree with one another as to the details. There is no reason to believe the answer is found here.
We also find that non-Biblical religions provide their own unique answers as to our origins. Yet, like human tradition, their answers contradict one another. In addition, there is no factual basis for believing any of these accounts may be true.
Modern unbelieving science provides the answer with the atheistic evolutionary theory. This depressing theory has the entire human race coming about merely as a result of blind chance. We have no purpose, we have no hope.
Since atheistic evolution is a depressing way of viewing ourselves as humans there have been those who attempt to wed evolution with some sort of belief in God. This is known as theistic evolution. According to this perspective God was behind the evolutionary process.
Finally, there is the answer given in Scripture. We are not here by blind chance, neither are we here as a result of evolutionary forces guided by God.
Instead, human originated as an act of direct creation by a loving and caring God. This is the biblical view and it is the correct view. We are not a mistake; we have an identity, a purpose and a destiny.
This question comes from my forthcoming book “Human Beings: Who Are We According To The Bible”