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Neanderthals, enlightenment and other matters.

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: A walk down the Garden path

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jan 28, 2016 at 17:57

HI, Moh. Things you asked about:

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2000 to 20,000 is quite a range. Why can't it be more precise?
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DNA mutations don't actually "take" thousands of years to happen. They happen extremely quickly. In fact, ALL known DNA mutations could have happened within historical times, from the dinosaurs, etc. to modern man, from a chemical standpoint. The figure "2000-20,000 BC" (4000-22000 BP) is based upon "average probabilities" -- which are derived from average times of known mutations under current ambient conditions. These probablilities can be MASSIVELY affected by transient changes in climate, sartorial preference (such as men wearing trousers instead of kilts), atmospheric radiation, etc.

I'm fairly confident in the time ranges published; though of course, if conclusive evidence causes the numbers to change, so will my ideas. Concerning Adam, I think the most important date is about 30,000 BC the time yDNA haplogroup J2 split off from the parent Hg J:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_J-M172

The accompanying map at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000px-Distribution_Haplogroup_J2_Y-DNA.jpg shows a spread for the haplogroup that roughly corresponds to the distribution of Noah's descendants shown in Genesis 10. The most closely related haplogroup, J1:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HG_J1_%28ADN-Y%29.PNG

is concentrated north and south of "Eden", mainly in Arabia, modern Ethiopia and the northern Caucasus. Significantly, that group is rare in modern Turkey, where the sons of Japheth settled; and of course, the distinctly Jewish Cohen Modal Haplotype is J2 and not J1.

The spread of the two haplogroups makes it likely that Adam was of the J1 stock; and that people of the J2 (and probably some of J1 as well) were survivors from pre-flood times. The upshot of this all, is that Noah had to have lived sometime in the past 32,000 years (The Bible has him born around 3078 BC). You went on,

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"....but the exact geography is hard to decipher and seems to include also the source of the Nile. "
Obviously it can't be both. But the source of the Nile is closer to the purported region in which Homo sapiens originated from
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You can see that I do not equate Adam with Homo. We are all probably physically descended from the African branch of Homo; but few of us are mainly descended from Adam, even the Jews among us. Adam is our spiritual ancestor via Torah, not our physical ancestor.

The rivers of Eden are described thusly:

Gen. 2:

[10] And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
[11] The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
[12] And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
[13] And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
[14] And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

The land of "Ethiopia" is translated from Hebrew "Cush". Ultimately, the upper Nile region now known as Sudan became associated with the name "Cush", though Genesis 10 tells us that many of his descendants lived in Arabia. Moreover, Nimrod, the son of Cush, lived in modern Iraq; and some have suggested that the Kassites, of the mountains of western Iran, were named after Cush. The real problem is with "Havilah". The Ishmaelites, descendants of Abraham, were said to have lived ""from Havilah to Shur, opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria". That places the area of Havilah's settlement probably in modern-day Yemen.

It's hard to picture a river originating in eastern Turkey, yet flowing to "Cush" and "Havilah". At that, it's hard to imagine the Tigris and Euphrates as once having sprund from the same source. I don't know what all this means physically. ALLEGORICALLY, though, I can see that the river in the garden of Eden is like the river in Revelation: it flows from the presence of God, not from a natural watershed. The river in Ezekiel is similar:

Ezekiel 47:
[1] Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
[2] Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.
[3] And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles.
[4] Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
[5] Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
[6] And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.
[7] Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.
[8] Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.
[9] And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.
[10] And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.
[11] But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.
[12] And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

As in Revelation, the leaves are for healing, and the river originates in the Most Holy Place. Note that the Temple, the source of the river in Ezekiel, was focused on the Ark of the Covenant, whereupon the presence of God was said to reside; and that Ark was protected by two chruvim -- just as the throne of God is in Revelation, and just as the garden of Eden was after Adam's fall. That's why I say that those three places, which were in diverse places physically, shared a common spiritual location in the New Jerusalem. You went on,

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So was Adam 100% Homo sapiens or a sapiens/neanderthal mix?
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Does it matter? As I said, Adam's connection to US, the connection that really matters, is spiritual and not physical. Neanderthals were common in the Middle East, so yes, Adam may have had some Neanderthan in his autosomal DNA mix just as we do. His yDNA, however, like ours, is ultimately of African "homo sapiens sapiens" origin. You went on,

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OK. You have an interesting take on this subject. A lot more evolved than a JW or similar.
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That's comical. "Evolution" generally refers to processes that happened over millions of years. I've only been around for 67; and though I've seen some curious creatures in my short life, I didn't actually rub shoulders with a brontosaurus. I am a "Paleoconservative", though, which, I suppose, attests to some antiquity. You went on,

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Again, the 'Garden' is the inner Kingdom. It can be experienced directly by those pure of heart. All traditions point to this.
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Do they, now? How about the Islamic tradition. I imagine that the Islamic idea of "pure of heart" is a suicide bomber. You are correct, that the kingdom of God is within us -- which is to say, in our spirits. Our spirits can be either pure, or corrupted by sin.

You have mentioned several times about being "enlightened". Here's a summary of how the Bible seems to handle the matter: Our spirits are like water, or blood. They're easily polluted by earthly, carnal desires, just as our blood gets infected from viruses. So, how does one get a "pure heart" out of all this? He can't get rid of his blood, the religious equivalent being "emptying the mind" through meditation and such like. The wickedness in him needs to be purged, and REPLACED with clean blood. That's why in Jewish ritual, cleansings are always done with "living", or "unadulterated" water.

Every one of us has been polluted. There's only one source of truly "living" water, and that's the presence of God. Being "enlightened", as you say, doesn't consist of emptying ourselves, or of focusing on some trivial thing such as a chant. It consists of standing in God's presence, and allowing Him to purge us of our unbelief; then of letting Him fill us with His word and His ways.

This is what the New Testament is about, and why, I believe, Jesus said the things he did. Jesus' people, the Jews, had and taught the true word of God, in Torah. That means they spoke it with their lips and heard it with their ears; but Isaiah rightly said that they didn't actually BELIEVE it; and the proof of this was in their deeds. Jesus brought this out: They claimed to love God; yet they didn't treat their fellow men, who were made in the image of God, in a way that bore out such a love. If a young man was setting aside money to provide for his parents, for instance, the religious leaders said that he should give the money to them; and that God would absolve him of guilt for neglecting his parents.

It is true, that we not only have to BE enlightened; but we have to continually LIVE in enlightenment -- which is to say, in the presence of God. But mankind cannot enter into the presence of God without repentnace to purge his sin, and without accepting, believing in and LIVING the truth of Torah. That was Jesus' teaching, which was exemplified by his life. Those who were satisfied in some other way, like the religious leaders who opposed him, rejected his teaching. They rejected his teaching, because they rejected him; and they rejected him because he "wasn't one of them, and never would be!" (That's another way of saying "pride"). But as many as receive Jesus, the lowly carpenter and not the scholar; the weak thing of the earth and not the king; as many as received him as God's messenger and anointed one also received God, who sent him. That, as concisely as I can put it, is Jesus' teaching.

Do Muslims receive this teaching? No, they reject it; in fact, they reject all of Torah, saying it was changed and corrupted by the Jews. Do the Hindus and Buddhists receive this? No. They have a different world-view, and different goals in life. They don't even believe in a person "God", much less the God of Torah. As Jesus himself said, "Salvation is of the Jews".

I find it hard to believe that someone can say the Jews don't belong in Israel, yet accept the teaching I've just given here.

Submitting....

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Mark my comment as a response to Neanderthals, enlightenment and other matters. by Michael S

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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