The Age of Man
by Rev. Roderick MacEachen
The whole human race is descended from Adam and Eve. They were the first parents of all mankind. "And Adam called the name of his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living." Before the time of Adam, "there was not a man to till the earth." Adam was the "first formed by God the Father of the World, when he was created alone."
Attempts have been made to prove from Scripture that there were other men on the earth before the time of Adam. Several texts are generally cited to this end. "The Lord set a mark upon Cain, that whosoever found him should not kill him: "And Cain . . . built a city." The sons of Cain "took wives." These passages indeed indicate that there were many people on the earth. However, it must be remembered that they lived hundreds of years at that time.
Though Cain and Abel alone are mentioned, it is probable that Adam and Eve had many other children. Seth was born after a hundred and thirty years. The descendants of Adam might easily have been a thousand, after one hundred years.
It is sometimes objected that the millions who inhabit the earth today could not have come from one couple. Yet if each couple had but six children, there would have been two millions in four hundred and fifty years. It is easy to see, then, how there could be fifteen hundred millions after six thousand years or more.
It is impossible to reckon the exact age of the human race. The genealogies of the Bible lead us to suppose that it has been between six thousand and eight thousand years since the creation of man.
The theories concerning "prehistoric" man are without any solid foundation in fact. Geologists speak of "glacial man." They have a scientific theory by which they try to establish the fact of man's existence in the glacial period.
Some say that the glacial period was a hundred thousand years ago. Others maintain that is was but five thousand years ago. Thus there is little difficulty with the idea of "glacial man." If he ever existed he was a son of Adam.
Diversity of nationality and language amongst the peoples of the earth does not argue against the unity of origin. Revelation teaches that all men are children of Adam and Eve. Climate and habits of life have probably united to form the different types of men.
It will, doubtless, never be known in this world whether all languages are originally derived from one mother tongue. Noted scholars are inclined to the opinion that the diverse languages grew out of one original language. Traces of similarity have been found amongst the great parent languages that would seem to strengthen this opinion. This is one of many questions, the solution of which will delight our intellects in the next world.
Holy Scripture seems to refer clearly to one original language. "The earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech." The confusion of tongues at Babel is given as an explanation for the diversity of languages. This narrative may be literally true. Yet there is another interpretation that is widely accepted.
No doubt God confused the minds of these proud Babylonians. They had lost faith in Him. They were a divided people. Thus the confusion of tongues probably meant a gradual separation of people from people and a natural growth of diverse languages. "Let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another's speech. And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands."
The mind naturally wanders to the other countless planets of the universe. It asks whether there are human beings dwelling there. The efforts of men to discover whether or not the other planets are inhabited have led to mere conjecture. Scripture is silent on this point.
However, we can reason from analogy. If the elements and movements and conditions of the other planets are similar to those of the earth, there is no reason why God should not have created a race of men on every planet.
There is no reason for supposing that the other planets are inhabited. Yet there may be races other than ours. Nothing has ever been revealed that would even hint at such races.
"What does Faith teach in regard to the question whether the other heavenly bodies may be inhabited? In answer to this question the conclusion drawn from other fundamental dogmas must not be ignored. The Incarnation and Redemption were advanced against the heavenly bodies being inhabited.
Nevertheless, when it is said that Christ died for all men, it means for all the men on earth and no other. . . . Surely no man, save him that would measure the universe by a two-foot rule, will argue that the distant starry worlds, which existed thousands of years before light reached the human eye, were made solely and wholly for this tiny earth and its people."