From the King James Bible:
1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
We all know the verse, and many of us have pondered on the exact nature of these 'sons of God' over the centuries.
Since Däniken & Sitchin, many are convinced of the extra-terrestrial origin of these horny divine children. And it's easy to see why: it's compelling to interpret it as an allusion of a visitation from on high, since our culture teaches us to seek God in the sky above.
Or, you can opt for the orthodox route, and consider everything in the Bible as myths & moral fables. But what if there are alternative explanations?
Last week Turner Young posted this news regarding the comments of Professor Svante Pääbo, member of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and quite possibly the leading authority in our extinct cousins —the Neanderthals.
Professor Paabo has stated that there's enough evidence to conclude that pretty much every human being living today —with the exception of people of a more recent African descent —well, recent in evolutionary terms anyway— have a little bit of Neanderthal in their genes.
Yep, it's official: Great, great, great Granny had a thing for hairy backs :)
But this is where it get's interesting, since according to Pääbo:
all non-Africans - be they from France, China or Papua New Guinea - share the same amount of Neanderthal DNA, suggesting that interbreeding occurred before those populations split. The timing makes the Middle East the likeliest place where humans leaving Africa and resident Neanderthals did the deed. [emphasis mine]
So the Middle East is where our two species broke the ice. After considering these events, I began to think: what if the Genesis text is a rather distorted version of this landmark in our evolutionary history.
What if the sons of God were the Neanderthals?
I know many people will object with this, since we've been taught to think of the Neanderthals as clumsy and inferior to our more modern species —after all, there has to be a reason why they are no longer around... right?
Every year Pääbo and his colleagues discover more and more fascinating things about our cousins (um, uncles?). We know now that they were capable of speech, we've found sings of burial rituals, we discovered they were capable of sophisticated tools, and maybe even possibly some artistic expression in the form of necklaces —whether these were copied from objects made by modern humans is still under debate.
Add to all this the fact that Neanderthals possessed a slightly larger cranial volume than us, and our revered superiority starts to crumble a bit...
So, let me propose this rather heretic idea, just for the fun of it: what if some Neanderthal groups established in the Middle East were capable of more advanced forms of civilization than our current understanding of them credits them for?
What if some of the incredible megalithic remains that continue to marvel us were left by them?
With that idea, wouldn't be possible to find new meaning in the verses of the Genesis? Wouldn't the newcomers (H. Sapiens) view the old settlers (Neanderthals) not as inferior beings, but at the very least their equals, and maybe even superior?
Wouldn't ancient man consider cave-dwelling people to be in closer contact with the Mother Earth —hence their possible divine status?
What's more, this speculative hypothesis might also explain the gigantism of the Nephilim —the offspring of the sons of God with the daughters of men.
What do you think?