The kind of criticism you NEVER wish for a project…

A big Hello to the BioLogos community,

My name is Viktoria and I’m a freelance writer (among other things.) I have recently written a study that might be interesting to some people here. It’s not exactly about science and the Bible, but I am a believer interested in science (especially archeology.) Anyway, I was earlier involved in missionary projects serving indigenous nations in Siberia, and during my work with them I heard and collected some amazing folk stories and myths. These talk about a tribe of small, stocky people that inhabited the northern landscape before the ancestors of present day nations settled there, and used to live in caves or in the depths of the forest. Complete myths have formed around this people, their contacts with later settlers and their disappearence; and some of the details show surprising similarities to the latest scientific discoveries about Neanderthals and Denisovans. My study ponders the possibility whether memories of encounters between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals/Denisovans could have gotten preserved in oral tradition, explores the parallells between myths and scientific findings, and presents various pros and cons for this theory. I’m planning to enter this in an upcoming science writing competition, but it’s available on Amazon:

Anyway, I thought I’d write you because lately I’ve gotten some, uhm, pretty bad reviews of my project. Some people suggested that Neanderthals and Denisovans were non other than the evil giants, the Nephilim of the Flood account; or that the stories I collected are not about meetings between two branches of humanity but about meetings between the fallen angels and humans, also in the Flood story. Now I have heard the Neanderthals = Nephilim equation before, as well as the similar theory that Neanderthals (and Denisovans) were the line of Cain, but I think (I HOPE) there isn’t really a Scriptural basis to equate Neanderthals and Denisovans with the more vile characters of Genesis. They seemed to have been ordinary people, one of the many early kinds of humanity, who later mixed with the Cro-Magnons and assimilated into them. The Nephilim did NOT mix with Noah’s lineage, and there’s nothing about Cain that would make him a Neanderthal (some say the mark on him was the characteristic eyebrow ridge of early hominids, but that’s nowhere in the Bible.))) I think if we must track down NT’s and D’s in Genesis, we can see them in briefly mentioned prehistoric characters like Jubal, the inventor of music, or possibly in the extended family of Noah (his sons’ wives, his daughters’ husbands – by default, they had to be from a different people group than Noah.) So yes, at the very beginning when I started writing this study of mine, I prayed for guidance that God would show me if pondering about contacts between prehistoric hominids and our direct ancestors, and the possible traces of these contacts in folklore, is a good thing or it would lead me to propagate something bad without knowing. On two occasions, it seemed like God actually used this interest of mine as a blessing (it would be long to write the details here, but it happened,) so I think there’s nothing wrong with this study (except sometimes I spent an excessive amount of time typing on the computer, and the electric bill held a little surprise, LOL.) But these recent charges from other believers are frightening. I’m praying for further guidance as the competition begins next month, and it would be nice to hear your thoughts and encouragement (fellow Christian biologists, anthropologists and archeologists, have you ever been charged with the same criticism as I have?)



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I would certainly consider it plausible, given that there are memories of Procoptodon (8-foot-tall kangaroo) and Varanus priscus (23-foot Komodo Dragon) in Australia, and those went extinct about 40,000 years ago.

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I have not, but I think that working on fossil mollusks, being less well-known/controversial, would contribute a lot.

That’s cool. Towards the end of my book I give examples of similar folk memories that date back thousands of years ago, like an Australian folk legend about a volcano that erupted in 37,000 BC.

This seems pretty interesting! I am sorry for all the pushback and unsolicited un-scientific criticism. This actually seems pretty interesting! Congratulations on writing a book!

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I have a lot to say about the nephilim and ancient - and modern - humanity. But I won’t delve into the weird stuff. Let’s talk about neanderthals and denisovans. Still weird, but significantly less so.

Neanderthals were not giants. They were not the unfortunate descendants of fallen angels. They were a species that diverged from the human lineage and became our next-of-kin before being partially reabsorbed into the descendant lineage of Adam. Every ethnic group outside of sub-saharan Africa is partially descended from neanderthals, and a great many in the region and islands within and adjacent to Australasia have significant neanderthal and denisovan ancestry. People who literally demonize neanderthals are likely the poor individuals who believe anything they read online. There are sadly a great many Christians who seek to villainize more than they seek to ask meaningful questions. You are probably already familiar with everything I said because you are clearly an open-minded and well-intending researcher!

Interestingly, Noah clearly did not have neanderthal blood. His immediate descendants would become the sub-saharan Africans from whom people outside of that region, like myself, have descended and later mixed with other human species.

There are interesting points to bring up about Neanderthals. Who did Cain marry? What people groups was he afraid of? What even counts as humanity, Biblically speaking? Is the line drawn at Adam and his descendants? Are any of the wild speculations about Lilith true? Important questions to ponder.

I bought your book. I can’t believe I stumbled upon this, it looks like pure gold. I loved all my anthropology classes in college and I am astonished to find someone as interested as I am who also comes from a non-academic standpoint. Can’t wait to read it.

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Thank you for your kind words! My book has since been entered in the writing competition, so now I’m waiting for the results - finalists will be announced in March.

Thank you for your kind words, and I wish you a great time reading the book! If you liked it, please recommend it to others!

It was fun and adventurous to track down all these stories. For some I interviewed my Siberian friends, others came from old academic folktale collections, online books on Central Asian epic traditions, and I even came across one story (the Native American one) “accidentally,” when watching a travel documentary one evening. I constantly had to re-number the pages when I put in newer and newer stories!