@DennisVenema has argued that “human” in theology must = anatomically modern Human (or Homo Sapien)
In response to…
Notice, I did not say “non-theological”, but let’s let that slide for now. So, now I have several questions.
When do “anatomically modern human skeletons” and therefore theological “humans” arise in the fossil record? The recently discovered Homo sapiens from 300 kya are not fully anatomically modern. Are they not fully human? Are they fully human? How do we adjudicate this? https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/06/300000-year-old-early-homo-sapiens-sparks-debate-over-evolution/
Homo sapiens are now widely thought to be known as a chronospecies continuous with their ancestors till before Homo erectus. Is there a non-arbitrary way to define new species in a chronospecies? How has this been applied to Homo sapiens and what has it determined? http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/the-origin-of-our-species.html
One what basis does @DennisVenema dispute the Natural History Museum’s definition of “human”? Here, all hominids are called “human”. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/the-origin-of-our-species.html
Regarding @DennisVenema’s model, why Neanderthals not human? Why are Denisovans not human? Why are Homo erectus not human? How do we know one way or another? If any of them are not human, must they be sub-human? Why shouldn’t we find the notion of fully human Homo sapiens alongside hominid beasts distasteful? Does this not just amount to anatomy based racism in the past?
There is strong evidence for interbreeding between Homo sapiens and other hominids. Most famously, there is the interbreeding between Homo sapien “humans” and Neanderthal “non-humans.” Surely, as @DennisVenema would say, the Scriptural commands against beastiality should forbid this. Right? Should we not find this distasteful and horrific?
We appear to have identified “human” and “non-human” hybrids (Homo sapien and Neandertal). These individuals, are they “human” or not “fully human” or not? What is their theological status? Should we not find this reality distasteful? http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100506/full/news.2010.225.html
Let’s take a look at a very simplified image of interbreeding among hominids.https://www.nature.com/news/evidence-mounts-for-interbreeding-bonanza-in-ancient-human-species-1.19394#Early
In @DennisVenema model, the only humans in this diagram are on the PURPLE line. All the other lines are non-human. @DennisVenema has clarified that all non-humans are sub-humans in his mind. William Lane Craig responds:
Craig: But apparently modern human beings interbred with Neanderthals as you say. I remember being taken aback when one of these population geneticists said to me when I was in Canada earlier this year that you, yourself, carry Neanderthal DNA. In my own genetic profile, I carry the DNA of these Neanderthals who interbred with human beings. Now, if they weren’t humans that meant that the descendants of Adam were literally committing bestiality, right? They were interbreeding with animals. Well, maybe that is possible. Maybe that is part of the fall of man into sin – that they engaged in behavior like that…
My goodness, I am sure this is not what @DennisVenema intends, but it seems like proposals that insist Human = Homo sapien inevitably lead here.
Though, we can be encouraged, there are solutions to this problem. Thinking more carefully about “what it means to be human” gives us a better way forward.
Recognizing ambiguity in “human” raises premature concerns about naming others as “sub-humans.” Here, John Walton’s model, based on a textual analysis5 of Genesis 1 – 3, is helpful. Without reliance on extra-Scriptural sources, he argues that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are sequential. God first makes “mankind” in His Image, and then later identifies, or perhaps specially creates, a single man Adam and a woman Eve, who together become important because of his Fall. Walton calls Adam and Eve the first “true” humans, who are both God Imaged and Fallen. In contrast, those “outside the garden” are God Imaged, but not yet Fallen. They are not sub-human, to be clear, but they are also different than humans as we understand them today; C.S. Lewis might say they were better than us. A related two-creation interpretation of Genesis, also, is found in The Book of Enoch (from before 200 BC) and elsewhere, so this solution may carry both traditional and textual support. The two-creation model of mankind is just one theological approach; many more are possible. Nonetheless, I personally refrain from endorsing any specific solution at this time, and offer this primarily to abet premature concerns.