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August 12, 2005

Ch. XIV. Q. 83. Unity and Antiquity

THE physical unity of the human race is accounted for by the fact of descent of all men from the same primitive parents.1 The antiquity of man does not admit of close determination.

2. Holy Scripture calls these parents Adam and Eve, and describes Eve as derived from Adam,2 in whose person the whole race was at first potentially contained.3 It is not necessary to take this account of human origins as scientific, or as requiring literal interpretation.4

3. But the nature which men possess is one. And this oneness is deeper than mere similarity. It is organic and in some sense numerical. There is a human solidarity, and men are united as springing from a common seed.5

4. This solidarity bears on the belief that all men have been affected by Adam's sin, and that all may be saved in the second Adam, Jesus Christ. It explains the common brotherhood of mankind, and is a conditioning factor of the special brotherhood in Christ.6

5. The ancestral unity of the race is indicated by the following facts and arguments: (a) Traditions of widely separated nations and tribes point to a common primitive home in central Asia; (b) Comparative philology affords evidences that existing human languages have developed from one primitive tongue; (c) All men display similar mental, moral and religious characteristics, and many of their traditions and myths show strong affinities; {d) The permanent fertility of unions between the most diverse races shows that these races belong to one species. More adequate evidence is from the nature of the case unavailable.

6. The chronological indications of Scripture are too inadequate and too uncertain to determine the antiquity of man.7 The most ancient date of human origins which they have been used to support, less than nine thousand years ago, is too recent to leave room for the political, ethnological and geological developments which must have taken place between man's first appearence and the dawn of history. But that man originated at a comparatively late period in geological time is beyond reasonable doubt.

1 On his ancestral unity, Creation, pp. 181-183; A.H. Strong, Systematic Theol. Vol. II, pp. 476-483; Encyc. Brit., 11th Ed., s. v. "Anthropology"; H. Lotze, Microcosmus, Bk. VII, ch. ii; Chas. Hardwick, Christ and Other Masters, ch. ii; St. Thomas, I. xc-xcii.

2 Gen. ii. 21-23.

3 Gen. iii. 20.

4 Authority, ch. vii. 5-6; D. Stone, Outlines of Christ. Dogma, Note 10, pp. 283-285.

5 Archd. Wilberforce, Incarnation. pp. 24-39; A.J. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, ch. iv. 8, 10.

6 Cf. Rom. v. 12, 19; I Cor. xv. 21-22; Acts xvii. 26; Heb. ii. 11-17.

7 On man's antiquity, Creation pp. 183-185; S.R. Driver, Genesis, pp. xxxi-xlii; Cath. Encyc., s. v. "World", pp. 706-707: E.B. Tylor, Anthropology, ch. i; Ch. Quarterly Rev., Apr., 1894, art. on "The Glacial Period und The Antiquity of Man".

Posted by AKMA at August 12, 2005 03:34 AM