How intelligent was Adam?
Was he a primitive, grunting savage? Or an average Tom, Dick, or Harry? Or a mind-blowing genius?
People almost always underestimate ancient man. He was smarter, stronger, and probably bigger than men today. Less genetic deterioration had accumulated in the men of history’s earliest centuries than in men today.
Evolutionists claim humans evolved from ape-like creatures over millions of years. They confidently assert that the earliest men were wandering hunters — stooped, grunting savages.
The Bible debunks this portrait. Genesis records that God personally created the first man from dirt and breathed life into the human form He had fashioned in His own image. God named him Adam meaning “earth.” From mud to man by God’s own hand, Adam was the original clay animation!
The earliest men were not hunters. Only after the Flood did God give permission to hunt and kill animals for food — more than 1600 years after Creation. The oldest profession is farming, contrary to a popular misconception. Adam and his first two sons were farmers, not hunters.
Adam was no ape-man with ape-like siblings among the animals. Adam was profoundly different from the entire animal kingdom, because he was made in God’s image. No animals were made in God’s image. “For Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him” among the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). Scripture makes a vivid distinction between man and the rest of creation which God commanded Adam to rule (Genesis 1:26-28).
Genesis reports that God formed Adam’s body directly from the dust of the ground:
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
“Formed” is the Hebrew word “יָצַר” or “yatsar” (Strong’s H3335), also used in Jeremiah 18:2–6 referring to the potter who shapes the clay. This indicates God’s direct formative activity in making and shaping Adam’s body from dust. It negates the common notions of theistic evolution that man developed from animals or from an earlier pre-Adamic race of primitive humans. Genesis is clear: Adam was the first man, created directly by God out of dirt.
How Smart Was Adam?
Adam was smart enough to see through the Serpent’s guile in persuading Eve to eat the Forbidden Fruit. He was not fooled and deceived as Eve was (1 Timothy 2:14).
Far from being a dimwitted inarticulate brute, Adam demonstrated stunning mental prowess by naming the animals on the first Friday (Creation Day Six) all by himself, even before Yahweh created Eve. Adam was the first zoologist and taxonomist!
Some think this naming task impossible to do in a day. But Adam only named “cattle, birds of the sky, and beasts of the field” that God brought to him (Genesis 2:19-20). No fish, sea creatures, insects, or amphibians were named, and he only named kinds, not today’s numerous species descended from the original kinds.
Beasts of the field is probably a subdivision of the beasts of the earth that God created on Day Six (Genesis 1:24-25). Thus Adam probably named birds and only some mammals and a few reptiles.
So for example, Adam named the original dog, now known as a kinardly; he did not have to name Chihuahuas, Great Danes, bulldogs, wolves, coyotes, or any of the other numerous varieties of dog extant today.
You haven’t heard of a kinardly? That was the original dog, because you can hardly tell what kind of dog it was. It possessed the genes for all the variety we see in the dog kind today.
How many animal kinds did Adam name? Could he have named them in less than a day?
Creationist taxonomists think the Genesis Kind roughly corresponds to the Family in today’s taxonomic classifications. Exceptions exist of course for some animals, with the kind being above the family for some and below for others.
Research on ancient animal kinds provides data for estimating Adam’s naming job. A creationist veterinarian researched and estimated the number of mammal kinds Noah took on the ark at 350.
(Lightner, Mammalian Ark Kinds, Answers Research Journal, October 31, 2012.)
The IOC World Bird List (version 6.1, 2016) by the International Ornithological Committee classifies 10,616 extant species and 153 extinct species of birds of the world into 241 bird families.
This totals around 600 kinds of mammals and birds.
Thus Adam probably named well under one thousand creatures—certainly a daunting task for a man today, but easily doable for Adam in a few hours. If Adam averaged 5 seconds for each name he made up, he could have named 1,000 creatures in under an hour and a half. If he averaged 10 seconds for each of 720 animal kinds, it still would have taken him only 2 hours.
Quickly thinking up appropriate names for all the different animals was no mean intellectual feat. Far from being somewhat loutish as most scholars suggest for ancient man, Adam demonstrated highly developed intellectual, linguistic, and scientific skills from the very beginning.
Consider innovative thinkers like Aristotle and Socrates, mathematical geniuses like Newton and Gauss, musical prodigies like Mozart, artists like Michelangelo. Every gene for all these amazing talents came from Adam.
Adam and his early descendants likely displayed even far greater capabilities than these men. The historical record in Genesis reveals men who rapidly developed agriculture (Genesis 4:2), animal husbandry (Genesis 4:2, 20), metallurgy (Genesis 4:22), and musical instruments (Genesis 4:21) as they built advanced civilizations. They constructed cities (Genesis 4:17; 11:4-5), huge ships (Genesis 6:13-22), and skyscrapers (Genesis 11:5).
How would Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) look next to Adam? One of the most gifted men of the last millennium, this artist, inventor, and engineer would seem like a retarded imbecile compared to Adam.
Following Adam’s rebellion, the degenerative effects of sin went to work immediately, and his descendants gradually lost what Adam had. After six sin-ravaged millennia of degeneration, it is impossible to imagine how superlative Adam was before the cumulative damages of sin and genetic defects. Who was the smartest man who ever lived? Probably the mud-man, Farmer Adam.
Adam—Crown of Creation!
Adam was the apex of God’s Creation. Shakespeare expresses the greatness of man with his famous “What a piece of work is a man!” quote in Hamlet:
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?”
Prince Hamlet speaking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2.
Here is a YouTube clip of Kenneth Branagh giving this speech in a production of Hamlet:
Questions to Ponder
- Try to think up 10 new words for animal names. How difficult is this?
- Why do most people think man today is smarter than early man? Is it connected to the evolutionary mindset under which most people live?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 16th of a series of weekly blog articles on Adam.
Read the prequels:
1. Was Adam in the Garden of Eden?
2. Did Moses Believe in Adam?
3. Did Jesus Believe in Adam?
4. Did Paul Believe in Adam?
5. Does Belief in Adam Matter?
6. Adam and Puppies
7. Why Did Adam Sin?
8. What Should Adam Have Done?
9. What Did Adam Cause?
10. What Was Adam’s Forbidden Fruit?
11. How Long Was Adam in Eden?
12. Was Adam’s Garden of Eden Real?
13. Christmas & Adam (with videos)
14. Where Was Adam’s Garden of Eden?
15. Did Adam Wear Clothes in Eden?
Read the sequels:
17. Who Was Mrs. Adam?
18. Adam’s Dream Girl
19. Adam’s Prolific Princess
20. Adam’s Problematic Princess
21. How Many Children Did Adam Have?
22. Whom Did Adam’s Sons Marry?
23. Did Adam Ride a Unicorn?
24. How Long Did Adam Live?
25. Did Adam Swat Mosquitoes in Eden?
26. Did Adam’s Garden Have a Talking Snake?
27. Why Should Adam’s Sin Affect Me?
28. Did Roses Have Thorns in Adam’s Garden?
29. Adam the Image-Bearer & Harambe the Gorilla
30. Did Adam Ever Return to Eden?
31. What Was Adam’s Tree of Life?
32. Will Adam Be in Heaven?
33. Did Adam See the Big Dipper?
34. Did Adam Know Earth Is Round?
35. Did Jesus Say When Adam Was Created?
36. Did Adam See Dinosaurs?
37. Did Adam Like Steak?
38. Could Adam Read & Write?
39. Did God Use Evolution to Make Adam?
40. Adam & the Olympics
41. Adam and the Gospel
42. Adam and the Genesis Road
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday January 27, 2016 A.D.
The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 2:16; 3:1-6)