The concept of ancient man that many have is a savage, knuckle-dragging brute who communicated at best only with grunts. Reading and writing would be out of the question. Is this picture, a hoax promoted by evolutionists, accurate?
To discover what ancient man was truly like, begin at the beginning with the first man — Adam. Adam’s creation in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27) should cast immediate doubt on the evolutionary portrait.
How does Scripture portray earliest man? Could Adam speak intelligently? Could he read and write?
Adam’s Verbal Skills
Adam could talk and understand spoken language from the beginning, from the day he was created.
On the day Adam was created, Yahweh spoke to him. He commanded Adam to be fruitful and multiply and told him what to eat and what not to eat. So clearly Adam could understand spoken language; otherwise it would make no sense for Yahweh to speak to him, give him instructions, and warn him against eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you. (Genesis 1:28-29 NASB)
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.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NASB)
Likewise, Adam himself could speak. On the day he was created he named the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). This took great intelligence and verbal skill to think up names for thousands of kinds of animals in only a few hours.
Later that same day upon meeting Eve, Adam exclaimed:
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23 NASB)
After Adam and Eve sinned by eating the Forbidden Fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Yahweh spoke with them and they both spoke to Him (Genesis 3:8-19).
Adam named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20).
Eve as well could speak and understand language. She conversed with the Serpent, she conversed with Yahweh, and she said of Cain’s birth, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” (Genesis 3:1-6, 13; 4:1)
Adam Wrote a Book!
Adam could also read and write. The first four chapters of Genesis come from Adam’s written records, as the beginning of chapter 5 summarizes:
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. (Genesis 5:1-2 NASB)
The Hebrew word cepher (Strong’s H5612) translated book literally means writing and indicates a register, account, or history.
Moses authored the first five books of the Bible. While he wrote most of Exodus through Deuteronomy himself, he was probably a compiler and editor for Genesis. I believe he took patriarchal records handed down from Adam, Noah, Shem, Terah (Abraham’s father), Ishmael, Isaac, Esau, and Jacob and put them together, likely with some editing, to form what we know as Genesis.
Throughout Genesis, Moses credited his sources. Here are Moses’ “credits” for the records he used to compile his historical account:
Gen 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam.
Gen 6:9 These are the records of the generations of Noah.
Gen 10:1 Now these are the records of the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah.
Gen 11:10 These are the records of the generations of Shem.
Gen 11:27 Now these are the records of the generations of Terah.
Gen 25:12 Now these are the records of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.
Gen 25:19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son.
Gen 36:1 Now these are the records of the generations of Esau.
Gen 36:9 These then are the records of the generations of Esau.
Gen 37:2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob.
The credit in Genesis 5:1 is for Adam’s record. Genesis 1:1-5:1 comes from Adam’s records that were handed down father-to-son and which Noah took with him on the Ark and then handed down to his son Shem who passed them on all the way to Jacob.
Jacob’s death in Egypt is recounted in the last chapter of Genesis. Jacob’s records and those of his forebears were surely passed on to Moses (several generations after Jacob).
At his death Joseph specifically asked that his bones be taken from Egypt back to the Promised Land when the Israelites returned (Genesis 50:24-25). Moses took the bones of Joseph with him when he led the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 13:19). If the bones of Joseph were preserved for Moses to take with him at the Exodus, it’s reasonable to think that the Israelites would also have preserved the much-more-valuable records of Jacob and that Moses would have had access to them.
The Genesis record reports that Adam’s early descendants also possessed superior mental abilities. Adam’s son Cain built the city Enoch. To build a city requires math, physics, and engineering knowledge, not to mention planning and personnel-management skills. Tubalcain, in the seventh generation from Adam, developed metallurgy. His half-brother Jubal invented musical instruments. Noah, in the ninth generation from Adam, built a huge ocean-going vessel that survived history’s greatest storm.
Despite Cain’s murder of his brother Abel, Adam apparently had a special fondness for his first-born Cain. For he kept up with him and his descendants for seven generations, as Adam recorded in his book! (Genesis 4:17-24)
Adam was no bumpkin. He was created with intelligence and verbal and linguistic skills that he exercised from the beginning. Yes, Adam could read and write. In fact, he probably invented writing.
Questions to Ponder
- How much knowledge, skills, and technology do you think you could learn or develop if you lived for 930 years like Adam?
- If you could live for several centuries, what would you want to study and learn in your second century?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 38th 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?
16. Was Adam Backward or Brilliant? (with video)
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?
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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 August 10, 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 NASB)