The problem they have is that all hominid species, including Neanderthal, must fit into their 6,000 to 10,000 year history of the earth. This means that Neanderthal must be a descendent of Adam and Eve, and must be considered fully human.
To argue for this position, they point to scientific studies which claim that Neanderthal can speak, just like we can. They also point to morphological evidence, such as the physical similarities between Neanderthal and us. They typically explain that Neanderthal specimens are within the normal range of human morphology. However, there are distinct physical differences between Neanderthal and humans, making their arguments dubious at best.
Even if we ignore the speech and morphological differences, there is one item that the young earth arguments cannot overcome. This is the evidence from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Although Neanderthal died out about 29,000 years ago, it is still possible to obtain DNA from their bones. To date, mtDNA sequencing has been accomplished on nine Neanderthal specimens. By sequencing the mtDNA, scientists are able to map mutations that have occurred in the Neanderthal genome. When the corresponding human genome is examined, these Neanderthal mutations are not present, indicating that no living modern humans have any inherited DNA from a Neanderthal. One of the common arguments claims that European people have some Neanderthal in their ancestry, but the studies clearly show there is no relationship between them.
It is also possible to show how long ago Neanderthals and humans shared a common ancestor. Current estimates say that the Neanderthal and human lineages split about 500,000 years ago. It is impossible to reconcile this data with the young earth model.
Young earth creationists counter that contamination from handling of the Neanderthal fossils invalidates the mtDNA studies, since human mtDNA could have been sequenced. This argument makes no sense scientifically, and is merely a smoke screen for their young earth readers (who rarely read beyond the young earth claims). If there were contamination, and human mtDNA was sequenced, then the results would show that humans and Neanderthals are related. Since the results show no relationship, it is clear that no human mtDNA was accidentally sequenced.
Although Neanderthal does not fit within the young earth creationist model, the species fits well within the old earth creationist perspective. Neanderthal was a hominid species created by God at least 500,000 years ago. Neanderthal lived and prospered in the European area for nearly half a million years, before going extinct, making way for modern man.
We encourage you to read all you can about this fascinating hominid species that has captured the imagination of people young and old. As a Christian, there is no need to fear the scientific evidence, as it presents no threat to the Bible or the creation story in Genesis.
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.