I just finished reading the book Sapiens. What a trip! The author raised some ideas that I was familiar with, like religion was invented when the agriculture revolution (10,000 BCE) found larger groups of people living together. In groups of 50-100 or so, people knew everybody in the group, and could regulate the group. In larger groups, growing into the thousands, it was no longer possible to know everybody, and something was needed to make people behave. So “Imagined Orders” were created, be it religion, with a vengeful God that would punish your neighbor if he stole fruit from your hut, or a “government” with laws and a ruler to enforce them.
I don’t want to debate this part of his thesis in this post, and you can learn more about this idea here in the NPR podcast Hidden Brain.
What I’d like to discuss is the fact that we homo sapiens have been pretty much like we are today for between 30,000 and 70,000 years. During this same time, there were several other humans on the earth, Neanderthals (homo neanderthalensis), and Denisovans (homo denisovato) to name the more prominent ones. The Denisovans were here as late as 15,000 years ago.
This raised lots of questions in my mind with regard to the plan of salvation as taught in the Mormon church. The most obvious is where does Adam and Eve fit in here. Are they the parents of all humans, or just us Sapiens? Another question that came to me is where was God during the 68,000 years before he sent his Son to save us? What was he waiting for?
Are the Neanderthals and Denisovans children of God? Were they created in His/Her image? If they are, do they need temple work to be saved? If not, are they just animals (aren’t we all?). They have found Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA in some Sapiens. Our ancestors bred with them, and had offspring! Do these offspring need the plan of salvation? Some of you reading this have this DNA.
I need a much bigger shelf after reading this book!