In addressing the fact that the world will have an end, Herman Bavinck writes,
One may arbitrarily assume the passage of billions of years in the past or future of the world but cannot picture it concretely as being filled with history. If humanity were to last a billion years, a “textbook” on world history, which gave 10 pages to a century, would comprise no fewer than 200,000 volumes, each volume calculated at 500 pages; or 20,000 volumes if it devoted only one page to every century; or still 500 volumes if no more than one line was given to each century. And that is how it would be with everything that forms the content of our culture. Humanity is finite, and therefore human civilization cannot be conceived as endless either. Both for the earth and for our race, an infinite period of time is an absurdity, even more palpably so than the foolishness of the millions of years known to us from pagan mythologies. (Reformed Dogmatics, IV, 646)
While Bavinck is looking ahead into the future, I would like to look the opposite direction. Is what we know about the history of our race agreeable with the theory of evolution? Beyond the content itself, is the amount of the content we know about the history of humanity agreeable with the theory of evolution.
Let us momentarily suspend judgment and think within the framework of evolutionary thought. However long “life” has been on this planet, it is obvious that life could not have always recorded its existence. Granting the teachings of evolution, we should not expect libraries of thousands of volumes of books because cells, amino acids, proteins, etc., have shown a lousy ability to keep track of their history. Lower primates have fared no better, and continue to show no inclination at recording their sojourn on this globe. But sometime or another, some hominid life form gained the capability of recording history. Someone, or some-ones, could finally ask and answer the questions “Who am I?” “Where did I come from?” “Where am I going?”
What are the historical answers to these questions? That is, in the earliest historical records and artifacts we have, how are the questions of origin answered? What do ancient civilizations, extinct and otherwise, say about the beginnings of the human race? What do the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, African, Chinese records say about man’s beginnings?
If evolution is true, why was it not put forth and accepted until some 6-8 thousand years after man’s ability to record his existence? Why didn’t the first neo-Neanderthal note that his parents were idiots and incapable of recorded language? What embarrassment would have prevented the first “people” capable of recording humanity’s history, that their ancestors were unable to do so? If evolution is so scientifically true, why is it so historically new? Why, so many thousands of years after the fact, were we able to discover evolution when those who were “there” say nothing of it? Where are the historical accounts of large groups of man-like creatures who look like man, in some ways act like man, but yet are not quite man?
Those first people capable had nothing to fear from church or state. There was really nothing to prevent them from telling the truth. It would seem then that there would be plenty of historical support for evolution. Somewhere, someone, sometime, would have been able to say, “Wow, I came from a bunch of idiots incapable of recording thought and event.”
Where would I go to find that?