Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2,000 years ago, thinks "That's enough of that. It's time to intervene," and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don't let's appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person.
- Christopher Hitchens
One of my favorite quotes... But what makes this even more fascinating is that for a bit, we weren't the only bi-pedal hominids around. We more or less shared the earth with the Neanderthals, for several thousand years. This is simple stuff in the science room, but raises perplexing questions in the church.
Were they some sort of experiment God was planning?
Is there a Neanderthal Jesus?
What sort of relationship did we hold, relative to a deity's plan?
It makes it even more ridiculous to believe in such a God. This all makes for great science fiction as well. I plan on writing a short story about the survival of our extinct friends. That is, if our closest relatives never died out, and were still with us today.
The set of possible scenarios and histories of the human race could be endless.
What are your thoughts on what would happen? I need some brainstorming ideas.