What About . . . Cavemen? When did they live?

Have you ever wondered about “cave men”?  Do they fit with the Bible?

By Paul Taylor, Reasons for Hope Guest Writer

Have you noticed how some questions have a presupposition behind them? For example, the famously impossible question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” presupposes that the interviewee is a wife-beater, and either a “yes” or “no” answer to that question confirms the presupposition. 

Of course, evolutionary scientists have presuppositional questions of greater subtlety that that. An example would be the question “When did cavemen live?” The question actually only has relevance in an evolutionary paradigm.

The concept of cavemen conjures up certain pictures in our heads. Most of these pictures actually owe a great deal to former mistaken view about Piltdown Man and Neanderthal Man.

Early 20th Century evolutionists in Britain were quite keen to demonstrate that the earliest ancestors of humans had evolved in Northern Europe. This explains the long lasting nature of the Piltdown Man hoax. Piltdown Man served to “confirm” Darwinists’ racist suggestion that the white European people were the most highly evolved on Earth. Piltdown gave rise to much in popular culture, including the white cavemen characters in movies such as One Million Years B.C., which is famous for featuring a 26-year-old Raquel Welch as a “cave-woman” in a doe-skin bikini, even though, by that time, the hoax had already been uncovered.

Neanderthal Man was not a forgery, but an error of interpretation. In my teens, I recall a school camping trip to North Wales in 1978. One day, we spent a pleasant afternoon playing cricket at Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay. Adjacent to the cricket pitch, and long since demolished, was an open air dinosaur exhibition. One display in this exhibition featured the “classic” Neanderthal cave-dwelling family of white people, dressed in skins, and with bent backs, obviously only partly evolved from the stance of apes. We now know that the bent back was only a feature of early Neanderthal discoveries, probably due to disease, such as rickets or arthritis. Today, even evolutionists suggest that Neanderthal Man could interbreed with “modern” humans, while creationists insist that they were fully human, suggesting that an attempt to classify a group of humans as sub-human on the basis of their appearance is chronological racism.

So, we know what evolutionary popular culture makes of cavemen, even if modern evolutionary scientists are embarrassed by such concepts. But we have simply said what cavemen are not. We have not yet answered the question of when cavemen lived, or the related question of who were they?

At Kinver Edge, just a few miles West of Birmingham, England, are a set of houses against the side of a rocky outcrop. From the outside, you would immediately think that the houses are not deep enough for dwellings, but when you go through the doors (which you can do, because the houses are museum pieces) you realize that they are much deeper than you thought, because the majority of the house is dug as an artificial cave into the rock. Given that the woods around these houses were a popular day-trip destination even in Tolkien’s day, it is likely that the author, who grew up in Birmingham, was inspired by these houses to describe the hobbit houses of the Shire. The young Tolkien, however, would not have been able to go inside the houses, unless he knew the occupants. People lived in these cave dwellings until the late 1950s. These were real cavemen and cavewomen, living in the English Midlands in the 20th century. 

Or maybe you could travel to the small township of Coober Pedy in South Australia. In this opal mining community, many residents have cut their air-conditioning bills by digging their homes underground, often utilizing abandoned opal mines. Many of these luxury caves, whose values are the same as those of above-ground dwellings, are still occupied today.

When did cavemen live? They lived in the English West Midlands until the late 1950s. And they still live in Coober Pedy. Cavemen and women are people who live in caves.

Carl Kerby

Carl Kerby is an inspiring, motivating and highly respected Christian speaker. With more than 20 years of ministry experience, Carl shares his extensive knowledge and understanding of God’s creation in his presentations, outreach events, books and other resources as the President and founding board member of Reasons for Hope, Inc.