Cave men—in the Bible
Evolutionary stereotypes of the first humans as primitive “Stone Age” cave men who had not yet evolved agriculture just do not square with the Bible’s account of history. The Bible says that in Adam’s day, people “worked the soil” (Genesis 4:2—following the events of 2:15 and 3:17), forged bronze and iron tools (4:22) and made and played musical instruments (4:21). There never was a “Stone Age”!1 (Nor the evolutionary-defined “Bronze Age” or “Iron Age” for that matter.)
So what are we to make of the abundant evidence of human cave-dwellers in the past, such as caves with campfire ash, meal leftovers and charcoal etchings on cave walls?
Firstly, we can note that the caves we see in the world today are all post-Flood. In fact, their very existence—i.e. their formation and worldwide distribution—can really only be satisfactorily explained in terms of conditions generated by the global Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6–9).2
Secondly, we see that the Bible itself refers many times to people in caves (post-Noah and post-Babel). However, these are not the “cave men” of evolutionary stereotype. Rather, they are “fully human”—i.e. the descendants of Adam (and Noah)—who for one reason or another3 spent time in caves.
These included Sodom and Gomorrah’s only surviving refugees—Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:30), the five Amorite kings hiding from Joshua (Joshua 10:16–18,22), and Samson in the cave at Etam (Judges 15:8).
When David left Gath he escaped to the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1), and later he and his men were in the back of a cave at En Gedi when Saul entered (1 Samuel 24:1–4). Others who spent time in caves were Elijah (1 Kings 19:9,13), Obadiah’s one hundred prophets (whom he supplied with food and water—1 Kings 18:4,13), the ‘men of Israel’ when the Philistines were camped at Micmash (1 Samuel 13:6), and the Israelites at the time of Gideon (Judges 6:2).
These and the many other people in history who found it convenient to live in caves at various times4,5 (and even today—see photos) were not “primitive”, “prehistoric”, “Stone Age” sub-humans, or some such evolutionary stereotype. They were descendants of the first man and woman, created in the image of their Creator (Genesis 1:27), with an in-built capacity for intelligent thought, speech and creativity.
As an outlet for their creative urges, and a welcome distraction while holed up inside a cave, they could have whiled away the time drawing charcoal figures on the walls, or composing poetry. Two of the Psalms, for instance, were written by David when he was ‘in the cave’ (Psalms 57,142—see titles), a poignant record of his crying out to the Lord.
The same Lord has said that there will be people occupying caves at some future time, too, as they try to hide themselves from Him (Isaiah 2:19,21; Revelation 6:15), unsuccessfully (Jeremiah 23:24).
References and notes
- See also: Niemand, R., The Stone Age a figment of the imagination? Creation 27(4):13, 2005, <creation.com/stone>. Return to text.
- Silvestru, E., Caves for all seasons, Creation 25(3):44–49, 2003; <creation.com/all-seasons>. Also see Emil Silvestru’s DVD presentation: Geology and Cave Formation—A Post-Flood Story”. Return to text.
- In at least some cases the trigger might have been a traumatic event (e.g. displacement by war or natural disaster), with a concomitant loss of community expertise (e.g. knowledge of construction and agriculture). See: Catchpoole, D., The people that forgot time (and much else, too), Creation 30(3):34–37, 2008; <creation.com/all-seasons>. Return to text.
- Other references in the Bible include Jeremiah 49:8,30, Ezekiel 33:27 and Hebrews 11:38. Return to text.
- See e.g., Mizzi, J. and Matthews, M., The amazing cave people of Malta, Creation 26(1):40–43, 2003; <creation.com/malta>. Return to text.