Were Neanderthals the Nephilim?


I wrote this paper for my English class research paper, I only had a week to write the first draft so it really isn't a finished product. The reason I chose this subject is because a while back I had done some reseach comparing the Biblical timeline to the evolutionary timeline. I picked about 10 books about evolution from the local library and read all of the parts about the history of mankind (paying attention to timelines). After reading them I realized that the Neanderthals sounded like they fit the bill of what the Bible calls the Nephilim. The older books said they were apelike and later ones claimed they were like hippies, but if you just looked at they actual evidence and not their ridiculous speculation, there were some crucial details that were found throughout. That the Neanderthals came off of humans and then disappeared. There was also hints that they were intelligent and had more injuries than usual. It doesn't sound like much to go off of, but those details do fit the Bible's description of the Nephilim in Genesis. I wanted to do more research but didn't get around to it. Then, when I had to pick a topic for my English research paper, I decided to try that one out and see if there was indeed more evidence that would link them to being Nephilim.

Main Paper:

Is the Bible full of myths? Do the recent discoveries of science prove the Bible to be a work of man and not God? Many scientists have thought of the findings of Neanderthals as proof that evolution is reality and the Bible is myth. When Archeologists first discovered Neanderthals they pictured them as idiot apelike men, likely evidence of the missing link. As more evidence was unearthed they had to revise their assumptions and have since concluded that they are more like human cousins than primitive ancestors. But would not this discovery of another type of human conflict with the biblical account of creation? Actually, when all the hard facts are compared, a startling implication can be drawn: Neanderthals may well have been the Nephilim described in the biblical account of Noah.

First, it is helpful to review the account of the Nephilim in the Bible. In the sixth chapter of the book of Genesis, angels came down to earth and took human wives to create offspring. Their offspring were said to be "mighty ones" and "men of fame" who filled the earth with violence. Due to their influence "every inclination of the thoughts of [man's] heart was only bad all the time." Then God had decreed that he would cause a global flood to wipe out every breathing creature from the surface of the earth. Yet, in a ship God preserved alive Noah and seven others along with an essential number of animals. The account is short but contains important details. (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures)

Based on the account of the Nephilim, what evidence would scientists expect to find? Since Nephilim were mightier than humans but born from them, the evidence would show a population of beings that branched off of humans and was somehow distinctly stronger or more powerful than humans. Therefore, they would also have to appear after humans appeared on the fossil record. Due to the Nephilim being descendants of angels, these beings may likely have been smarter than regular humans. If that was the case, then their technology would have been more advanced. In order to fill the world with violence, the beings would probably have war wounds, weaponry, and a large range of habitat. Finally, since the Nephilim died suddenly in a flood along with most other breathing creatures, scientists would find a sudden global disappearance of not only the beings that descended off of humans, but also of most animal populations and all but a small portion of the human gene pool. If the evidence meets all of these circumstances, would it be just a coincidence?

Much evidence has been uncovered about the origins of Neanderthals. Neanderthals first appeared around 400,000 years ago (Hofreiter). This places Neanderthals after humans on the timeline. Genetic research also shows that Neanderthals sprang from humans (Adler). Furthermore, recent findings show that humans and Neanderthals interbred (Adler). If angels had created a new offspring with human mothers, it would seem logical that the new offspring would be able to breed with pure humans. So, rather than showing that Neanderthals predated humans, had no common ancestry, and could not be genetically compatible with humans, the evidence confirms the exact opposite. Thus far, the evidence available on the origins of Neanderthals coincides with the description of the Nephilim.

The research on Neanderthal's cognitive abilities and culture provides similarly intriguing insight. Evidence shows that Neanderthals constructed shelters, wore clothes, and buried their dead (Adler). Even modern apes and monkeys do not show any of these characteristics. It has also been discovered that they wore jewelry and body paint ("Did Neandertals Think Like Us?"). Jewelry and body paint show a level of complex thought toward beauty and symbolism that has only ever been associated with humans. Also, the oldest known musical instrument, a bone flute, was created by Neanderthals (Adler). Certainly, being the first being to make a musical instrument should be taken into account when analyzing cognitive ability. Other finds, like that of a birch pitch glue created under anaerobic conditions, show that their technology was on par with humans of the day, perhaps even more advanced (Adler). As Thomas Wynn of the University of Colorado put it, "They developed techniques that modern humans find difficult to replicate" (Adler). Added to that, the discovery of the gene FOXP2 (also found in humans) which enables speech ability in the brain and facial nerves (for facial expressions) shows that Neanderthals had the genetic makeup required for human speech (Hall). Neanderthals also had the hyoid bone that is needed for human speech (Adler). Thus concluded Ralph Holloway of the Columbia University in New York, "I'm certain that they had language" (Adler). Therefore, the evidence points to Neanderthals being culturally and mentally the equals of humans if not on a higher level than humans. This would be fitting of the description of Nephilim being the offspring of humans and angels.

However, is there any evidence that Neanderthals were violent and formidable? Anatomically, Neanderthals had a "short, stout fireplug of a physique, with massive muscles" (Hall). The average male needed about 5,000 calories a day (Hall). That is the equivalent of what a bicyclist burns in one day in the Tour de France (Hall). Neanderthals were also great hunters, their prey including deer, bison, seals, dolphins, rhinos, and mammoths (Hall)(Adler). Isotope evidence shows that Neanderthals were top level carnivores, possibly even deriving all of their nourishment from meat (Richards). Furthermore, Neanderthal skeletons often show evidence of numerous fractures and healed fractures (mostly on the skulls and upper body skeleton), even on women and children (Hall). Perhaps the most disturbing is the evidence that Neanderthals were cannibals (Hall). Speaking of this evidence, Antonio Rosas of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, Spain said, "It means these fellows went after the brains and into long bones for the marrow" (Hall). Certainly, the evidence so far in this case could fit the description of the Nephilim being mighty and violent.

The last evidence needed to fill out the basics regards their complete disappearance. The habitat of Neanderthals grew until they disappeared worldwide about 30,000 years ago (Svante). Scientists are currently speculating and trying to discover the means of the Neanderthals' downfall. Theories include Neanderthals being hunted to extinction, being unable to adapt to changes in climate, and breeding into the human population. Seeing as such different conclusions would require very different evidence, it should be obvious that these theories are loose assumptions at best. But what does the evidence suggest? Neanderthals did not just disappear in one area but in every place they were found; this includes places as far apart as Mongolia, Israel, Italy, and Britain (Hall). There is agreement among scientists that Neanderthals disappeared around 40,000 to 30,000 years ago and there are numerous finds of Neanderthal remains in various places that date to that time period (Hall) (Hofreiter) (Svante). One large find in northern Spain, dated to about 43,000 years ago, was created by being buried "much as mud fills the inside walls of a house during a flood" (Hall). Recently, in Siberia, there was a finding of a particularly well-preserved baby mammoth that died suddenly and was quickly entombed in a mixture of silt and clay about 40,000 years ago (Mueller). Researchers used DNA analysis to discover that the mammoth's distinct population of mammoth was soon after replaced by another population (Mueller). It is important to note evidence that modern man's ancestry arrived on the scene also around 40,000 years ago ("Did Neandertals Think Like Us?"). These facts point to a worldwide extinction around a time period dated by carbon dating to about 40,000 to 30,000 years ago. Other than the calibrated dates themselves, the facts are also consistent with the account of the flood and the Nephilim's sudden destruction.

The only research that directly conflicts with the biblical account of the Nephilim are the carbon dates attributed to what is apparently evidence of the flood. According to Bible chronology, the flood happened in 2370 B.C.E. (1,656 years after man's creation) and only lasted for forty days (Insight on the Scriptures). In order to determine the reason for this discrepancy, it would be helpful to know how radio carbon dating is performed and calibrated, along with what other factors may affect the results. Another measure to take would be to carefully examine the archeological layers of sediment to determine which date is more reasonable for the sediment pattern. If the radio carbon dating turn out to be incorrect, it would not be the first time the evidence has suggested as much. In 2000, a paleontologist discovered soft tissue in a dinosaur bone dated to 68 million years ago and was heavily ridiculed because scientists asserted that such tissue could not have lasted for that period of time (Hitt). The results have since been affirmed and although scientists do not want to say it, it could well point to dinosaurs being much younger than originally expected (Barth). More research will have to be done to establish the possible repercussions of these facts.

After an examination of the facts, the implication remains that Neanderthals and the Nephilim could be one and the same. However, based on this evidence along two lines of thought could result. Those who believe the Bible to be myth would probably favor the idea that since myths are sometimes created from truths, the Bible just came up with the Nephilim myth based on events of the past. Therefore, even if Neanderthals fit the description of the Nephilim in the Bible, this does not directly prove the Bible's account to be true. Nonetheless, for those who do believe the Bible to be the word of God, the evidence found of the Neanderthals would not prove the Bible false either. But if the biblical account is true, then this is actually a terrifying discovery. Terrifying, because the angels that created the Nephilim became demons in doing so. Thus, it would mean that Neanderthals are the offspring of demons.

Works Cited

Insight on the Scriptures. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1988. Print. English Edition.
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Brooklyn: International Bible Students Association, 1984. Print. English Edition.


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