Is the Garden of Eden Lost Beneath the Persian Gulf?

A new theory reported here about the origins of man suggests that the earliest human settlements are now below the Persian Gulf.

Veiled beneath the Persian Gulf, a once-fertile landmass may have supported some of the earliest humans outside Africa some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago, a new review of research suggests.

At its peak, the floodplain now below the Gulf would have been about the size of Great Britain, and then shrank as water began to flood the area. Then, about 8,000 years ago, the land would have been swallowed up by the Indian Ocean, the review scientist said.

The study, which is detailed in the December issue of the journal Current Anthropology, has broad implications for aspects of human history. For instance, scientists have debated over when early modern humans exited Africa, with dates as early as 125,000 years ago and as recent as 60,000 years ago (the more recent date is the currently accepted paradigm), according to study researcher Jeffrey Rose, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

“I think Jeff’s theory is bold and imaginative, and hopefully will shake things up,” Robert Carter of Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. told LiveScience. “It would completely rewrite our understanding of the out-of-Africa migration. It is far from proven, but Jeff and others will be developing research programs to test the theory.”

Viktor Cerny of the Archaeogenetics Laboratory, the Institute of Archaeology, in Prague, called Rose’s finding an “excellent theory,” in an e-mail to LiveScience, though he also points out the need for more research to confirm it.

One of the most interesting topics in theology is the explanation of original sin and the possibility of a historic Adam and Eve. The typical reading of the Bible story in Genesis assumes that Adam and Eve were the only two people on earth in a primeval paradise. However, a simple reading of the text shows that this is not the case. Their son Cain went out and got married. Therefore the simplest assumption is that there were already human beings on the earth.

Some will dismiss the existence of Adam and Eve completely saying it is nothing but a Hebrew creation myth devised to explain the existence of evil. It is still Catholic teaching, however, that in someway, somewhere there was a historical Adam and Eve. There is room for speculation about the details, and I have written about it here and here.

What discoveries and theories like this new one remind us is that there is still an awful lot to learn about the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. A good many of our theories and assumptions are based on out of date archeological studies, out of date anthropological theories and out of date theoretical history.

Read the whole article about early civilizations here.