Was There a Prehistoric “Stone Age”?
DOES mention of the “Stone Age” make you think of a so-called “prehistoric period” in man’s existence? Evolutionists say the “Stone Age” began about one and a half million years ago and lasted down until about 3000 B.C.E. A dictionary describes it as: “The age in the history of mankind (preceding the bronze and iron ages) marked by the use of stone implements.”
Does this mean that the Bible errs when it speaks of mankind as being on earth for only about 6,000 years? No. The Bible is not wrong. This is readily apparent when one considers how evolutionists arrive at “Stone Age” dates.
Evolutionists admit there are no written records from the “Stone Age.” That is why it is called pre-, or “before,” history. So they must use assumptions as the basis for their dates. Assuming that man slowly evolved, they reason that man first used “primitive” tools. Gradually, they believe, through thousands of years, he employed metal ones. Thus, when an evolutionist finds an oval-shaped “pebble tool,” he interprets it to be older than a flint “blade tool.”
Dating by certain radioactive clocks cannot corroborate evolutionists’ claims. The reliability of these clock instruments is seriously questioned. Results are open to wide speculation.
The Bible is not in error, therefore, simply because evolutionists place arbitrary ages on stone tools to try to satisfy a theory. The Bible alone provides a carefully dated record back to the time of man’s creation. Because of the Bible’s reliability in historical matters, we are encouraged to accept what it says about man’s beginning. It makes no allowance for man evolving through thousands of years of “pre-history.”
But can the thousands of stone axes, arrowheads and suchlike items indicating ‘stone tool cultures’ be fit into the 6,000-year Biblical record of history? Yes. Consider the explanation in the book of Genesis.
In the seventh generation after Adam’s creation, the Bible says, lived a man named Tubal-cain. He was “the forger of every sort of tool of copper and iron.” Possibly men used only stone implements before Tubal-cain’s time. But within his lifetime copper and iron were being forged. This does not necessarily mean that such abilities were possessed by all men.—Gen. 4:22.
Then, sometime after the Noachian flood of 2370/2369 B.C.E., Jehovah scattered mankind to the ends of the earth. Many groups were isolated from the ‘mainstream’ of mankind by cultural, linguistic and geographic barriers. Logically, some of these people carried far from Shinar in Mesopotamia a knowledge of how to work metals.—Gen. 11:1-9.
Many of their contemporaries, however, likely did not possess this skill. Or they may have settled where metal ores were scarce. Consider, for example, the first groups that may have made their way from the central European mountains to the lowland moraine territory of Denmark. They would not have found a great deal of metals, though later on some did learn to work the region’s bog iron ore. Primarily they utilized the abundance of flint in that area, building up a stone-tool culture. Therefore, both stone- and metal-working peoples thrived at the same time. But this should not seem surprising.
Stone- and metal-working peoples coexist right down to our time. World Book Encyclopedia says: “In some isolated parts of the world, almost every stone-toolmaking technique known in the past continued in use into the A.D. 1900’s.” Yes, while modern technology rockets some men to the moon, others continue to use stone tools.
But are these modern stone-toolmaking peoples part ‘animal,’ as depicted in “Stone Age” drawings? Well, consider the Tasaday tribe in the Philippine Islands. Writer P. Durdin describes them in the October 8, 1972, New York Times Magazine: “Though the Tasaday are literally ‘cave men’ and ‘stone age’ men—they live in caves and until recently used only stone implements—they hardly resemble the hairy, half-crouched, apelike primitives with receding foreheads and brutal expressions normally conjured up by these phrases.” They are human.
Nor do modern ‘stone’ people lack intelligence. Careful minds are often revealed in their social and legal customs. Dr. G. C. Baldwin in Stone Age Peoples Today discusses the Arunta of Australia. He says: “Arunta social and ceremonial organization is not easy to understand. Their marriage regulations, for example, are the most complicated of any in the whole world.” Concluding his study of many similar peoples, Baldwin emphasizes: “The fact that these people differ from us in so many ways does not of itself mean that they are backward.”—Pages 32, 172.
Moreover, intelligence is evident in what might be called technical abilities. Vladimír Kozák lived among the Héta in Brazil. He says they are “as primitive a group of Indians as I knew of in all of South America.” Kozák describes the technical skill necessary to manufacture one stone ax. Regarding the ax’s efficiency, he notes: “Almost any tree could be felled with a stone ax. I have seen trees four feet in diameter that the Héta had felled to serve as a bridge across a deep stream.” Carefully made stone tools once did all their work.
Nevertheless, the Héta were introduced to the metal ax from outside the jungle. Were they too backward to see its advantages? Did it take many generations of evolving for them to start using metal tools? Kozák answers: The Héta “gives up his stone tool without the slightest hesitancy. Indeed, the change occurs so swiftly that there is usually no one around to note it.”—“Stone Age Revisited,” Natural History, October 1972.
Yes, there are stone-tool peoples today. Similar groups of people have coexisted with “advanced” cultures through much of man’s history. This does not conflict with the Bible. Rather, it vindicates what the Scriptures say regarding the scattering of men throughout the earth.