Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Did Neanderthals have a soul?

If man was created in the image of God, does that include all hominids? Does that include Neanderthals? Did all hominids therefore have a soul? If the answer to these questions is yes, then where is the record of these people? Would they not have the gospel as children of God?

Neanderthals were intelligent humans that had a social structure and practiced such things as burying their dead, and adorning themselves with jewelry, etc. Were they just an experiment of God, and never actually given a soul? How do we explain the fact that they lived at the same time as homo sapiens? When did homo sapiens start having souls? Did they always have a soul? That would mean that for 100s of thousands of years, there have been humans on the earth with souls, but they did not have religion until around 6000 years ago, and the Neanderthals never had religion, at least not the true religion of God based on Jesus Christ. How can this be? Does God only love some of his children and not others?


At July 4, 2006 at 1:47 PM, Blogger THE DEVIL said...


At July 4, 2006 at 1:49 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


Can you be more specific?

At July 20, 2006 at 12:20 PM, Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I would say the answer to your question depends on what you mean by "soul".


Do you mean self-awareness, or something more spiritual, maybe even something god-endowed? If the former, yes; if the latter, well, since I don't know if there's a god, I'd say yes, as much as we do. Because while I don't know if there's a god, I know that no god ever described by a church exists... and what we get from the god there is, if there is, we all get.

At July 20, 2006 at 12:28 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


Again, I have to agree with you. Even though the level of intelligence of Neanderthals does not approach what homo sapiens enjoy today, who is to say they wouldn't have evolved to where we are had they survived this long. The problem is that this does not jive with modern religous dogma, so how do you (religous people in general) reconcile that?
There is no scriptural reference to Neanderthals anywhere, but they performed religous practices such as burial, among other things.

Your position makes it easy to reconcile. I would like to hear from christians as well to get their take. Thanks for the post.

At July 21, 2006 at 12:14 PM, Blogger Kevin Parry said...

Hi bishop rick

I came across your comments at Agnostic Mom, and decided to visit your blog.

This is a very interesting question in your post. I've also heard a similar question raised about aliens. If there is intelligent life on other planets, did Jesus die for them too?

It seems a bit egocentric (on our part) to believe that the god of the universe came and died for such a small, insignificant species who have only been around for such a short period of time.

All the best

Memoirs of an ex-Christian

At July 22, 2006 at 12:30 AM, Blogger Just one of many said...

Religion=love. The neanderthals grouped together not only to survive, but to commune. Was that communion christian? Who knows. A soul is something that seeks for a greater fulfillment...it reconizes the need for continuation. I believe the Neanderthals sought after these things! (Pardon the LDS pun) :D

At July 22, 2006 at 12:38 AM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


Welcome. so you are saying that Neanderthals had souls by the definition of seeking after things greater than this world.

I would have to agree with you. The trouble I am having now, is what was their purpose on this earth. I will address this in another blog.

At July 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM, Blogger Just one of many said...

Why are we so purpose driven? Maybe the purpose for their existence was simply to just be. I know as modern humans we like to wrap things up neatly, explain away any unsettling details. Here is a quote I got off a postmormon web site..."The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."---Albert Einstein (I just murdered his name)

At July 22, 2006 at 9:52 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


Perhaps that is the answer, that their purpose was just to be, but I have a curious mind, and want to know the answers to this type of question. I will never know all that Albert E. knew, so I don't think I am in any danger of running out of things to be in awe over. I can't even think of all those things, but there is no harm in discussing the few things I can think of.

At August 25, 2006 at 10:01 PM, Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I think that maybe we all have souls...the animals, the humans, the Neanderthals. I think that maybe even plants have souls (I just love those talking trees in Lord of the Rings). I love the idea of reincarnation. I often wonder if my dog was once human. He has kind eyes.

??? Should I quit posting late at night? I probably sound strange...

At August 27, 2006 at 11:38 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


What you say makes sense to me. The reincarnation thing definitely deserves attention. If matter cannot be created nor destroyed, then how is new life formed? Maybe through the reuse of existing materials (reincarnation). Maybe that's what explains those deja vu moments we all have.

I'm not sure I want to devolve though from human to dog. I would like to think that each time I come back, I have made some type of progress.

Of course, some would say coming back as a dog would be progress :)

At September 6, 2006 at 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Bishop that's some deep stuff, but good questions. My feeling on this is that while God is the Alpha and Omega our recorded history intertwined with religion started with Adam and Eve. Of course those stories were not written until Moses but for me as a believer of God this does not rule out other humanoid life forms.

At September 7, 2006 at 3:20 PM, Blogger Bishop Rick said...


I agree that recorded history (discounting cave drawings) started with Adam and Eve. But, that story really only amounts to heresay. Do we know that they actually existed?

At September 18, 2006 at 4:13 PM, Blogger A soul, finally free. said...

Well DUH!!! I mean I already know God loves me way more then anybody! hahaha...J/k I am totally joking but i had to lighten the discussion.

At May 31, 2007 at 7:39 AM, Blogger Jason said...

When I attended BYU there was a lecture given by this Jewish guy (he had several PhDs) on evolution. He explained (and correct me if he's wrong) that Jews believe there are two kinds of spirits- animal and human. Neanderthals and early humanoid primates may have been God's building blocks for creating the bodies that would eventually house the spirits of Adam and Eve. In other words God used evolution to form Adam's mortal tabernacle, then put the "breath of life" (i.e. human spirit) into them. Pre-Adam primates only had animal spirits. I don't know that any religion actually teaches this concept, but it made sense to me as an evolutionist.

At December 8, 2009 at 10:59 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Neanderthals were much more similar to modern humans than many people popularly believe. They lived in communities, cared for the infirm, buried the dead, etc. They were very intelligent and incredibly strong, very well-suited for life in ancient Europe. Many experts believe that some even inter-breeded with modern humans. They almost certainly believed in an afterlife as well, since many burial sites include flints and tools that were used in life. Only men, however, were buried with these objects which suggests that neanderthal men didn't believe in afterlife for women (or were just horribly misogynistic, which is another topic altogether). This shows almost certainly that their 'religious' beliefs were not what you consider 'true religion'. Neanderthals, though, weren't the early non-human hominids to have existed. The fossil record shows early people who were both much larger and much smaller than modern humans. In addition, humans from the time of neanderthals were modern in an anatomical sense only. They had nowhere near the intellectual, cultural, or social capabilities that humans have today.


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