Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Great Leap Forward for Man: Man Made or God Made?

Written by: on May 8, 2014

Jared Diamond in in his book Guns, Germs and Steel attempts to answer the question why some societies advanced much quicker than others throughout history. He tracks the history of man 4 million years ago in Africa and 1.8 million years ago in a Southeast Asian Island in Java to the oldest fossils discovered of the “Java man” bones. At present the earliest evidence of man in Europe was 500,000 years ago.

The migration of primitive man stayed the same until something happened around 50,000 years ago called the “great leap forward” where archeologists found the first standardized stone tools and primitive jewelry. Similar developments were discovered in the near East and in southeastern Europe. These skeletons are called Cro-Magnon man. The different sites discovered were explored and as Cro-Magnon man evolved through the years, more sophisticated tools and weapons emerged in the form of fish hooks and spears; and eventually bows and arrows.

The question Diamond poses is did the great leap forward come from one group of people or in parallel regions simultaneous at the same time? He says the issue remains unresolved.

Arthur C. Clarke in his book 2001 a Space Odyssey (and movie) promotes the idea that an alien intelligence intervened and taught Cro-Magnon man to develop tools and weapons through a monolith.

Nowhere does Diamond explore the possibility of a creator God, creating man in His image being the reason for the great leap forward. If Clarke, a science fiction writer can come to the conclusion some external intelligence may have been the reason for the great leap forward, could a creator God be the real explanation for this change?

C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity explores the argument for a creator God through the idea of the “Watchmaker theory.” The watchmaker theory explains that creation is so complex; there is evidence of an intelligent presence to put creation together like a watch maker. A watch is so complex; it needs a creator to make all the parts and to put the parts together to count time. There is yet to be a time in history where watch parts came together on its own to create a watch.

What do you think caused the great leap forward? Could there possibly be a greater intelligence that intervened in one place or did it occur in multiple places randomly around the world by chance?

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Mark Steele

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