Saturday, June 22, 2019

Finding Cain's Homeland

Was this skull found in Cain's original homeland?

Alice C. Linsley

In 2000 a major archaeological discovery made by a team led by paleontologist Paul Sereno opened a window onto the Green Sahara of 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. Sereno and his team discovered a large cemetery on the edge of a paleolake in Niger. Read more about the discovery here.

This raises questions about Adam as the first human. As Cain's father, Adam would have lived later the Gobero population. Cain was building a city and his descendants within ten generations were working metal. This indicates the Neolithic period. Perhaps we should consider the possibility that Adam was not the first human, but the first of the clans of humans that come to be known as Hebrew priests.

When the Apostle Paul speaks of Adam as a type of Christ, he is using an analogy: Death came by Adam, the disobedient first priest, and life comes by Jesus Christ the obedient High Priest.

The word "adam" is "adamah" in Hebrew and it means red human, likely a reference to the red earth from which Adam was formed. If this is correct, Adam is the first of the red people, that is, Abraham's Hebrew ancestors. He is the founder of the priest caste that was known for s distinctive red tone. Esau and David were among them. The word Edom also refers to red. Genesis 36:31 speaks to the antiquity of the Edomite rulers: "These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the children of Israel.”

Abraham's territory ws in Edom, between Hebron in the north (where Sarah resided) and Beersheba to the south (where Keturah resided). The Greeks called Edom "Idumea" which means "land of red people. 

Edom was in the heart of biblical Eden. Havilah is in the land of Kush, at the source of the Nile in the Ethiopian highlands. The Nile is fed by two sources: the White and Blue Nile. Likely these are the Gihon and Pishon mentioned in Genesis. The Hebrew word Giħôn (גיחון) means spring, as in a water source that bursts forth, or gushes. It appears that the four streams of Eden are the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the rivers known today as the Blue and White Nile.

In the garden of Eden narratives we find clues as to the cultural contexts of the narrators. The term Eden derives from the Akkadian term edinu, which refers to a fertile plain. The Hebrew word gan is related to the Kushite term egàn, which refers to a virgin forest. The Akkadian edinu describes the fertile plain of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. The Kushite word egàn describes the forests of the Nile Valley before the desertification of the Sahara. The early chapters of Genesis are layered like an onion.

Which of these layers is the older context? Here is a clue: when banished from his homeland, Cain moved to the "east of Eden," which is to say that he moved east of the virgin forests of the wet Sahara. If the Biblical writer intends Eden to be the land of Israel, east would place Cain in Mesopotamia, the territory of the Kushite kingdom builder, Nimrod. Abraham was a descendant of Nimrod, the son of Kush (Genesis 10). If the Biblical writer assumed that Eden was in Mesopotamia, east of that would place Cain in Pakistan. That is not likely.

I believe that Cain was a Proto-Saharan ruler whose territory was west of the Nile, probably in the region where Paul Sereno found the Gobero graveyard. The Gobero site is the earliest known cemetery in the Sahara and the skeletons found there indicate that some of the people were over six feet tall. Here is a photo of one of the Gobero skeletons (G3B8). It measures six feet six inches. 

Photo credit: Mike Hettwer

The phrase "east of Eden" in the Hebrew text is quimat-Eden and appears to be a Nilotic reference. Originally, the word was probably qma, which is an ancient Egyptian word that refers to bulrushes. So it is possible that Cain left the Lake Chad region and went east to the land of bulrushes, the Nile Valley.

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