By Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.

Massimo Pigliucci, an associate professor at the university of Tennessee at Knoxville, is the latest in a long line of evolutionists to charge that Christians who don't believe in human evolution are somehow anti-intellectual and distrust reason (Washington Times, "Evolution of a Holiday," Feb. 12). This is the response of a Christian.

Let's be precise: the idea that humans evolved from apes is not a true theory at all. At best, it is a hypothesis: "a proposition advanced as possibly true, and consistent with known data, but requiring further investigation."

A theory is "a closely reasoned set of propositions derived from and supported by established evidence and intended to serve as an explanation for a group of phenomena." Evolutionists are missing the "established evidence" required to turn their hypothesis into a theory. They are desperate for such evidence. Last year, for example, fossil hunters in Chad, nearing the end of a ten-year grant, gave us a cranium, a lower jaw fragment, and several teeth of an ape that they dated within a million years. Evolutionists initially "went ape," so to speak, proclaiming it the equivalent of "a small nuclear bomb" in the field. Because of their belief or faith in evolution, most news outlets featured this trivial, flimsy, and fragmentary find as news of an authentic human ancestor. Many evolutionists themselves have already discredited the find.

Now let me advance a hypothesis, which if true, strikes a very serious blow to the evolutionary one. The Greek gods look exactly like humans. My hypothesis: many of the Greek gods are pictures of our original human ancestors. Let's look at some known data to see if this qualifies as a hypothesis. According to Genesis, Adam and Eve were the first couple. According to Greek myth, Zeus and Hera were the first couple. Genesis: Adam is the ancestor of all humans. Greek myth: Zeus is "the father of gods and men." Genesis: Eve is the sister/wife of Adam, the first to give birth and the first to marry. Greek myth: Hera is the sister/wife of Zeus, and the goddess of childbirth and marriage.

The eldest son of Adam and Eve was Cain, whose line became forgers "of every tool of copper and iron" (Genesis 4:22). The eldest son of Zeus and Hera was Hephaistos, god of the forge. We now have a viable hypothesis. Is there enough additional evidence to develop a theory? Let's see.

According to Genesis, in addition to a man and a woman (Adam and Eve), these are the basic elements involved in humanity's origin: a paradise, a fruit tree, a serpent, the knowledge of good and evil, and the entrance of death. The Greek poet Hesiod wrote in his Theogony that out of Darkness came the Hesperides and the Three Fates. The Hesperides were luxuriating nymphs who pictured the pleasures of paradise. Greek vase painters always depicted them with a serpent-entwined apple tree. The Three Fates brought death to humanity and, according to Hesiod, gave "men at their birth both evil and good to have." It seems as if the Greeks are telling the same story of humanity's origins in Genesis from a different standpoint.

Greek myth tells of the great Flood, saying that Zeus caused it. The Greek religious system developed after the Flood, and its central event was the birth of Athena, who emerged full-grown out of Zeus. This is a very good picture of Eve being born full-grown out of Adam. Athena is almost always pictured wearing a serpent-fringed aegis with the head of the Gorgon Medusa-the head of serpents-in the center of it. In one sculpture, she wears a crown of serpents. On her Parthenon sculpture, a huge, friendly serpent coils at her side. Scholars call her the goddess of wisdom, but ancient Greek artists knew her as the goddess of the serpent's wisdom. The birth of Athena appears to represent the rebirth of the serpent's Eve after the Flood.

I can't fit all of the considerable evidence into this short article, but we have enough to restate our original hypothesis as this theory: Greek myth is history which portrays the early events of Genesis from the serpent's side, affirming that the first humans did the right thing in taking the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This corollary follows it: the story of humanity's origin described in the Book of Genesis, albeit from a viewpoint opposite the Judeo-Christian, was part of the Greek's collective cultural memory. Both traditions originate in paradise, or Eden.

I'll pit my theory of human origins against the evolutionary hypothesis any day. It's more logical, more intellectual, and more scientific-in the best sense of those terms. The Greeks created the living basis of our culture, and they knew where they came from-and it wasn't from tadpoles, monkeys, or knuckle-dragging troglodytes.

Imagine: college professors making fun of our thinking ability because we don't accept a weak hypothesis that we're descended from apes!

Mr. Johnson is the author of
Athena and Eden: The Hidden Meaning of the Parthenon's East Fa´┐Żade.
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