It sometimes takes me a long time to develop my seed thoughts.
Reading and writing (literacy) is approximately 5000-6000 years old. Civilisation is approximately 5000-6000 years old. There are many people (young earth subscribers) who are deeply influenced by their literal/ literate/ literacy based world view. They find it hard to believe in a world before reading and writing existed. They find it hard to believe in a world before civilisation existed. They find it hard to believe in a world before the Bible was written down on paper. They are therefore limited in their view of the world to come up with statements such as "the world is 6000 years old". I consider it no small coincidence that their calculation of the age of the world is the same period as that of civilisation and literacy. If we can expand our thinking beyond a world of civilisation and literacy then the possibilities of explaining history broaden greatly.
With that preface I would like the permission from you the reader to speak of dates much older than 6000 years ago. I hope this does not offend you. Just remember, I interpret every word of scripture as true, but I do this in an oral sense. That is I know that many of the stories were constructed orally. For example, when the Spirit of God hovered over the waters, I am happy and comfortable to know that the Spirit of God hovered over the hydrogen gases. Hydrogen, being the first and most basic element, is the element from which all other elements come. All stars are made of Hydrogen. "We are all made of stars" has some truth to it. So, since the word "waters" at the start of Genesis can be used to refer to Hydrogen (and still be true, correct) this then helps explain how oral stories must be understood. When the oral story of creation was first told, there was no such word for Hydrogen, so water was the best word to describe Hydrogen, even though the story tellers had no idea what Hydrogen actually was. And in fact the word Hydrogen comes from the Greek Hydro for water. The two words are closely related. Water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. In such a context it is easy to see how a day need not be 24 hours. I don't want to enter deeply into that debate, except to say that a literal interpretation is not called for but an oral one is, especially since the story is many thousands of years older than writing itself.
I will now enter into the topic of the genetic origins of humanity. A while back we watched a documentary series from the BBC that spoke of the origins of humanity. There are still many questions in this field from a scientific perspective. It is true that the documentary series treated the ideas as fact instead of hypothesis, but there are still some interesting points to ponder.
My approximate take on the facts are as follows. Humanity itself is about 50 000 years old. Why? Scientifically it is postulated that speech is about 50 000 years old. Many linguists, psychologists and also philosophers argue that language creates identity and without language there is no identity. That makes a person who has no concept of language at all.... well... I don't believe such a person exists in the world, even Helen Keller had language.
At some point in our genetic past there is an important genetic dichotomy at play. Before getting to that I want to comment on the existence of "Mitochondrial Eve" a single human being from whom all modern humans are descended. Where ever in history this person is placed (up to 150 000 years ago) this is a very interesting fact. The existence of "Y Chromosome Adam" is also a very interesting fact. The fact that these two people are separated by millennia is unimportant when we consider the hypothesis that Noah could actually be the "Y Chromosome Adam". The stories of the Garden of Eden and Noah are likely separated by many thousands of years in true history.
Another interesting oral story has a genetic picture to highlight. The Y chromosome has a stick missing. From this stick comes another X chromosome. When God put Adam into a deep sleep he broke off a stick from Adam's one X chromosome and left behind a Y chromosome. From this chromosome stick he created Eve. That is, the "rib" in the Genesis story (the story of Gene-(tics)-is) actually a chromosome, not a literal rib. This is because oral people from many thousands of years ago did not have a word for "chromosome" but only understood such words as bones and ribs, as they understood the story that God gave them. The word "rib" in the Genesis story is an oral representation of the scientific "chromosome". This means the word "rib" is no less true, but a literal rendering of the word "rib" is actually incorrect. An oral rendering is required.
The genetic dichotomy I was referring to earlier? Some where in the genetic history of humanity there is a dichotomy between the people living in Africa and the people living elsewhere in the world. I personally think the location of Eden was either in Eastern Africa (possibly Ethiopia) or even off the coast into the now Indian Ocean. So this makes it easy to consider the "out of Africa" hypothesis. Everyone in the human race who is not African is descended from a small genetic pool. All of the people who are African are from a much more diverse set of genetic pools. I am satisfied that this is a genetic fact. DNA research has shown this theory to be sound. It in no way threatens the integrity of scripture what so ever. But it of course does threaten the (young earth) narrow approach.
This brings me to a very interesting set of new hypotheses. Since we (non-Africans) are genetically less diverse than Africans, it follows that marriage between an African and non-African will always produce a stronger genetic outcome than marriage between two non-Africans. That is, if every non-African married an African from now on, then their offspring would have much stronger immune systems. My hypothesis is that this increased immunity would go a long way to combatting disease in the world. Therefore, Africa is a key to medical security and the future integrity of the human race. We need Africa. Africa needs us.
A spiritual hypothesis can also be drawn from this. If Africa is the hope for the world on a genetic level, then wiping out Africa would be very dangerous for the world. Yet it seems that Africa is always under the most attack in the world. I personally think that the devil would like nothing more than to wipe out Africa, because by doing so there is a much better chance of wiping out the entire human race. So the intensity of the spiritual battle is centred on Africa. There are always more wars, famines and troubles in Africa than anywhere else in the world. The spiritual battles between the growth of the Body of Christ in Africa and the intensity of Black Magic is always at its strongest in Africa. The metaphorical (sometimes spilling over into literal battles) battle between the advance of Islam and the advance of Christianity in Africa is also more intense there than anywhere else in the world.
Africa is where it is at. Africa is key to the world's future. The twenty first century belongs to China and to a lesser extent India, on an economic level. But I think there will come a day when Africa will develop too. This may be a century away still. Perhaps the twenty second century will be the century of Africa in the world.
Hypotheses are fun. An oral understanding of the world opens up our thinking to many new hypotheses.
And so my seed thoughts continue to develop.