->Life on earth started with early life forms 4 billion years ago, soon after the formation of earth and oceans based on fossils found in hydrothermic vents near volcanoes.
-> Eukaryotes [ single celled organisms] appeared 2100 million years ago.
-> Animals appeared 590 million years ago.
-> Vertebrates appear 505 million years ago.
-> Mammals appeared 220 million years ago.
-> Primates appeared 99-80 million years ago.
->Human ancestors have been around for 6 million years, all development between 6 million to 2 million happened in Africa.
->In the last 1.8 million years, Homo erectus roamed the earth as Hunter gatherer,
in the last 0.2 million years, Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalis, hunter gatherers.
-> Homo neanderthalis went extinct as did all the early humans species.
-> The modern human, Homo sapien, appeared 200000 years ago
-> And civilization, as the West recognizes it , in last 6000 years.
So when did humans travel out of Africa?
There were 3 migrations out of Africa:
- 2 million to 1.5 million years ago to Asia
- 1.5 million to 1 million years ago to Europe
- and 60000 years ago
In what ways did humans develop differently from the primates?
Humans went through an evolutionary increase in brain size and with that came:
- Large size of brain, with increased maternal fetal deaths due to the size of brain.
- Moral sense
- Spirit of community
- As well as, Self consciousness, with awareness of personal death.
The awareness of one’s personal death does not exist in other animals, and having this awareness impacted humans in a way, that they did not have answers from nature. It caused death anxiety for the early humans.
As early humans were dependent on their environment for shelter and food and they were aware that this same environment could be the cause of their death as in adverse terrain/ weather or predators.
How does one reconcile this conflict of the threat of environment, impact of same on their mortality [due to one’s knowledge of personal death], their finite time and the anxiety it produces. The resolution was to be able to exert some control over nature.
So when did the God concept first appear in this history of 6 million years of humans development?
In the last 2 million years, when Hunter -gatherer roamed the earth. In their coping of death anxiety, they developed the primitive concept of god, a god they created not the one that created them. They believed that all that lives have a soul, and hence intelligence, rationality, consciousness, volition, intention, desire and language. Thus attributing a spirit to natural phenomenon. Their central concern was of how to consume or use non human lives/souls for sustenance of human life.
“Animism“, a term coined by anthropology, to explain this attribution by indigenous people of spirit to natural phenomenon like stone, rain, trees and so on. This was and is typical in Hunter Gatherer societies. In animism, each soul is unique. And all are equal [meaning no one is better than the other]. This would be in direct conflict with current Western rationalism and Abrahamic religions where humans are considered unique and special creations unlike non humans.
Nature exists as God. In India, that would be Indra, the lord of Rains, or Bhhodevi, Mother Earth.
So now we have God, in the form of powerful nature but not as a creator of humans.