My next big book project is called Gray Barker’s Book of Monsters. It surveys the host of monsters, aliens and boogeymen West Virginia ufologist Gray Barker wrote about over the years. It turns out that he was fascinated with Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman. Of course, he connected Bigfoot to flying saucers because that was the filter he sifted the world through. He eventually filed them as potentially being “UFO creatures” sent by ufonauts in much the way we send dogs and monkeys into space.
In a very similar fashion, and not for the first time, it got me thinking about how a Christian worldview might account for Bigfoot.
Now Bigfoot is just not something Christians usually tackle.
I recall reading an article in the Charleston Daily Mail, quoting a Bigfoot hunter prior to a big hunt staged in West Virginia:
“One man in Jackson County, he just kept telling me, “I’m a religious person. I just don’t believe in this stuff, but I’m telling you, I saw it.” I try to explain that it shouldn’t have any affect on their religion and these sorts of things, that it’s not something that’s out of this world. It’s an animal. It’s just a separate species and there’s no hocus pocus to it.”
I think those comments rather summarize the way most Christians feel about it. They don’t know what to think. They suspect that Bigfoot might turn out to be the missing link and they don’t want to consider evidence for evolution. Or they think of it in the same category as leprechauns, fairies and Cerberus. Some even suspect that they’re simply demonic.
But there are other possibilities.
Bigfoot is called many names the world over: Sasquatch, Yeren, Yeti… There have been sighting in almost every corner of the globe. They’re refered to as beasts, wildmen and giants. Most accounts note that they have reddish brown or black fur. They live in remote locations, far from man. They leave prints, but no carcasses. What is a Creationist to think?
There are a couple possibilities that are still very much in line with traditionsl Christian thought:
1. A species of relict or unknown primate. Gigantopithecus has been suggested by many. Christian novelist Frank Peretti explored this option in his fictional work, Monster. [Gripping. Read it if you get the chance.] So it’s possible that they are just some form of unidentified ape or orangutan.
2. They could be wild men, but fully human. Neanderthal comes to mind. Neanderthal is usally pictured as a knuckle-dragging missing link, but even evolutionary scientists have recanted this and now admit that Neanderthal stood upright and was a man and no ape or missing link. In fact, Neanderthal was every bit as smart as we are, if their skull size is any indication.
I’m reminded of the biblical account of Jacob and Esau. Esau was described as a hairy man with red hair. It’s possible he was simply a hairy man. It’s also possible that he was ethnically a Neanderthal. erap your mind around this: If Neanderthal is fully human, given his specific bone characteristics, if he were alive today, we would simply think of him as a specific ethnic type, much as we readily recognize someone of Asian, African or Caucasian descent today. Now what if that ethnic type was also covered in red hair. It might be a bit of a stretch, except that some ethnicities are extremely hairy and others are nearly hairless. And some ethnicities [Irish for example] favor red or black hair [no, I’m not calling the Irish Neaderthals. I’m making a point about how hair color is an ethnic trait.]
Anyway, what if Esau was of Neanderthal ethnicity?
Consider also Enkidu of the Gilgamesh epic. A red-haired, hairy wild man. So wild that nature is not really afraid of him, until he spends time with other men [specifically a woman] and growing wise, the animals begin to fear him. In time, he grows more and more learned in the ways of men. The Creationist theory, if we were assuming the Neaderthalid scenario, is that some of Noah’s children’s offspring degenerated into wild men. The Gilgamesh epic would then be an account of how one was redeemed from the wild and re-educated in the ways of his contemporaries. We have an analogous situation with Australian Aborigines, who have degenerated to a “primitive” (yet still fully human) state but nonetheless, as an ethnicity, still possess the intellectual potential to become college professors — and some have!
In any case, Esau’s children or kindred could be still further degenerated today and might avoid modern man for fear of him.
That’s one theory anyhow.
Look for Gray Barker’s Book of Monsters in March 2020.