“And therefore the monkey looks like man, and is an example of a generation of men which were created and made but were only wooden figures.”
— Popol Vuh
If you started reading this hoping for chapter and verse quotations such as Genesis 10:20 “And the Lord made dinosaurs” followed by Genesis 20:30 “The Lord then made monkeys from which he made humans” you’re going to be disappointed. Of course if such blatant quotes were available, there would be no need for this article.
The reader will need to jump through some theological hoops to find Darwin in the Bible. However, the reader will be pleasantly surprised that those hoops are not as insurmountable as one might expect.
The first hoop come in accepting that the Quiche Maya are offshoots of the Israelites. The Quiche Maya are of course from Central America and the Israelites were from the Middle East. Modern historical dogma claims that there were no interactions between these two peoples. For a detailed explanation of how this cultural exchange is plausible please see:
I’ll offer a short summary of the top 3 points as to why this theory is plausible:
1) One author of the Popul Vuh (The Mayan Sacred Writings) declares:
I, Don Fransisco Gomez, first Ahzib Quiche, write here on this paper of the coming of our fathers and grandfathers from the other side of the sea [ocean] whence the sun rises.”
(Note: The sun rises in the east.)
2) A signature biblical story… splitting the sea and crossing it dry shod appears in the Popul Vuh:
And it is not clear how they crossed over the sea. The crossed as if there were no sea. They crossed as if on some stones, stones piled up in the same. They give the stones a name, Rock Rows, Furrowed Sands was the name for the place where they crossed through the midst of the sea. Where the waters divided they crossed over.
3) There is an odd copy of the Ten Commandments in the New Mexico desert called the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone. This is thought to be an artifact of ‘Calalus’, an Israelite colony in the New World circa 700CE.
If we can accept that the Maya are an offshoot of Israelites, we reap the rewards of finding references to Evolution in the creation myth of the Maya. In essence, the Bible tells of the creation of man out of dust of the earth. The Mayan version fills in the blanks between drafting room and final product.
The creation myth of the Maya closely parallels the Biblical one. The interpositions of additional narrative is likely to be the preservation of details from the precursor myths to both the Bible and the Popol Vuh. This is the second and final theological hoop one must jump through.
It is in one of these interpositions, the story of the creation of man, where we find Evolution in the Bible.
In the Mayan creation myth, the creators seek to create creations which can speak and adore their creators (self aware, and aware of creators). First they fail with the animals:
But they could not make them speak like men; they only hissed and screamed and cackled; they were unable to make words, and each screamed in a different way.
They go on to try again with the animals and fail.
The first attempt at man:
Then was the creation and the formation. Of earth, of mud, they made [man’s] flesh. But they saw that it was not good. It melted away, it was soft, did not move, had no strength, it fell down, it was limp, it could not move its head, its face fell to one side, its sight was blurred, it could not look behind. At first it spoke, but had no mind. Quickly it soaked in the water and could not stand.
Here we have another attempt at man:
And instantly the figures were made of wood. They looked like men, talked like men, and populated the surface of the earth.
They existed and multiplied; they had daughters, they had sons, these wooden figures; but they did not have souls, nor minds, they did not remember their Creator, their Maker; they walked on all fours, aimlessly.
A great flood (similar to Noah’s) destroys the wooden creatures. It is said that the monkeys (primates) descend from these beings.
So was the ruin of the men who had been created and formed, the men made to be destroyed and annihilated; the mouths and faces of all of them were mangled.
And it is said that their descendants are the monkeys which now live in the forests; these are all that remain of them because their flesh was made only of wood by the Creator and the Maker.
And therefore the monkey looks like man, and is an example of a generation of men which were created and made but were only wooden figures.
So here we have textual evidence of a creationist-evolutionary tale found in the sacred works of the Maya. We have strong narrative correspondence between the Bible and the Popol Vuh suggesting that the interposed narratives are preserved from the antecedent myths of both works.
It is a perhaps bitter irony that in order to find textual evidence of Evolution in Biblical narratives, we must accept cultural evolution and migration of the early Israelites to Central America.