2

One of the most promising scientific fields of the nearest future is bio-technologies especially genetic modifications, starting with gene-therapy, genetic enhancements, and, as the process is completely unstoppable and uncontrollable, coming fast to the attempts to create a new species of super humans.

Definition: a new species is one that has distinctive features and can not interbreed with humans anymore.

As is seen from the question of "any-reason-to-deny-aliens?" (and other questions on Aliens and Judaism) most Rabbis can not embrace an idea of the existence of a sentient species besides Homo Sapience.

Did our sources already speculate on how all this aligns with Judaism?

  • Humans are created with intelligence. If robots become smarter than people will they have a soul and the potential to develop one’s intellect? Should we be bothered by questions like these and leave it to G-d? Or should we embrace science as a commodity, a good. Your questions is thought-provoking and deserves a good answer. – Turk Hill Oct 24 at 16:02
  • As far as aliens go, Edward Snowden released new government files expressing that there is no collusion with aliens and the CIA. Aliens, IMHO, do not exist. I think humans, save G-d, is the greatest achievement of the universe. We may not be at the center of the universe but we sure act like it. In any event, let’s not ruin it by playing G-d and create killer-robots like the movie Terminator, Matrix, etc. Elon Musk is in agreement. – Turk Hill Oct 24 at 16:08
  • Contrary to some Talmudic writings, there is no mention of aliens in the Bible nor Deborah. – Turk Hill Oct 24 at 16:10
  • @TurkHill What Talmudic writings refer to aliens? It’s only post-Talmudic sources which claim that Meroz refers to aliens. – DonielF Oct 24 at 18:47
  • @DonielF You may be right actually. In any rate, there is no proof for aliens. None. – Turk Hill Oct 24 at 18:50
0

According to the Bible in general and Genesis 1:27 in particular, Adam was the first human ever created. Adam means man because he was the first person to have a soul (or in Hebrew שפנ), the neshama. That is not to say that Adam was the first Homo sapiens. Adam and Eve had a mother and a father like you and me.

What did Maimonides and Nahmanides say

Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed (part 1 chapter 7) explains that ainamls co-existed with Adam; identical in shape and remarkably intelligent, but lacked the neshama. This made these people animals, respectfully. Seven centuries before Darwin, cave men (pre-Adam hominids) walked with Adam. Genesis 1:26, G-d says “Let us make Adam.” In the following verse, G-d creates “the Adam,” the Adam, a new kind of man [a nuance in the text]. This nuance does not exist in the English translation of the text; only in Hebrew.

Additionally, the Mishna mentions “masters of the field” and explains that these "masters" were not people; but animals identical to humans, which implies farming and cultivating the land that pre-dates the Adam of Genesis. Now you have agriculture pre-dating Adam?

Nahmanides a kabalistic commentator discuss Genesis 2:7, explaining that Adam became a man when G-d infused the soul into his body. The Ramban calls this change, “another kind of man.”[1] What is this change?

Does the Bible mention this change?

Yes. Genesis 2:7 reads:

“The L-rd G-d formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a nefesh chayah.”

Onkelos does not render this simply as “a living being,” but characterizes this as man's ruach m’mal’la, “one with the power of speech,” a phrase denoting a certain level of intelligence.

What about the Cave men?

Although people have been farming for thousands of years, Adam was the first person with actual intelligence. Maybe an inventor of some sort. Cain, his son would go on to build a city.[2] Now you have civisilation. The problem lies in the mistakable term of Cave men. The wrong assumption lies in the "men," they were not men until G-d gave Adam a soul.

The future?

If scientists someday generate new human bioelectronic species (machine-like) in the form of terminators, it will not pose a threat. Robots have no emotion and are not afraid of death. Therefore, the robot is deprived of its soul. They are intelligent and thus may not be animals, but will lack consciousness. Adam was given a soul, in addition to everything else that machines could not have, despite the superiority of intelligence.

[1] It is noteworthy to mention here that G-d made only one kind of man, not two. After Adam G-d never made a "new kind" of man. Thus, Jews and non-Jews share the same soul.

[2] Historians have noted that little farming communities existed for thousands of years and that people could have been on this earth for millions; but cities did not appear until about 5,000 years ago, the time of the creation of Adam in the Bible.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .