The Urge to Submerge | The Institute for Creation Research

The Urge to Submerge

"I must go down to the sea again--to the lonely sea and the sky." This famous poem by John Masefield, former Poet Laureate of England, was one I had to memorize in school many, many years ago. It is a beautiful and moving poem, but I could never identify with it myself. My early boyhood had been spent in El Paso, Texas, in a region of mountains and deserts, far from the sea, and I never felt any such compulsion at all.

But now I learn, from a fascinating article in the New Age Journal, that we have all evolved from aquatic apes! This is the theory proposed by Elaine Morgan in her popular book The Scars of Evolution.

Ever wonder why we love water? Why we head for the beach at the first opportunity, stay in the shower long after we're clean, even ponder water births for our babies? According to Welsh author Elaine Morgan, this urge to submerge may have an evolutionary explanation--one that holds some surprising implications for our health today.

Traditional evolutionary theory posits that humans separated from monkeys when our ancestors dropped from trees to hunt animals on the dry African plains. In contrast, Morgan argues that the first humans evolved in a flooded wet region of north-east Africa where they spent much of their time swimming or wading hip-deep in water.[1]

This new theory of human origins does have the merit of explaining why fossil remains of ape-men are so scarce. One would think, if man has been in the process of evolving on land for a million years, and with so many paleoanthropologists searching for these remains, there would now be an abundance of such remains available everywhere to document our human evolution. As another advocate of the aquatic ape theory reminds us, however, in his article, "The Water People":

The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin. . . . And the true origin of modern humans--of upright, naked, toolmaking, big-brained beings--is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter.[2]

This extreme scarcity of authentic hominid fossils is probably why paleoanthropologists feud so vigorously among themselves as to whose fossils are the best and oldest. Some evolutionists think the time is ripe for promoting aquatic apes as the real key.

While largely ignored by many mainstream anthropologists, the aquatic ape theory has been attracting increasing scientific interest. Last summer, a symposium on the subject at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) attracted researchers from around the world. When earlier published in England, The Scars of Evolution was positively reviewed in scientific journals.[3]

Here, then, may be the solution to the extreme scarcity of hominid fossils. They are all under water somewhere!

Now, we creationists should usually be very cautious about anything published in a "new age" journal. However, the aquatic-ape theorists are probably right about this particular aspect. The reason why anthropologists can find so few fossils of primitive people is that they were all drowned and their remains, if they survived scavengers and decay processes after drowning, are now buried in the sediments at the bottom of the sea.

Those who are skeptical of the Biblical record of the global Flood, in which "the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished" (II Peter 3:6), often raise this question (so do believers, for that matter). If there were so many wicked people in the antediluvian world, why is it so hard to find human remains and artifacts from that period?

They drowned in the Flood--that's why. The Flood waters now comprise the world's oceans, which cover two-thirds of the earth's surface, reaching deeper depths than the highest mountains. The day will come, the Bible says, when "the sea (gives) up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (deliver) up the dead which (are) in them." Their bodies and spirits thus will be reunited with all others who have since died as unbelievers, "And whosoever (is) not found written in the book of life (is) cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:13,15).

Even before Morgan developed her theory of the aquatic evolution of people, many other evolutionists had long been claiming that the origin of life itself was in the primeval sea. That is why, they explain, that human flesh is still 90% water and why blood has almost the same chemical composition as sea water.

The Bible, of course, says otherwise. "The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground" (Genesis 2:7). "The first man is of the earth, earthy" (I Corinthians 15:47).

However, it is intriguing to note that God created the angels when there was only water all around them, probably on the first day of creation week. "Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain; who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds His chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind [same word as `Spirit']: Who maketh His angels spirits" (Psalm 104:2-4). "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face [same word as `presence'] of the waters. And God said, Let there be light" (Genesis 1:2,3). In that majestic all-pervasive heavenly ocean, He made "His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming fire" (Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 1:7).

Among all these "angels of light" (note II Corinthians 11:14), none was more glorious than "Lucifer, son of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12), who was evidently the "anointed cherub," hovering over the "holy mountain of God" in the heavenly "garden of God" (see Ezekiel 28:13,14).

But Lucifer rebelled, aspiring to rule over creation himself, thereby becoming Satan (the "Adversary"), and so he was cast out of heaven to the earth (Ezekiel 28:15-17). The root of all sin, including that of Lucifer, is unbelieving pride. He rejected God and His Word, assuming that He could defeat God, refusing to believe that he had been "created" in any way different from the way God Himself had been created.

Since His first consciousness had been of the pervasive waters surrounding him and the other angels, as well as the throne of God, he must have assumed they all had in some mysterious way been "created" by the waters themselves. It was perhaps by such reasoning that he could rationalize his otherwise completely irrational rebellion against his Creator, a rebellion which is still continuing today.

It is probably no coincidence that all the ancient pagan cosmogonies--most notably those of Samaria, Egypt, Babylonia, and Greece, as well as others --taught that the world, with all its systems and inhabitants, evolved out of an eternal primeval watery chaos. The "deceiver of the whole world" (Revelation 12:9) has deceived himself most of all.[4]

And one can wonder whether this is why and how he has also deceived modern intellectuals into thinking that earthly life, as well as heavenly life, "evolved" out of primeval waters.

Water is, indeed, essential for physical life, and Earth is uniquely the "water planet." God even uses water as a symbol of His life-giving Word (e.g., Isaiah 55:10,11), but it is idolatry to consider it the source of life. It is vital that we understand as much about water as we can, and my own field of science was particularly the study and control of water (hydraulic engineering), but water did not create life. Instead, God used it to destroy life in the great Flood (in fact, my own main purpose in doing graduate work in hydraulics and hydrology was to understand better the significance of the Flood in opposing evolutionism).

In the New Earth, there will be "no more sea" (Revelation 21:1), but there will be forever flowing "a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1), and that will be all the water we shall ever need. In the meantime, the final invitation of the Bible is: "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).


  1. [1] Meryl Davids, "An Evolutionary Urge to Submerge?" New Age Journal (January/February 1995), p. 19.
  2. [2] Lyell Watson, "The Water People," Science Digest, vol. 90 (May 1982), p. 44.
  3. [3] Meryl Davids, "An Evolutionary Urge to Submerge?" p. 20.
  4. [4] For more detailed treatment of this intriguing topic, please see my book, The Long War Against God (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), chapter 5.

* Dr. Henry M. Morris (1918-2006) was Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.

Cite this article: Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. 1995. The Urge to Submerge. Acts & Facts. 24 (5).

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