Question of the Week: The Bible says in Genesis 4 that Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd. History books and the Internet teach that the first humans were hunter-gatherers and nomadic. Do you have a book or a blog that reconciles these statements?
My Answer: I have two books and three blogs. Genesis 2 states that God created Adam near Eden and Eve in Eden where four known rivers come together. Today, that location is more than 200 feet below sea level, but during the last ice age, it was above sea level. During the last ice age, the climate was highly unstable and the atmospheric carbon dioxide level was about a hundred parts per million lower than it was before the beginning of the industrial revolution. Such a low carbon dioxide level seriously limited photosynthetic productivity. These conditions made cultivation and animal husbandry extremely difficult but not impossible, provided they were done intermittently on small scales.
The small scales and intermittent nature of such agriculture explain why archeologists have not found any evidence for such activity until just the past several years. Papers have been published showing that humans living 14,400, 23,000, and 32,600 years ago were harvesting grains, roasting and grinding the grains, and turning the subsequent flour into bakery products. While owing to climate instability and low atmospheric carbon dioxide, hunter-gathering may have been the predominant means for humans to obtain food during the last ice age, evidently there were episodes when humans engaged in sophisticated agriculture. The books where I write about evidence for early agriculture are Improbable Planet and Weathering Climate Change. In Weathering Climate Change, I also write about the early use of metallurgy from collected iron meteorites. You can access the three blogs here: https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/08/27/confirmation-that-early-humans-were-making-bread