Bigfoot is a bipedal hominid creature dwelling mainly in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest. Hominid is the term applied to one of the great apes such as a chimpanzee, gorilla, or orangutan. The term is sometimes used of prehistoric human relatives.
As a bipedal creature, however, Bigfoot differs from the great apes in that the creature consistently walks upright on two legs, identifying more closely with prehistoric human relatives. This might suggest that the term "humanoid" is more appropriate than hominid. The creature could be closer to human than ape.
One theory is that Bigfoot creatures are surviving descendants of the Gigantopithecus population. Since the fossils of such creatures have only been found in Asia, it is likely that some of them crossed over the Bering land bridge into what is now North America. This could account for why the Yeti, perhaps Bigfoot's closest relative, exists in another part of the world.
While the Bigfoot phenomena did not take hold in the U. S. until 1958 when tracks were discovered in Washington state, the evidence goes back much farther. As early as 1840, missionary Elkanah Walker recorded stories of such creatures living among the Native Americans in what is now Washington state. Sightings were reported in the 20s and 40s in British Columbia. The phenomena grew with the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967. Those who claim to have participated in hoaxes have as much to gain as the alleged eyewitnesses by telling their story to the media.
Renowned anthropologist Jeffrey Meldrum of Idaho State University has given credibility to Bigfoot with his research. Meldrum specializes in "the emergence of bipedal locomotion in modern humans." In 2013, veterinarian Melba Ketchum published results of Bigfoot DNA research concluding that the creature is indeed closer to human than ape. The BFRO, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, is the only scientific research group committed to exploring the mystery of Bigfoot. They organize expeditions to track the creature and they catalog sightings rating them according to plausibility.
If Bigfoot is a human relative, what does this mean? It means that Washington state is right to outlaw the hunting of such creatures and anyone who kills one just might be guilty of murder. It also means that Bigfoot might have the capacity for emotions or even language. So the next question is whether Bigfoots are human souls. If so, is it a stretch to imagine that Bigfoot needs Jesus? How many Bigfoots might have died lost because we have failed to reach them? While missionaries descend upon China, Africa, Europe, and Asia, who is reaching out to the Bigfoots? This is truly an ignored mission field.
Perhaps we could teach Bigfoot English using one of the Gospels as our text. Now we don't want to Americanize, but only evangelize. Just imagine a Bigfoot Church in the Wildwood. Dream of a day when Bigfoots will not be judged by the size of their footprints, but by the size of their hearts. Imagine Bigfoot children and human children hand-in-hand singing Kumbaya. Imagine Bigfoots repenting of their rock throwing and being cleansed of their rank and offensive odor.
Perhaps we need a non-profit ministry. My daughter, Erin, has helped me come up with some ideas for naming it:
- Saving Sasquatch
- Bibles for Bigfoot
We might even accept donations in increments of $1000 or more. Expeditions to the Pacific Northwest are not cheap.