"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding."
This hymn was written by Joachim Neander, born in 1650, whose father, grandfather, great grandfather, and great great grandfather all Joachim Neanders had been preachers of the gospel. But as a student, Joachim on St. Martin's Church in Bremen to ridicule and scoff the worshippers. But the sermon that day by Rev. Theodore Under-Eyck arrested him and led to his conversion. A few years later, he was the assistant preacher at the very church.
Joachim often took long walks near his home in Hochal, Germany. They were worship walks, and he frequently composed hymns as he strolled, singing them to the Lord. He was the first hymn writer from the Calvinist branch of protestantism. When he was 30-the year he died- he wrote this while battling tuberculosis:
Praise Ye The lord, The Almighty, the king of Creation.
O my soul praise Him, for He is Thy health and Salvation.
One of Joachim's favorite walking spots was a beautiful gorge a few miles from Dusseldorf. The Dussel River flowed through the valley, and Joachim Neander so loved this spot that it eventually was named for him-Neander Valley. The Old German word for "valley' was 'tal" or "thal" with a silent "h".
Two hundred years later Herr von Beckersdorf owned the valley, which was a source of limestone, used to manufacture cement. In 1856, miners discovered caves which contained human bones. Beckersdorf took the bones to a local science teacher who speculated they belonged to one who died in the Flood.
But when William King, an Irish professor of anatomy, saw the bones, he claimed they were proof of evolution's famous "missing link." other Neanderthal fossils were found, and for many years they were used to "prove" Darwin's theory of evolution. Today we know the Neanderthal was fully human, and extinct people group of great strength.
But, as one expert put it, "when Joachim Neander walked in his beautiful valley so many years ago, he could not know that hundreds of years later his name would become world famous, not for his hymns celebrating creation, but for a concept that he would have totally rejected evolution."