We have all seen too many migrants being pulled out of the sea: men, women and children who have drowned during their journeys. Many schools now have refugees in the classrooms: children and young people who by the grace of God have survived the crossing. And in many European countries there are now many who are born with migrant backgrounds. These are sufficient reasons to reflect on flight and migration. A look at the history of humanity shows to what level we are all migrants. In the Bible we can see how frequently people thought of fleeing and migration already 2,000 years ago.
Human beings as migrants
The human race reached Europe from the African continent 40,000 years ago. It had its origins there and spent 100,000 years of its evolution there. Humans were forced into being travelers to follow the herds of animals and horses to escape the other mammals. They were able to chase down gazelles and knock them out with stones. Only when the deserts of North Africa and Arabia began to appear did they cross the rift, the continental tectonic border, to India and then Australia and later to Europe. At the end of the last Ice Age Homo sapiens meandered even farther, crossing Siberia to reach America. And so it was as migrants that human beings discovered the world.
In evolved civilizations humans organized themselves into large groups and left to find and conquer new lands, causing other populations to flee or become prisoners. In ancient times thousands of people were forced into exile through violence. And in times of peace hunger drove populations to move to new parts of the earth. Those seeking better opportunities became economic refugees, thus avoiding the freezing European winters. The people we now call Americans were mostly economic migrants and refugees from Europe. Those dwelling in the North transported millions of people from Africa to the America’s pushing the original inhabitants into the remotest corners of the continents.