Alice C. Linsley
Bishop Usher’s dating of the earth at 10,000 years and mankind at 4000 years is terribly mistaken. Some Bible literalists insist on the accuracy of Usher's dating, though it flies in the face of all the physical evidence. How do they reconcile a 10,000 year earth with human-crafted tools and ochre plaques dating to 100,000 years? They argue that radio carbon dating is inaccurate. Okay, let's say that it is wrong by 50%. That would mean that the mace heads found in Africa are only 50,000 years old. That's still 40,000 years older than the literalists say the earth has existed
Adding the life spans of the rulers doesn't provide a "biblical" answer to the age of the earth because the Septuagint, the Masoretic, and the Samaritan texts don't agree on the number of years. The total number of years in the Septuagint and the Masoretic (Hebrew) records agree except in the case of Lamech the Younger (Noah's father). The Septuagint assigns Lamech a total of 753 years, whereas the Samaritan Pentateuch assigns him only 653 years. The Masoretic text assigns Lamech 777 years. Lamech the Elder, the father of Tubal-Kain, isn't assigned an age span. It is evident that the age of the earth can't be calculated using the lifespans of the rulers listed in Genesis.
Instead, Genesis poses two men as the founders: Adam, the first ruler and Enoch the first ancestor of the historical persons listed in Genesis 4, 5 and 11. We find a clue as to how we are to correctly understand both biblical figures in Psalm 8:4:
What is man (Enoch) that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man (ben adam) that you care for him?
Here we see that the historical first ancestor Enoch is paralled with the first man Adam. The author of the Psalm makes a distinction between the two figures, but also regards them as real fathers of the people. They are the deified rulers who are ancestral to Jesus Christ, the Divine "Son of Man."
Bishop Usher’s dating is not accurate because he didn’t recognize the telescopic nature of some genealogical lists. He believed that all the genealogical lists involved biological fathers and sons, but some of the lists are telescopic, listing only the most famous of the chiefs. This means that we can’t use the genealogies to measure years. All the genealogical lists are telescopic except for Genesis 4, 5 and Genesis 11:24-26.
Usher also didn’t understand that the genealogical material in Genesis 4 and 5 pertains to the wives of Cain and Seth, the daughter of an African chief named Enoch or Nok. Therefore the name that should appear at the head of the family tree is Nok, the father-in-law of Cain and Seth. Analysis of the Genesis 4 and 5 kinship pattern makes it clear that Adam is not the head of these lines.
In biblical parlance Adam represents the first created man. Since the oldest human fossils are over 3 million years old, Adam would have been created at least before these humans. Enoch, on the other hand lived no more than 12,000 years ago. He is the father-in-law of Cain and Seth.
Cain and Seth's brides named their first-born sons Enoch, after their father. This name is sometimes rendered Hanoch, as in the case of Reuben's first-born son. The name that should appear at the head of the Genesis 4 and 5 family tree is Enoch or Nok.
Bishop Usher appears to have been unaware that the descendents listed in Genesis 4 and 5 were ruler-priests whose lines exclusively intermarried. Each ruler-priest had 2 wives. One was a patrilineal cousin or niece who named her first-born son after her father. This explains the recurrence of names in chapters 4 and 5. For example, Kain and Kenan and Irad and Jared are linguistically equivalent names.
In the case of Lamech's daughter, Naamah, the pattern is quite clear. She married her cousin Methuselah and named her first-born son Lamech after her father.
Knowing the marriage pattern of the Horite ruler-priests helps us to trace Jesus Christ's ancestors from Genesis 4 and 5 to Joseph and Mary, of the ruler-priest lines, whose marriage appears to have been consistent with this pattern.
Related reading: Horite Deified Sons; The Horite Ancestry of Jesus Christ; Andrei A. Orlov, Enoch as the Heavenly Priest