Thursday, October 16, 2014

Evidence of an Old Earth - Part 1

The Answers in Genesis conception of Biblical history

According to Young-Earth Creationism, the world is only about 6018 years old. Young Earth Creationists use Archbishop James Ussher’s chronology to date the age of the Earth. Ussher assumed that the "begats" in Genesis 4 and 5 represent the first people on earth. However, this interpretation is not supported by the evidence in the Bible. The "begets" are early king lists, and these kings lived within the historical period. Their reigns correspond to Proto-Saharan and Nilo-Egyptian dynasties, and to early Kushite reigns in Mesopotamia. Here is a more detailed timeline of the rulers.

Timeline of Rulers in Genesis

B.C. 2490-2415 - Noah lived when the Sahara experienced a wet period (the "Aqualithic" or the African Humid Period). He was a Proto-Saharan ruler whose reign coincided with the Old Kingdom, a time of great cultural and technological achievement in Egypt. This places Noah and his sons in relatively recent history, not at the dawn of human existence. They ruled over territories during the 7th, 8th and 9th Dynasties in Egypt.

First Intermediate Period
2475-2445 BC: 7th - 8th Dynasties Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth and Kush
2445–2160 BC: 9th -10th Dynasties Nimrod, Arpachshad, Salah, Eber and Peleg and Joktan

Middle Kingdom
2160-2000 BC: 11th Dynasty Nahor, Terah and Abraham
2000-1788 BC: 12th Dynasty Jacob, Esau, Joseph

Fishing and boats remains and implements are found across a broad range of the Sahara, associated with distinctive ceramics, cattle herding, and early cultivation. Here are images of some of the artifacts found in Africa from the time of Noah.

Artifacts such as these are found across the Sahara, the Sahel, the Nile Valley, and the East African Lakes at sites dated to 10,000 years ago and older.  Specimens dating to 25,000 years ago have been found at Ishango, and others dated at about 90,000 years at Katanda. Both sites are in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (John E. Yellen. 1998. Barbed Bone Points: Tradition and Continuity in Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa. African Archaeological Review , vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 173-198) 

Between 7,000 and 5,000 years ago the Sahara began to dry out in the areas more geographically removed from the rivers and lakes. This drove both animal and human populations toward the Benue Trough, Lake Chad, and the Nile Valley. The exodus coincided with the rise of pharaonic culture along the Nile River (Kuper and Kröpelin, 2006). This explains, in part, the movement of Abraham's ancestors from the region of Lake Chad and the Nile into the Arabian Peninsula and the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. The marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors also drove expansion out of Africa.

B.C. 2438-2363 - Ham
B.C. 2417-2342 - Kush, son of Ham and the father of Nimrod and Ramah
B.C. 2290-2215 - Nimrod, a sent-away son who became Sargon the Great. He was a great Kushite ruler.

The Afro-Asiatic Dominion, which was controlled by rulers related to the kings listed in Genesis, was essentially Kushite. Dr. Christopher Ehret confirms this in his "History in Africa." He writes, "The linguistic, genetic, and archaeological evidence combine in locating the origins of this family far south in Africa, in Eritrea or Ethiopia, and not at all in Asia. A complex array of lexical evidence confirms that the proto-Afrasian society belonged to the pre-agricultural eras of human history." (p.4)

The Kushite expansion into ancient Sumer has been well-documented, beginning with François Lenormant. In Sumerian inscriptions, the Kushites are called Meluha Kasi. Nimrod, the son a Kush built a great empire in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. He is known in history as Sar-gon, a title meaning "High King" or "King of Kings." The Elamite word for king is sunki, a cognate of the Hausa sarki, meaning king or ruler. The Sumerian word for king is sar and the Chadic word for ruler is gon.

Sargon the Great lived from about 2290 to 2215 BC, which is when his son Rimush (Ramesh) by his sister-wife ascended the throne. Alternative dates for Sargon the Great are 2360-2279, but these dates likely refer to his maternal grandfather after whom he was named. It was Sargon the Elder, not Sargon the Great, who conquered Nippur in 2340 B.C. and established his capital in Accad (Agade/Agadez).

B.C. 2238-2163 - Arpacshad, Nimrod's son by Asshur's daughter
B.C. 2217-2042 - Salah, likely Arpacshad's son by his sister wife
B.C. 2196-2121 - Eber, likely Salah's son by his sister wife
B.C. 2175-2100 - Peleg, son of Eber (Peleg's brother was Joktan the Elder)
B.C. 2154-2079 - Reu (The name appears in Leah's line. She named her first-born son Reu-ben)
B.C. 2133-2058 - Serug, likely Reu's firstborn by his sister wife
B.C. 2112-2037 - Nahor, likely Serug's firstborn by his sister wife
B.C. 2091-2016 - Terah, likely Nahor's firstborn son by his sister wife
B.C. 2039-1964 - Abraham, Terah's son by his cousin wife and a sent-away son
B.C. 1987-1912 - Joktan the Younger, Abraham's firstborn son by his cousin wife, Keturah

Analysis of the kinship pattern in Genesis 4, 5, 10 and 11 reveals that the lines of Cain (Gen. 4) and Seth (Gen. 5) and the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried. Therefore, Abraham, Moses and Jesus are descendants of both Cain and Seth and both Ham and Shem. Cain's line was not destroyed in the flood.

Further, analysis of the kinship pattern of Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors reveals a distinctive marriage and ascendancy pattern that can be traced from Genesis to the New Testament.

What YEC fails to explain

The Biblical material reveals a gap of time between the first created humans, represented by Adam and Eve, and the rulers of Genesis 4 and 5, represented by Cain and his brother Seth. If you believe that the earth is 6000 years, there is a gap of 800-1000 years between Adam and Eve and Cain. Young-Earth Creationists must explain how Eve gave birth to Cain at age 800 or older.

The Biblical material is self-explanatory, but YEC dogma requires that the Biblical explanation be ignored or rejected. When Cain was born his mother declared kan-itti. E.A. Speiser noted that Qany(ty) or Qanitti shows close affinity to the Akkadian itti, as in itti šarrim, meaning "with the king." Among the Oromo of Ethiopia and Somalia, itti is attached to names. Examples include Kaartuumitti, Finfinneetti and Dimashqitti. That itti is associated with Nilotic and Egyptian rulers is evident also in the name Nefertitti. Once we place the Biblical material in its proper cultural context, we understand that Cain's mother is declaring that she has gotten a king with God's help. (The passage is Messianic!) In fact, the words "king" and "kahn" are derived from the same root as Kain.

At the back of YEC books one finds the 12 Affirmations and Denials. Affirmation XII claims that the diversity of languages and skin color came about as a result of divine judgment at the Tower of Babel.

XII. We affirm that all people living and dead are descended from Adam and Eve...and that the various people groups (with their various languages, cultures, and distinctive physical characteristics, including skin color) arose as a result of God's supernatural judgment at the Tower of Babel..."

In this view, one's skin color is the result of God's judgment. Is there any wonder why many hear racist tones in YEC dogma? Young-Earth Creationists must explain how different languages and a wide range of skin tones and physical features already existed long before the time of Noah in populations ranging from the Atlantic coast of Africa to Europe, India, and islands in the Pacific.

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