Monday, October 16, 2023

Why "The First Lords of the Earth" Matters


Dr. Tim Daughtry, a Christian Apologist, reviews The First Lords of the Earth: An Anthropological Study

The book of Genesis is typically read and interpreted by Christians and Jews in one of two ways. In one approach, Genesis is treated as a literal and accurate description of human origins and early human history. In this literalist view, Adam and Eve were not only real people, but they were also the first people on Earth. In the other approach, Genesis is read as a series of folk stories and myths that reveal important truths about humanity when interpreted allegorically. In this view, Adam and Even are characters in the creation story rather than real people who existed in history. The important point in this mode of interpretation is not that Adam and Eve were real historical characters but that that the story reveals important truths about human pride, disobedience, estrangement from God, and the hope of reconciliation.

In The First Lords of the Earth, Alice Linsley offers a fresh perspective through the lens of Biblical anthropology. Drawing from over forty years of research into Genesis along with scientific studies of ancient cultures, symbols, beliefs, and linguistic analysis, Linsley makes the case that the important figures of Genesis were not only real people but were members of the early Hebrew caste of ruler-priests who moved from Africa into the Fertile Crescent and Ancient Near East. As just one example, she makes the case that the Adam and Eve of Genesis were not the first humans, but neither were they mythical archetypes. Instead, Adam was a real ruler who lived in a vast area around the Nile River and whose sons Cain and Seth married the daughters of Enoch, who lived at the same time. The book’s exploration of early Hebrew kinship, marriage, and ascendancy patterns places these and later Biblical characters in an evidence-based historical context and provides rich anthropological context for the Scriptural accounts of the lives of later figures such as Abraham, Noah, and Joseph. The title of the book derives from the anthropological evidence that these and other early figures in Scripture were powerful ruler-priests with extensive domains in the lands described in the Bible.

The book offers a detailed look at a number of factors of early Hebrew culture, but one of the most interesting was the evidence that belief in God Father and God Son, along with a Messianic hope, was an important theme in Hebrew thought going back 6000 years that foreshadowed the beliefs of Christianity. Linsley makes a powerful case that the foundations of Christianity were present in early Horite and Sethite Hebrew beliefs that were present long before Abraham’s time.

The First Lords of the Earth is an excellent resource for a wide range of readers, including those interested in early Hebrew history for its own sake and for those who want to deepen their understanding of Scripture.