Thursday, December 14, 2023

Time to Jettison Young Earth Creationism


100,000-year red ocher burial at Qafzeh (Israel). Red ocher was a symbolic blood covering.

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

Young Earth Creationists believe that the days of Genesis 1 were six consecutive 24-hour days which occurred 6,000–8,000 years ago. They cannot explain the huge body of material evidence that proves an old earth and the presence of humans on earth for millions of years. They argue almost exclusively from geological anomalies. They believe that the surface of the earth was radically rearranged by a global flood. The extinction of species is explained by the flood. Creatures that were not preserved on Noah’s Ark perished and were subsequently buried in the flood sediments. YEC creationists believe that the catastrophic global flood was responsible for most of the rock layers and fossils. They maintain that some rock layers and some fossils were deposited before the Flood and other layers and fossils were produced in localized sedimentation events or processes.

Proponents of Young Earth Creationism include the Baptist Pastor and biochemist Duane Gish, Terry Mortenson, a missionary for 26 years with Campus Crusade, and Henry M. Morris, a civil engineer and author of several books on Young Earth Creationism.

Most who adhere to the Ken Ham view of the Bible do not care about the scientific evidence that supports biblical history because they have been taught to distrust the sciences. Nevertheless, the sciences of anthropology, archaeology, climates studies, genetics, geology, hydrological studies, linguistics, and migration studies agree on the deep history of humans of Earth.

Young Earth Creationism is criticized for lacking a scientific basis. It also should be criticized for lacking a biblical basis. Consider the following points:

If Adam and Eve were the parents of Cain, they could not be the first humans on Earth because Cain built a settlement that he named for his son Enoch (Gen. 4:17). Enoch is a royal title derived from the ancient Akkadian first-person pronoun: anāku and the Ancient Egyptian anochi, a reference to one who ascends. The word anochi is also found among African populations. Among the Igbo, anochie means "a replacer" or "to replace". Among the Ashante the word anokyi means "Ano Junior" or the "Ano who follows his father." Here we find the idea of succession from father to son. A Nigerian friend says that anochie also means "direct heir to a throne."

Clearly, Enoch is associated with royal ascendancy among the early Hebrew. One of Cain’s descendants is called Lamech, another royal title. Lamech is related to the Hebrew melech, which means king. According to the Bible scholar Umberto Cassuto, Lamech is related to the Mesopotamian word lumakku, meaning “priest.” (Commentary on Genesis, Vol. 1, p. 233). Two men named Lamech appear in the Genesis 4 and 5 lists of Hebrew ruler-priests (Gen. 4:18 and Gen. 5:25).

Cain and his son cannot be among the first people on earth because they already had a royal succession and territories over which they ruled. They are among The First Lords of the Earth.

The dogmas of YEC hinge on interpretations that have been demonstrated to be inaccurate. One is Bishop James Ussher's scheme whereby he counted the generations to conclude that the creation of the Earth occurred around 10,000 years ago. Ussher did not recognize that the "begats" of Genesis are not generational. They are regnal. All the men listed are rulers and some of their reigns coincided. Tubal-Cain (Gen. 4) and Methuselah (Gen. 5) ruled at the same time over different territories.

YEC assumes, contrary to the biblical evidence, that the line of Cain was wiped out by the flood. However, analysis of the kinship pattern of Genesis 4 and 5 reveals that the descendants of Cain and Seth intermarried (caste endogamy). A feature of their marriage and ascendancy pattern is the naming of the cousin bride’s firstborn son after his maternal grandfather. The pattern is evident in this diagram.

Lamech the Elder had a daughter named Naamah. She married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah. This marriage took place c. 4300 B.C.  

One of their descendants was Nimrod, a Kushite kingdom builder (Gen. 10:6-12). He married a Sumerian princess between 3500-3300 B.C. Erech (Uruk) was one of the cities ruled by his father-in-law. Uruk was the largest settlement in Mesopotamia at that time. Settlement at that site began in the Ubaid period (c. 5500-4000 B.C.), that is 7500 years ago, about the time that Young Earth Creationists claim the earth was formed.

Around 3100 B.C. Uruk may have had 40,000 residents (See Algaze, Guillermo, 2013, "The end of prehistory and the Uruk period" in Crawford, Harriet (ed.), The Sumerian World (PDF). London: Routledge. pp. 68–95. ISBN 9781138238633.)

A Better Approach to the Biblical Material

The empirical approach of Biblical Anthropology (a science) contributes to a better understanding of biblical history. Genesis makes it clear that Abraham's ancestors lived in the land of Kush as he descended from the Kushite kingdom builder Nimrod (Gen. 10). Analysis of the kinship pattern of the early Hebrew rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 35 proves they are of the same caste and they are historical figures.

Adam and Eve lived c. 5000-4800 B.C. in a vast well-watered region called Eden. The Genesis 2 description of this region corresponds to the ancient Fertile Crescent. At this time humans were already globally dispersed. Further, humans were making tools, jewelry, and ritual objects for thousands of years before the time of Adam and Eve.

Nimrod left Kush and established his territory on the Euphrates River c. 3500 B.C. (Gen. 10). That is why we find Abraham living in Mesopotamia. After he relocated to Canaan (around 2000 B.C.), Abraham controlled the water systems at Hebron and Beersheba and had wells in Gerar. We see a gradual movement out of Africa into Mesopotamia and Canaan. (See Rulers of the Ancient Water Systems.)

We also see a span of time of at least 3000 years between Adam and Eve and Abraham. The different time periods and cultural contexts of these rulers cannot be made congruent by the final Jewish hands on the Hebrew Scriptures coming after 580 B.C. 

Consider a Native American chief with a fleet of birch wood canoes controlling trade between villages on the Mississippi in 1720. Fast forward a mere 200 years to 1920 when a river magnate controls commerce on the same river with his fleet of riveted steel ships. Same river, very different contexts. To understand biblical history, we must grapple with these contextual incongruities and the best disciplines to apply in this effort are cultural anthropology, archaeology, molecular genetics, and linguistics.

Related reading: The Roots of the Gospel are in AfricaArtifacts of Great AntiquityNimrod's Sumerian Wife; YEC Dogma is Not Biblical; YEC's Silence on Anthropology; Facts About Human Origins; YEC Hinders Understanding of the Bible; Think Like a Biblical Anthropologist; A Healthy Approach to the Bible

No comments: