Headline: Genesis 1-11, Adam, Eve, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, Great Flood, Time of Peleg, Tower of Babel, Great Migrations, Early Bronze Age (Year 1 – 2428 BC)
Date Range: Year 1 – 2428 BC
People: Adam, Arphaxad, Eber, Enoch, Enosh, Ham, Japheth, Jared, Kainan, Kenan, Lamech, Mahalalel, Methuselah, Nimrod, Noah, Peleg, Seth, Shelah, Shem
It is difficult to determine dates prior to the birth of Terah (2296 BC) with any degree of certainty due to a lack of evidence. First, Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 briefly describe the history and lineage of 18 generations between Adam and Abraham. This is not much detail. Second, science and history are not much more help. Typically, independent data points are collected and cross-referenced. Astronomical details, artifacts, coinage, literature, volcanic eruptions, etc., could be compared to each other to obtain a chronology. The problem is that prior to the time of Terah, there are very few separate and distinct data points to compare. Numerous dates or date ranges are provided through radiometric dating, but as some of the articles provided discuss, without adequate separate and distinct points of reference to compare, there is a significant amount of uncertainty as to the reliability of any conclusions related tp chronological dates. Therefore, any dates provided by science are suspect and should be treated more as guidelines and suggestions rather than facts. Similarly, except for Noah, the Bible is quite vague about what happened to the Patriarchs between the life of Adam and Abraham. A direct approach in developing an accurate chronology during this time period is very difficult. So, a different method may be more effective.
Based on the Biblical narrative between Genesis 1 and 11, we can make a few general assumptions that could be studied. First, according to Genesis 1, the universe had a beginning. Second, according to Genesis 2, man first appeared near the Persian Gulf. Third, according to Genesis 6, there was a Great Flood that wiped out most of the world’s population. Fourth, according to Genesis 8 and 10, the modern concept of civilization (architecture, art, farming, literature, metal working, etc.) began near the mountains of Ararat and spread outward. Fifth, according to Genesis 11, a large tower was constructed in the land of Shinar. Sixth, according to Genesis 11, there were mass migrations before the birth of Terah. There will always be supporters and non-supporters of any hypothesis. The real question is, does the evidence support any or all of these six assumptions?
Assumption 1: Time had a beginning
Stephen Hawking was a well-respected astrophysicist. The following are some of his quotes. “All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed for ever, but that it had a beginning… In fact, the theory that the universe has existed forever, is in serious difficulty with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law, states that disorder always increases with time… Galaxies are moving steadily apart from each other. This means that they were closer together in the past. One can plot the separation of two galaxies, as a function of time. If there were no acceleration due to gravity, the graph would be a straight line. It would go down to zero separation, about twenty billion years ago. One would expect gravity, to cause the galaxies to accelerate towards each other. This will mean that the graph of the separation of two galaxies, will bend downwards, below the straight line. So the time of zero separation, would have been less than twenty billion years ago.”
Assumption 2: Man first appeared near the Persian Gulf
“A research paper published in Current Anthropology provides scientific evidence for such a lost ancient civilization, evidence that confirms much of Genesis 1–11’s historical account of humanity’s early days… Jeffrey Rose reports on the discovery, conducted over the past six years, of over sixty new archeological sites along the shoreline of the Persian Gulf. All of these sites are dated as older than 75,000 years. Rose states that “these settlements boast well-built permanent stone houses, long-distance trade networks, elaborately decorated pottery, domesticated animals, and even evidence for one of the oldest boats in the world… The Persian Gulf receded to such a degree as to bring above the surface a landmass as large as, or larger than, Great Britain. Rose explains that this landmass was well watered by four large rivers flowing at the time: the Tigris, Euphrates, Karun, and Wadi Batin. Additionally, the region was watered by fresh water springs supplied by subterranean aquifers flowing beneath the Arabian subcontinent. Such an abundant and well-distributed supply of fresh water combined with the region’s warm weather would have supported a lush agricultural enterprise… As skeptics point out, nowhere on the planet do the four rivers come together. Their charge holds true—but only for today’s geography. All four rivers flow into different parts of the Persian Gulf and all four rivers meet together in what Rose identifies as the Gulf Oasis. As Rose points out, the Gulf Oasis was also watered by springs upwelling from subterranean aquifers… The Gulf Oasis vindicates the unique claims Genesis makes about the Garden of Eden and its surroundings.”
Assumption 3: A Great Flood wiped out most of the world’s population
“It appears the movement and creation of male haplotypes capture the real current of history, which went through a bottleneck in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event 75,000 years ago… After a mega-tsunami event that drowned most populations around the world about 68,000 years ago, there were two refuges where humankind survived, in the Alpine region of central Europe and the Balkans and East Africa… Archeology, archeogenetics, linguistics and physical anthropology are beginning to converge for the first time. It is groups of men who colonized the world. They brought along with them women of almost random haplotypes.”
Assumption 4: Modern civilization began near the mountains of Ararat
“Aratta is now recognised as having been the world’s most ancient (known) civilisation. It developed in the steppes north of the Black Sea (in modern Ukraine) long before the Sumerian civilisation originated, and from there it radiated its culture into India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Western China and across Europe.”
Assumption 5: A large tower was constructed in the land of Shinar
“Göbekli Tepe is a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, between c. 9500 and 8000 BCE, the site comprises a number of large circular structures supported by massive stone pillars – the world’s oldest known megaliths. Many of these pillars are richly decorated with abstract anthropomorphic details, clothing, and reliefs of wild animals, providing archaeologists rare insights into prehistoric religion and the particular iconography of the period. The 15 m (50 ft)-high, 8 ha (20-acre) tell also includes many smaller rectangular buildings, quarries, and stone-cut cisterns from the Neolithic, as well as some traces of activity from later periods. The site was first used at the dawn of the Neolithic period, which in Southwest Asia marks the appearance of the oldest permanent human settlements anywhere in the world.”
Assumption 6: There were mass migrations before the birth of Terah
“The Kurgan hypothesis or Steppe theory is the most widely accepted proposal to identify the Proto-Indo-European homeland from which the Indo-European languages spread out throughout Europe and parts of Asia. It postulates that the people of a Kurgan culture in the Pontic steppe north of the Black Sea were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE)… Gimbutas defined the Kurgan culture as composed of four successive periods, with the earliest (Kurgan I) including the Samara and Seroglazovo cultures of the Dnieper–Volga region in the Copper Age (early 4th millennium BC). The people of these cultures were nomadic pastoralists, who, according to the model, by the early 3rd millennium BC had expanded throughout the Pontic–Caspian steppe and into Eastern Europe.”
As stated earlier, there is no way at this time to definitively prove or disprove specific dates of events in the distant past. These are based on a series of assumptions and calculations. As demonstrated above, there is significant evidence to support each of these six assumptions individually. Whether or not they line up with Biblical chronology is a separate discussion. This means that the Biblical narrative from Genesis 1-11 has merit worth further study.
Bible Verses: Genesis 1:1, Genesis 5, 6:1-14, 7:11, 8:13-16, 11
– Ancient Aratta: The World’s first Civilization
– Beginning Of Time
– Genesis 5 and 11: MT, SP, or LXX
– Göbekli Tepe
– Kurgan Hypothesis
– Lost Civilization beneath the Persian Gulf Confirms Genesis History of Humanity
– Male Haplogroup Distribution vs Mitochondrial Migrations
1. Does the Masoretic Text or the Septuagint align better with archaeological evidence? Why the difference?
2. Based on Genesis 5, how old was Methuselah when Noah started having children?
3. Discuss the six assumptions described in the Description above.
Genesis 1-11 are critical chapters in the Bible. They set the stage for every event that came after. Did Adam and Eve exist as described in the Bible? Did the Great Flood happen that wiped out much of what was before? Did the Tower of Babel and the Great Migrations as described in the Bible occur?
There is some evidence of what it was like in the distant past, both Biblically and scientifically. The real question is how it is interpreted. There are a large number of scientists who want to ignore the Bible altogether, and date events of the distant past based primarily on radiometric dating and limited human understanding. Science in its truest form is the collection, testing, and interpretation of evidence. The problem is that money, ego, and selfish ambition have corrupted it. Consensus of professionals and dogma are more important than evidence. Untested theories are treated as facts, while inconvenient evidence is ignored.
The primary purpose of this lesson is to introduce Genesis 1-11. It is to show some of the controversy related to it, but more importantly, it is to demonstrate that there is evidence that validates the early chapters of Genesis – depending on how the evidence is interpreted. Something very important to keep in mind is that biological and chemical processes prior to the Flood were most likely quite different than they are today. We typically want to leverage present experience to understand the distant past, but this approach has one fatal assumption: that the biological and chemical processes of the distant past were similar to what they are today. The problem is that this assumption cannot be tested in good measure, and that there is not enough independent corroborating evidence to support it or refute it.
It always comes back to the same question: do you believe that there is an all-powerful Creator God as described in the Bible? We started this journey many lessons ago with the question: Who do you say Jesus is? The question is still valid. John 1:1-3 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
C.S. Lewis was a professed atheist who became one of the most prolific Christian authors of all time. He wrote: “What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors, was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’ – could set up on their own as if they had created themselves – be their own masters -invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” The question I leave you with is this: “Do you believe in the Creator and Messiah God as described in the Bible?”
Timeline and Chronology:
2296 BC: Birth of Terah.
2298 BC: Death of Reu.
2375 BC: Birth of Nahor.
2397 BC: Death of Eber
2428 BC: Death of Peleg
2498 BC: Death of Shelah
2505 BC: Birth of Serug.
2637 BC: Birth of Reu.
2701 BC: Death of Kainan
2731 BC: Death of Arpachshad
2767 BC: Birth of Peleg.
– Great Migrations.
– Tower of Babel.
2796 BC: Death of Shem
2901 BC: Birth of Eber.
2948 BC: Death of Noah.
3031 BC: Birth of Shelah.
3161 BC: Birth of Kainan.
3296 BC: Birth of Arpachshad.
– Start of Bronze Age.
Noah’s Ark in the Land of Aratta.
– Flood = 3298 BC. Death of Methuselah.
– Archaeology, Genetics, Linguistics, and the Flood.
3303 BC: Death of Lamech.
3396 BC: Birth of Shem.
3864 BC: Death of Mahalalel.
3632 BC: Death of Jared.
3898 BC: Birth of Noah.
4019 BC: Death of Kenan.
4067 BC: Death of Enoch.
4080 BC: Birth of Lamech.
4214 BC: Death of Enosh.
4267 BC: Birth of Methuselah.
4412 BC: Death of Seth.
4432 BC: Birth of Enoch.
4594 BC: Birth of Jared.
4759 BC: Birth of Mahalalel.
4624 BC: Death of Adam.
4929 BC: Birth of Kenan.
5119 BC: Birth of Enosh.
5324 BC: Birth of Seth.
5554 BC: Birth of Adam.
– Garden of Eden under Persian Gulf.