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BC Volume 4 (1998)

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Excerpts from BC41: 16 pages: PDF (1.7 MB): $6.99 U.S.

The Biblical Chronologist Volume 4, Number 1

Zoogeography and Noah's Flood

Note to readers: I am concerned that readers who feel the Bible demands that the waters of Noah's Flood covered the entire earth may find the following article a little frustrating. It explores the relationship between the scientific field of zoogeography and the Biblical historical event known as Noah's Flood, working within the framework of a new scientific model of Noah's Flood called the hemispherical Flood model. This model specifies that the waters of Noah's Flood covered one hemisphere of the globe only. The following article concentrates on the scientific evidences and issues alone---it appears oblivious of the Biblical issues involved. This may be frustrating to readers who feel that the Biblical evidence is definitive and that it overrides all other considerations.

As I do not wish to frustrate any reader or slight their Biblical perspective in any way, I urge any who may feel this way to please read the "Readers Write" column this issue before undertaking the following article. Contrary to the appearance of this article, I am well aware of, and well versed in the Biblical issues involved. In the "Readers Write" column I deal with the Biblical issues openly, frankly, and at some length.

Several issues ago I introduced the hemispherical Flood model. This model pictures Noah's Flood as the natural outcome of a highly improbable collision of a high-speed cosmic projectile (i.e., a rock from outer space) with the earth. One consequence of this collision was ocean-deep flooding of much of the northern hemisphere of the earth for the better part of a year. This is the flooding which Noah experienced, and which is recorded in Genesis.

Global Versus Hemispherical

When I introduced this model I pointed out that it immediately resolves the problem of why Australia should have such an odd and oddly assorted animal population relative to the rest of the globe. Australia has, for example, a great predominance of marsupial mammals. (Marsupials are animals which rear their young in pouches, such as the kangaroo.) This is in sharp contrast to other large land masses of the world whose mammal populations are predominantly placentals. This observation generates a difficult problem if one supposes the entire globe was flooded by Noah's Flood. How did so many different types of marsupials manage to wind up in Australia after the Flood, while the placentals, which are so populous elsewhere, were excluded?

As a single case in point, consider the koalas. These Australian marsupials are slow-moving, defenseless, and almost completely arboreal. They feed exclusively on the leaves and buds of the eucalyptus tree. On the assumption of a global Flood, how did the koalas make the journey after the Flood from the ark in Turkey to Australia? Since eucalyptus trees are not native to Asia, what did the koalas eat on this long journey? How did they protect themselves from the carnivorous placentals of Asia? How did they cross the ocean between Asia and Australia? And how did they manage such a trip while placental squirrels and monkeys, for example, which also live in trees and do not suffer the severe limitations of speed, defense, and diet of the koalas, were entirely unable to reach that subcontinent after the Flood? ...

Reader's Write

Following my publication of the hemispherical Flood model in the Volume 3, Number 5 issue of The Biblical Chronologist I received a number of letters from subscribers and friends expressing concern that the hemispherical Flood model seems to them to be prohibited by the Bible. "Doesn't Genesis teach that the Flood was global?", has been the frequently repeated question.

I address that question here this issue. I begin by fielding a letter by Carol Johnson which seems to me to express this concern especially clearly and forcefully. My response then follows.

Background to Carol Johnson's letter can be found in two former issues. In Volume 3, Number 1 I pointed out that there are two perspectives from which Genesis 7 and 8 can be read, and that the perspective one adopts will color their interpretation of the Flood account. If one adopts the perspective that these chapters record God's observations of the Flood, then these chapters immediately seem to imply a global Flood. If, on the other hand, one adopts the perspective that these chapters record Noah's observations of the Flood, then a global Flood does not seem necessarily implied.

This matter surfaces again briefly in Volume 3, Number 5 where I mention that the observation of Genesis 7:19 that "all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered" leads only to the conclusion that all of the mountains within Noah's visible range were submerged (rather than the conclusion that all mountains on earth were submerged) if the perspective that Genesis 7 records Noah's observations (rather than God's) is adopted.

Does Genesis Teach that the Flood was Global?

Dear Dr. Aardsma,

Your new theory on the cause of Noah's flood was quite fascinating, and certainly seems possible to have occurred. But I have difficulty accepting the HEMISPHERICAL flood model, not because it is not feasible scientifically, and not because it seems bizarre and unbelievable, but because it does not fit with the narrative in Genesis.

Yes, it could be from Noah's perspective that all the high mountains were covered, when there were others beyond his vision that were not, but there are other statements in the narrative that were made by God himself that indicate that the flood was global, since these statements are all inclusive!

To say that the flood covered only the Northern hemisphere means that almost the entire continent of South America, half of Africa, and all of Australia and Antarctica would not have been covered with water. How then could God declare, "And behold I, even I, do bring a flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die." [Genesis 6:17]? I would presume that God meant what he said when he said "all flesh" and "everything" and that this would include the flora and fauna of Africa, South America, and Australia - including kangaroos! This would have to be true according to the text unless there were no animals or people in those continents at the time. Are you then claiming that the animals of the Southern Hemisphere were not killed in the flood?

As if the statement in Genesis 6 were not enough, God says in Genesis 7:4 "... and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from the face of the earth". Clearly stating the results of the flood in Genesis 7:21-22, He says, "And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died."

God states in Genesis 7:23 that "... every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground ... and only Noah remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."

Those statements seem to plainly say that every animal was killed by the flood. That would have to include Africa, South America, Australia, and Antarctica. ...

Research in Progress

The Waxing of the Flood

Last issue I published a figure explaining Noah's observations of the depth of the Flood in the Ararat region in terms of the dynamics of the inner core of the earth. That figure is reproduced here (somewhat compressed) as Figure 3. In the figure the Flood is divided into three stages: waxing, maintaining, and waning.

Since last issue I have constructed a computer program to enable me to study the waxing stage of the Flood. My purpose was to learn what I could about the motion of the water of the world oceans at the beginning of the Flood. How long would it have taken for the water to reach its maximum depth? And what was the depth distribution of the water over the surface of the earth during the waxing of the Flood?

I have had to simplify the problem considerably relative to real life in order to make any reasonable headway. For example, I have approximated the earth by a smooth sphere covered initially by a universal ocean. Thus I have totally neglected the actual topography of the surface of the earth, including the presence and distribution of the continents in my computer model. Obviously, in real life these would have had a significant impact on the motion of the waters, especially initially. I have also completely neglected the rotation of the earth.

It is clear that quantitatively precise results can hardly be expected in such a case. But helpful qualitative insights can still be obtained, and it is these which I wish to report on here. ...

Excerpts from BC41: 16 pages: PDF (1.7 MB): $6.99 U.S.

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The Biblical Chronologist Volume 4, Number 2

Space Rock Impacts and Noah's Flood

In the Volume 3 Number 5 issue of The Biblical Chronologist I proposed that the root physical cause of Noah's Flood was a collision between a very high speed cosmic projectile (i.e., a "space rock") and Earth. Since then several subscribers have sent me newspaper clippings or similar items reporting on recent theoretical investigations by scientists of the effects of asteroid impacts on Earth. These clippings report that scientists find catastrophic phenomena of several sorts associated with such impacts: global fires, tidal waves, dust from the impact blocking out the sun for long periods of time with consequent global cooling, mass extinctions of life, and so forth.

These popular reports are helpful in coming to grips with the facts that: 1. cosmic projectiles of various sorts do exist, 2. they can occasionally collide with the earth, and 3. they can have devastating consequences for life when they do so. But when it comes to the Flood these reports can be somewhat misleading. The reason for this is that even a very large asteroid impact is a tiny thing relative to the collision with the cosmic projectile which caused Noah's Flood, as I show quantitatively below.

But if asteroid impacts can produce global catastrophes and mass extinctions of life, and they are tiny compared to the Flood impact, then how could any life have survived the Flood impact---even with the building of an ark? This is the central conundrum for the Flood impact hypothesis. Can this hurdle be cleared, or must we seek some other root physical cause of Noah's Flood?

The Tunguska Event

A descending fireball, brighter than the sun, exploded over a sparsely populated area in the Tunguska region of Siberia on June 30, 1908. Over 300,000 acres of pine forest were leveled in an instant. The explosion was heard over 600 miles away. The trees were later found to be snapped off and pointing radially away from the center of the blast (Figure 1), except at the center of the impact, were no trace of the original forest remained.

The Tunguska event is believed to have been caused by the explosion of a 50 to 60 meter diameter object (i.e., an object large enough to fill half a football field) in the atmosphere some 8 kilometers above the ground. Whether this object was an icy fragment of a comet or a rocky asteroid is unclear. The energy of the blast is estimated today at between 10 and 20 megatons---the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb. ...

Readers Write

It is well known that native peoples from many locations around the globe retain legends of the Flood. Do these legends have anything to teach us about the Flood? How accurate is their "memory" of the Flood?

I have benefitted in regard to these questions from two recent communications from family members which I want to pass along here. These suggest the answer to both of the questions above may very well be, "More than you might at first suppose".

Several issues ago I described what it must have felt like at the start of the Flood as the inner core of the earth began to move toward the north. I wrote:

If the inner core were displaced toward the North Pole it would seem to an observer on the surface of the earth that the direction of horizontal had changed. Surfaces which were previously level would now seem to be tilting downhill toward the North Pole, even though they had not actually moved at all---the local gravitational field is all that would have changed. Water which had been standing on horizontal surfaces before the inner core had been displaced would flow "down" those surfaces toward the North Pole after the displacement. If you were standing on a beach which ran east and west during such a displacement you would see the water of the ocean suddenly begin to flow "up" the beach toward the North Pole. More accurately, you would feel that the ocean had tipped up and that the beach had tipped down so that the water of the ocean was suddenly being poured out across the beach.

As the inner core moved toward the north at the start of the Flood, your sum total of experience would cause you to believe that the whole earth around you was inexorably tilting down to the north. Trees growing perpendicular to a previously horizontal surface would remain perpendicular to that surface as you watched the surface slowly tilting downhill to the north. The surface would no longer be horizontal and the trees would no longer be vertical. And all of this would cause you to feel that the whole surface of the ground had tilted, even though the ground had not moved at all---all that had really happened was that the direction of gravity had changed.

The start of the Flood must have been a weird experience, and a memorable one for those who survived the Flood.

Soon after I had explained all of this to my wife, Helen, (my most devoted and cherished supporter) she happened upon a remarkable account in a book she was reading called Childhood and Society. This book is a compilation of the experiences of anthropologists who worked among native peoples earlier in this century. Its purpose, you will understand, is a study of parental practices and attitudes toward childhood in various societies, not a study of Noah's Flood. So the following quote, which appears in the book quite incidentally, came as a considerable surprise to both of us. Fanny is an old Indian woman who functions as a "doctor" to her people, the Yurok Indians of the Pacific coast. ...

Excerpts from BC42: 12 pages: PDF (0.5 MB): $6.99 U.S.

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The Biblical Chronologist Volume 4, Number 3

The Location of Eden

The date and the nature of Noah's Flood are now behind us, and pre-Flood Biblical chronology beckons. Before venturing into chronology proper in this early portion of the Biblical/historical narrative it is necessary to get our geographical bearings. Just as the Biblical narrative of the Exodus and Conquest must be tied into the geographical location of Egypt and Palestine to be properly understood, and just as the Biblical narrative of the waning of the Flood must be tied into the geographical location of Ararat to be properly understood, so the pre-Flood Biblical narrative (Genesis 1 through 6) must be tied into its proper geographical location to be properly understood.

The region called Eden is most conspicuous in these early chapters; it appears to be the hub of the events which they describe. The importance of the geographical location of Eden to a correct understanding of the early chapters of Genesis seems implicit in the narrative itself. In an otherwise terse historical account, spanning more than one and a half thousand years in just six short chapters, a significant fraction of Chapter 2 is devoted to the task of communicating where the events being described took place. Apparently the Author of Scripture found the geographical setting of Eden an important fact that we should know.

Potential Misconceptions

There are two widespread misconceptions affecting the present study which must be dealt with right at the start if we are to proceed in unison. The first of these is in regard to the impact of the Flood itself on the topography of the earth. The second has to do with a mistaken equating of the Garden of Eden with the region of Eden.

The Flood's Impact on Geography

A misconception which has arisen out of the cataclysmic Flood model, and which has been greatly popularized by that model's modern proponents, is that the topography of the earth was so dramatically changed by the Flood that the geographical indicators of the location of Eden in Genesis 2 can no longer be used in the post-Flood world. Assyria and the Euphrates river, mentioned in connection with Eden in Genesis 2:14, for example, are asserted, in this view, to correspond, not to the Assyria and Euphrates river with which we are all familiar from post-Flood history and geography, but rather to pre-Flood entities bearing no geographical relationship to the post-Flood Assyria and Euphrates. The post-Flood Assyria and Euphrates, it is claimed, were named after the pre-Flood Assyria and Euphrates by Noah's descendants, who carried the names forward into the post-Flood world, much as early settlers of America carried Old World place names with them to their new homes.

We now know that this claim is false. The obliteration of pre-Flood rivers and the formation of new post-Flood rivers would require entire drainage basins to be restructured by the Flood. An enormous quantity of earth and rock would need to be moved around over the surface of the earth to accomplish such a thing. The size and placement of high mountains (whose meltwaters feed rivers during the dry summer months) would need to be profoundly altered, for example. But we now know what the Flood was like, and we know that it did none of these sorts of things.

This fact is most easily demonstrated using archaeological data. We know, from the Bible's own chronology, when the Flood happened, and it is unquestionably the case that many well-preserved archaeological strata can be found in Palestine and elsewhere in the Near East which predate the proper Biblical Flood date. We have repeatedly seen that the Biblical date for the Flood coincides with the close of the Chalcolithic in Palestine, which archaeological period it terminated. But Chalcolithic and earlier archaeological strata are abundant throughout the Near East. ...

Biblical Chronology 101

Noah's Flood from Beginning to End

Over the past several years I have worked my way back through Noah's Flood, slowly discovering more and more about when it happened, what it was like, and what its physical cause was. I have published the stages of this odyssey in this publication as they have unfolded. When read in their published order these yield a view of the Flood in reverse chronological order.

It is now possible, for the first time ever, to tell the complete geophysical story of the Flood in proper chronological sequence from beginning to end. The present "class session" is devoted to that purpose. This is a review, in correct chronological order and all together in one place, of what has been learned over these past many months. I have provided a large number of "chalkboard sketches" (my apologies for their roughness) to help us visualize the various Flood phenomena.

The Flood happened 3520+/-21 B.C. according to calculations based upon the Masoretic text of the Old Testament and the missing millennium thesis. Secular chronometers corroborate this date certainly to within plus or minus two centuries. The Flood marks the end of the Chalcolithic in Palestine and the end of the Uruk period in southern Mesopotamia. Civilization, which had its roots in southern Mesopotamia and had spread throughout the Near East by 3500 B.C., was abruptly terminated by the Flood.

The root physical cause of the Flood was the collision of the Earth with a very high speed cosmic projectile (Figure 2). My best guesstimate at present is that the projectile was a 50 kilometer diameter chunk of iron/nickel, similar in composition to known asteroids. It was probably traveling in excess of 6x106 meters per second (13 million miles per hour) immediately prior to impact. The projectile's very high velocity suggests that it was not a member of the solar system prior to the impact. ...

Excerpts from BC43: 10 pages: PDF (1.9 MB): $6.99 U.S.

Excerpts from BC44: 10 pages: PDF (0.4 MB): $6.99 U.S.

The Biblical Chronologist Volume 4, Number 4

Toward Unification of Pre-Flood Chronology

To unify sacred and secular chronologies of earth history it is necessary to work systematically from the present back into the past---an important lesson I learned the hard way.


By the time I had reached my mid-thirties I had spent over a decade actively trying to understand the disparity between Biblical and secular chronologies of earth history. I had focused on Noah's Flood in much of my chronological research. I had struggled and struggled with the problem of its proper historical date. And I had come to the point of all but despairing of ever finding the answer in my lifetime.

What bothered me most was the conviction that the Flood should be easily datable. The Bible clearly pictures the Flood as a very large disaster accompanied by a major destruction of civilization. Such an event should be easily datable because many natural chronometers are reset by geophysical disasters, and the sudden destruction of civilization at the time of the Flood should have left behind many datable remains. Yet the more I researched the Flood, the more intractable the problem of its proper date seemed to be. Nothing seemed to make sense---I was unable to achieve any satisfactory unification of secular and sacred data.

Fortunately, however, I eventually came to realize that my research strategy had not been good---I had been trying to run before I had learned how to walk. Absolute chronologies are necessarily worked out from the present time, during which the chronologist is living, back into the past. I had been trying to solve the date of the Flood, a remote Biblical historical event, while entirely ignoring all of the chronology of the Bible and its related history which lay between the Flood and the present time. This was not sound procedure. I came to realize that I needed to adopt a new strategy. I needed to focus on the most recent disparity between secular chronology and the Bible and work on solving that problem before venturing any further back in time. Only in this way could a solid chronological foundation be assured for more remote investigations.

This strategy has worked very successfully for me to the present time. By following it I have discovered why the archaeologists and secular historians have been unable to find the Exodus and the Conquest---their dates for these Biblical events are out by a full millennium. And in addition, though I am now only entering my mid-forties, the problem of the proper date of the Flood and its unification with secular data lies behind me.

The task which now lies at hand is the unification of Biblical and secular chronologies in the pre-Flood period (i.e., prior to 3500 B.C.). And the strategy, once again, is to determine at what point secular and sacred chronologies in the pre-Flood period first diverge. To implement this strategy it is only necessary to delineate the chronologies which are to be compared, and then to compare them.

To this task I now turn.

Pre-Flood Biblical Chronology

Figure 1 shows a time chart of pre-Flood Biblical chronology. The numbers used in its derivation are shown in Table 1. I have discussed most of these numbers previously in other contexts. The only thing which I have added here is the date of the creation of Adam. ...

Excerpts from BC44: 10 pages: PDF (0.4 MB): $6.99 U.S.

Excerpts from BC45: 14 pages: PDF (0.4 MB): $6.99 U.S.

The Biblical Chronologist Volume 4, Number 5

Toward Unification of Pre-Flood Chronology: Part II

We are presently embarked upon a mission to unify pre-Flood sacred and secular chronologies. This is neither a frivolous nor an easy task. It warrants our full attention and our best effort. It demands that we adopt a sound method of attack on the problem. And it demands that we proceed logically on the basis of available evidence, deliberately putting pet theories and prejudices aside, if we hope to obtain the truth.

We have tackled some very difficult chronology problems in this newsletter in the past. None has been as intrinsically difficult and as urgently in need of solution as this present one.

Review

Last issue I compared pre-Flood Biblical chronology with the secular chronology of South Mesopotamia. I found the most recent point of divergence between these two chronologies to be at the creation of Adam, 5176+/-26 B.C. The divergence results from the fact that secular chronology finds mankind in existence thousands of years before this date, while we had expected Adam to be the first man ever created. I have called this the central conundrum of pre-Flood Biblical chronology. It is toward the solution of this conundrum that we must now direct our effort.

Possible Solutions

There are only nine conceptually possible solutions to this conundrum that I am able to find. My method of enumeration is as follows.

The conundrum exists between Biblical and secular accounts of earth history. Specifically, the secular antiquity of mankind seems to extend beyond the Biblical date of the creation of Adam. This gives rise to two categories of solution: 1. an error of some sort is being made on the Biblical side of the problem, or 2. an error of some sort is being made on the secular side of the problem.

These two categories each bifurcate according to whether the problem is chronological or historical in nature. For example, the conundrum could arise because of some sort of problem with the Biblical chronology of the creation of Adam (i.e., the date), or it could arise because of some sort of problem with the Biblical history regarding the creation of Adam (i.e., the details).

Each of these branches bifurcates again according to whether the problem is intrinsic or extrinsic. For example, the conundrum could arise because Biblical chronology is intrinsically false (i.e., the data are fabricated), or it could arise because we have made an error in our handling of the Biblical chronological data.

These three bifurcations give rise to eight (i.e., 23) conceptually possible solutions. The ninth possibility is that there is nothing wrong in either the Biblical or the secular side of the conundrum; the evidences from both sides are valid and require only proper integration. In this ninth possibility the problem is seen to lie in our profound ignorance of the nature of creation events, rather than in the data from the Bible or in the data from secular studies. ...

Biblical Chronology 101

In its September 7, 1998 issue, Christianity Today ran the cover story "Did the Exodus Never Happen?" by Kevin D. Miller. The byline reads: "How two Egyptologists are countering scholars who want to turn the Old Testament into myth".

I had mixed emotions when I learned that Christianity Today had run an article on Biblical archaeology in the period before the monarchy. A virtual information blackout has been the lot of the everyday Christian in regard to pre-monarchical Biblical archaeology ever since Kenyon overturned Garstang's conclusions at Jericho in the fifties. (In the thirties Garstang excavated at Jericho and claimed to have found the walls which fell before Joshua's army. This is where the Sunday-school story---still in circulation today---originates, about the archaeologists finding Jericho's walls fallen outward. But twenty years later, when the science of archaeology had progressed considerably, Kenyon carried out her own excavation at Jericho and showed that the walls Garstang had found dated much earlier than he had supposed.) The result has been a generation of Christians who view Old Testament history as divine fairy-tale---wonderful, inspiring stories, absolutely heavenly true, and blissfully detached from anything in the real world such as history, geography, or even archaeology. So, on the one hand, I was pleased to find Christianity Today exhibiting the courage to break the silence at long last.

But on the other hand, I was worried. The truth is that mainline conservative Biblical archaeology is in a mess in the pre-monarchical period. The conservative archaeologists were soundly defeated at Jericho in the fifties, and the progress of the war has been all downhill from there.

Now if you have been following the results of my research over the past several years, you know that the defeat at Jericho results from mistaken chronology. There is a thousand years missing from traditional Biblical chronology just prior to 1000 B.C., with the result that the traditional Biblical date for the destruction of Jericho (and everything else prior to the book of 1 Samuel) is 1000 years too recent. If you look for a destruction layer in an archaeological mound a full millennium later on (i.e., higher up in the archaeological strata) than the destruction happened, you are most unlikely to find what you are looking for, and you are likely to come away with the conclusion that the destruction never happened. Which is precisely what has happened at Jericho.

It is unequivocably the case that if you look in the mound of ancient Jericho exactly 1000 years earlier than traditional expectations tell you to look, you find a destruction layer which matches the Biblical description of the conquest of Jericho to the letter. In fact, one of the walls which Garstang identified as having been the Biblical wall (he thought he had found a double wall at the time of Joshua, but the second wall of this double wall idea is from an earlier period still, showing that it is unrelated to the first wall) is the wall belonging to this 1000 year earlier, destroyed and burned with fire (as the Bible says), city. So Garstang was at least partly right (and Kenyon partly wrong). So, as I began to say two paragraphs ago, if you have been following my research, you know that the archaeological defeat at Jericho was hardly the blow to conservative Christianity that many have subsequently supposed.

But mainline conservative Biblical archaeology doesn't know this---despite my best efforts. Attrition has had an awful effect on the conservative archaeological army since Jericho, and a few old soldiers, together with a leavening of younger, starry-eyed recruits is all that remains of this once grand army. As you might guess, this tattered remnant is in an extremely defensive mood. Indeed, they are shooting at anything which moves. Which makes them a little difficult to communicate with.

So, on the other hand, as I began to say four paragraphs ago, I was more than a little worried about the content of the article. To be honest, I feared the author, Kevin D. Miller, might have put together a dreadful piece of propaganda. For I doubt seriously that Beethoven himself would be able to extract any real melody from the desperate cacophony which is mainline conservative Biblical archaeology in the pre-monarchical period today.

So I was much relieved to find that Kevin Miller simply opted to present the cacophony. This option may not provide the audience with greatest listening pleasure, but at least it is high fidelity.

The article is an accurate reflection of the current state of mainline conservative scholarship within the pre-monarchical period of Old Testament history. It bears no explicit message (unless, perhaps, a "reassurance" that we still have some soldiers in the field) and displays numerous duplicities. This is as it should be, for it is a fact that mainline conservative Biblical scholarship in this early period of Old Testament history has no explicit message to deliver (the only honest thing it could say at this point is that it has been routed and is in a state of complete disarray, but it is, understandably, unwilling to make this admission), and that it is currently characterized by (perfectly understandable, but unfortunate nonetheless) duplicities.

Unfortunately, the duplicities are somewhat beneath the surface in the article. While this also accurately reflects the state of the field, I am concerned that many of the article's less sophisticated readers may come away from it feeling somewhat confused. In what follows I assume the role of the unsophisticated churchman and attempt to give his confusion a voice. ...

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The Biblical Chronologist Volume 4, Number 6

Toward Unification of Pre-Flood Chronology: Part III

Review

Two issues ago I introduced the "central conundrum" of pre-Flood Biblical chronology.

The conundrum is the apparent existence of mankind, according to secular scholarship, many thousands of years before the creation date of Adam determined from Biblical chronology.

Last issue I enumerated nine conceptually possible solutions to this conundrum.

  1. The Biblical chronological data leading to the creation of Adam are false (i.e., fabricated).
  2. The secular chronological data leading to a great antiquity for mankind are false (i.e., fabricated).
  3. The Biblical history which teaches that Adam was the first man to be created is mythological or otherwise fabricated.
  4. The modern secular teaching that mankind existed in remote antiquity is a hoax or fabrication.
  5. We have misunderstood the Biblical history of the creation of Adam; the Bible does not really teach that Adam was the first man ever to be created.
  6. The archaeologists have misunderstood the history of mankind; archaeology does not really show the existence of humans before Adam.
  7. We have made some mistake in the computation of the Biblical date of the creation of Adam (i.e., the basic Biblical chronological data are valid, but they have been misunderstood).
  8. The secular chronologists have made some mistake in their computation of the antiquity of man (i.e., the basic secular chronological data are valid, but they have been misunderstood).
  9. The Biblical and secular evidences must both be accepted as legitimate; the truth lies in a proper synthesis of the two.
These nine, I believe, cover the entire field of possibilities.

Last issue I discussed the first seven of these and showed that they each failed to present an adequate resolution of the central conundrum. This leaves two possibilities, the eighth and the ninth, to be explored.

Introduction

This issue it is the eighth possible solution which is the focus of our attention. We are inquiring into the reliability of the secular dating of the antiquity of mankind. We are not questioning the validity of the basic physical data used in this dating process. The idea that the basic physical data are somehow fabricated has been discussed previously as the second possible solution of my enumeration. This idea has already been set aside as false. Thus, I take as a starting point for the present study that the measurements of the radiocarbon content of ancient human artifacts upon which the secular dating is based are good, valid, physical measurements, so that we would find the same radiocarbon concentrations ourselves were we to make the measurements on these ancient samples. The concern in the present study is not with the measured concentration of radiocarbon in the samples, but rather with the interpretation of those concentrations in terms of elapsed calendar years. Doesn't the process of converting a measured radiocarbon concentration to a calendar date involve certain assumptions? What guarantee is there that these assumptions are valid? ...

Readers Write

Dear Dr. Aardsma,

Last night I attended a seminar by an amateur archaeologist, Ron Wyatt. He presented conclusive evidence of the precise location of the Red Sea crossing by the discovery of 4, 6, and 8 spoked chariot wheels at the bottom of the Gulf of Aqaba. The wheels belong to the 18th Dynasty of Egypt, which confirms a 1446 B.C. Exodus. This [date for the wheels] was confirmed by the Egyptian Department of antiquities.

Mr. Wyatt believes as you do that Djozer was the pharaoh Joseph served and that Imhotep is Joseph and also the seven year famine. I was going to ask him a pointed question at the end of the seminar as to how he could identify Joseph as Imhotep when Djozer and Imhotep supposedly lived during the 2700th year B.C. At the end of the seminar, before question time, he proceeded to answer my question without me having to ask it. He explained that modern scholarship has "created" an entire dynastic period in ancient Egypt which has created an error in chronology by 1000 years. He is referring of course to the Old Kingdom. He explained that Djozer and Imhotep lived around the time of the Middle Kingdom because pharaohs went by many different names by the districts they ruled.

If he is right, which he seems to be, he clearly vindicates the accuracy of the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1. What do you think?

George Karakasidis
Australia

P.S. I've enclosed a sample paper of his findings.

Dear George,

Thank you for your letter and the copy of the International Discovery Times summarizing Ron Wyatt's claims. Since all of my work in Biblical chronology is based on the claim that the 480 years found in 1 Kings 6:1 today was originally 1,480 years, Wyatt's claims certainly strike at the foundation of The Biblical Chronologist. If what he is claiming is backed by "conclusive evidence" as you have stated, then my work in Biblical chronology is obviously seriously mistaken. You are quite correct in bringing Mr. Wyatt's claims to my attention, and in requesting an explanation of me.

The critical question, of course, is whether Wyatt's claims are really backed by "conclusive evidence". In the following paragraphs I aspire to show that they aren't---that in actual fact the evidence is conclusive against them. ...

Excerpts from BC46: 16 pages: PDF (0.6 MB): $6.99 U.S.
 
 
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