The Genesis Chronicles: A Proposed History Of The Morning Of The World
Chapter 11: AFTER THE DELUGE
This chapter covers the following topics:
The Parting of Pangaea
We noted previously that the world's continents were once joined into a single super-continent, called Pangaea ("All the Earth" in Greek) by geologists. Pangaea's northern half is called Laurasia (modern North America, Europe, and two thirds of Asia), while we know the southern half as Gondwanaland (South America, Africa, Southern Asia, Antarctica, Australia and New Guinea). The oceans were likewise united; no Atlantic existed, and the others formed a single world ocean. A few extensions of the world ocean reached into the Pangaea landmass: we now call them the Arctic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Mediterranean Sea.(1)
During the Flood, continental drift and sea-floor spreading were initiated, and Pangaea began to break up. First Laurasia and Gondwanaland separated; then as the Atlantic Ocean was born, Laurasia split into its North American and Eurasian components. Meanwhile, Gondwanaland shattered into eight parts: South America, Africa (which included most of the Middle East), Madagascar, Iran, India, Southeast Asia, Australia/New Guinea, and Antarctica. Many of these landmasses drifted north across what was now the Indian Ocean, until they ran into the north Asian plate. Continents move slowly today, but during the Deluge they spread out much faster; as much as 45 miles per hour. Whether they go fast or slow, the meeting of continents is tremendous; the result is melting, shaking, crackling, buckling, twisting, sinking, and uplifting. The union of the African/Middle Eastern plate with north Asian plate, for example, created the Caucasus mts., and closed off the eastern (main) outlet of the Mediterranean Sea. The most dramatic impact took place when India, weighing an estimated 45 quintillion pounds (45 followed by 18 zeroes), slammed into the Asian landmass; this raised up the Himalaya mts. and the Tibetan plateau.(2)
The last movement on a continental scale was the creation of the Great Rift Valley. This may have taken place recently in geologic terms, after 2000 B.C.; the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were in the valley, and according to Genesis 13, at one time the land around them was richer than what one sees there today. The northern part of the rift, beginning in Lebanon, broke Arabia from Africa and created the Jordan valley, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden; it also reduced contact between Africa and the Middle East to the Isthmus of Suez. The second part comes ashore in a desolate part of Ethiopia called the Danakil depression, runs southwest through the middle of the Abyssinian massif, turns due south at the Ethiopia-Kenya border, passes Lake Victoria on its eastern side, and finally peters out in Tanzania. The third, southernmost part of the rift valley is separate from the others; it runs north from Lake Nyasa but veers west before it gets to Lake Victoria and ends up in Uganda. Because the central and southern rifts missed each other by going around Lake Victoria on opposite sides, Africa is in one piece; if they ever meet, all of East Africa from Somalia to Mozambique could break off and go drifting in the Indian Ocean (the lost continent of Lemuria!).
To follow the course of rifts and splits, there are clues that even a layman can spot on an ordinary map. The most obvious is the way the coastlines of South America and Africa fit together like puzzle pieces. With the Great Rift Valley, one can follow it by the bodies of water in it. The lakes in the central valley, except Lake Turkana, are a bit on the small side and need a bit of careful searching. But the sequence in the other rifts is splendidly clear. The part between modern Israel and Jordan--the Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Dead Sea and Arabah valley--is so obvious that it has often marked the boundary between nations, and it serves that purpose now. In East Africa Lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, Tanganyika, Rukwa and Nyasa form an equally visible chain and national border.
Though not in the rifts, Lake Victoria is also a creation of them. When the rifts were formed they pushed land up and out; because of this, the overlapping edges of the central and southern rifts formed a saucer-shaped depression. Lake Victoria is really a big puddle that collected in this basin; although it is Africa's largest lake, it is much shallower than the lakes in the rifts.
To verify his theory that glaciers move, Agassiz built a rude hut on the Aar glacier, drove a straight line of stakes into the glacier, and came back several times to make observations over the next few years. The stakes in the middle of the glacier moved the most, while those near the edges didn't move much at all, which showed to Agassiz that a glacier is really a huge, slowly-moving river of ice. On a visit to Scotland he found the Highlands also bore the scars of a glacial encounter. Then in 1846 he came to America, where he spent the rest of his life, and wherever he went, his trained eye spotted more features shaped by ice: Lake Superior, the Finger Lakes of New York, the many lakes of Wisconsin, Niagara Falls, the Adirondacks and White Mountains, moraines on Long Island and Cape Cod, erratic boulders just north of Boston, etc. This led to his theory of the ice age: once upon a time huge amounts of ice came from the north, covered a large part of the earth, and then melted to give us the landscape we see today.
Others were skeptical at first, but within a few years the rest of the scientific community came to accept the ice age theory (we saw in Chapter 1 what the evolutionists did with it). Nowadays most textbooks teach that during the past million years the glaciers advanced from the poles four times, covering half of North America and Europe, and a small portion of Siberia. The most recent ice age supposedly ended 17,000 years ago, but meteorologists warn us that another would begin if the earth's average temperature dropped by only six degrees F.. Likewise, if the earth's average temperature rose by the same amount, the remaining icecaps would melt, sea levels would rise, and all of our coast lands and seaports would be flooded. That's why there's a fuss over "global warming" these days.
Nobody seems to know for sure how the ice age got started, or how often the ice spread across the earth (most say four times, but a few say it happened once, while some think there were as many as sixteen glaciations). Recently an ICR scientist, Larry Vardiman, studied some core samples taken from the bottom of the ocean, and compared the proportion of different isotopes of oxygen (O16 vs. O18), acidity, salinity, and the types of foraminifera (marine microbes) contained in them. From this it is possible to measure the temperature of the ocean floor at the time the sediments were laid down. His discovery was provocative: for the past 3,000 years the samples showed a steady temperature close to freezing, as expected, but the further back he looked, the warmer the reading, until the samples he estimated were 4,500 years old showed readings as high as 18o C. Using a 486 personal computer, he developed a model of what the world's weather patterns would be like if the oceans were really that warm. The result: a warmer ocean would cause more moisture to evaporate and form clouds, resulting in heavy rainfall over northeast Canada, much of Europe, southern Asia, Japan, and West Africa. The heaviest precipitation would be over Greenland and the poles, exceeding eight inches per hour.
In the previous chapter, I suggested that during the Flood the oceans were probably warmer than today. Furthermore, without a covering of plants, the land surface would have been little more than a mud slick, reflecting away more heat and light than it does now. The high humidity and large difference between land and water temperatures would have caused warm winters, cool summers, and intense and prolonged storms. There was also much volcanic activity, caused by all the shifting in the earth's crust, which would have spewed clouds into the atmosphere and further cooled the earth.
Under these conditions moisture would precipitate as snow in many areas, rather than as rain, and come down faster than it could melt away. Because of that, permanent icecaps would form, and the white color of the ice would reflect more sunlight, cooling the planet even more. And as more areas cooled down, the ice would spread farther, increasing the white part of the earth. This process would continue until the ocean temperatures dropped to a point that caused evaporation to cease. Then the skies would clear up, the ice would melt along the edges, and the retreat of the glaciers would begin. Thus we have a creationist model to explain the cause of the ice age, without having to rely on millions of years for the process (as the evolutionists suppose) or depend on the ice coming from space (Patten's theory).(3)
It is my personal belief that the ice age occurred immediately after the Flood, in the fourth or early third millennium B.C.; had it been earlier, the Flood would have washed away all evidence, while an ice age after 2500 B.C. would have been reported by the civilizations of the day. It lasted at most for a thousand years, rather than a million or so. Finally the glaciers melted, and our climate and geology reached a new equilibrium, which is why the changes in today's weather are less drastic than they used to be.
The world of the ice age would have been significantly different from ours, both in weather and geography. Desert regions, especially in North Africa, were cooler and greener. We know this because of the many rock paintings at Tassili N'Ajer, a canyon in southern Algeria, which show lions, giraffes, elephants, ostriches, and other wildlife, and men driving herds of cattle; none of this can be found in today's Sahara. With so much of the ocean frozen up in the glaciers, sea level would have dropped dramatically--300 feet or more. In North America, this meant that Florida was twice as big as it is now, with Tampa in the middle of the state, rather than on the west coast. Where the Bering Sea now exists, Alaska and Siberia were connected by a land bridge ("Beringia"), which many anthropologists believe is how the American Indian got into this hemisphere--he simply walked from Siberia. In the Pacific other land bridges would have made traveling easier. We now think that northern Japan was also connected to Siberia, and that Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines were connected to the Asian mainland, forming a huge peninsula now called "Sunda-land." Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania would also be linked together, forming a continent geologists call "Sahul-land." The original inhabitants of Southeast Asia, the Negritos, could have settled most of the region without boats, and no more than sixty miles of water (today's Timor Sea) separated Sunda-land from Sahul-land, allowing the first Aborigines to get to Australia in simple canoes.
The continent most drastically affected by the ice age was Europe. An ice sheet covered Scandinavia, northern Russia, and most of the British Isles. Cold weather reduced evaporation, and the ice blocked the flow of rivers northward to the Arctic, so the Black, Caspian and Aral seas were all fresh water lakes, quite a bit larger than they are now. There was also a river flowing from the Aral to the Caspian that no longer exists, and a wide estuary stretched across the south Russian plain, linking the Caspian to the Black Sea. Only a river flowed out of the Black Sea where the Bosporus and Dardanelles exist today, and some believe that even the Strait of Gibraltar was left high and dry, a natural wall connecting Europe and Africa. With no outlet, most of the Mediterranean dried out, leaving a few stagnant puddles and searing deserts where temperatures exceeded 160o F.(4) A landmass we call Doggerland (after the Dogger bank in the North Sea) connected Great Britain and Ireland to France, and when the glaciers melted, Doggerland was flooded and the English Channel separated the other lands--until the digging of the Channel Tunnel in our own time, anyway.
The parts of Europe not covered by the ice were mostly tundra, a place fit only for the tough Neanderthals who entered this setting first. These were hunters who lived by chasing the great ice age animals: mammoths, wooly rhinos, cave bears, bison and reindeer. Before long, though, the glaciers melted and Europe's geography took on the form we are familiar with.(5)
One of the reasons why ice age animals were so big was because of a law of physics; large objects take longer to lose heat than small objects, so it is easier for large animals to keep warm. While the weather was cold, these animals ruled much of the world, especially oversized predators like the saber-toothed tiger and the cave hyena. A few years ago it was suggested that the cave hyena hunted people in northern Siberia, keeping prehistoric men from finding the way to North America, until they trained dogs to protect them from the hyenas. Then the weather warmed up, and most of the big game from the previous years became extinct. Today we do not know if changing climate or human activity is the main reason for the ice age beasts dying off; most likely it was both factors together. It is also worth pointing out that in areas that remained cold and unpopulated by humans, ice age animals hung around for a few more centuries. A few mammoths, for example, survived on the Wrangel Islands in the Arctic Ocean until 1650 B.C., meaning that by the time the last mammoth died, the Babylonian and Indus valley civilizations were fully developed, the Chinese were learning to write, and Egypt had already gone through two golden ages, the Old and Middle Kingdoms. And with most of the ice gone, the descendants of Japheth were free to explore and colonize Europe and northern Asia.
Recently, Bill Cooper, in his amazing work on early European history, After the Flood, found evidence that the first settlers of northern Europe left some legends describing ice age conditions. The first one comes from the 13th chapter of Historia Brittonum, written by Nennius, a Welsh writer from the eighth century A.D. This story tells of a ship, which took colonists from the Mediterranean Sea to Ireland at an unspecified early date. They were quite unfamiliar with ice in the ocean, and a year after their arrival they looked out to sea and saw something that looked like a "tower of glass." On the tower were creatures that resembled men, but they did not respond to shouts made at them. Whereupon the Irish loaded some boats and made an attack on the tower; some of the boats ran aground and were wrecked, and many men drowned in the heavy seas. Apparently the tower was an iceberg and the "men" on it were seals.
The second legend was in the Irish Annuals of Clonmacnoise, translated into English in 1627 by Conell Mageoghagan. According to this, Partholan, the first colonizer of Ireland (15th century B.C.), counted "but three laughs [lochs or lakes] and nyne Rivers in the Kingdom." But when the second wave of colonists arrived, we are told that "Many Laughs and Rivers broke out in their time." Lakes and rivers don't just appear without a vast source of water, so perhaps there were still glaciers in the middle of Ireland around 1500 B.C., and they melted shortly after that. Since civilization did not come to northern Europe until the time of the Romans, we have no more accounts of local climate and scenery until long after the ice is gone.
I want to finish this section by taking a new look at the Book of Job. No date for the writing of this book is given, except that the style of writing is very old; perhaps it is the oldest book in the Bible. Job is said to have lived in the land of Uz, which is often thought to be in Arabia (the recent discovery of Ubar points to Oman), but the scenery described is very different from the burning sands that we associate with Arabia today. Consider the animals mentioned: lions, donkeys, cattle, ostriches, jackals; this suggests a more humid climate. In Job 38 we find references to snow, ice and hail, weather quite unknown to today's Bedouins. Likewise, rivers are mentioned, in a land which now has only seasonal wadis. Is it possible that the ice age affected Arabia the same way it did North Africa, and that the Book of Job is an ice age composition?
Before the theory of evolution arose there was a consensus among Western scholars that the human race began in the Middle East, even if they did not believe the religious traditions pointing in that direction. All three of the world's chief monotheistic religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam--originated there. The two oldest known civilizations--Egypt and Mesopotamia--were both in the Middle East. The next oldest civilization that we knew anything about was ancient Greece, and the Greeks thought that their civilization got started with some help from the Egyptians. Consequently Egypt was long regarded as the world's oldest civilization; now we relegate the land of the pharaohs to the periphery of the civilized world in the fourth and third millennia B.C.(6) Any evidence of primitive man elsewhere in the world, like the first Neanderthal skullcap, was considered proof that man degenerated as he left the vicinity of Paradise.
Part of the reason for this was clear evidence of cultural transmission from a common point of origin. Whenever a group of people separate and go in different directions--which I believe happened to everyone after Babel--they start out with a common culture. As time goes on, there is a gradual loss of customs and artifacts, which are replaced by new ones designed to satisfy new needs not found at the center. The farther apart two communities happen to be, the less they have in common. It is, however, usually possible to identify which items were developed locally and which came from elsewhere; one clear indicator is whether or not they are made of locally available materials. Eventually, a community will settle in one place and grow large enough to become a new cultural center, and then it will start sending out new waves of people to colonize surrounding areas; China did that to its neighbors about 2,000 years after the ancestors of the Chinese migrated from Central Asia to the Yellow River valley.
Except during the Nebraska Man fiasco, nobody seriously suggested a New World origin for man. In the Old World, Australia and Europe were too remote, and Africa too inhospitable, so Asia was the most logical place for the cradle of humanity, with the Middle East in the geographic center of the whole landmass. Prof. Griffith Taylor of the University of Toronto, had this to say about migratory movements:
"A series of zones is shown to exist in the East Indies and in Australasia which is so arranged that the most primitive are found farthest from Asia, and the most advanced nearest to Asia. This distribution about Asia is shown to be true in the other 'peninsulas' (i.e., Africa and Europe, ACC), and is of fundamental importance in discussing the evolution and ethnological status of the peoples concerned. . . .
"Which ever region we consider, Africa, Europe, Australia, or America, we find that the major migrations have always been from Asia."(7)
Later, he found the same trend in Africa:
"The first point of interest in studying the distribution of the African peoples is that the same rule holds good which we have observed in the Australasian peoples. The most primitive groups are found in the regions most distant from Asia. Or what comes to the same thing, in the most inaccessible regions. . . .
"Given these conditions [sic] its seems logical to assume that the racial zones can only have resulted from similar peoples spreading out like waves from a common origin. This cradleland should be approximately between the two 'peninsulas,' and all indications (including the racial distribution of India) point to a region of maximum evolution not far from Turkestan. It is not unlikely that the time factor was similar in the spread of all these peoples."(8)
As far as William Howells was concerned, "all the visible footsteps lead away from Asia."(9) He noted that the dark-skinned races are quite similar even though they are native to two widely separated regions: Africa and the southwest Pacific. Of these similarities, he said:
"They are spotted among the Negroes in the Congo Forest, and they turn up on the Eastern fringe of Asia (the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula, probably India, and possibly formerly in southern China), in the Philippines, and in New Guinea, and perhaps Australia, with probable traces in Borneo, Celebes, and various Melanesian islands.
All of these are 'refuge areas,' and undesirable backwoods which the Pygmies have obviously occupied as later more powerful people arrived in the same regions.
Several things stand out from these facts. The Negritos must have had a migration from a common point . . . And it is hopeless to assume that their point of origin was at either end of their range . . . It is much more likely that they came from some point midway, which is Asia."(10)
After evolution was widely accepted, there was a problem, since a Middle Eastern origin for man was still expected, but the hominid fossils kept turning up in the wrong places. There was Australopithecus and Rhodesian Man in Africa, Homo erectus in China and Java, and Piltdown Man in England, for example. The usual explanation for this was that the hominids evolved in the Middle East or Central Asia, and migrated elsewhere. In the 1950s human fossils finally turned up in the Middle East (the Tabun and Skuhl caves on Mt. Carmel, Shanidar in Iraq), and as noted in Chapter 5, these were quite modern in appearance. It was not until Dr. Louis Leakey found Zinjanthropus in 1959 that evolutionists started calling Africa "the continent that gave birth to the human species." As W. Koppers observed a few years earlier:
"It is a remarkable fact that so far all the fossil men have been found in Europe, the Far East, and Africa, that is, in marginal regions of Asia that are most unlikely to have formed the cradle of the human race. No remains are known to us from Central Asia where most scholars who have occupied themselves with the origin of men would place the earliest races."(11)
Today the evolutionists seem determined to keep looking in Africa for the beginnings of humanity, while more evidence favoring a Middle Eastern origin keeps appearing. Vavilov(12), Harlan(13), and Field(14) repeatedly pointed out that most of our crops--fruits and grains--have an ancestry that we can clearly trace to the Middle East. Most of our domesticated animals (donkeys, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats and camels) were also first raised in the Middle East. In fact, about the only widely used animals native to other regions are llamas and chickens.
Chickens and their eggs are remarkably late additions to the human cuisine, when one considers what a large part they play in our diet today. If you mentioned poultry to an ancient Egyptian, he probably would have thought you were talking about ducks. In the Nile valley it was baboons, not roosters, that announced each sunrise. No hen or rooster is mentioned in the Old Testament (an egg is referred to in Job 6:6, though), while just about every animal native to the Holy Land is; Homer does not mention them either. The chickens we are familiar with started out as red jungle fowl, living wild in Southeast Asia. They were probably first domesticated in Burma, spread to India before 1500 B.C., and got to China about the time the Zhou dynasty was founded (1122 B.C.). Traders brought them from India to the Middle East, no later than the seventh century B.C.(15) We know they reached Greece by 400 B.C., because of the famous last words of Socrates: "Crito, I owe a cock to Asklepios [the Greek god of healing]--be sure to see that it is paid." In the New Testament, a rooster appears at a critical moment to remind Peter that he has denied his master.
Similarly, is it any coincidence that when you trace lines as far as possible from the Middle East, at the end of those lines you come upon the world's strangest plants and animals? Why is it that South America's electric eel, Australia's marsupials, the lemurs of Madagascar, and so many other oddball creatures are found in the regions farthest from the Middle East? And why is it that the most exotic human cultures often turn up in the same places? They all had to come from somewhere, and the Middle East is the most sensible location.
Finally, although few have paid attention, it appears that the case for the Middle East can be strengthened by pointing out that the oldest Egyptian and Indo-European gods had Semitic names, even though their worshipers did not speak Semitic languages. They probably overlooked this because many of the names we use for ancient Egyptian cities and gods are actually Greek names. For example, Isis is the Greek name for Ast, which sounds a lot like Ishtar or Astarte, a very important goddess in Mesopotamian and Canaanite mythologies. Her husband Osiris is spelled As-Sar in Egyptian, which bears a disturbing resemblance to Ashur of Assyria (Asshur in Genesis); and to a Sumerian god named Asar. Ptah, the creator of the universe in Egyptian mythology, has a name which means nothing in Egyptian, but it means "he who fashioned things by carving and opening up" in Semitic tongues. Another creator god from Egypt, Tem (also called Atum), had a Semitic name meaning "the Complete, the Pure One;" David Rohl suggested that this may be an Egyptian attempt to spell the name of Adam. Rohl has also proposed that the name of Nun, the Egyptian god of water, came from NUN.KI, the Sumerian name for Eridu; coincidentally, Eridu was home to another water-god, Enki (see Chapter 10). And several scholars believe that the falcon-god Heru, better known as Horus, got his name from huru, the Arabic word for falcon.
A few Egyptian place names also may be of Semitic origin. Heliopolis, the holy city of Ra, was called Iunu by the Egyptians and On in Genesis; that may derive from Anu, the Sumerian god of the sky. Also interesting is the myth which states that before the gods came to Egypt they lived in a place called Ta-Ur; this is translated as "the olden land," but it could refer to an actual place we know of--Ur in southern Mesopotamia. The site where Egypt's first pharaohs were buried, Abidju (better known as Abydos), apparently is derived from Abzu, the Mesopotamian name for the primeval ocean that existed before the earth was created. It is worth noting that the Greek abussos, the root of our own word "abyss," is derived from Abzu as well.
The link between India and the Middle East is in the ancient peoples of Turkey and Iran; they were Aryans whose cousins invaded India around 1500 B.C.. Because of that close relationship, many of the oldest Indo-European gods had names almost identical to those who appear in Hindu scriptures like the Vedas. For example, the Anatolian deities Mitra-Ash, Uruwana, Indar, and Nashatiyanu have been identified with India's Mitra, Varuna, Indra and Nasatya.
Arthur Custance concluded that many "cavemen," particularly the Neanderthals, were Hamites who migrated into the wilderness ahead of the descendants of Shem and Japheth, and their primitive-looking features, like the beetle-browed skull, came from coping with a harsher environment than their relatives had to face. To him, if there was any evolution, the cave man "evolved" from modern man, not the other way around:
"Accompanying such cultural losses in the initial spread of the Hamitic peoples would be a certain coarsening of physique. Not only do people tend to be in many cases unsuited for the rigors of pioneering life and be culturally degraded as a consequence, but the nourishment itself often is grossly insufficient or unsuitable, and their bodies do not develop normally either. As [Sir William] Dawson has observed, the more highly cultured an immigrant is when he arrives, the more severely he is handicapped and likely to suffer when robbed of the familiar accouterments of his previous life."(16)
Custance finished his paper on the subject with the following eight conclusions:
1. The geographical distribution of fossil remains is such that they are most logically explained by treating them as marginal representatives of a widespread and in part forced dispersion of people from a single multiplying population established at a point more or less central to them all, and sending forth successive waves of migrants, each wave driving the previous one further toward the periphery;
2. The most degraded specimens are those representatives of this general movement who were driven into the least hospitable areas, where they suffered physical degeneration as a consequence of the circumstances in which they were forced to live;
3. The extraordinary physical variability of fossil remains results from the fact that the movements took place in small, isolated, strongly inbred bands; but the cultural similarities which link together even the most widely dispersed of them indicate a common origin for them all;
4. What I have said to be true of fossil man is equally true of living primitive societies as well as those which are now extinct;
5. All the initially dispersed populations are of one basic stock--the Hamitic family of Genesis 10;
6. The initial Hamitic settlers were subsequently displaced or overwhelmed by Indo-Europeans (i.e., Japhethites), who nevertheless inherited, or adopted, and extensively built upon Hamitic technology and so gained an advantage in each geographical area where they spread;
7. Throughout the great movements of people, both in prehistoric and historic times, there were never any human beings who did not belong within the family of Noah and his descendants;
8. Finally, this thesis is strengthened by the evidence of history which shows that migration has always tended to follow this pattern, has frequently been accompanied by instances of degeneration both of individuals and of whole tribes, usually resulting in the establishment of a general pattern of cultural relationships which parallel those archaeology has revealed.(17)
Heinsohn looked at the number of tools found at a Neanderthal campsite, Combe Grenals in France. According to archaeologists who have excavated American Indian sites, the typical adult Indian owned five tool kits, with eight tools in each kit. Now let's assume that a typical tribe owned 800 tools at any given time, and that all of them had to be replaced over the course of fifteen years. If Neanderthal Man lived at Combe Grenals for nearly all of the period of his existence, as anthropologists assert, then he could have left as many as 3,200,000 tools at the site. Instead 19,000 tools have been found so far, leading Heinsohn to call for reducing Neanderthal Man's time in Europe from 60,000 years to a mere 60 years. He goes on to offer this alternative chronology for ancient Europe:
In Chapter 5 we looked at the possibility that Indonesian villagers were familiar with Homo Floresiensis, and how Rhodesian man's gunshot wound suggests that some cave men lived near civilized men. If people like the Neanderthals were around less than five thousand years ago, the nearest civilizations would have reported their existence. This may sound preposterous, but a few ancient stories suggest this really happened.
The oldest of these references comes from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh; we quoted its flood story in the previous chapter. You may remember that Gilgamesh's companion was a fellow just as strong as him, named Enkidu. What I didn't tell you was where Enkidu came from; he was a wild man who lived and acted like the animals. His hair was uncut and matted; he ate grass like a gazelle and lurked at the water holes; according to the writer, "he was innocent of mankind; he knew nothing of the cultivated land." Yet he also showed cunning, for he broke the traps of a local hunter, and filled the pits he dug. This hunter went to Gilgamesh for help, and the king sent a prostitute to lure Enkidu to his city. The woman seduced Enkidu, and as Gilgamesh expected, he lost his innocence; now he could speak and think like a man, and his animal friends ran away, no longer wanting to be around him. The dejected Enkidu went to sit at the prostitute's feet, and she took him back to civilization. There Enkidu met Gilgamesh, and they fought, but neither could beat the other, so the fight ended with them becoming friends. The point to make here is that the legend did not consider Enkidu unusual, except for his strength; the people of ancient Mesopotamia probably knew of other people like him. What made Enkidu special was that he was the only "beast-man" on record who became fully civilized, to the point that he got to be the king's right-hand man.
A prominent character in Hindu mythology may also have been a cave man. This was Hanuman, the monkey king; he helped the great hero Rama when he went to Sri Lanka to rescue his wife and kill a terrible demon named Ravanna. In art and literature, Hanuman is portrayed as an ape, but he could talk, had a sense of humor, and was brave in battle. He also was a poet, who knew much about the hills and forests of India, and could make medicines from rare plants. Later in this work, I will propose that Rama is another name for Ramaah, a great-grandson of Noah who explored and settled south Asia. Is it possible that in his time, cave men lived nearby, too? Later Hanuman was deified, and today millions of Hindus worship him; some even believe that the yeti (abominable snowman) could be descended from him.
The Chinese did not see cave men as friendly. One of the oldest Chinese history books, the Xu Jing(18), describes a group of people called the Maozi, meaning "wet hairs." They were "an ancient and perverted race who in olden days retired to live in rocky caves, and the descendants of whom are still to be found in the vicinity of Canton." The Maozi lived by robbing their neighbors, until Huang Di, the Chinese king we quoted in Chapter 10, decided they were completely without virtue, and sent two generals named Zhang and Li to exterminate them. Incidentally, the big teeth anthropologists labeled as Gigantopithecus (see Chapter 5) were found in Hong Kong, only a few miles from Canton; could they have come from these extinct marauders?
Even the Bible may have a reference to cave men. Earlier in this chapter I proposed that Job lived during the ice age; during his suffering he compared himself to some uncivilized louts that he scorned in better times:
"Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished? (They had a short lifespan) For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste. Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat. They were driven forth from among men, they cried after them as after a thief. To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks. Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together. They were the children of fools, yea, children of base men; they were viler than the earth."(19)
Where have we heard of people like this before? Job doesn't give them a name, but his description is detailed enough to give us an idea: they lived like animals, made animal noises because they didn't have a language of their own, and robbed civilized men until the latter were forced to chase them away. Does this sound like Enkidu, or the Maozi? Are these cavemen we are reading about? According to Job, they got that way because they could not compete with other men, perhaps because they had degenerated physically and mentally, as well as spiritually. Consequently they fled the most desirable parts of the earth, and made for themselves new homes in the caves.
This little-noticed statement is significant in that it suggests that those foods we associate with "the grain group" were seldom eaten before the Flood, if people ate them at all. Indeed, the fossil record suggests that this was so.
The grass family has about 4,500 species; today it is probably the most important plant family to humanity. Included are all cereal grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, rice, etc.) plus sugar cane and bamboo. But few fossils from the grass family are found in the rocks; evolutionists date the oldest to the Miocene epoch, about 23 million years ago on their geologic calendar. As we noted before, most of the fossils we have point to a world where jungles covered the landscape from pole to pole. Then came what textbooks on paleontology call "the grasslands revolution." Evolutionists have no mechanism to explain why the grass family came out of nowhere, so they propose that suddenly the world climate became drier, and the once-insignificant blades of grass spread across the newly formed bare spaces, filling the zone between forest and desert.
According to our theory the grasslands revolution did take place, because of the climatic change caused by the Flood and the elimination of the earth's moisture canopy. Many places were now too cold or too dry to have jungles, so the fastest-growing plants, the grasses, became the first to grow there, and in places like the Great Plains of the USA, they achieved an early domination of the landscape that has continued to this day. Most fruit trees take many years to grow, so these rapid-growing grains--some of which can produce two crops per year--became the "staff of life" by necessity; for the first few years after the Flood there was little else for Noah's family to eat.
Scholars agree that agriculture began with the harvesting of wild wheat and barley in the ancient Middle East, but not in the river valleys of countries like Iraq, where cultivation is easiest; it was first done in the highlands immediately to the north. They are at a loss to explain this, and why so many of today's fruits and vegetables happen to be native to that part of the world. Conventional science has yet to come up with an answer, but both the Bible and Mesopotamian legends explain it: cultivation of the land and the domestication of animals were practiced before the Flood, so we would expect to find the first evidence of agriculture in the post-Flood world near where the Ark landed.
We know Noah brought all the seeds needed for farming in the ark (Genesis 6:21), but where could he sow them? It must have taken years for the earth to dry up and for the flood waters to drop to the sea level of today; during that time the mountains of the Middle East would have been the only suitable place to live. The lowlands, still filled with mud and water, were probably not visited yet. The highlands were freed from the worst of the watery avalanche, but were still soggy from the frequent rains that must have come before the atmosphere re-stabilized. Cultivation of most crops is not possible in soil that cannot be drained, and until the rivers found their courses most of the waters, having no place to go, collected in brackish lakes on any depression of the ground. According to a fragmentary Sumerian tablet translated by Samuel Noah Kramer, the gods looked for a place where they could restart agriculture, and all they could find was "the mountain of aromatic cedars":
"Enlil went up the peak and lifted his eyes;
There is one cedar mountain that is universally famous: Mt. Lebanon, whose cedar trees are so famous that the Lebanese flag features one. Mt. Lebanon is also the location of a famous ancient holy place: Baalbek. Today if one goes to Baalbek, the main sight is the ruins of Roman temples to Jupiter and Bacchus which are marvels of engineering even today.(20) In Roman times pilgrims came from Egypt and all of the Middle East to visit these sanctuaries, which were built on top of older Phoenician temples to Baal and Asherah. The ruins are clearly visible and do not pose any problem for the archaeologist(21), but the mystery is why the ancients regarded this as a holy site in the first place?
Ancient Arab writings claim that the first temples to Baal and Asherah were built at Baalbek a short time after the Flood, by a "tribe of giants" commanded by King Nimrod. This site may be identical with Baal-Gad "in the valley of Lebanon under Mt. Hermon" (Joshua 11:17), where Joshua turned back after completing his northern campaign against the city of Hazor. Could it be that Baalbek became a holy place because this is one of the first places where the survivors of the Flood first lived after leaving the neighborhood of Mt. Ararat?
For most of the twentieth century it was believed that the "cradle of civilization" was in southern Iraq, meaning that mankind chose to build the first villages on the shores of the Persian Gulf, places like Ur and Eridu, and they eventually grew into the first cities. However, the discovery of Hamoukar and Tel Brak in the 1990s threw a wrench into that theory. These settlements (villages and towns rather than true cities) are located in northeast Syria, far upstream from the Sumerian cities, and older--4000 to 3700 B.C. when dated by conventional methods. My guess is that Hamoukar and Tel Brak were settled by the same people who first settled Lebanon; they are smaller than Iraqi cities like Ur and Babylon because there weren't as many people back then.
And it is not just cities that first appear in an unexpected location. The oldest evidence of agriculture and the domestication of animals comes not from the floodplains of Iraq, but from the mountains immediately to the north. The oldest examples of pottery in the Middle East come from the northern mountains, too. Even the oldest evidence of wine-growing comes from here; stone age jars containing wine residue have turned up in Georgia, and at Hajji Firuz Tepe and Godin Tepe in Iran. These places are no more than a few hundred miles from "the mountains of Ararat," which makes sense if the story of Noah getting drunk (see the next section) happened nearby. Evolutionary models cannot explain why mankind started advancing from the stone age to civilization in the mountains, when river valleys are more attractive places to live, but it makes sense if you believe in a universal flood; the first generations after Noah would have needed to stay in the highlands of Lebanon and the Zagros Mts. until the lowlands, buried under layers of mud, became habitable again.
"When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his younger son had done to him, he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers. Then he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be their servant." (Genesis 9:20-26)
First let me point out that while drunkenness is considered sinful and irresponsible behavior, here it was probably an accident. Remember the suggestion previously that earth had a much denser, more oxygen-rich atmosphere before the Flood. Also, today's doctors have found that getting someone drunk right after he has breathed pure oxygen is almost impossible. Noah probably drank wine before the Flood without suffering any ill effects, and if he was unaware of atmospheric changes and their effect on the human body, the alcohol in the wine would have hit him like a ton of bricks. We must not read into these verses that Noah was a drunkard, because God did not condemn him for it, and we never read of him doing it again.
Noah's three sons had appropriate names, with meanings that reflected their futures. We saw previously that the names of many pre-Flood patriarchs referred to events which took place in their lifetimes. It seems incredible that antediluvian parents could have been psychic enough to predict the future lives of their newborn children, so perhaps in those days it was the custom to change people's names when something important happened to them. Some cultures have done this more recently; for example, the cardinal of southern Poland changed his name from Karol Wojtyla to John Paul II, when he became pope in 1978.
Anyway, Shem simply means "name" in Hebrew. We might interpret that as "authority," "title" or "noble." In Biblical times a person who did something that gave him distinction or fame was said to "make a name for himself." For example, in Gen. 11:4, the reason given for building the Tower of Babel was to "make a name for ourselves." This would imply that Shem was the heir of Noah, the one who would receive the family birthright. Perhaps that is why Shem's descendants stayed in the Middle East, while those of Ham and Japheth had to travel far away to find lands they could call their own. Japheth means "enlarge," so Noah's prediction meant that Japheth would live up to his name. Ham means "hot," in the sense of "hot-tempered" or "rebellious"; he acted rashly when he found his father drunk and naked. It seems that he enjoyed the moment, thinking, "Look at you. You're not as good as you say you are." Then he went out and blabbed about it to his brothers, instead of doing something about the problem; by contrast, Shem and Japheth covered up their father very discreetly.
Now it may seem unfair for Noah to curse the youngest son of Ham rather than the perpetrator himself, but there was a reason for it.(22) In Old Testament times, blessings/curses not only affected the person being blessed/cursed, but also the person's father, and the descendants of both. We have an example of this in the story of David, when, after David killed the giant Goliath, King Saul asked, "Whose son is this that I may bless him?" Of course he knew who David was, but he wanted to know if David's father deserved the same blessing he was about to bestow on David.
Likewise, the curse Noah placed fell back one generation to affect the father of the accursed person. If Noah had said "Cursed be Ham" instead, the curse would have also affected Noah himself, and the whole human race. By making Canaan the recipient, Noah was limiting the curse's effect to the descendants of Ham, rather than putting it on everyone.
Along with the curse came a brief prophecy concerning the future of mankind. Shem became the spiritual leader of Noah's sons, though he was not the eldest.(23) Through Shem came Abraham, the Jewish people, and eventually the Messiah. But then the Israelites lost their land; when Israel came under the rule of Japhetic peoples(24), descendants of Japheth fulfilled the prophecy of dwelling in the tents (land) of Shem. And in the 2,500+ years since the Babylonian captivity, Jews and Gentiles have often lived side by side, fulfilling Noah's prophecy in a second way as well.
The descendants of Japheth did become very numerous, as Noah predicted. By the end of the bronze age they had settled most of Europe and much of Asia; in more recent centuries they have occupied/colonized so many countries that it is easier to name the places that did not fall under Western rule at some point. In doing so they conquered the descendants of Ham, enslaved them, and adopted Hamitic technology as their own. The peoples descended from Japheth, like the Greeks, were more often intellectuals than inventors; they have greatly improved the inventions they found but it took a more practical spark of genius to create the invention originally. Thus the Hamites became the servants of mankind both directly (as slaves) and indirectly (by letting others share in the benefits of their technology). If this sounds strange to the reader, check out the exhaustive essay Arthur Custance wrote on the subject ("The Technology of Hamitic People").
Maybe Canaan did not deserve the curse of servitude at the time Noah placed it upon him in Genesis 9, but he could have earned it later. The extra-Biblical Book of Jubilees claims that the lands of the earth had been divided up between Noah's three sons before the Babel incident, due to early exploration of the post-diluvian world, and after Babel most of the families went to CLAIM the lands which were assigned to them. Canaan, however, committed an act of illegal occupation in Shem's territory.
After mankind was dispersed and the different nations went forth, the author of Jubilees relates, "Ham and his sons went to the land which he was to occupy, (the land) which he acquired as his portion in the country of the south." But then, before they got to Africa, "Canaan saw the land of Lebanon (all the way down) to the River of Egypt, that it was very good." And so he changed his mind: "He went not into the land of his inheritance to the west of the (Red) sea; he dwelt (instead) in the land of Lebanon, eastward and westward of the Jordan."
His family tried to talk him out of committing such an illegal act: "And Ham his father, and Cush and Mizraim his brothers, said unto him, 'Thou livest in a land that is not thine, for it was not assigned to us when the lots were drawn. Do not thus! But if thou persistest, ye, thou and thy children, will fall, accursed, in the land, in a rebellion. Thy settling here was rebellion, and through rebellion thy children will be felled down, and thy seed will be destroyed unto all eternity. Sojourn not in the land of Shem, for unto Shem and unto the children of Shem was it apportioned by lot. Accursed art thou, and accursed wilt thou be before all the children of Noah on account of the curse, for we took an oath before the holy Judge and before our father Noah.'
"But Canaan hearkened not unto the words of his father and his brothers. He dwelt in the land of the Lebanon from Hamath even unto the entrance of Egypt, he and his sons. For this reason is that land named Canaan."
red = descendants of Japheth.
From Japheth we get the Indo-European peoples. Initially they lived on the slopes of the Caucasus mts., leading to the term "Caucasian" as a description of the white race. Some Japhethites (the descendants of Javan and Tiras?) may have gone directly to the Aegean and crossed over to Europe, but most appear to have gone around the Caspian Sea in a counterclockwise circle until they reached Central Asia. They did this because a direct northward migration into Russia was impossible during the ice age; travel in that direction would have to wait until the glaciers and the nearest bodies of water shrank to the point that they no longer blocked the way. From Central Asia, some tribes went east as far as India (one eastgoing tribe, the Tocharians, didn't stop until it reached the border of China), while the rest went west into Russia, entering Europe in a roundabout manner. Wherever they went, the Japhethites gave a mental contribution to the peoples around them; philosophy, literature, great works of art, and modern science are among Japheth's contributions to humanity. However, all this was centuries in the future; when the Japhethites first appear in recorded history, their main achievement was the domestication of the horse.
Japheth's sons were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Meshech, Tubal, and Tiras. The descendants of Gomer were the Cimmerians, a nomadic race that lived in and around Ukraine until driven out in the eighth century B.C. The modern name for the Crimea is a contraction of "Cimmeria." Gomer's sons, Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah, appear to have produced the Nordic or northern European peoples; one of them (Ashkenaz) is clearly identified as father of the Germanic or Teutonic peoples by the Jews, who call their own members of European ancestry "Ashkenazi Jews." The other two main Nordic groups of ancient times, the Celts and the Slavs, I am cautiously identifying with Riphath and Togarmah respectively, until evidence arises that points elsewhere.
Josephus identifies Magog with the Scythians, and the name Magog is often associated with "Mongol," leading to the suggestion that the Finns, Hungarians, Turkic and Ural-Altaic peoples are his descendants today. These peoples have never been numerous where they lived, but they cover an astonishingly large amount of territory in the northern Eurasian landmass. They must have been the first Japhethites to depart from the vicinity of Babel, since nobody will classify their languages as "Indo-European" today. Also their racial makeup suggests that there has been more than a little intermarriage between Magogites and the ancestors of the Asiatic races, especially among the easternmost tribes (Siberians, Mongolians, and Manchus).
Madai means the Medes, and presumably all of the Indo-Iranian peoples. Tiras probably settled the Balkans; from him we can trace the Thracians (a now-extinct race that lived on the western shore of the Black Sea) and the Illyrians (ancestor of today's Albanians). Meshech appears to have been the Phrygians, a central Anatolian people, because the Assyrians called them "Mushki." Tubal is likewise identified with Cappadocia or eastern Anatolia (modern Turkey), because that area is called "Tabal" in Assyrian records; possible candidates for Tubal's descendants include the Chaldeans, Armenians, and Georgians. The name of Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, may also come from Tubal.
Javan gave us the southern European, or Mediterranean peoples. Javan's name has been traced to Ionian, no surprise if Javan is the patriarch of the Greeks. Javan's four sons, Elishah and Tarshish and Kittim and Dodanim, have also been traced with some certainty. Elishah has been altered by the changes in language to become either Hellas (meaning Greece) or Alashiya (the ancient Egyptian name for Cyprus). Tarshish has been identified with both Tartessos in Spain, and Tarsus, the apostle Paul's hometown in Turkey; the only way to resolve this is to suggest that descendants of Tarshish settled both Spain and Cilicia. Kittim might be Italy, because the Roman navy is referred to in Daniel 11 as the "ships of Kittim." Dodanim is spelled in some versions of the Bible as Rodanim, making him identifiable with Rhodes.
The Indo-European migration, shown in thousand-year-steps. All the descendants of Japheth are accounted for here except for Magog, presumably because in terms of dispersion and language, Magog broke off from his brothers at a very early date. Magog's descendants are in the areas marked "Finnic," "Turkic," and "Uralic," on the northern and eastern edges of the map. A map showing movements after 1500 A.D. isn't practical, because with the Age of Exploration, Europeans discovered the rest of the world and settled most of it. Maps provided by Wikipedia.
Unfortunately Ham's genealogy is also the most difficult to trace, due to the changes in language. Whereas the children of Shem and the children of Japheth spoke languages from the Semitic, Indo-European, or Turko-Finnic families, Ham's descendants developed so many differences in language that only computer analysis can find any similarities between them. Anyway, Ham is listed as having four sons: Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan. Cush is easy to identify, because his name is associated with Ethiopia (meaning Black Africa); the Mesopotamian city of Kish may be named after him too, with only a vowel changed. His sons are more difficult. Nimrod (see the next chapter) we already know, so we can call him the first Sumerian. Raamah and his sons, Sheba and Dedan, may have given us the dark-skinned peoples of south India, Australia, and the Pacific; the names of two key figures in Hindu mythology, Rama and Shiva, are very similar to Raamah and Sheba and can be explained by a simple misspelling in the Hebrew alphabet (e.g., B and V are both written with the Hebrew letter Bet). The biggest problem comes with identifying the other sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah and Sabteca. We can pin nothing on them, so until I have reason to believe otherwise I will assume these were the first settlers of sub-Saharan Africa. Four basic ethnic groups lived below the Sahara at the dawn of history (Bantu, Nilotics, Pygmies and Bushmen), so here I will venture that each was descended from a different son of Cush.(25)
The name Mizraim means Egypt in Hebrew, and the modern Arabic name for Egypt is Misr, so we are on safe ground identifying Mizraim with the Egyptians. Two of his sons, Naphtuhim and Pathrusim, are almost as easily identified with Lower and Upper Egypt respectively. Ludim, Anamin, and Lehabim refer to Libya or North Africa overall--probably the Berbers & Tuaregs of today. Thus, it is almost certain that Mizraim's family headed to North Africa from Babel by taking the direct land route. Casluhim is already identified for us as the Philistines, and Caphtorim may be Crete.
Phut, the third son of Ham, means Libya to Bible scholars. Canaan's sons are along the eastern Mediterranean shore. Sidon was, and still is, in Lebanon, while Heth gave us the Hittites. The other nine tribes listed under Canaan lived in the Holy Land until the arrival of the Israelites around 1400 B.C.
A question that constantly comes up when discussing the Table of Nations is this: Where do the Asians and American Indians come from? The Bible itself does not clearly state an ancestor, but there should be some clues. In his book Noah's Three Sons, Arthur Custance identified their ancestors as the Sinites, a tribe presumably descended from a son of Canaan named Sin. This may seem surprising, to propose that a scarcely named patriarch is father to about a third of the world's present-day population. But two points can be made in favor of this theory:
1. The American Indians appear to have originated from small groups--modern anthropologists claim that three tribes, with the largest having just seventy individuals, are enough to explain the genetic variation now visible. Likewise the Asiatics once lived in a much smaller portion of Asia than they do now. Japan, for example, was home to the mysterious Ainu, while a dark-skinned race, the Negritos, had all of Southeast Asia and southern China to themselves until about 1000 B.C. The ancestors of today's Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, etc., may have only lived in Mongolia and Siberia at the beginning of the third millennium B.C.; their success in the ages since explains their current numbers and widespread distribution.
2. The name Sin appears frequently in the Chinese language, and the city of Xian, a provincial capital in western China, was known as Sianfu in the nineteenth century, meaning "Father Sin." Some scholars have suggested that "Father Sin" may have been Fu Xi, the legendary first king of China, who began his reign in 2852 B.C. Later, when the first Chinese kingdom broke up in the first millennium B.C., a state named Qin (also spelled Tsin or Ch'in), arose near Xian; the Qin rulers reunited the land in the third century B.C., and the whole land became known as China, named after Qin. Thus the name "Sin" came to our time in a roundabout fashion, altered over the ages to become "China." The ancient name also appeared in its original form in the 1960s and 70s when news reports told about the "Sino-Soviet" border dispute.
Shem is listed as having five sons named Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. Elam is the Elamites, the original inhabitants of Iran; Lud is the Lydians, who founded a significant kingdom in Anatolia (modern Turkey). Asshur is the Assyrians, a northern Iraqi people who also gave the name Asshur to their chief god and their first city. Aram gave us the Aramaeans, who lived first in northern Arabia, and later Syria. Arphaxad looks like the Akkadians, who lived in central Iraq and founded the first post-Babel empire around 2100 B.C.. Arphaxad is also listed as the ancestor of Abraham, who came at least eight generations later.
A descendant of Arphaxad was Peleg, who may have lived at the time of Babel, as we note later on. Arthur Custance suggested that the Pelasgians, a mysterious people who lived in Greece at the beginning of history, got their name from Peleg. It may be because of that connection that a river in northern Greece is called the Hebrus, a name reminiscent of Peleg's father, Eber.
Peleg's brother Joktan is listed as having thirteen sons. All of their names have been traced to places in Arabia, suggesting that Joktan is the main father of the Arabs.(26) Joktan's name means "he will be made little," and sure enough, the Arabs were not considered important until the rise of Islam.
Here I should point out that a lot of what passes for discussion about the races of mankind is ridiculous. There is really only one species of human being. We know this because a person from the most exotic ethnic background can marry someone from any other ethnic background and have healthy children. For instance, we refer to the children of white and black parents as "mulatto." We have several names for someone whose parents are half white and half Asian or American Indian, such as Amerasian, Eurasian, half-breed and Mestizo. And there is a nation of 14 million people where everyone's ancestry is part black, part Asian: Madagascar. The only reason why we haven't seen more interracial marriage is that there are real cultural clashes when it happens; in the United States, for example, society used to frown upon it and call it "miscegenation." In late twentieth-century Vietnam, children of mixed ancestry were put at the bottom of the social ladder, because their fathers were likely to be enemy soldiers (French or American), while in nearby Thailand and the Philippines, the Hollywood influence is strong enough to make white ancestry a plus. Nowadays there is enough racial mixing that the government is hard pressed to come up with satisfactory terms to classify people of multiracial ancestry, without offending anybody.
There is also only one real "color" of human being: brown. We all have one pigment in our skin, called melanin, which is brown in color. Whether we are "light brown" or "dark brown" is determined by our heredity, where we live, and by how much time we spend outdoors. Melanin protects the skin from ultraviolet damage caused by sunlight, so if you live in the tropics, where you can get a sunburn in a matter of minutes, melanin will definitely be something worth having; near the equator, natural selection will favor those with plenty of melanin. Conversely, melanin won't be as useful outside the tropics, so people living there won't have so much of it -- which is why the world's lightest people traditionally came from Scandinavia, a part of Europe two-thirds of the way to the north pole. Those of us who have a little melanin are called "white," those who have a lot of it are called "black." If somebody has no melanin at all, we call him an albino--an unhealthy recessive trait. In addition, the physical differences between the races can be surmounted in only a few generations. For example, if you take a group of people who are blacker than the Ace of Spades, make sure that they marry white partners, and then control who their children and grandchildren marry, then in no more than eight generations you will have a group of people white enough to join the most snobbish country club.(27)
If pre-Flood humans had racial differences, they probably did not follow the black-white-yellow-brown division that we consider normal today. Recently Peter Frost, a Canadian anthropologist, proposed that the genes for light-colored hair and eyes, those physical features that have been prized for so long, did not manifest themselves until the ice age, when they appeared as a mutation among the women of northern Europe. In the subarctic environment of ice age Europe, the main source of food came from big game like mammoths and cave bears, and the risky business of hunting those animals led to a high death rate among the men. Thus, Frost suggests, there must have been a shortage of men, and if cave men, like their gentleman descendants, preferred blondes, fair-haired women would have had the advantage in the competition for mates, making sure that they would leave more descendants. That may also explain why many men are born with blond hair but it gets darker when they grow up; it wasn't as useful a trait for them as it was for the ladies. Nowadays being a blonde or redhead is not so much of an advantage, and because those traits are recessive, they are becoming less common, as those of Nordic ancestry increasingly marry folks from parts of the world where the population has always been overwhelmingly dark-haired and dark-eyed.(28)
A more accurate definition of a "pure" race would be a group of people who have been isolated long enough to have developed their own special physical characteristics, and who have intermixed enough to have the genes for those characteristics spread evenly in the community. But during any period of isolation peculiarities in the group's way of life will also appear; newly invented words produce new dialects which in time evolve into new languages, and a small change in decoration on a cooking pot can signal the development of a new culture. The tracing of these cultural trends is easier and far more rewarding for the anthropologist than just comparing the shapes of skulls. Tracing the development of languages can also give considerable insight on our lineage, as long as we take into account how easy it is to learn a completely different language from one's parents, simply by being brought up in a different country. For example, today Black Americans, Eskimos, Hawaiians, Irishmen, Maoris, and Indians (both American Indians and Indian Indians) all use English as their first language, but two hundred years ago their ancestors spoke languages that are nothing like English!
Among the three families started by Noah's sons, the family of Japheth traveled the least at this stage. They stayed in the Caucasus region, as noted earlier, so for most of the third millennium B.C. the Japhethite domain was Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, eastern Turkey, and northwest Iran. We pointed out that God had promised to "greatly enlarge Japheth," but the expansion fulfilling that prophecy, the "Great Indo-European Migration," doesn't get underway until about 2100 B.C., long after this narrative ends, so we won't be covering it here. You can read about the migration in Chapter 1 of my European history.
While the first Japhethites seemed to like living in the highlands, the Semites and Hamites moved out to find new homes for themselves. In the section on the origin of grain, I suggested that Lebanon and northern Syria were among the first places settled after the Flood; those settlers were most likely Semites, because we find speakers of Semitic languages in the area when writing becomes available. The other likely proto-Semitic lands were central and northern Iraq, and the southern half of Iran; their earliest inhabitants who could write were Semites, too. Central and northern Iraq were the respective home bases for the Akkadians and Assyrians, two of the great empire-builders of the ancient Middle East. Southern Iran was the original home of the Elamites, not only at Susa but also at two major sites discovered recently, Jiroft and Burnt City.
Philologists classify the Semitic languages into two sub-groups, "West Semitic" and "East Semitic." The West Semitic group is well-represented today; Aramaic, Arabic and Hebrew come from there. Akkadian and Assyrian were the most widely used East Semitic languages. Along that line, I'm going to propose the following scenario for how the children of Shem went forth. Before Babel, they split into at least two groups, with Lud and Aram leading the West Semites into Syria-Lebanon. Elam, Asshur and Arphaxad were the East Semitic patriarchs, and at first they followed the Hamites east through the Zagros mountain passes. However, none of them stayed with the Hamites for the whole journey; Asshur and Arphaxad made a right turn with their families early on, and ended up in Iraq, while Elam settled down in southern Iran.
The trickiest part of this scenario is the origin of Hebrew and Arabic; we noted above that those are West Semitic languages, but the ancestry of the Hebrews and the Arabs is traced back to Arphaxad, an East Semite. For that I would propose a descendant of Arphaxad named Eber as the solution. A surprising number of Jewish traditions have sprung up around Eber, in view of how little the Bible says about him. One asserts that Levi and Issachar, two sons of Jacob, married granddaughters of Eber; another claims that he refused to take part in the building of the Tower of Babel, so his language, unlike everybody elses', was not confused. Eber's name is interpreted as meaning "across," "beyond," "opposite side," or "passage," and is the root word for Hebrew, so the ultimate meaning of "Hebrew" is "those who cross over." Did Eber lead an important early migration across the Euphrates? When the library of Ebla was found in the 1970s, several of its clay tablets mentioned a king named Ebrium, which immediately reminded the translators of Eber. The Ebla tablets also mentioned a second city named Ur, besides the one in southern Iraq, and while the second Ur hasn't been found yet, the tablets suggest a location somewhere in northern Syria. Since then several Bible scholars have suggested this was the real "Ur of the Chaldees" that Terah and Abraham came from, when they moved to Haran, because Deuteronomy 26:5 calls Jacob a "wandering Aramaean," not a wandering Akkadian or Sumerian. Did Eber leave the other East Semites, taking his family, livestock and possessions to the second Ur, in the land of the Western Semites, beginning the journey that Terah and Abraham finished, several generations later?
The most important migration in the immediate post-Flood years was that of the Hamites. Unlike the Semites, they appear to have stayed in one group. The first two verses of Genesis 11 describes this movement by saying, "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there."
We know from other references (e.g., Genesis 10:10) that Shinar was the land that would soon be known as Sumer--the southern third of present-day Iraq.(31) However, Iraq is south of Mt. Ararat, while the verse said they "journeyed from the east" to get there. This only makes sense if the Hamites first traveled east into Iran, and then doubled back to reach Iraq. Therefore I am suggesting they followed a path parallel to the Zagros Mts. at first, going through several mountain passes (the "seven gates" of Mesopotamian literature); then when they got to the plains of Elam, the last of the Semites following them stopped, while the Hamites turned west and went on into Iraq. Presumably they took this roundabout path, instead of going directly from the highlands to Iraq, because they had to keep to the hill country for a while, until the plains became dry enough to grow crops.
"The everlasting ground plan,
In Chapter 9 we looked at the Sumerian King List, and how it asserted that the Sumerian cities existed before the Flood. Of course the geologic disruptions caused by the Flood must have destroyed all landmarks of the antediluvian era, so it is unlikely that Nimrod and his kin found all of the original cities when they built new ones.
Despite the lack of bearings, apparently they did succeed in finding something that they sought: artifacts that the Flood had not destroyed. The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal boasted that his library of clay tablets at Nineveh contained texts written before the Flood. The first chapter of The Epic of Gilgamesh has that heroic king boasting that his city (Uruk) possessed an antediluvian slate of wisdom:
"Find the copper tablet box,
We also noted earlier that according to the Sumerian King List, the first kings after the Flood ruled from Kish and Uruk. They are listed separately, leading a casual reader to think the dynasty of Kish came first, followed by the dynasty of Uruk. However, the list says this about Dumuzi, the fourth king of Uruk: "He captured En-me-barage-si single-handed," referring to one of the last kings on the Kish list. There is also a separate clay tablet (not part of the King List) that describes a very short conflict between the next two kings, Gilgamesh of Uruk and Agga of Kish. Therefore we must admit that the dynasties were contemporary with one another, for at least part of the time they existed. In addition, the dynasty of Kish has almost twice as many kings (23 vs. 12), and the only king of Kish who gets much attention in Sumerian literature, Etana, is in the middle of the list, not at either end. Because of that, a few scholars have proposed there were really two dynasties ruling side-by-side at Kish, one founded by Etana and one founded by Ga-Ur (the obscure figure at the beginning of the list), sort of like the two kings of Sparta or the two consuls of the Roman Republic.
With Uruk, we have just a bit more literary evidence. The first king of the Uruk dynasty is Meskiagkasher, who is described as the son of Utu, the Sumerian sun god and lawgiver; the King List also says he went into the sea and traveled to a land with mountains. We will talk about that sea journey in the next chapter. In his work Legend, archaeologist David Rohl argued that Meskiagkasher and the Cush of Genesis 10 are probably different names for the same person, with Cush being a hypocoristicon or "nickname." If this is correct, then Utu must be another name for Ham, here blown up into a mythological figure. Because Cush/Meskiagkasher is the one listed as the founder of Uruk, I have a feeling that either Ham died before his family reached southern Iraq, or he bequeathed leadership to his eldest son at some point on the journey. Nothing yet has been found to link the kings of Kish with Biblical characters; they may have started off as governors appointed by Cush and Nimrod, or they could again be individuals from Genesis under completely different names (the family of Arphaxad, perhaps).
Now let us look at the physical evidence left behind by Iraq's first post-Flood settlers. When you dig up artifacts left by people who did not read or write, trash heaps are often the best source of information, so archaeology has sometimes been called the science of rubbish.(33) Besides stones and bones, pottery is the most durable item found in ancient garbage. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Sir Flinders Petrie worked out a system of relative dating, where an approximate age can be put on an archaeological site by the style of pottery found there; if the same style is found at two different sites, it is a safe guess that those sites were inhabited around the same time. That is why pots, even when broken, are so important to archaeologists. Because transportation and communication in ancient times was far more difficult than it is today, a change in the shape or decoration of pots is usually interpreted to mean an invasion or migration took place, rather than simply a change in fashion. Archaeologists are out of luck if they excavate a site where people preferred to carry things in baskets or leather bags, but in places where pots are common enough, an entire culture may be named after them, like the Beaker Folk of prehistoric Britain. Still, even with a good pottery record, what we know about prehistoric man is a few facts connected by a lot of guesswork, so take what I write in the rest of this work with a bit of caution; the story written here is not "carved in stone" and could change with the next archaeological excavation.
So what does the pottery record tell us about postdiluvian man? Well, with most of the prehistoric sites where he lived, such as Jarmo, Tel Hassuna and Samarra in northern Iraq, and Halaf in northeast Syria, each place has its own pottery style. This suggests that each community was on its own; if there was commerce between them, it was not on a scale that spared any group from the need to be self-sufficient. I will propose that these sites were the homes of Noah's children and grandchildren, who lived in groups that at one point may have been as small as a single family.
It was a different story, however, in southern Iraq. The Iraqi plain was very fertile, and contained plenty of fish and game, but it was not a desirable place to live because of unequal water distribution. Where water was present, there were marshes, and where water was not present, desert existed. To do well in such a place, the settlers would have to use irrigation as well as agriculture. They knew how to do both, and massive engineering projects dug ditches to divert the water, drain the marshes, and turn the deserts into farmland. These irrigation canals were so important that they were regularly maintained for thousands of years afterwards.(34)
Whereas several pottery styles/cultures existed in the northern settlements, southern Iraq had one style of pottery from the start, and we have found it in the oldest levels of communities like Ur, Eridu and Uruk. It was characterized by black markings on green-tinged ceramics, and is called Ubaidian, after Tel al-Ubaid, a site near Ur that is rich in such pottery. The Ubaidian culture is also characterized by images with faces that resembled lizards rather than people. Clay models of sailboats tell us that they knew how to make watercraft, and their merchants traveled all over the area settled by Noah's descendants at this stage; Ubaidian-style pots have been found in northern Iraq, Syria, and on the east coast of Arabia, as far south as Bahrein and Qatar. All this suggests that the first inhabitants of southern Iraq traveled a lot, and were from one family, ethnic group or political unit.
At some point in the fourth millennium B.C., a new culture replaced the Ubaidian one. We call it the Uruk culture, because one of southern Iraq's communities, Uruk, had grown to cover 250 acres, and was home for an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people. Uruk had become the first postdiluvian city; the largest any other towns could get at this stage was 100 acres. Here, because the land was so fertile and because so many farmers were now producing more food than they needed, it was possible for other professions to develop, and people could specialize in working at one skill. This is most evident in Uruk-style pottery; although it is finely shaped, hinting that the potter's wheel had already been invented, these pots were undecorated, utilitarian pieces, mass produced without much concern for the appearance.
It is the author's belief, due to a recent discovery at Hamoukar (more about that in the next chapter), that the artifacts of the Uruk culture were made at the time of the Tower of Babel story, or immediately afterwards. Uruk may not have been the capital of Nimrod's empire, but it served as its commercial and cultural center, sort of a prehistoric New York City. It would remain important long after Nimrod and the Tower disappeared, at least until the second millennium B.C.
This is the End of Chapter 11.
The Genesis Chronicles
Other History Papers