Origin of Postdiluvian Civilization
In the last analysis, the only really reliable recorder of time is man himself! In any kind of natural process that might be used to determine past time, there is always the possibility that the rates may have changed as well as uncertainty regarding its initial condition. It is absolutely impossible to know beyond question that such and such a formation or deposit has an age of so many years, unless that age is supported by reliable human records of some kind.
And it is, therefore, highly significant that no truly verified archaeological datings antedate the time of about 3000 B.C. or even later. Larger dates are, of course, frequently ascribed to various localities and cultures, but they are always based on radiocarbon or other geological methods rather than written human records. There are numerous extant chronologies that have been handed down from various ancient peoples, and it is bound to be significant that none of them yield acceptable evidence that the histories of these or other peoples antedate the Biblical date for the Deluge.
The Bible pictures the dispersal of post-diluvian man from the geographical areas implied also by archaeology and secular history. The most ancient peoples leaving historical records were, of course, the inhabitants of the Tigris-Euphrates valley, the Nile Valley of Egypt, and other near-Eastern areas. This correlates perfectly with the Bible records, which picture the centrifugal movement of tribes out from the first kingdom of Babylon (Babel, Genesis 11:9).
The archaeological testimony is confirmed further by botanical studies. A systematic agriculture was, of course, necessary for the existence of stable and civilized communities and so would be one of the best indices of the beginnings of post-diluvian cultures. The following from a Danish scientist is therefore significant: Thus, we may conclude from present distribution studies that the cradle of Old World plant husbandry stood within the general area of the arc constituted by the western foothills of the Zagros Mountains (Iraq-Iran), the Taurus (southern Turkey), and the Galilean uplands (northern Palestine), in which the two wild prototypes occur together. We may conclude, further, that wheat played a more dominant role than barley in the advent of plant husbandry in the Old World.”7-117
It is remarkable how many different lines of evidence of a historical nature point back to a time around 3000 B. C. as dating the beginning of true civilization. There have been theories and speculations about earlier periods, but nothing concrete. With reference to Egypt, H. R. Hall, the Egyptologist, states: We think that the First Dynasty began not before 3400 and not much later than 3200 B.C… A. Scharff, however, would bring the date down to about 3000 B.C.; and it must be admitted that his arguments are good, and that at any rate it is more probable that the date of the First Dynasty is later than 3400 B.C. than earlier.7-118
Even this date is very questionable, as it is based mainly upon the king—lists of Manetho, an Egyptian priest of about 250 B.C., whose work has not been preserved except in a few inaccurate quotations in other ancient writings. As George A. Barton, of the University of Pennsylvania pointed out long ago: The number of years assigned to each king, and consequently the length of time covered by the dynasties, differ in these two copies, so that, while the work of Manetho forms the backbone of our chronology, it gives us no absolutely reliable chronology. It is for this reason that the chronological schemes of modern scholars have differed so widely.7-119
Other scholars think that some of Manetho’s lists may actually represent simultaneous dynasties in upper and lower Egypt, which would still further reduce the date of the beginning of the period. The length of the pre-Dynastic period is quite unknown, but there is no necessary reason to regard it as more than a few centuries at most.
In Babylonia, the earliest peoples leaving written monuments were the Sumerians, who were later displaced by the Semitic Babylonians. These people likewise are dated about this time.
Dr. Samuel Noah Kramer, Research Professor of Assyriology at the University of Pennsylvania says:
The dates of Sumer’s early history have always been surrounded with uncertainty, and they have not been satisfactorily settled by tests with the new method of radiocarbon dating… Be that as it may, it seems that the people called Sumerians did not arrive in the region until nearly 3000 B.C.7-120
The Egyptians and Babylonians were presumably of Hamitic and Semitic derivation, as were most of the other tribes who settled in Africa and Asia. The Japhetic peoples, on the other hand, according to the Table of Nations of Genesis 10 (which Dr. William Foxwell Albright regards as “an astonishingly accurate document”7-121), migrated largely into Europe, where they became the so-called Aryan peoples, peoples of the language stocks known as Indo-European. Recent linguistic studies have indicated that these languages radiated from a common center, probably in central Europe. Dr. Paul Thieme, Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology at Yale, in discussing this evidence, says:
Indo-European, I conjecture, was spoken on the Baltic coast of Germany late in the fourth millennium B.C. Since our oldest documents of Indo-European daughter languages (in Asia Minor and India) date from the second millennium B.C., the end of the fourth millennium would be a likely time anyhow. A thousand or 1500 years are a time sufficiently long for the development of the changes that distinguish our oldest Sanskrit speech form from what we construct as Indo-European.7-122 Since the above date was based somewhat heavily on geopaleontological data, it is likely that it is too high even as it stands. Studies of ancient agricultures in Europe, based mainly on pollen analyses and radiocarbon datings, point to similar conclusions:
The main results of the age determinations is that the oldest agricultures in Switzerland (Older Cortaillod culture) and in Denmark (younger Ertebolle culture and A-earthen vessel) started almost simultaneously, about 2740-90 B.C. and 2620-80 B.C., respectively.7-123
The same story could be repeated at other places if space permitted. For example, in China, the earliest historical cultures date from somewhat later than this time. The anthropologist, Ralph Linton, says:
The earliest Chinese date which can be assigned with any probability is 2250 B.C., based on an astronomical reference in the Book of History.7-124
The worldwide testimony of trustworthy, recorded, history7-125 is therefore that such history begins about 3000 B.C. and not substantially earlier. This is indeed surpassingly strange if men actually have been living throughout the world for many tens or hundreds of thousands of years! But on the other hand, if the Biblical records are true, then this is, of course, exactly the historical evidence we would expect to find. And it is pertinent to mention, in passing, the worldwide incidence of flood legends, which we have discussed in an earlier chapter. It is not at all unreasonable to conclude that the clear testimony of all recorded human history points back to the stark reality of the great world Deluge, which remade the world in the days of Noah.
The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications
By John C. Whitcomb and Henry Morris