[ p. 474]:

"One of the greatest objections to the concept of a geographically universal Deluge in the minds of some scholars today is the fact that there are no historical or archaeological evidences for such a vast catastrophe during the third millennium B.C. [which is the date many objectors point to when they attempt to discredit the Flood as a myth] (this date being obtained by adding the years of patriarchal maturity given in the Masoretic Text of Genesis 11) or even the fourth millennium B.C. (according to the years given in the Septuagint). Near Eastern cultures apparently have a rather continuous archaeological record (based upon occupation levels and pottery chronology) back to at least the fifth millennium B.C., and it seems impossible to fit a catastrophe of the proportions depicted in Genesis 6-9 into such an archaeological framework. But there are several important reasons for questioning the validity of the strict-chronology interpretation of Genesis 11.


[pp. 474-475]:

"If the list of names and ages in Genesis 11 has been given to us for the purpose of constructing a pre-Abrahamic chronology, it is rather strange that Moses failed to give the total number of years from the Flood to Abraham. Of course, it may be objected that he expected the reader to do his own totaling and, therefore, did not add unnecessary words. But Moses took nothing for granted in the reader's ability to add just two numbers in the life of each antediluvian patriarch (Gen. 5) in order to ascertain their total life-spans! If the time-span of the whole period was one of the important reasons for giving the genealogy, how simple it would have been to give the total, as he did in Exodus 12:40 for the time of Israel's sojourn in Egypt!"


[p. 475]:

Another reason for questioning Ussher's chronology for Genesis 11 is the evidence that not all the post-diluvian patriarchs are listed in our present Hebrew text. For in Luke's genealogy of Mary, the name 'Cainan' appears between 'Shelah' and 'Arphaxad' (Luke 3:36)... Thus, this one omission, even if there are no others, makes it impossible to fix the date of the Flood."


[p. 475-476]:

"The fact that Cainan should be included in Genesis 11 has greater implications than might appear at first glance; for the addition of his name puts the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 into perfectly symmetrical forms. In each case, there are ten patriarchs listed, with the tenth patriarch having three important sons:

  1. Adam 1. Shem
  2. Seth 2. Arpachshad
  3. Enosh 3. Cainan
  4. Kenan 4. Shelah
  5. Mahalalel 5. Eber
  6. Jarred 6. Peleg
  7. Enoch 7. Reu
  8. Methuselah 8. Serug
  9. Lamech 9.Nahor
  10. Noah 10Terah

(Shem, Ham, Japheth)(Abram, Nahor, Haran

Now this symmetrical arrangement is of great importance in enabling us to determine one important purpose of these genealogies; for a study of the closest parallel to this phenomenon in Scripture, namely, that of the three groups of fourteen names in the first chapter of Matthew, reveals the purposely symmetrical character of such an arrangement of names, possibly as an aid to to memorization [for the purpose of recalling the continuity in the line of our Lord and not for the purpose of giving one an accurate time table of history].


[p. 476-477]:

"...the additional facts which are provided concerning each patriarch indicate that the purpose of these genealogies was more than simply chronological. Their major purpose was to show us how faithfully God guarded the Messianic line (Gen. 3:15; 9:26)... demonstrate the fulfillment of the curse of Genesis 2:17 by the melancholy repetition of the phrase 'and he died', to show by the shorter life spans of postdiluvian patriarchs and by omission of their total years of life the tightening grip of the Edenic curse upon the human body; and to make 'the record end in terms of the command of 9:1, which was so vitally important in view of the Flood,' by omitting the words 'and he died' in the genealogy of Genesis 11...

[Above quotation from Oswald T. Allis, The Five Books of Moses (Philadelphia: The Presbyterian & Reformed Pub. Co., 1943), p. 263]

...Since, therefore, so many pedagogical purposes are evident in these two genealogies that have nothing to do with the actual length of the overall period, it is unnecessary to press them into a rigid chronological system."


[p. 477-478]:

"If the strict-chronology interpretation of Genesis 11 is correct, all the postdiluvian patriarchs, including Noah, would still have been living when Abram was fifty years old; three of those who were born before the earth was divided (Shem, Shelah, and Eber) would have actually outlived Abram; and Eber, the father of Peleg, not only would have outlived Abram, but would have lived for two years after Jacob arrived in Mesopotamia to work for Laban!

On the face of it, such a situation would seem astonishing, if not almost incredible. And the case is further strengthened by the clear and twice-repeated statement of Joshua that Abram's 'fathers,' including Terah, were idolaters when they dwelt 'of old time beyond the River' (Joshua 24:2, 14, 15). If all the postdiluvian patriarchs, including Noah and Shem, were still living in Abram's day, this statement implies that they had all fallen into idolatry by then. This conclusion is surely wrong, and therefore the premise on which it is based must be wrong,. Consequently, it seems that the strict-chronology view must be set aside in order to allow for the death of these patriarchs long before the time of Abram."


[pp. 478-479]:

"If we accept 2167 B.C. as the year of Abram's birth...

..According to Edwin R. Thiele (The Mysterrious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951]), 931 B.C. was the date of the division of the kingdom at the death of Solomon. Following I Kings 6:1 and Exodus 12:40, we arrive at 1877 B.C. for the entrance of Jacob into Egypt. Since Jacob was 130 years old at this time (Gen. 47:9), he was born in 2007 B.C. Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born (Gen. 25:26), and Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born (Gen. 21:5). Therefore, Abraham was in 2167 B.C...

..the Flood must have occurred in the year 2459 B.C. and the judgment of the Tower of Babel between 2358 and 2119 B.C. (the lifetime of Peleg) according to the strict-chronology interpretation.

When we turn to the Genesis account of Abram's jounreys, however, we discover the international scene to have been quite different fromthat suggested by the above-mentioned dates for the Flood and the judgment of Babel. Abram is certainly not depicted as one of the early pioneers from the land of Shinar who migrated to western territories that were only beginning to be settled 200 years after the judgment of Babel. Abram is certainly not depicted as one of the early pioneers from the land of Shinar who migrated to western territories that were only beginning to be settled 200 years after the judgment of Babel. Quite to the contrary, the Bible implies that the world of Abram's day, with its civilizations and cities, was ancient already; and we are left with the unmistakable impression that its peoples had onlg since been divided 'after their fa;milies, after their tongues, in their lands, in their nations' (Gen. 10:5, 20, 31).

As we follow Abram in his wanderings, from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Cannaan, filled to overflowing with 'the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite' (Gen. 15:19-21); and then follow him down into the land of Egypt with its Pharoah and its princes (12:15); and then see him going to Lot's rescue in the vicinity of Damascus after Lot and other captives from the five Cities of the Plain had been deported by the kings of Shinar, Ellaser, Elam, and Goiim (14:1-16); and then see him being met by a priest-king of Salem (14:18); and later see him coming into contact with a Philistine king (20:2) and Hittite landowners (23:2-20), we cannot help but feel that the judgment of God upon the Tower of Babel must have occurred many centuries before the time Abram...

..Byron C. Nelson, Before Abraham (Minneapolis: jAugsburg Pub. House, 1948), p. 100, points out that Genesis mentions 26 cities in Canaan alone during the days of Abraham. Seven of these are said to have had kings. Presumably the five cities of the Plain, at least, had been in existence there so long that their cup of iniquity was already full to overflowing (cf. Gen. 15:16)...

..This impression is confirmed by Jeremiah (47:4) and Amos (9:7), who inform us that the Philistines came into Canaan, not from Shinar but rather from the west from Caphtor, which is the island of Crete. And Moses tells us that before the Philistines ever came to Canaan from Caphtor, the southwestern section of Canaan had been occupied by the Avvim (Deut. 2:23). Thus, the Bible implies that Babel was judged long before 2358 B.C."


[pp. 479-480]:

"Within the genealogy of Genesis 11 there are additional indications that we are dealing something other than a chronology. One of these is found in the statement of Genesis 11:26 - 'And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.' Taking this statement at face value, one might well conclude that Terah became the father of triplets in in his seventieth year (even as his grandson Isaac became the father of twins in his sixtieth year), Abram being the firstborn of the triplets. We are somewhat astonished, however, to discover upon further investigation that Abram was not the firstborn of the three and that Terah was not seventy, but rather one hundred and thirty years old when Abram was born!

In Genesis 11:32 we read that 'the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran'; while in 12:4 we find that 'Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.' Thus, if Abram left Haran to go to Canaan after Terah's death, Abram must have been born when his father was 130 years old. The possibility of Abram's leaving Terah in Haran sixty years before Terah finally died is excluded by Stephen's statement that 'from thence, when his father was dead, God removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell' (Acts 7:4). In the light of these considerations, we may paraphrase Genesis 11:26 as follows: 'And Terah lived seventy years and begat the first of his three sons, the most important of whom (not because of age but because of the Messianic line) was Abram.'

It is quite possible that only a small number of the patriarchs listed in Genesis 11 were firstborn sons. A comparison of 11:10 with 5:32 and 8:13 suggests that Shem was not. A comparison of 11:10 with 10:22 suggests that Arpachshad was not. And we have already seen that Abram was not. Actually, not one of the Messianic ancestors in Genesis, whose family background is known in any detail, such as Abel, Seth, Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Perez, was a firstborn son. The year of begetting a first son, known in the Old Testament as 'the beginning of strength,' was an important year in the life of the Israelite (Gen. 49.3, Deut. 21:17, Psa. 78:51, and Psa. 105:36). It is this year, then, and not necessarily the year of the birth of the Messianic link, that is given in each case in Genesis 11. Thus we have clear evidence for the possible addition of a limited number of years from the lives of some of these patriarchs to the total of years from from the Flood to Abraham."


[pp. 481-481]:

"Such terms as 'begat' and 'the son of,' whichin English imply a father-son relationship, sometimes have a much wider connotation in the Bible. In Matthew 1:8, we read that 'Joram begat Uzzuah,' but three generations are omitted. In I Chrinicles 26:24, we are told that 'Shuebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler over the treasures' in the days of David. Here we have 400 years of generations skipped over between Shebuel and Gershom. But the most interesting case of all, in our opinion, is to be found in ?Exodus 6:20. Here we read that 'Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron amd Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years.' Now anyone reading this statement as it stands by itself would be forced to conclude that Aaron and Moses were the actual sons of Amram and Jochebed; for the text clearly states that 'she bare him Aaron and Moses,' and immediately following this we are given the number of the years that Amram lived, in a manner strikingly similar to that of the genealogy of Genesis 5. So it is with profound amazement that we turn to Numbers 3:17-19, 27-28, and discover that in the days of Moses, 'the family of the Amramites,' together with the families of Amram's three brothers (Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel), numbered 8,600? Unless we are willing to grant that the first cousins of Moses and Aaron had over 8,500 living male offspring, we must admit that Amram was an ancestor of Moses and Aaron, separated from them by a span of 300 years! In the light of this, it is significant that the names of the actual parents of Moses and Aaron are not recorded in the narrative of Exodus 2:1-10.

Keeping in mind this remarkable and enlightening example of how the Jews compiled their genealogies, we turn our attention once againto Genesis 11. Taking as a case for special study the central section of that genealogy, we read in verses 16-19:

'And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg; and Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: and Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.'

For at least two reasons, this section of the postdiluvian patriarchal genealogy is unusual and calls for careful consideration. First, we find here a sudden drop in the life-span of the patriarchs that is unparalleled in the entire genealogy. Until the time of Eber, no postdiluvian patriarch is said to have lived less than 433 years. But now, without anyexplanation, the life-span drops to 239 years and never exceeds that number again! This represents a permanent drop in life-span of 45%, as opposed to the 23% frop from Shem to Eber.

The second peculiarity about this section is that it contains the name of Peleg, of whom it is said (in 10:25) that 'inhis days was the earth divided.' It has been generally conceded by Old Testament scholars that this explanation has reference to the judgment of Babel, at which time 'Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth' (11:8, cf. 10:25). But it is difficult to understand why it should be said only of Peleg, that 'in his days was the earth divided,' if, on the assumption that Genesis 11 is a strict chronology, Noah, Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah, and Eber (and probably Cainan) were still living throughout the entire lifetime of Peleg.

All of this leads us to submit the following proposition: at least in this section of Genesis 11, if not in other sections, we have warrant for assuming that the term 'gegat' is to be understood in the ancestral sense. From thefact that there is a sudden and permanent drop in the life-span between Eber and Peleg and also from the fact that Peleg is the only patriarch who is recorded as having lived at the time of judgment upon Babel, we feel justified in assuming that Peleg was a distant descendant of Eber.

Now the objection might be raised at this point that Genesis 10:25 cannot allow for such a view; for in that passage we read that 'unto Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.' How, then, could Peleg be a distant descendant of Eber, if we are told in this passage that Eber had two sons of whom one was Peleg? Would not such a statement preclude the possibility of a merely ancestral relationship?

Indeed, this would be a serious objection, were it not for our parallel case in Exodus 6:20. There we found that two sons were born unto Amram. But from the third chapter of Numbers we also discovered that Moses and Aaron were only two of 8,600 living descendants of Amran's father. Now the very same thing could be true of Genesis 10:25, where we read that two sons were born unto Eber. By analogy with Exodus 6:20, then, it seems quite possible that Peleg and Joktan were only two of the many living descendants of Eber at the time of God's judgment upon Babel."


[p. 483]:

"In summarizing the arguments of this entire discussion, we may say that the lack of an overall total of years for the period from the Flood to Abraham, the absence of Cainan's name and years in the Hebrew text, the symmetrical form of the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, the inclusion of data that are irrelevant to a strict chronology, the impossibility of all the postdiluvian patriarchs being contemporaries of Abraham, the Biblical indications of a great antiquity for the judgment of Babel, the fact that the Messianic links were seldom firstborn sons, and the analogy of 'begat' being used in the ancestral sense allow the existence of gaps of an undetermined length in the patriarchal genealogy of Genesis 11."



[pp. 483-485]:

"...what is to be said of the view that is gaining new popularity in evangelical circles, that Genesis 11 (as well as Genesis 5) allows for gaps totaling scores or hundreds of thousands of years and that the Flood (as well as the creation of Adam) must be dated in harmony with the time-table of uniformitarian anthropology?...

...There are three schools of thought concerning the date of the Flood among Christians who accept the anthropological time-table. Those who believe the Flood was geographically universal tend to date the Flood several hundred thousands years ago. Those who believe it destroyed all men but was geographically local... would date it from about 15,000 to perhaps 100,000 years ago. Those who believe it only destroyed part of the race ... ...would tend date it less than 10,000 years ago. In other words, the more catastrophic the Flood is conceived to have been, the more remote it must have been if the human race is as old as modern anthropologists claim...

According to A. L. Kroeber, Upper Paleolithic cultures in Europe and the Near East, such as the Aurignacian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian, are to be dated between about 25,000 and 8,000 B.C., while Lower... [Paleolithic] ...cultures such as the Chellean, Acheulian, and Mousterian, are to be date from several hundred thousand years B.C. to about 25,000 B.C. Even if the most conservative estimates of modern anthropologists are accepted, we are still asked to think in terms of a hundred thousand years of human history at the very least..."


[pp. 485-486]:

"To stretch the genealogy of Genesis 11 to cover a period of over 100,000 years is to do violence to the chronological framework of all subsequent Bible history and prophecy. Approximately 2,000 years covers the history of the Church up to the present. Approximately 2,000 years covers the history of the Church up to the present. Before Christ's first coming, the history of Israel covered a period of 2,000 years; and after Christ's second coming, according to Revelation 20, there will be another 1,000 years of earth-history before the commencement of the eternal state (amillennialists do not even allow for these final 1,000 years). The incongruity of insisting upon 100,000 years between Noah and Abraham, while grating that the entire history of redemption from Abraham to the eternal state may be only four or five thousand years, becomes obvious.

To be sure, it was by means of Biblical analogies that we were able to find possible gaps in the genealogy of Genesis 11. But the point we now wish to emphasize is that those very analogies serve also to limit our time-scale for Genesis 11. The gap between Amram and Moses was 300 years, not 30,000. And the gap between Joram and Uzziah in Matthew 1:8 was 50 years, not 5,000. On the basis of the analogy of Biblical chronology, therefore, we maintain that it is very hazardous to assume a period of 100,000 years between the Flood and Abraham."


[pp. 486-487]:

"...the matter becomes even more serious when we discover that not all of the postdiluvian patriarchs can be used to cover this supposed 100,000 years which elapsed between the Flood and Abraham. [Thus attributing them with lifespans of thousands and thousands of years] As we have pointed out previously, the judgment of Babel occurred in the days of Peleg, the sixth patriarch listed after Noah. The centrality of the human race and its linguistic unity (Gen. 11:1-2), coupled with the magnitude of the building project at Babel (Gen 11:4), presuppose a fairly high degree of civilization. That God's judgment upon Babel took place not more than a millennium after the Flood is suggested by the fact that the world's population was still confined to one comparatively small area of the earth at that time...

...That the antediluvians scattered abroad much more quickly than the postdiluvians is suggested by at least two considerations. First, such passages as Gen. 4:14-16, 6:1, and 6:11 indicate that the earth was filled with people long before the Flood... Secondly, the early postdiluvians are said to have built their city and tower 'lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth' (Gen. 11:4), presumably with the experience of antediluvian humanity in mind. The Biblical emphasis upon their refusal to be scattered strongly implies a contrary situation in the antediluvian world, as well as a direct disobedience of God's command to 'replenish the earth' (9:1). That the judgment of Babel could have occurred as much as 1,000 years after the Flood is suggested by two further considerations. First, the analogy between Genesis 10:25 and Exodus 6:20... shows that Peleg could have been a distant descendant of Eber. Secondly, the fact that Peleg alone is singled out as the patriarch in whose days the earth was 'divided' (a reference to the judgment of Babel) permits us to assume that Noah, Shem (who lived for half a millennium after the Flood), Arpachshad, Shelah, and Eber had died long before the birth of Peleg and therefore before the judgment of Babel...

...Since Terah is obviously the actual father of Abram, we are left with only Reu, Serug, and Nahor, as the links during the 100,00 years that supposedly elapsed between the Flood (and the Tower of Babel) and Abram. And the very place where we found the clearest possibility for a gap in the genealogy of Genesis 11, namely, between Eber and Peleg, was before the Tower of Babel! Thu, the obvious proximity of the first five postdiluvian patriarchs to the time of the Flood makes it all the more difficult to imagine a vast period of time elapsing between the judgment of Babel and the birth of Abraham."


[pp. 487-488]:

"we are still faced with the staggering problem of explaining how our three 'link' patriarchs - Reu, Serug, and Nahor - are to be related to the various [so called] stone-age cultures that anthropologists assign to the vast ages of time that supposedly preceded the rise of civilization. May we think of Reu and Serug as savage illiterate cave-dwellers of the Chellean period and Nahor perhaps as a primitive hunter of the Acheulian period whose flints were more even and symmetrical than those of his ancestors? Or are we to suppose that in some tiny pocket of civilization, nearly swamped by an ocean of savagery, an unbroken chain of saintly men perpetuated the Messianic line of Shem and handed down the knowledge of the one true God for scores of thousands of years? If Babel was judged 100,000 years before Abraham, how can we explain the close connection between the sons of Noah and the various national and language groups of Genesis 10? And if tens of thousands of years separated Abraham from his post-Babel ancestors, how can we explain the fact that there are evidences in Assyrian records of the existence of towns in Mesopotamia whose names correspond to those of Peleg (Paliga), Reu, Serug (Sarugi), and Nahor (Nakhiri or Nakhur)? The absurdity of attempting to harmonize Genesis 11 with the time-table of uniformitarian paleo-anthropologists should be apparent to those who ponder these and similar questions."


[p. 488]:

"The most serious limitation on the stretching of Genesis 11, in the opinion of some scholars, is that which is imposed by the Flood traditions of many nations, especially that of Babylon. So remarkable are the similarities between the Genesis account of the Flood and that which is recorded in the Gilgamesh Epic that most archaeologists insist on deriving the former from the latter. Christian scholarship, on the other hand, unanimously asserts that Genesis gives us God's inspired record of that great catastrophe, while the Babylonian epic was handed down by oral and written tradition for many centuries, showing by its gross polytheism the serious corruption of the original facts with the passing of time.

Now the problem, simply stated, is this: How could certain details of the story of the great Flood have been more or less accurately handed down drom one promitive stone-age culture to another, purely by oral tradition, for nearly 100,000 years, to be finally incorporated into the Gilgamesh Epic? That such could have happened for four or five thousand years is conceivable. That it could have happened over a period of nearly 100,000 years is quite inconceivable. The Gilgamesh Epic alone, rightly considered, administers a fatal blow to the concept of a 100,000 B. C. Flood."


[p. 489]:

"A careful study of the Biblical evidence leads us to the conclusion that the Flood may have occurred as much as three to five thousand years before Abraham. Some evangelical scholars, seeing the possibility of gaps in the genealogy of Genesis 11, have urged an acceptance of uniformitarian and evolutionary dating schemes for early man, with the Flood occurring more than 10,000 years ago. But the analogy of Biblical chronology, the obvious proximity of the judgment of Babel to the Flood, and the problem of Reu, Serug, and Nahor make it highly improbable that such an extended postdiluvian chronology can be allowed. This improbability approaches impossibility when we consider the oral traditions of the Flood which have been incorporated into such documents as the Gilgamesh Epic of Babylonia.

Evangelical scholars who feel the necessity of bringing Genesis 11 into conformity with current paleoanthropological timetables should realize the full implications of such harmonization efforts. It would seem to us that even the allowance of 5,000 years between the Flood and Abraham stretches Genesis 11 almost to the breaking point. The time has come when those who take the testimony of God's infallible Word with seriousness should begin to look with favor upon the efforts of those who are examining and exposing the unwarranted assumptions and false presuppositions of uniformitarianism as it applies to the dating of early man."