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By Alice C. Linsley
Special to Virtueonline
December 15, 2023

Young Earth Creationists believe that the days of Genesis 1 were six consecutive 24-hour days which occurred 6,000--8,000 years ago. They cannot explain the huge body of material evidence that proves an old earth and the presence of humans on earth for millions of years. They argue almost exclusively from geological anomalies. They believe that the surface of the earth was radically rearranged by a worldwide flood. The extinction of species is explained by the flood. Creatures that were not preserved on Noah's Ark perished and were subsequently buried in the flood sediments. YEC creationists believe that the catastrophic global flood was responsible for most of the rock layers and fossils. They maintain that some rock layers and some fossils were deposited before the Flood and other layers and fossils were produced in localized sedimentation events or processes.

Those who adhere to the Ken Ham view of the Bible do not care about the scientific evidence because they have been taught that the sciences cannot be trusted. Nevertheless, the sciences of anthropology, archaeology, climates studies, genetics, geology, hydrological studies, linguistics, and migration studies agree on the deep history of humans of Earth.

Young Earth Creationism has been criticized for lacking a scientific basis. It also should be criticized for lacking a biblical basis. Consider the following points:

If Adam and Eve were the parents of Cain, they could not be the first humans on Earth because Cain built a settlement that he named for his son Enoch (Gen. 4:17). Enoch is a royal title derived from the ancient Akkadian first-person pronoun: anāku and the Ancient Egyptian anochi, a reference to one who ascends. The word anochi is also found among African populations. Among the Igbo, anochie means "a replacer" or "to replace". Among the Ashante the word anokyi means "Ano Junior" or the "Ano who follows his father." Here we find the idea of succession from father to son. A Nigerian friend says that anochie also means "direct heir to a throne."

Clearly, Enoch is associated with royal ascendancy among the early Hebrew. One of Cain's descendants is called Lamech, another royal title. Lamech is related to the Hebrew Melech, which means king. According to the Bible scholar Umberto Cassuto, Lamech is related to the Mesopotamian word lumakku, meaning "priest." (Commentary on Genesis, Vol. 1, p. 233). Two men named Lamech appear in the Genesis 4 and 5 lists of Hebrew ruler-priests (Gen. 4:18 and Gen. 5:25).

Cain and his son cannot be among the first people on earth because they already had a royal succession and territories over which they ruled.

The dogmas of YEC hinge on interpretations that have been demonstrated to be inaccurate. One is Bishop James Ussher's scheme whereby he counted the generations to conclude that the creation of the Earth occurred around 10,000 years ago. Ussher did not recognize that the "begats" of Genesis are not generational. They are regnal. All the men listed are rulers and some of their reigns coincided. Tubal-Cain (Gen. 4) and Methuselah (Gen. 5) ruled at the same time over different territories.

YEC assumes, contrary to the biblical evidence, that the line of Cain was wiped out by the flood. However, analysis of the kinship pattern of Genesis 4 and 5 reveals that the descendants of Cain and Seth intermarried (caste endogamy). A feature of their marriage and ascendancy pattern is the naming of the cousin bride's firstborn son after his maternal grandfather. The pattern is evident in this diagram.

The African Substrata of Genesis 1-3

Young Earth Creationism is based on an inaccurate understanding of Genesis 1-3. This material has an African context because Abraham's ancestors came out of Africa. He was a descendant of Nimrod, a Kushite kingdom builder (Gen. 10:6-12). Not surprisingly the Genesis 1-3 narratives find their closest parallels in the African creation stories, especially those of east and central Africa. The African themes include God's Spirit moving over primal waters, tribal first parents, the Tree of Life, dangerous serpents, and estrangement from the Heavenly Father.

Blinded to the Data

YEC fails to recognize the verifiable data concerning the early Hebrew ruler-priests listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. Kinship analysis reveals that all the rulers named in these chapters have the same marriage and ascendancy pattern that typifies the Hebrew ruler-priest caste. Abraham was not the first Hebrew.

Today we have access to early Hebrew texts other than those found in the canonical Scriptures. The early Hebrew priests scribed funerary texts on the walls of royal tombs. These texts have been translated and collected into a volume titled The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. The title is misleading because many of these texts were scribed before Egypt emerged as a political entity. These are the oldest known religious writings, and they speak of God Father and God Son, a third day resurrection, and the hope for immortality. They express expectation of a righteous ruler who will overcome death and lead his people to Heaven. The language is that of the royal procession of a risen ruler. The Apostle Paul uses this language in Ephesians 4:7-9: "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore, He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

The New Testament speaks about Jesus as the ruler-priest. He is the firstborn from the grave and by his resurrection He delivers to the Father a "peculiar people." He leads us in the ascent to the Father where we receive heavenly recognition because we belong to Him.

YEC's Failure to Grapple with Evolution

YEC interpretations of the Bible have been championed by those who oppose evolution. Young Earth Creationists usually fail to identify and make a distinction between the 4 principles of evolution: mutation, adaptation, natural selection, and common ancestry of apes and humans. It is futile to argue against mutation, adaptation, and natural selection for which there is sufficient evidence. However, the Bible asserts that humans are a special creation, and the physical evidence of paleoanthropology supports that assertion. Bible believers must not concede ground to evolutionary theory when it comes to common ancestry. The oldest human fossils date to c. 3.6 million years and are found in the Afar Triangle of East Africa. This appears to be the point of origin of all living humans. The Afar Triangle is in Eden, a vast well-watered region that, according to Genesis 2, extended from the sources of the Nile River to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia.

YEC's Racist Notions

The position of Young Earthers on race is profoundly flawed, anthropologically and theologically. At the back of Terry Mortenson's book Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth one finds the 12 Affirmations and Denials. Affirmation XII claims that the diversity of languages and skin color result from divine judgment.

XII. We affirm that all people living and dead are descended from Adam and Eve...and that the various people groups (with their various languages, cultures, and distinctive physical characteristics, including skin color) arose as a result of God's supernatural judgment at the Tower of Babel..."

Denying God's Work Among Early Human Populations

Young Earth interpretations ignore the archaeological evidence of God working among early human populations, especially those living in the place called "The Holy Land". An example is the 100,000-year red ocher burial at Qafzeh in Israel. This is one of many examples of burial in a symbolic blood covering that expresses the hope for life after death, and it points to the Blood of Jesus, the Son of God.

The Sufficiency of the Canon

The Scriptures present all that we need to know about the Messianic Faith that we call "Christianity, and that Faith has roots so deep in antiquity that we must acknowledge a sacred Tradition existing before the Bible. We receive that Tradition from the early Hebrew who lived long before Judaism emerged.

The empirical approach of Biblical Anthropology (a science) contributes to a better understanding of biblical history. Genesis makes it clear that Abraham's ancestors lived in the land of Kush as he descended from the Kushite kingdom builder Nimrod (Gen. 10). Analysis of the kinship pattern of the early Hebrew rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 35 proves they are of the same caste and they are historical figures.

Adam and Eve lived c. 5000-4800 B.C. in a vast well-watered region called Eden. The Genesis 2 description of this region corresponds to the ancient Fertile Crescent. Nimrod left Kush and established his territory on the Euphrates River c. 3500 B.C. (Gen. 10). That is why we find Abraham living in Mesopotamia. After he relocated to Canaan c. 2000 B.C., Abraham controlled the water systems at Hebron and Beersheba and had wells in Gerar. We see a gradual movement out of Africa into Mesopotamia and Canaan.

We also see a span of time of at least 3000 years. The different time periods and cultural contexts of these rulers cannot be made congruent by the final Jewish hands on the Hebrew Scriptures coming after 500 BC. Consider a Native American chief with a fleet of birch wood canoes controlling trade between villages on the Mississippi in 1720. Fast forward a mere 200 years to 1920 when a river magnate controls commerce on the same river with his fleet of riveted steel ships. Same river, very different contexts. To understand biblical history, we must grapple with these contextual incongruities and the best disciplines to apply in this effort are cultural anthropology, archaeology, molecular genetics, and linguistics.

Alice Linsley is an anthropologist. She blogs at https://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/ Her book "The First Lords of the Earth: An Anthropological Study" is available on Amazon. The book identifies the social structure and religious beliefs of the early Hebrew ruler-priest caste (6000-4000 years ago), their dispersion out of Africa, their territorial expansion, trade routes, and influence on the populations of the Fertile Crescent and Ancient Near East.

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