Genesis Challenged

Christianity faced troubled times at the close of the nineteenth century. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution fed scientific scepticism about the Genesis account of creation by providing what seemed to be a viable alternative. At the same time, clay tablets from the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh provided alternative accounts of the Flood and Creation, in clearly mythical form, suggesting that the Genesis record was similarly a mere myth.

Foundations Shaken

Creationist Ken Ham points out that Christianity has been distracted with taking pot shots at issues while its detractors have been aiming their weapons at Christianity’s foundations. If the Book of Genesis can be discredited then all that follows in the Bible can be brought into question.

During the nineteenth century (the 1800’s) assault on the Book of Genesis was vigorously pursued by some, based on emerging scientific hypotheses and on archaeological discoveries.

Charles Lyell, who lived from 1797 to 1875, proposed a non-catastrophic view of geography, despite the abundant evidence for upheaval in the geological record. His propositions of uniformity allowed for extended periods of time in the earth’s history. That extension of historical time was required by the proponents of gradual change over time (evolution).

The emerging notion of evolution was given seeming scientific status by Charles Darwin with his 1959 “Origin of Species” with its account of exotic creatures in the mysterious and remote Galapagos Islands. The notions of “survival of the fittest”, “natural selection” and “missing links” created a new scientific myth which had everything but substance and common sense.

Within days of the release of Darwin’s book, Thomas Henry Huxley, eventually dubbing himself “Darwin’s Bulldog“, began vigorously promoting the scientific worth of evolution over the religious notions carried in the Book of Genesis.

Enter Archaeology

As the battle for Genesis gained intensity, a new dimension emerged to give impetus to detractors. A pile of rubble in ancient mounds in the Near East yielded documents which dated back almost 1,000 years before Christ. Included in that rubble were ancient mythologies of events similar to those described in Genesis.

The city of Nineveh was a sprawling metropolis at its height. Successive rulers moved their principal residence to different parts of the city and so several palace buildings were established over time. Add to that the fact that Nineveh housed the world’s greatest library collection of its time, and you have the creation of a treasure trove of antiquity.

The ancient palaces and libraries of Assyria began to be excavated in the 1840’s, leading to the discovery of a vast collection of ancient documents on clay tablets. In 1850 English archaeologist Henry Layard uncovered the palace of the Assyrian King Sennacherib at tell Kouyunjik (one of the three principal palace locations in Nineveh – Kouyunjik, Khorsabad, and Nimrud).

In 1853 Layard’s former assistant, Hormuzd Rassam, found the famous library of the Assyrian King Ashur-bani-pal, in a different part of the Nineveh ruins. 26,000 of the original 100,000 clay tablets survived with decipherable text. Many were taken to the British Museum for translation.

Among those tablets were found Assyrian myths about creation and a fiction story which featured a great flood. When they were finally translated by George Smith he published them under the title “Chaldean Account of Genesis” in 1876 under the auspices of the British Museum of Oriental Antiquities. The very title suggests a direct link between the tablets and Genesis and those discoveries fuelled the accusation that Moses’ Genesis document was a mere evolution of earlier mythological writings. Note that George Smith died that same year, on his way back from his third visit to the ruins of Nineveh.

Assyrian Flood Story

In December 1872 George Smith published his translation of the oldest known literary work in human history. Smith was the first person to read the story in 2,000 years. But the Epic of Gilgamesh was not made famous for its literary worth, but for its reference to a great flood.

George Smith is an interesting character in that he was not a great scholar and came from a working class background. But he was fascinated with antiquities and taught himself to decipher ancient cuneiform inscriptions. He soon became more knowledgeable and skilled in the task than the staff at the British Museum where he pored over antiquities. Consequently Henry Rawlinson, the great Assyriologist of the day, arranged for Smith to be employed in the Assyriology Department to work on translating the thousands of clay tablets from Nineveh.

Smith translated several tablets in the fictional story of a man named Gilgamesh, who travelled the world facing various adventures. He came to a blank in the story, where a missing tablet was needed to continue the adventure. Smith then ventured to Mesopotamia to attack the pile of rubble left by Layard and Rassam, and, against all odds, found the missing tablet.

It told of a great flood, and of a boat and animals. It even mentioned birds being released at the end of the flood. This bore striking resemblance to the Genesis record of Noah’s Flood.

Assyrian Creation Story

Following Smith’s translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh he then came across another set of clay tablets telling a story which led to the creation of man. The series of seven tablets is known as the Enuma Elish.

While some tablets were broken and accurate translation is impossible, the general text of the story has been translated several times by different scholars. It was first titled “The Chaldean Genesis” by Smith. LW King’s 1902 translation was titled “The Seven Tablets of Creation“. EA Speiser’s translation was published in a 1969 book titled “Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament“. It is obvious that scholars readily link the Enuma Elish with the book of Genesis.

Mounting Evidence

When Smith followed his Assyrian Flood translation with the Assyrian Creation story in 1876 there seemed to be growing proof that the Bible was merely another expression of ancient mythological writings.

Combine that with the pseudo-scientific crusading of Huxley and other evolutionists and you can see that Genesis was under solid attack by the end of the 1800’s. That assault has played a large part in the increased secularisation of western society during the twentieth century.

Clay Tablets are No Threat

Despite the perception that the clay tablets from antiquity have demolished the Bible, the truth is quite the opposite. The abiding impact of archaeology at Nineveh is to confirm the first-hand authenticity of the Bible accounts. The clay tablets confirmed details, customs, language and similar details provided in the Bible, which had previously not been corroborated.

Further to that, the seeming case against the Bible crumbled on closer investigation. The Assyrian stories are vastly different to the Bible account and the differences set the Bible apart, rather than put it down.

Ignorance and Assumption

People who are ignorant are prone to making assumptions. This tendency can be exploited by those who wish to deceive or who make suggestions which are misleading.

When the public is told that the Assyrian stories of the flood and creation match the Bible, many people will gullibly assume that the parallels are striking and that the Bible’s authority has been damaged. Few are likely to read the source documents and remove their ignorance.

In a follow up post I will explain some of the glaring contrasts between the Assyrian and Biblical accounts which people have been led to believe are closely related.

Disposing of Millions of Years

The world is awash in references to amazing aeons of time. Dinosaurs disappeared so many millions of years ago. Natural features emerged another bunch of millions of years before that. Here a million, there a million, everywhere another million!

Now, why is speculative scientific thinking so obsessed with big numbers? Only a hundred or so years ago science didn’t need to think in terms of millions of years. Now it’s an obsession! What has changed? Has some new evidence come to light? No. All that has changed is scientific opinion.

Evolution Needs More Time

Before the widespread acceptance of the theory of evolution time was not a big component of scientific thought. Processes were observed in the real world and the implications of those observations were extrapolated over historical events. Nothing around us necessarily needs time in bucket-loads.

With the advent of an evolutionary mind-set, with its necessary transitional stages, science needed more time. It needed time for the first life to emerge, then for the next form to develop, and then the next, and so on. Mutations and missing links all needed time to develop, gain ascendancy over the previous population, then morph into the next stumbling step of development.

Mathematicians calculate that there will never be enough time for the millions of changes needed to accommodate evolutionary process. Evolution is a miracle, in any time frame. But that doesn’t stop the converts from pressing their long-age message hard and fast.

With evangelistic zeal the proponents and converts to evolution slash millions of years in every direction, like a child with a tin of paint. We are all wet with the wonder of time. Nature films, information at national parks, biology text books, television programs and just about every place it can be put, there are messages about time, times and then another million times.

Lyell’s Blindness

Compounding the problem of time was the proposition by Charles Lyell that the world has operated under uniform, constant conditions through the ages. Lyell ignored the evidence and proposed an imaginary world where all geological processes are even. The theory is called Uniformitarianism.

Lyell’s theory was a boon to evolutionists who knew that they needed to push the calendar back a few million years to give them time to breed. They also had an imagination issue, imagining a slow progression from one creature to the next, until all were able to blossom from the one common ancestor. Thus they needed time.

Lyell chose to ignore the historical records of catastrophe, both local and more global. His theory effectively ignores ice-ages, meteorite strikes, droughts, floods, earthquakes and other catastrophes which science observes on a regular basis. Lyell’s blindness became the platform for Darwin’s own misinterpretation of data.

Evolution Has it Wrong

The reason evolution needs gobs of time is that it is built on an insane interpretation of the visible data. As I have pointed out elsewhere (see below for links to other posts on related topics) Charles Darwin was a good naturalist, as an observer of what exists. Where he dropped the ball big time was in interpreting the data he collected.

Darwin and others imagined a progression that links all kinds of creatures from one biological source. That is contrary to what was already understood to be true.

Creatures of All Kinds

Prior to the popularisation of evolution scientists took their lead on biology from the ancient Biblical account of God creating a set of creatures that were bound into “kinds”.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creeps on the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:24,25

The Hebrew word translated as ‘kind’ means that which is portioned out. It refers to species, as something assigned to creatures by God. The creatures were not all of the same species. They were not the same kind. They had natural boundaries to the biological nature and connections.

The limitations of kinds can be determined to some extent by the ability of creatures to reproduce viable offspring. Crossing horses and donkeys does not produce a viable offspring. The mule which results is sterile. The same occurs when a dog is crossed with a fox. Yet crossing dogs with wolves produces viable offspring which can reproduce further generations.

The observable science of breeding is evidence for the accuracy of the first chapter of the Bible. Observable science argues against the theory of evolution.

Watch the Time

How does the creation of kinds impact the issue of time? Firstly, divine creation of a range of viable and distinct creatures drastically reduces the more than millions of years needed by evolution to get to that point.

But the time frame is radically compressed yet again by the ingenious genetic miracle which God gave us. Built in to the DNA of each kind was a wide range of variables. Just as humans display diversity in skin colour, build, facial features, hair colour, ability and so on, without having to evolve from one kind to another, so too the animal kinds could quickly display their diversity.

In just one generation diversity of shape, size, colour, function and features could emerge. Siblings in one family could display quite unique qualities, as children in families or kittens in litters do today. Suddenly, then, all the diversity which evolution imagines requires long ages is on display in a few generations.

It’s Time to Tell the Truth About Time

Governments, schools, media and most social voices have taken up the chorus of “Millions! Millions!” The ubiquitous “millions of years” is repeated like a mantra by mindless devotees.

It’s time to tell the truth about time. Stop shutting down your brain because you have to make simple processes stretch over millions of years.

Fossils which protrude through multiple layers of other fossils, as is commonly found in coal deposits, show that the layers were not created over long ages. The eruption of Mt St Helens late last century showed how great canyons and other striking geographical features can be formed in days, not millions of years. Man made opals, huge stalactites formed in just decades and oil formed naturally in modern rubbish dumps all put a lie to the long ages. Today’s scientists have committed intellectual suicide, trying to force short processes into long, evolutionary time spans.

Excuse My Tone

Please don’t be offended at the strident nature of some of my expressions when I discuss this subject. As one who has suffered under the delusion of evolution and then struggled to open the minds of people who are choosing blindness for themselves I like to shake the tree a little. I want to grab people’s attention and get them to think for themselves again. I fear that some of the best minds on the planet are lost to the intellectual suicide which evolution demands of people today.

Links to Other Material

Other posts I have presented on related topics include: Despite Diversity Dogs Defy Definition; Darwin’s Case for Evolution Dissolves; Cave Man Proves to be Real Man; The Truth About Natural Selection. You can find these on this blog site: www.chrisfieldblog.com.

For more information about the failure of evolution and for evidence for special creation go to: http://creationontheweb.com