Genealogies Ussher in More Holes (Gen. 5-9)

Measures of time appear again in Genesis 5 in the form of a genealogy that shows how Noah is a direct descendant of Adam. The Anglican Archbishop Armagh, James Ussher, used this timeline along with other references found in the Bible to determine that creation happened in 4004 BCE. This chronology is still used today by many Bible literalists and young earth creationists. Let’s take a look at this genealogy with Ussher’s dating under consideration:

4004 BCE1Adam created
130Seth born to Adam
235Enosh born to Seth
325Kenan born to Enosh
395Mahalalel born to Kenan
460Jared born to Mahalalel
622Enoch born to Jared
687Methuselah born to Enoch
874Lamech born to Methuselah
3074 BCE930Adam dies
987Enoch vaporizes
1042Seth dies
1056Noah is born
1140Enosh dies
1235Kenan dies
1290Mahalalel dies
1422Jared dies
c.2560 BCE1444Great Pyramid of Giza completed
1556Shem, Ham, and Japheth are born to Noah no earlier than this
1651Lamech dies
1656Methuselah dies
2348 BCE1656FLOOD
1998 BCE2006Noah dies

It’s possible that these names aren’t intended to represent individual lifespans, but rather point out prominent figures in the family ancestry. Frankly, it’s unimportant, although the thought of a family reunion that includes nine living generations boggles the mind (and you though your grandparents have an outdated way of thinking; feel sorry for Lamech).

What should stand out is that the Great Pyramid of Giza would have been completed 1444 years after creation. That’s 212 years before the flood. The pyramid shows no evidence of water damage caused by a catastrophic global flood. In fact, the ancient Egyptians seemed to have missed the flood entirely: no record of it occurs in their well-preserved history. This evidence is contrary to the common (and unsophisticated) argument that the ancient cultures all have recorded a catastrophic flood event.

There have been other Bible-based dating attempts besides Ussher’s, though the consensus is that the Earth was created somewhere between 5500 BCE and 4000 BCE. If those extra 1500 years (placing the flood at 3844 BCE) are taken into consideration, the Great Pyramid argument is perhaps weakened; however, ancient Egyptian history would still suggest there was no great flood event. Furthermore, we know that during this time there was an intense aridification that forced these early Egyptians into the Nile River Valley. To continue the irony: this increase in population density spurred the first highly structured societies in human history.

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