It seems unlikely, even making all conceivable allowances for gaps in genealogies which some are persuaded must exist, (34) that one could push back the date of the Flood beyond a few thousand years B.C. In this, we are forced to conclude that, except for those who lived between Adam and Noah and were overwhelmed by the Flood and whose remains I believe are not very likely to be found, all fossil men, all prehistoric cultures, all primitive communities of the past or the present, and all civilizations since, must be encompassed within this span of a few thousand years. On the face of it the proposal seems utterly absurd.
However, I think there are lines of evidence of considerable substance in support of it. In setting this forth all kinds of “buts” will arise in the reader’s mind if he has any broad knowledge of current physical anthropology. An attempt is made to deal specifically with a number of these “buts” in other Doorway Papers by the author, (35) but some problems remain unsolved, particularly the
34. On the question of gaps in the Biblical genealogies, see “The Genealogies of the Bible,” Part V in Hidden Things of God’s Revelation, vol.7 in The Doorway Papers Series.
35. Custance, A. C., “The Supposed Evolution of the Human Skull,” Part IV; “Primitive Cultures: A Second Look at the Problem of Their Historical Origins,” Part II; and “The Fallacy of Anthropological Reconstructions,” Part V; in Genesis and Early Man, vol.2 in The Doorway Papers Series.
question of the time element. However, one does not have to solve every problem before presenting a hypothetical reconstruction. After all, the prevailing view is shot full of them and yet it is still held to be a respectable one!
But it may be worthwhile to note how consistently the time factor in so many prehistoric sequences has tended always to be reduced rather than extended. There is only one possible exception. The exception relates to the duration of Pleistocene times which have been extended to almost double the original period. The shorter period proved in certain ways a source of embarrassment because more events had to be crowded into it than was considered feasible. But apart from this one exception, the rule of reduction is almost otherwise unbroken. Some reductions are so drastic as to put a big question mark against the validity of datings which remain unchallenged at present.
In 1953, during a symposium on anthropology which was published subsequently by Chicago University Press and which provided up to that time a kind of “last word” on the position of modern anthropologists, there are frequent notices of drastic reductions.
After careful criticisms of Zeuner’s dating system as set forth in his classic study entitled “Dating the Past,” we are presented with a series of incidences in which dates have been severely cut. (36) For example, a date of 10,000 years ago is reduced to 3,000, a date of 18,000 to 10,000, a date of 25,000 to 11,000, and a date of 1,000,000 to 50,000! And in a companion volume, the Magdelanian Culture once dated from 50,000 to 18,000 years ago is now dated from 15,000 to 8,000 years ago. (37)
In another Doorway Paper it is my intention to give a substantial number of examples of reductions of this kind which have been espoused, not by anti-evolutionists, but by those who hold firmly to a belief in man’s evolution and who justify the reductions they propose on the basis of evidence which is now available and which is far more substantial and solidly based than was the evidence upon which the original expansive claims were made. Yet for all this, the public is still invited to think of man’s origins as being rooted in a past so distant that the biblical chronology is made to appear utterly absurd. But only the use of astronomical figures allows the evolutionist room to float his theories. And this “antiquity” is presented as unchallengeable still.
36. For some reductions, see Robert Heizer, “Long Range dating in Archaeology” (pp.9, 13) and Kenneth Oakley, “Dating Fossil Human Remains”, (p.47) in Anthropology Today, edited by A. L. Kroeber, University of Chicago Press, 1953, pp.13, 9, and 47.
37. See remarks by Graham Clark in a panel at a Symposium in 1953 on “Problems of the Approach Methods”, Appraisal of Anthropology Today, edited by Sol Tax and Charles Callender, University Chicago Press 1953, p.7.
Many of the dates which are proposed are claimed to have been based upon physical and chemical processes which serve as time markers with strict objectivity. Unfortunately (or fortunately) some of these processes are perhaps being misread. A classical example was the estimate made by Lyell for the time which had been occupied since the Niagara River began to erode the lip of the Falls. He allowed a certain number of inches per year ending up with 30,000 to 100,000 years. This was what we were taught in university as the time at which the North American ice sheet retreated far enough to allow the water to drain over the escarpment at Queenston Heights. Many surveys have been made since that time (38) and more accurate data have established the fact that Lyell may have been by as much as 90,000 years wrong. Similarly, Antevs, (39) studying certain vanished lakes in the southern Californian desert, believed that they should have been dated about 25,000 years ago, but he now dates them at less than 10,000 years ago.
Many dates from proto- or early historic times have also been drastically reduced, as for example, Pendelbury concludes that the Neolithic Minoan culture must be brought down from 8,000 B.C. to 4,000 B.C. (40) This reduction resulted from the finding that whereas the accumulation of debris in Cnossos which was about 8 meters thick and that had been estimated to take 5100 years to form, is now believed to have been formed in between six and eight hundred years.
There are some other truly fantastic “potential” reductions. For example, Ernst Berl in 1940 developed a process for converting carbohydrate-containing material to coal and oil in one hour. (41) By contrast geologists currently hold that the coal beds took millions of years to form. John Klotz refers to a similar process of oil formation which was once believed to have taken several million years to complete but is now known to be possible in a few thousand years. (42) Boucher de Perthes, who estimated the age of certain Neanderthal remains in France, based his figures on the supposition that it took up to 20,000 years to deposit certain peat beds 26 feet deep. However, an American investigator found birch trunks three feet high in these
38. For a series of maps see “Note on Niagara Falls,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.19, 1885, p. 90-92. And for a bibliography covering reports of surveys, see “Literature on Niagara Falls,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.40, 1908, p.76.
39. Antevs, Ernst: quoted by Kenneth Macgowan, Early Man in the New World, Macmillan, New York, 1950, p.121.
40. Pendelbury, J. D. S., Archaeology in Crete, Methuen, New York, 1939, p.43.
41. Berl, Ernst, referred to by John DeVries, Beyond the Atom, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1950, p.80.
42. Klotz, John, Genes, Genesis, and Evolution, Concordia Publishers, St. Louis, Missouri., 1955, p.115.
beds, rooted in place and extending up through from 3,000 to 2,000 years of deposits, according to de Perthes’ estimated age. Roman remains were found in the peat indicating that it was not over 3,000 years old at the most. (43)
Much has been written in more recent times of the fact that anthropologists of an older generation tended to assume that “ages” were consecutive. Thus, having estimated the period supposedly occupied by Paleolithic Man, Mesolithic Man, and Neolithic Man, the sum of adding all these together was supposed to give a picture of the time involved. It is now realized that various ages may have been contemporaneous, just as the Indians of North America were still in a Stone Age when the Industrial Revolution began in Europe and some Australian aborigines were still in a Stone Age when the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Hallam Movius, (44) in a paper entitled “Old World Prehistory: Paleolithic,” in speaking of cultural contemporaneity, remarked, “In this connection it is of significance to note that all [his emphasis] the fundamental processes used by Paleolithic Man in Europe to produce tools are being used today, or have been employed during recent times by the Australian aborigine.”
One of the first to call attention to such parallelisms was Sir Edward Tylor who, speaking before the Archaeological Institute in England in 1905, made the following statement: (45)
I am now able to select and exhibit to the Institute from among the flint implements and flakes from the cave of Le Moustier, in Dordogne, specimens corresponding in make with such curious exactness to those of the Tasmanian natives, that were it not for the different stone they are chipped from, it would be hardly possible to distinguish them.
Of course, the kind of time frame which is in view here is still nowhere near the traditional time frame of the Bible, even interpreted in the most expansive way that a genuine respect for its data will permit.
Concerning C14 dating techniques there are, however, serious doubts being raised by men who nevertheless wholeheartedly accept the view that Man has evolved through a long slow process. As a
43. Boucher de Perthes: quoted by Harold W. Clark, The New Diluvialism, Science Publication, Angwin, California, 1946, p.187.
44. Movius, Hallam L., “Old World Prehistory: Paleolithic,” in Anthropology Today, edited by A. L. Kroeber, University of Chicago Press, 1953, p.163.
45. Tylor, Sir Edward: quoted by W.J. Sollas, “The Tasmanians” in The Making of Man, edited by V. F. Calverton, Modern Library, Random House, New York, 1931, p.89.
A last difficulty, and at the moment one of the most frustrating is the failure of the radiocarbon (C14) technique to yield dates of certain dependability. Although it was hailed as the answer to the prehistorian’s prayer when it was first announced, there has been increasing disillusion with the method because of the chronological uncertainties (in some cases, absurdities) that would follow a strict adherence to published C14 dates.
This is not to question the validity of the physical laws underlying the principle used or the accuracy of the counters now in operation around the world; the unsolved problem, instead, seems to lie in the difficulty of securing samples completely free from either younger or older adherent carbon.
At least to the present, no kind or degree of chemical cleaning can guarantee one-age carbon, typical only of the time of the site from which it was excavated.
What bids to become a classical example of “C14 irresponsibility” is the 6000-year spread of 11 determinations for Jarmo, a prehistoric village in northern Iraq, which, on the basis of all archaeological evidence, was not occupied for more than 500 consecutive years.
Some use has been made of stalagmite and stalactite growth rates to determine “ages since.” The principle is that if a certain stalagmite has built up to a certain height over some particular fossil remain or artifact, and if one knows approximately the rate at which it grows, then one can estimate a minimum time for the fossil remains. However, John Curry, writing in Nature, (47) was able to show that a stalagmite approximately 15 years old from a lead mine exactly paralleled in form and height a stalagmite which in association with human remains had been estimated by the experts as being 290,800 years old. I am not suggesting that similar mistakes are being made today, but the fact remains that depth of burial is still considered a very important index of probable age ï¿½ by a rather similar process of reasoning which could be equally faulty. Some time ago during the excavation of a site in Australia a miner’s pick was found at a depth of 20 feet, which as it turned out afterwards, proved to have been lost by the owner only 60 years previously. (48) As the report says, “How it worked its way down to this depth is a total mystery.” It could be true of other such finds.
It is even being held by some authorities that the association of human bones with the bones of supposedly long extinct animals may not be proof of the antiquity of man but rather that these animals
46. Reed, Charles A., “Animal Domestication in Prehistoric Near East,” Science, vol.130, 11 Dec., 1959, p.1630.
47. Curry, John, Nature, Dec.18, 1873, p.122.
48. Miner’s pick: noted by Dr. S. Thornton, “Problems of Aboriginal Art in Australia,” Transactions of the Victoria Institute, London, vol.30, 1896, p.229.
survived into much more recent times than was formerly believed. (49) I am convinced that we do not yet need to surrender the position that Scripture seems to me to take rather clearly, namely, that the human race began with Adam’s creation only a few thousand years ago.
| Now it is our contention that Noah and his family were real people, sole survivors of a major catastrophe, the chief effect of which were to obliterate the previous civilization which had developed from Adam to that time. When the Ark grounded, there were eight people alive in the world, and no more.
Landing somewhere in the highlands north of Mesopotamia, they began to spread as they multiplied, though retaining for some time a homogeneous cultural tradition. The initial family pattern, set by the existence in the party of three sons and their wives, gave rise in the course of time to three distinct families of man who, according to their patriarchal lineage, may appropriately be termed Japhethites, Hamites, and Shemites, but in modern terminology would be represented by the Indo-Europeans (Caucasoid), the Mongoloid and Negroid peoples, and the Semites (Hebrews, Arabs, and some more ancient branches of the family such as the Assyrians, etc.).
At first they kept together, but within a century or so they began to break up. Subsequently some of the family of Shem, some of the family of Ham, and perhaps a few of the family of Japheth arrived from the East in the southern section of the Mesopotamian Plain. (50) Here it would appear from the evidence discussed elsewhere by the author, (51) the family of Ham became politically dominant, initiated a movement to prevent any further dispersal by the erection of a monument high enough to be a visible rallying point on the flat plain, and brought upon themselves a judgment which led to their being forcibly and rapidly scattered to the four corners of the earth. Part of this we know only from the Bible; but part of it we know also from archaeological evidence.
The fact is that in every area of the world where Japhethites have subsequently settled, they have always been preceded by Hamites.
49. Man and Prehistoric Animals: see, for example, William Howells, Mankind So Far, Doubleday, Doran, New York, 1945, p.267. Also Ashley Montagu, in Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Thomas, Springfield, Missouri., 1945, p.110.
50. The existence of the three “families” at this time is noted by Vere G. Childe in his New Light on the Most Ancient East, Kegan Paul London, 1935, p.18, and What Happened in History, Penguin Books, 1946, p.81.
51. Custance, A. C., “The Part Played by Shem, Ham and Japheth in Subsequent World History,” Part I; “The Technology of Hamitic People,” Part IV, in Noah’s Three Sons, vol.1; and “The Confusion of Tongues,” Part V in Time and Eternity, vol.6, of The Doorway Papers Series.
This pattern applies in every continent. In prehistoric times the circumstance seems always to be true, the earliest fossil remains of man being Mongoloid or Negroid in character and in head shape, whereas those that came last belong to the family of Japheth, i.e., Caucasoid. Indeed, in pre- and early historic times the pattern of events is repeated again and again, whatever cultural advances the pioneering Hamites had achieved tended to be swallowed up by the succeeding Japhethites. The record of Japheth’s more leisurely spread (i.e., “enlargement,” Genesis 9:27) over the earth has been marred consistently by his destruction of the cultures which were already in existence wherever he arrived in sufficient force to achieve dominion. It happened in the Indus Valley, it happened in Central America, it happened to the Indian tribes of North America, it happened in Australia, and only numerical superiority of the native population has hitherto preserved parts of Africa from the same fate.
Now, in spite of the claims made for and the implications based upon the South African discoveries of recent years, it still remains true that whether we are speaking of fossil man, ancient civilizations, contemporary or extinct native peoples, or the present nations of the world, all lines of migration which are in any way traceable or deducible seem to radiate like the spokes of a wheel from the Middle East.
Before presenting some of the evidence itself, it will be well to summarize briefly what the nature of this evidence is. Along any migratory route there will be settlements each of which differs slightly from the one which preceded it and the one which stems from it. As a general rule, the direction of movement tends to be reflected in the gradual loss of cultural artifacts which continue in use back along the line, but either disappear entirely forwards along the line or are less effectively copied or merely represented in pictures or in folklore. When several lines radiate from a single center, the picture presented is more or less a series of ever increasing circles of settlements, each sharing fewer and fewer of the original cultural artifacts which continue at the centre, and each witnesses the appearance of completely new items developed to satisfy new needs which were not found at the centre. The further from the centre one moves along any such routes of migration, the more new and uniquely specific items one is likely to find which are not shared by the other lines, but there will yet be preserved a few particularly useful or important links with the original home base. Entering such a settlement without previous knowledge of the direction from which the settlers came, one cannot be certain which way relationships are to
be traced without some knowledge of the culture content of settlements up and down the line in each direction. There is usually, however, some quite specific type of evidence which allows one to separate the artifacts which have been brought with newcomers, from those which have been developed on the site. This is particularly the case whenever complex items turn up. The materials for making them often would not be available locally. Sometimes the evidence is second hand, existing in the form of an article which is dearly a copy and has something about its construction which proves it to be so. For example, certain Minoan pottery vessels are clearly copies of metal prototypes, both in the shape they take and in their ornamentation. Where the pottery handles of these vessels join the vessel itself, little knobs of clay are found which serve no functional purpose but which are clearly an attempt to copy the rivets which once secured the metal handle to the metal bodies of the prototype. (52) These prototypes are found in Asia Minor, and it is therefore clear which way the line of migration is to be traced, for it is inconceivable that the pottery vessel with its little knobs of clay provided the metal worker with the clues as to where he should place the rivets.
In the earliest migrations which, if we are guided by the chronology of Scripture, must have been quite rapid, it was inevitable that the tendency would be markedly towards a loss of cultural items common to the center as one moves out, rather than a gain of new items. (53) Thus the general level of culture would decline at first, although oral traditions and things like rituals and religious beliefs tend to be surrendered or changed much more slowly. In due time, when a large enough body of people survived in any one place that was hospitable enough to favour permanent settlement, a new culture centre would arise with many of the old traditions preserved but some new ones established of sufficient importance that waves of influence would move out both forwards and backwards along the lines from which the settlers had come.
Accompanying such cultural losses in the initial spread of the Hamitic peoples would often be a certain coarsening of physique. Not only would people tend in many cases to be unsuited for the rigours of such a pioneering life and be culturally degraded as a consequence, but food itself would often prove grossly insufficient or unsuitable to their unaccustomed tastes, and not infrequently it would at first be inadequate for the maintenance of full bodily vigour and
52. On this see J. D. S. Pendelbury, The Archaeology of Crete, Methuen, New York, 1939, p.68; and V. Gordon Childe, The Dawn of European Civilization, Kegan Paul, 6th edition, revised, 1967, p.19.
53. Perry, W. J., The Growth of Civilization, Penguin Books, 1937, p.123.
the development of entirely normal growth of the young, for dietary disturbances have their effects upon growth patterns. Indeed, as Dawson long ago observed, (54) the more highly cultured an immigrant is when he arrives at a frontier, the more severely is he handicapped and likely to suffer when robbed of the familiar accouterments of his previous life. This has been noted by those who have studied the effects of food deficiencies upon the form of the human skull, for example, a subject dealt with in some detail by the author elsewhere. (55) The effect upon the technological achievement of the newcomers is obvious enough, for a highly educated lady who had never made bread or mended her own clothes or cultivated a garden would be far worse off on the frontier when she first arrived than would a London charwoman. Thus the most likely cause of a particularly degraded society would, at the beginning, not be a low cultural background but a high one. And this is certainly the situation that Genesis presents us with immediately after the Flood.
Meanwhile, the occasional establishment along the various routes of migration of what might be called “provincial” cultural centres whose influences spread in all directions, would greatly complicate the patterns of cultural relationship in the earliest times. By and large, the evidence which does exist strongly supports a Cradle of Mankind in the Middle East, from which there went out just such successive waves of pioneers. And these were almost certainly not Indo-Europeans (i.e., Japhethites). They were Hamitic pioneers, either Mongoloid or Negroid in type for the most part but with some admixture, who blazed trails and opened up territories in every habitable part of the earth often at great cost to their own cultural heritage and to the detriment of the refined physique still to be found in their relatives who continued to reside at their point of origin. In each locality they ultimately either established a way of life which made maximum use of the resources available, or circumstances overwhelmed them and they died out leaving a few scattered remnants behind whose lot must have been appallingly difficult in their isolation, and whose physical remains bear witness to the effect. The Japhethites followed them in due course, often taking advantage of the established technology, as the Puritans were to do in North America thousands of years later, sometimes displacing them entirely, sometimes absorbing them so that the two stocks were fused into one, and sometimes educating them in new ways and then retiring. India has seen all three patterns. The Indus Valley people were
54. Dawson, Sir J. William., The Story of the Earth and Man, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1903, p.390.
overwhelmed and entirely displaced or absorbed, and this admixture thousands of years later was once more educated in new ways by a further influx of Japhetic settlers, who have since surrendered their dominant status.
As we have already noted, there is a further factor that bears upon the degenerative form which so many of the earliest fossils of man seem to show. Although the life span of man is said to have declined quite rapidly after the Flood, for several hundred years many people did survive to what would today be considered an incredible old age. If we add to the isolation and deprivation of some of these more scattered early pioneers the possibility of their living well past a hundred years or perhaps even longer, the ultimate effect upon their physique would be tremendously accentuated. It has been noted, in fact, that the skull sutures are almost obliterated in some specimens, a circumstance which might reasonably be interpreted as evidence of very extreme old age. Extreme old age would often tend to modify the skull towards the conventional “man-ape” form. (55)
So much, then, for the broad picture. We shall now turn to a more detailed examination of the evidence (1) that the dispersal of man took place from a centre somewhere in the Middle East and that this dispersal accounts for fossil man, and (2) that those who formed the vanguard were of Hamitic stock, using the term “Hamitic” to mean all the descendants of Noah who were not in the line of Japheth or Shem.
55. Obliteration of Skull Sutures: Noted by Sir William Dawson, Meeting Place of Geology and History, Revell, New York, 1904, p.63 [quoted by James Orr, God’s Image in Man, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1948, p.256, fn.3]. See also Gy. Acsadi and J. Nemereski, A History of Human Life Span and Mortality, Budapest, Akademiai Kiado, 1970, p.115f, 140.