Biblical Age of The Earth
Evolutionists claim the Earth’s age is over 4.6 billion years and the age of the Universe is approximately 18 billion years old. But what age does the Bible suggest as the biblical age of the earth?
Calculations can be made according to genealogical records in the book of Genesis to give an approximate age of our planet and the Universe, since both were created within a few days of each other, according to the Bible.
It is of interest to note that the Left, including evolutionists, have fought to remove any mention of God and Jesus from every aspect of our public schools, government, culture, and society. They are even trying to abolish the terms “BC” and “AD” because these support the fact that Jesus Christ actually existed.
When providing dates, “BC” refers to “Before Christ” and “AD” to “Anno Domini”, meaning “In the Year of Our Lord.” The liberals have created the terms “BCE” for “Before Common Era” and “CE” for “Common Era” in an attempt to remove any reference to Christ in historical study.
We will not cave in to this type of “politically correct” rhetoric. In this study, we will use the terms “BC” and “AD” to convey historical timelines.
Specific dates and timelines according to Hebrew and Persian calendars are commonly recorded in the Bible for events occurring after the days of King David, who lived circa 1000 BC. Timelines of substantial events occurring including the year and sometimes even the month and day are meticulously recorded after the death of King David’s son and Israel’s leader, King Solomon, who died circa 922 BC.
However, before these events, ages of Biblical patriarchs and certain timelines concerning events which occurred during their lives are recorded, which when combined and calculated, allow us to estimate the timeline from King David all the way back to the first man, Adam.
Although the Bible doesn’t give the specific dates of events before the days of King David, a thorough study of the Bible and other ancient historical documents can give insight into the proximate time span between certain historical events.
Detailed accounts of events occurring during the life of Abraham, circa 2150-1950 BC and afterwards, are recorded not only in Jewish historical documents, but also historical pieces throughout other ancient Middle Eastern, Northern African, and Southern European cultures, including Babylonian, Greek, Assyrian, Persian, and Egyptian societies.
2150 BC Abraham
1750 BC Babylonian Empire founded by Hammurabi
1450 BC Moses and the Exodus of Israel
1100 BC Beginning of the Israelite monarchy; Samuel the prophet, King Saul
1000 BC King David, Nathan the prophet
922 BC Division of the Kingdom; Kings Rehoboam and Jeroboam
850 BC Ahab and Jezebel; Prophets Elijah and Elisha
750 BC Greeks begin colonization of the Mediterranean
745 BC Rise of Assyria as world power; Amos, Hosea, Jeroboam II
722 BC Fall of Samaria; Defeat of the Northern Kingdom; Prophet Isaiah
701 BC Assyrian invasion of Judah; King Hezekiah; Prophet Micah
621 BC Revival and Reforms of King Josiah
605 BC Babylonian empire; Prophets Jeremiah and Habakkuk
598 BC First deportation of Jews to Babylon; Prophet Ezekiel
586 BC Destruction of Jerusalem; exile of Judah to Babylon; Prophet Daniel
550 BC Persian Empire founded by Cyrus II
510 BC Roman Republic Founded
538 BC Persians defeat the Babylonian Empire; Israel’s return from exile
530 BC Rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple; Haggai, Zechariah, Zerubbabel
450 BC Reforms of Ezra, Nehemiah, Malachi
401 BC Persian-Greek wars begin
330 BC Alexander the Great conquers Persia
323 BC Death of Alexander the Great
167 BC Maccabean Revolt; Judas Maccabee
45 BC First Roman Emperor Julius Caesar rules Rome
6 BC Birth of Jesus; Herod the Great
Studies of the Old and New Testament can provide clues as to the approximate age of the Earth, if it is accepted that Creation of the Earth and of the first man, Adam, all occurred within the same week as recorded in Genesis. Although specific dates of events are not recorded before Abraham’s time, detailed genealogies are recorded in the third chapter of Luke, First Chronicles and in the fifth and eleventh chapters of Genesis.
In the fifth chapter of Genesis, Moses gave a pre-flood genealogical lineage from Adam to Noah. In the eleventh chapter of Genesis, Moses recorded a post-flood genealogical lineage from Noah’s son Shem to Abraham’s father, Terah.
In the New Testament, the third chapter of Luke gives a complete lineage from Jesus all the way back to the first man, Adam. Moses also recorded partial genealogies of Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, in the tenth chapter of Genesis. Finally, the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles gives detailed genealogical accounts from Adam throughout the early kings of Israel.
Many people, including Biblical scholars, have taken the ancestors mentioned in the fifth and eleventh chapters of Genesis and calculated the ages of these patriarchs and their sons to create a chronological timeline. In these two chapters, Moses records the list of Abraham’s ancestors, which was ultimately the lineage of Jesus as well.
In the fifth chapter of Genesis, Moses gives the age of the patriarch at the birth of his son who was part of the Messianic lineage, recorded how long he lived afterwards, and finally totaled up the complete lifespan of the patriarch by adding the two ages. By doing so, scholars came up with a basic idea of the pre-flood time span between Adam and Noah.
Pre-Flood Patriarch Age When Son Was Born Total Age
Adam 130 930
Seth 105 912
Enos 90 905
Kenan 70 910
Mahalalel 65 895
Jared 162 962
Enoch 65 365* (Enoch didn‘t die)
Methuselah 187 969
Lamech 182 777
Noah 500 (Shem) 950
Total – 1,656 years (Noah was 600 years old when the Flood began)
In the eleventh chapter of Genesis, Moses records the genealogy a little differently than he did in the fifth chapter. In the eleventh chapter, Moses seems to record the age of the patriarch when he had his son who was in the ancestral lineage and how long he lived afterwards.
But what Moses doesn’t do was total the two ages and then calculate the complete lifespan of the patriarch like he did in the fifth chapter. However, most young Earth creationists still use the same method of totaling the years in the eleventh chapter as they did in the fifth chapter of Genesis. By doing so, they calculated the post-flood time span between Shem and Abraham.
The time span calculated in the fifth chapter of Genesis is around 1,656 years from Adam to the Flood (see Genesis 5:3-32). Using the same method, the time span calculated in the eleventh chapter of Genesis would be about 222 years from the Flood to the birth of Abraham‘s father, Terah, and 292 years from the Flood to Abraham (see Genesis 11:10-27).
Post-Flood Patriarch Age When Son Was Born Total Age
Shem 100 600
Arphaxad 35 438
Shela 30 433
Eber 34 464
Peleg 30 239
Reu 32 239
Serug 30 230
Nahor 29 148
Terah 70 (Abraham) 205
Total time from the Flood (Shem) to Abraham was 292 years.
Anglican Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) was a well known religious scholar. His most famous work was a published chronology which dated the Genesis Creation at 4004 BC. Ussher used the ancestral records from Adam to King Solomon and totaled the number of years from Creation to Solomon’s reign. Ussher then calculated up to the first destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem during the reign of the famous Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II.
Ussher used both Biblical and non-Biblical sources, including Chaldean, Babylonian, Roman and Greek records, to calculate the precise chronology from Adam to Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.
By using these various historical records, Ussher tied the date of Nebuchadnezzar’s death in 562 BC to the modern Julian calendar. Once the date of 562 BC was established, Ussher added 562 years to the 3,438 years represented by the ancestral generations recorded in the Old Testament up to that time, totaling 4000 years before the birth of Christ.
Ussher moved the date of Creation back to 4004 BC to make up for the error made by Dionysius Exiguus, who created the Anno Domini numbering system. The famous first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, indicated that Herod the Great died in 4 BC, therefore Jesus could not have been born after that date (see Matthew 2:1-2). It has since been accepted that Christ’s birth year must have been circa 6 BC. Ussher included this in his calculations and therefore determined that the Creation date was 4004 BC.
In 1650, Ussher published Annales veteris testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti (Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world) and in 1654 published a continuation titled Annalium pars postierior providing his research and conclusions. Many young Earth creationists and other Christians still go by Ussher’s date and therefore believe that the Earth is approximately 6,000 years old.
The first year of the traditional Jewish calendar sets Creation at 3761 BC. The first year of the Jewish calendar most likely represented the dawn of the new post-flood world after the Genesis Flood. This would make the Earth approximately 5769 years old if the first calendar year represents the Genesis creation, or 5769 years since the Genesis Flood.
The Mayan civilization, which originated in what is now known as Central America around 2600 BC, is noted for the only known fully developed written language of the early Americas. The Mayan culture is known for its advanced mathematical and astronomical systems along with its monumental architecture and wonderful art.
The Mayans practiced remarkable technology including accurate astronomical measurements and may have possessed the most advanced dating system ever known to man.
The Mayans measured the length of a solar year to an astonishing accuracy of 0.0002 of a day. The first year of the Mayan calendar starts between 3114 and 3174 BC. Again, it is very possible that this date may have represented the first era of the new post-Flood world mentioned in Genesis.
In fact, most non-Biblical archaeological and historical evidence supports the Earth being between 10,000 and 6,000 years old. It has been established that written history goes back, without pause, to circa 3500 BC, if not slightly longer. Therefore, the Flood must have occurred before this date. Archaic Sumerian written language is known to have existed circa 3100 BC. Ancient Mesopotamian cities including Erech, Eridu, Lagash, and Ur existed circa 3700 -3300 BC.
(W. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, 1957, p. 32)
What must be understood is that Genesis 5 and 11 records a genealogy providing historical accounts of important patriarchs in the Old Testament. These genealogical records should not be interpreted as a strict chronology which provide a timeline of events. Many historical and archaeological evidence which points to a catastrophic flood suggests that this event occurred between the fourth and fifth millennium BC.
If Moses had listed the names and ages in Genesis 11 for the purpose of creating a chronological timeline from the Flood to Abraham, it is interesting to note that Moses failed to total the two ages (age at birth of the patriarch’s son and number of years lived afterwards) and then calculate the complete lifespan of each patriarch like he did in the fifth chapter, thereby providing the total number of years from the Flood to Abraham.
Moses, like all other Hebrew historians, took nothing for granted and was meticulous in his recordings (if you disagree, just read the books of Leviticus and Numbers).
If we are to assume that the chronology is the same in the eleventh chapter as it is in the fifth, then why did Moses add the two numbers up in the fifth chapter and not the eleventh? If Moses was trying to relay the entire time-span from Abraham to Adam, he simply could have provided the total number of years like he did in Exodus 12:40 when he totaled the length of time the people of Israel lived in Egypt.
Modern Middle Eastern cultures, including how they convey stories, are much different from Western cultures. Even more so, imagine the vast differences between today’s western culture and Middle Eastern culture during Moses’ time circa 1400 BC. A 21’st century Westerner reading Genesis 11 might assume that Moses was providing a chronological record.
But contrary to what many believe, Moses was relaying other important points other than a strict chronology in the eleventh chapter of Genesis.
If Moses was only providing a recorded chronology, he would have simply given the age of the patriarch at his son’s birth and his total age. But the additional wording indicates that the purpose of these genealogies were much more than a simple time-line. Moses communicated how faithfully God guarded the Messianic heritage (Genesis 12:2, Luke 3:23-38).
He showed us the vitality, healthiness, and splendor which men of old experienced (check out the recorded longevity of the patriarchs in Genesis 5 and 11). But at the same time, Moses reemphasized man’s curse given in Genesis 2:17 and its fulfillment by repeating ‘and he died’ when recording the life of each patriarch in the fifth chapter of Genesis.
Moses made God’s curse of death even clearer in the eleventh chapter of Genesis, not by repeating, ‘and he died’, but instead showing the continual decreasing lifespan of each patriarch as their lineage grew more and more distant from the first man, Adam.
If you believe that the genealogy recorded in Genesis 11 is also a strict chronology, then you must believe that the total time-span from the Flood to the birth of Abraham was a mere 292 years.
Reading Genesis chapters 11 through 24, it is quite clear that Abraham didn’t live in a world that had just recently recovered from a complete annihilation of all plant life and topography, the total destruction and remolding of the geography, and the complete extermination of all terrestrial life, including mankind (except for those who survived on the Ark).
It would be very difficult to believe that only eight people, with almost no resources except what was on the Ark, could populate and build a world as established as the one Abraham lived in just 292 years.
If Moses recorded a strict chronology, then every one of the patriarchs listed in Genesis 11, including Noah, would still have been alive when Abraham was fifty years old. Also, three of the patriarchs who lived before the Earth was divided, Shem, Shelah, and Eber, would have even outlived Abraham.
In fact, Eber, Abraham’s great-great-great-great grandfather, would have still been alive two years after Abraham’s grandson Jacob arrived in Paddan Aram to work for Laban as recorded in Genesis 29!
Such a short timeline would indeed be astonishing and unimaginable to say the least. The statement made by Moses’ successor, Joshua, indicated a much longer time period between the Flood and Abraham as well. In Joshua 24:2, 14-15, Joshua called Abraham’s forefathers, including Terah, idolaters when they dwelt in “ancient times.”
If Genesis 11 was meant to be recorded as a strict chronology, then all the patriarchs, including Noah, Shem, and Eber, who were all living in Abraham’s time, had fallen into idolatry and were worshipping other gods. Joshua declared, “From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.” (Joshua 24:2; New American Standard Bible)
Yet Genesis records that Noah found favor with God and described Noah as a righteous man, “blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” (Genesis 6:8-9; NIV)
The belief that these noble patriarchs were still living during Abraham’s lifetime must be wrong. Therefore, the strict chronology assumed in Genesis 11 must be set aside in order for the death of these righteous men long before Abraham’s time.
If we accept a strict chronology in Genesis 11, then we must believe that Abraham’s journeys recorded in Genesis chapters 12-15 occurred less than 200 years after the judgment of the Tower of Babel and the scattering of the peoples including the formation of brand new languages and nations. Yet Genesis depicts a much different picture describing the world Abraham traveled through.
Abraham is not depicted as an early pioneer of these distant lands, but to the contrary, seems to have traveled to cities and nations already considered fully established and even ancient.
These cities and civilizations seem to have been settled and established long before Abraham’s time as described in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10.
The land God pledged to Abraham in Genesis 15 did not seem uninhabited but, on the contrary, was described as being fully established by earlier nations and peoples.
“On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates – the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’” (Genesis 15:18-21; NIV)
Genesis 12:10-20 certainly described Egypt as a fully established land and government, including Pharaoh and his princes, when Abraham lived there. The same concept hold true concerning the king of Salem (Jerusalem) (Genesis 14:18), the Philistine king (Genesis 20:1-2) and the Hittites (Genesis 23:20). It seems that the judgment of God at the Tower of Babel must have occurred many centuries before Abraham’s time.
And when Abraham rescued his nephew Lot, it is clear that many kingdoms had been firmly established in the region long before Abraham’s time. Moses records, “At this time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea).
For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert.
Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar.
Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five.” (Genesis 14:1-9; NIV) This recorded account indicates that Abraham lived in a world that had been firmly settled and established many centuries prior to his arrival.
Other statements recorded by Moses indicate that these genealogies are something other than strict chronology. In Genesis 11:26 (NIV), Moses wrote, “After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.”
Reading this literally with modern Western thought, this statement tells us that when Terah was 70 years old he had triplets. But we know through other statements in the Bible that Terah was actually 130 years old when he had Abraham.
In the book of Acts, Stephen proclaimed that Abraham did not leave the land of Haran until Terah his father died, stating, ’So he [Abraham] left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.” (Acts 7:4, NIV; brackets added for clarity).
Moses stated that Abraham was 75 years old when he left for Haran (Genesis 12:4). Finally, Genesis 11:32 records that Terah was 205 years old when he died. This means that Terah was 130 years old (205 minus 75) when Abraham was born.
Taking these scriptures into account, we see that Moses could be paraphrased as follows, “And Terah lived seventy years and begat the first of his three sons, the most important of whom (not because of his age but because of the Messianic line) was Abram.” (J. Whitcomb and H. Morris, The Genesis Flood, The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications, 1961, p. 480)
The same concept holds true considering Noah’s son Shem. Reading the fifth chapter of Genesis with modern Western thought seems to indicate that Noah had triplets when he was 500 years old, with Shem being born first, “After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.” (Genesis 5:32, NIV).
But Genesis states that Noah was 600 years old when the Flood began (Genesis 7:6), the Flood lasted about one year (Genesis 8:13), and that Shem was 100 years old two years after the Flood (Genesis 11:10). Japheth was actually the firstborn of Noah (Genesis 10:21) and Ham was the youngest (Genesis 9:24) thereby making Shem the middle child. Again, Moses’ thought was to say that Noah had the first of his three sons when he was 500 years old, the most important being Shem (not because of his age but because the Messianic line ran through Shem).
On the surface, most of these patriarchs mentioned in Genesis 11 appear to be first born sons, but actually are not. Reading Genesis 11:10 seems to suggests that Arphaxad was the first born son of Shem, but Genesis 10:22 indicates that he was not. In fact, we know that none of the Messianic patriarchs mentioned in Genesis 5, Genesis 11 and Luke 3, are actually first born sons. Included are Abel, Seth, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez, David, Nathan and Solomon.
The year in which a Hebrew man bore his firstborn son was known as ‘the beginning of strength’ (Deuteronomy 21:17). In ancient Hebrew tradition, it was this year, ‘the year of strength,’ that Moses recorded in Genesis 11. Modern Western thought interprets the genealogy recorded in Genesis 11 as the specific year in which the mentioned person was born. But ample evidence shows that the important patriarch was born years, sometimes many, many years later than what was originally interpreted.
This, considering the extended life spans in which the post-Flood patriarchs enjoyed, in turn added hundreds and even possibly up to a few thousand years onto what we already calculated from the Flood to Abraham. This would make the Biblical age of the Earth increase from 6,000 years to up to between 7,000 to 8,000 years.
The terms “begat” and “the son of” implies a father-son relationship in modern English. But these terms implied a much wider meaning when they were used during Biblical times. A more accurate translation of “begat” and “the son of” would be closer to the modern term “descendant.”
Matthew 1:8 seems to indicate that Jehoram was the father of Uzziah, stating, “…and Jehoram begat Uzziah” (Matthew 1:8, KJV). But we know that three generations were omitted (Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah – Read 2 Chronicles chapters 21-26) between Jehoram and Uzziah.
In I Chronicles 26:24 (KJV), it seems to indicate direct relationships between Shebuel, Gershom, and Moses, stating, ‘And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures.”
But over 400 years of generations were skipped between Moses’ son, Gershom (who live circa 1400 BC – see Exodus 2:21-22), and Shebuel (who lived circa 1000 BC during the reign of King David – see 1 Chronicles 26:24). These terms used in the Old Testament sometimes conveyed an important ancestral lineage but not necessarily a direct father-to-son genealogy.
Catholic researcher, Robert Sungenis, commented, “Moreover, Genesis 11:12 does not say ‘at the time of Salah’s birth, Arphaxad was 35 years old.’ It says, in Hebrew, Arphaxad was 35 years old when he BEGAT Salah. BEGAT (Hebrew: yalad) is never confined to ‘birth’ of father-son relationships in Scripture. If it was, then Scripture would contradict itself in many places, especially the genealogies in 1 Chronicles 3-10 and Matthew 1.” (Robert Sungenis with Catholic Apologetics International, 28 April, 2004)
The vast difference between modern Western and ancient Middle Eastern thought is most strikingly seen in Moses’ description of his own personal lineage. Moses wrote, “And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.” (Exodus 6: 18-20, KJV)
The more modern translation relays the same meaning, stating, ‘Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.’ (Exodus 6: 18-20, NIV)
Anyone reading this scripture by itself would conclude that Amram was the father of Moses and his brother Aaron. Moses even concluded the verse with the total years Amram lived, which is very similar to the style seen in Genesis 5.
But consider Moses’ statements in the book of Numbers in which he wrote, “And the sons of Kohath by their families; Amram, and Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel.” (Numbers 3:19, NIV) Also, “And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, and the family of the Izeharites, and the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites. In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary.” (Numbers 3: 27-28, NIV)
Unless you are willing to believe that Moses and Aaron had over 8,600 male cousins plus most likely between five and ten thousand extra female cousins, you therefore must conclude that Amram was an ancestor of Moses and Aaron by at least a few generations.
Either you conclude that Amram was an ancestor of Moses or believe that these four brothers (Amram, Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel) had about 4,000 children each! If this were true, then this would take God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” to a whole new level
Another scripture which suggests gaps in genealogy is Genesis 11:12-23 (NIV), which records:
12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah.
13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.
15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg.
17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu.
19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug.
21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor.
23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
Examining these records, we find a very sudden decline in the life-span of the patriarchs between Eber’s 464 years (v. 16) and Peleg’s 239 years (v.18). This drastic difference between just one generation is not seen in any other post-Flood lineage.
Before Peleg, no ancestor lived less than 433 years. But suddenly, without explanation, the patriarch’s life-spans tumbles to 239 years and never surpasses that age again. This signifies a remarkable 45% decline of man’s longevity in just one generation.
It is possible that Moses once again recorded only the patriarchs deemed important to the Messianic lineage. If this was the case, Eber may not have been Peleg’s father but instead an ancestor separated by many generations.
Another section of this genealogical recording which supports the premise that Eber was a distant ancestor of Peleg and not the father is seen in Genesis 10:25 (NIV) stating, “Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.”
Some Old Testament scholars believe this record of the “time the Earth was divided” refers to the judgment of Babel where the nations scattered throughout the Earth (see Genesis 11:1-9). But the more plausible explanation is that Genesis 10:25 refers instead to the age where the continents were physically divided by the rising oceans from the melting glaciers towards the end of the Ice Age.
Whichever is the case, this was a significant and cataclysmic worldwide event worthy of mention by Moses. It is of great interest that only Peleg is the only patriarch mentioned in relation to this magnificent world-changing event.
Christian apologist and researcher Henry Morris PhD noted, “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, that Noah, Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah, and Eber were still living throughout the entire lifetime of Peleg.”
(J. Whitcomb and H. Morris, The Genesis Flood, 1961, p. 482)
The reference in Genesis 10:25 suggesting that Eber had two sons, Peleg and Joktan, is similar to the reference in Exodus 6:20 suggesting that Amram was the father of Moses and Aaron. We know from the third chapter of Numbers that Moses and Aaron were only two of over 8,600 living male descendants of Amram’s father.
The same outcome can be surmised in Genesis 10 concluding that Peleg and Joktan were only two of the many descendants of Eber worthy of mention who lived during the age of the division of the Earth.
It is very likely that at least in this section of Genesis 11 and possibly other sections covering genealogies that the term ‘begat’ actually characterized an ancestral connection and not a direct father-son relationship. Considering the drastic drop in the lifespan between Eber and Peleg combined with the mention of Peleg as the only patriarch to go through the age when the Earth was divided, it is very probably to conclude that Eber was a distant ancestor to Peleg and not his father.
Many points can be made showing that a much longer time period between Abraham and the Flood occurred than what Archbishop James Ussher calculated. The extra generations between Abraham and the Flood not mentioned in the Bible could add up to possibly a few thousand years. However, there are limitations as to how vast this difference could be. The additional few thousand years fits nicely into historical and archaeological timelines and agree with much of the evidence in which these fields provide.
But dating the Earth much older than 10,000 years creates many difficulties. To even consider that the genealogy of Genesis 5 and 11 could possibly cover a period of over 25,000 years, which is only an instant vapor compared to the 4.6 billion years evolutionists claim, is in complete discord with the chronological framework of Biblical, Assyrian, Babylonian, and other ancient historical timelines.
The time between the Earth’s creation and the Flood is approximately 1,656 years. The history of Israel covered approximately 2,000 years from Abraham to Jesus. The modern Christian era covers another 2,020 years from the birth of Jesus to the present time. To say that the segment of time between the Flood and Abraham is 100,000 or 50,000 or even 25,000 years would be completely inconsistent with the remaining timelines between the previously significant Biblical events (creation-Flood-Abraham-Jesus-present).
To suggest a 25,000 or 50,000-year timeline between the Flood and Abraham would be in utter disharmony with the approximately two thousand year timelines (give or take 500 years) between the Creation and the Flood, between Abraham and Jesus, and between Jesus and the present time.
The Tower of Babel
The dating of the Tower of Babel couldn’t have been more than a few thousand years after the Flood for a number of reasons. The fact that the entire human race was still living in one central location in the Middle East and their similar language and culture supports this conclusion.
The same concept holds true concerning the time between Babel and Abraham. If the Tower of Babel was tens of thousands of years before Abraham, then how can the close connection between the exiles of Babel and Abraham’s peers be explained?
The language, cultures, customs, and levels of agriculture and lifestyle were not that different between the two groups. Assyrian records further support Biblical timelines by showing the existence of ancient towns in Mesopotamia which were named after Biblical patriarchs, including:
Paliga Peleg (Genesis 11:17)
Sarugi Serug (Genesis 11:20)
Nakhur Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
Possibly the oldest known work of literature ever discovered is the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh. This series of Sumerian legends and poems center around the ancient king Gilgamesh, thought to be a mighty ruler during the third millennium BC. This epic appears to have been widely known in ancient times in Mesopotamia. Within this ancient Babylonian legend is the story of a great flood which destroyed the Earth.
The similarities between the flood accounts of Gilgamesh and the Genesis Flood are strikingly similar. The Epic of Gilgamesh describes the story of a man named Utnapishtim who was instructed by the gods to build a vessel in which he could save his family, his friends, his cattle and his wealth. After the great flood the gods repented of their action and made Utnapishtim immortal.
These two stories describing the Flood are so similar that many archaeologists and historians believe that the Genesis Flood account actually derived from the Epic of Gilgamesh. On the other hand, Biblical scholars assert that the Babylonian epic was handed down over many centuries through oral and written tradition from the actual events which occurred during Noah’s Flood. The secular corruption of the original facts over time led to the flagrant polytheism seen in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Concerning the length of time separating the Flood and Abraham, the question arises: How could specific details in the Epic of Gilgamesh concerning the Flood have been accurately handed down from one primitive “cave-man” culture to another solely by oral tradition over a 100,000 year or 50,000 year or even 10,000-year period? This would seem remotely improbable at best.
The account of the great Flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh again supports the concept that only a few thousand years separated the Genesis Flood and Abraham.
Biblical timelines, ancient traditional accounts, historical records, and archaeological evidence support the conclusion that the Flood most likely occurred between two and five thousand years before Abraham.
The allowance of anything over 5,000 years between the Flood and Abraham would be stretching the events recorded in Genesis 10 and 11 to the breaking point. Based on these findings, it is very likely that the earth is approximately 7,000 to 10,000 years old.
Answers in Genesis - Genesis 8:4 and The Resurrection The cataclysmic event recorded in the book of Genesis chapters 6-8 describes the worldwide flood which destroyed every living terrestrial thing that breathed air. Only eight people and the animals on Noah’s Ark...read more