Of Peleg and Pangaea

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Excerpt The Genesis 1:9-10 passage quoted above tells us that at Creation, all the waters of the sea were "gathered into one place." I think that the vast majority of commentators have overlooked the significant corollary of this statement - namely, that there was a single original landmass, likewise "gathered into one place."... Continue reading

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This article is a slightly revised and expanded version of an article first published in the April 2006 Electronic Newsletter.


Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place,
and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and
the gathering of the waters he called seas; and God saw that it was good.


- Genesis 1:9-10 (NASB)

People have often wondered how human beings and animals colonized widely isolated lands. The solutions generally proposed include exceptional seafaring skills, enabling people to successfully navigate vast oceans; land bridges, such as across the Bering Sea from Alaska into Russia; or ice-free waterways that are not presently passable. Lawson L. Schroeder discussed the latter idea in his 2005 TJ magazine article, "A Possible Post-Flood Human Migration Route" (TJ 19:1, pp. 65-72). His thesis was that ancient mariners were able to navigate an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the years following the confusion of languages at Babel to reach lands in the North Pacific and points south.

I agree with Schroeder that the concept of Oard and Vardiman, that a warm post-Flood ocean gave rise to the Ice Age in a relatively short time, is quite persuasive. It would appear to allow for a navigable Arctic Ocean route into the North Pacific for a brief period (perhaps 500 years according to Schroeder, following Vardiman and Oard) until the full impact of the Ice Age was felt in the far northern and southern latitudes, with associated closing of some waterways to sea travel. Furthermore, it seems Schroeder made a decent case in tying together commonalities of culture, language and human anatomy characteristics between Northern Europe and outlying areas into the Western Pacific. So far, so good.

"Gathered Into One Place"

There is, however, an underlying assumption that Schroeder does not address, and which places his thesis in doubt: that expanses of ocean would have to be crossed in order to colonize what are now distant lands. It appears to assume that a configuration of the continents and seas more or less like what we find today would have existed around the time of the Babel dispersion. I am not convinced this is the case.

Why not? The Bible itself provides reason to question this assumption. The Genesis 1:9-10 passage quoted above tells us that at Creation, all the waters of the sea were "gathered into one place." I think that the vast majority of commentators have overlooked the significant corollary of this statement - namely, that there was a single original landmass, likewise "gathered into one place."

Evidence from Plate Tectonics

In agreement with this single-continent understanding of Genesis 1:9-10, the theory of plate tectonics - which posits that the earth's outermost layer is fragmented into a dozen or more "plates" of varying sizes and shapes riding upon hotter, fluid material - supports the idea of a single original landmass via several lines of evidence. These include: (1) the shapes of many continents look like they are separated pieces of a jig-saw puzzle; (2) many fossil correspondences exist along the edges of continents that look like they fit together, which only makes sense if the two continents were joined at some point in the past; (3) a large amount of seismic, volcanic and geothermal activity occurs along the conjectured plate boundaries; (4) there are ridges, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, that are produced by lava welling up from between and pushing apart the plates, and likewise there are mountain ranges being formed where plates are pushing against each other (e.g., the Andes and Himalayas, which are still measurably rising); and (5), glacial striations on rocks indicate that glaciers moved from Africa toward the Atlantic Ocean and from the Atlantic onto South America, a situation most likely if there had been no Atlantic Ocean and the continents had still been joined during at least part of the Ice Age. Taken together, these clues point to the existence of a single original landmass - Pangaea, Greek for "all lands" - that later divided up into the present continents.

If we accept this thesis of a single original landmass, we can reasonably conclude that this was the form of the earth at the time of the Flood. There is no hint of any event prior to Noah's Flood that could have broken it up, making it quite safe to say that the universal Flood - which the Bible exclusively designates with the Hebrew and Greek words mabbul and kataklusmos respectively, unique terms never used for local floods - overtook a single super-continent. Extending this, we can also safely say - though it cannot be proven - that when the Flood subsided, the single landmass remained more or less intact, perhaps with some cracks and additional relatively small bodies of water, but still essentially a unit. (Just one year of Flood-related tectonic activity seems to be far too short a time to put South America and Africa as far apart as we now find them.)

The concept of a single landmass at the close of the Flood has enormous practical implications for understanding early earth history. For one thing, it would have allowed the animals to move far and wide from the Ark over the entire landmass, with localized concentrations of particular animals developing in certain areas (such as marsupials in what would one day become Australia) due to a combination of environmental factors, predator pressures, and even God-given instincts. Human beings, of course, by and large stuck together, and made their way in a relatively short time to the Fertile Crescent and established Babel. There, God intervened and confused the languages, resulting in sub-populations of humans doing what the animals had already done - dispersing over the still-intact single continent.

Is the Peleg "Division" the Same as Babel?

An objection may be raised to this scenario, however. If such a far-reaching event as breakup of the continents took place, why does the Bible say nothing about it? Actually, it does, in the manner of a passing allusion - IF one does not equate the "division" connected with Peleg in Genesis 10:25 with the language-based "division" that occurred at Babel. Those who believe the meaning of Peleg's name, "in whose day the earth was divided" (Gen. 10:25), alludes to the scattering of humanity from Babel, can find no biblical reference to such a continental breakup. Schroeder is apparently in this camp, and asserts that, if one follows Archbishop James Ussher's chronology, "the dispersion of people from the Tower of Babel in Mesopotamia occurred five years after the birth of Peleg" (my emphasis). Schroeder does not demonstrate in his article how he calculated his five-years-after-Babel birthdate for Peleg from Ussher's writings, but for the sake of argument let's accept it for now. Even if the precise date is a little off, the main point stands - that per Ussher, Peleg's birth was close enough to the Babel event to equate the "division" in his day with the confusion of languages.

There are problems with equating the Peleg "division" with that of Babel, however. A minor consideration is that, in order to have influenced his parents' choice of a name for him, the "division" - whatever it was - had to have already begun BEFORE, not after, Peleg's birth. It does not make sense that his parents would have waited until little Peleg was five years old - assuming Schroeder's reading of Ussher is correct - before naming him, and there is no evidence in the biblical text that allows us to conclude that Peleg was renamed, after the fashion of Abram > Abraham and Jacob > Israel, sometime later in life. This naming consideration strikes a logical blow at the Babel dispersion occurring five years after Peleg's birth.

Further, it was pointed out to me that the Hebrew grammar, which uses the perfect form of palag in Gen. 10:25, refers to the event of dividing rather than the state of being divided. This does not appear to conflict with the division event being an ongoing one, initiated sometime before Peleg was born but continuing throughout his lifetime. The separation of the landmasses was not a one-time, "state" event, but a continuing process of increasingly greater separation of land sections with associated infilling of the new low places by the sea. It began as a sort of natural "canalization," and over time far exceeded that limited scale. We can see a similar process taking place even today in the Afar Triangle region of Africa; see
http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0%2C1518%2C405947%2C00.html. But the Babel disruption of languages was a one-time event that created a state of "division," and requires us, if Schroeder's understanding is correct, to see Peleg's name as either a renaming or a kind of prophecy of something that would happen sometime after his birth. Both of these ideas seem to involve special pleading not justified by the biblical data.

More significant is that, if we accept the genealogy of Shem in Luke 3:35-36, which includes the mention of Cainan, as correct - though differing from the Masoretic (Hebrew) text, it matches the Alexandrian Septuagint (Greek) version - then we clearly have Peleg in the FIFTH generation after the Flood (Shem > The Flood > Arphaxad > Cainan > Shelah > Eber > Peleg). Those who allege that the division in Peleg's day was that of Babel overlook the glaring inconsistency that the Babel event affected the SECOND generation of the descendents of Japheth. Genesis 10:5 notes that from the sons of Javan, son of Japheth, "the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language..." (NASB). Simply put, language differences impacted Japheth's grandchildren, and since there was a universal language until Babel, we can connect the Babel event to this time. But we must jump three generations forward to the fifth generation of Semites before we come to Peleg's division. Accounting for long human life spans at the time, plus a general equivalence in the timing of the generations following Noah's three sons (all childless while aboard the Ark), this means approximately 200 years separate the Babel and Peleg divisions. Thus, we must conclude they are NOT the same, and that one division is of languages, and the second, later one is of the earth itself - of the primeval single landmass. They cannot be one and the same event.

Another thing which should be pointed out is that there are also etymological considerations based on Peleg's name, which strongly indicate the Peleg division involved water. Bernard Northrup, a Hebrew scholar, states:

[Peleg, palag, or PLG] often contains within it a reference to water. It is used to refer to a stream of water in Hebrew, Coptic, Ethiopic and in Greek. The root is used to refer to irrigation canals which carried the water throughout the farming land of Mesopotamia. However, an examination of the Greek usage (of the family of Japeth) of the root letters PL and PLG clearly shows that in the majority of the instances this root was used of the ocean...It is used to mean: “to form a sea or lake,” “of places that are flooded and under water,” “of crossing the sea,” of “the broad sea” itself, of “being out at sea,” “on the open sea.” It is used of seamen and ships. The noun with the result suffix is used of “an inundation.” I continue: it is used of “a being at sea,” of “a creature of or on the sea,” of “one who walks on the sea,” of “running or sailing on the open sea,” of “a harbor that is formed in the open sea by means of sandbags,” and in many ways of “the open sea itself,” of “going to, into or toward the sea,” of “roving through the sea,” of “being sea-nourished,” of “turning something into the sea or into the sea or of flooding.” It is quite apparent that every Greek usage here involves the sea in someway.

This is yet another indication that the "division" in Peleg's day was not the disruption of languages at Babel. Dr. Walt Brown elucidates further on the above and other considerations on his website, to which the interested reader is directed for further research.

A Satisfying Framework for Early Earth History

The concept that biblical Pangaea existed until the time of Peleg provides a satisfying framework for understanding several mysteries of early earth history. For one thing, it allows for a few hundred years of relatively easy human migration following Babel to widely separated places, without resorting to hypothetical land bridges or sophisticated ocean navigation knowledge by the first few generations following the Flood. (Such knowledge does not seem likely to have been possessed by the early, land-locked inhabitants of Mesopotamia.) A satisfying answer is also given to the question of how marsupials could find a home in Australia following the Flood - they just walked there! Isolated continents and impassibly high mountains did not exist at that early time, only developing in succeeding centuries as continued post-Flood earth turmoil and the Ice Age wrought geological change on a grand scale. The resulting geographical isolation led, via inbreeding and selective pressures imposed by different environments, to the development of the various races of human beings, as well as providing safe havens from predators for various types of vulnerable animals, like the Dodo birds.

Recommended Resources for Further Study

     
The Genesis
Record

100 Reasons to
Trust OT History

Paradise to Prison


References:

Bojanowski, Axel
Africa's New Ocean: A Continent Splits Apart. March 15, 2006. Spiegel Online (May 10, 2006).
http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0%2C1518%2C405947%2C00.html (10 May 2006).

Brown, Walter
How Was the Earth Divided in Peleg’s Day? May 5, 2006. In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood.
http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ213.html (May 10, 2006).

For Kids Only - Earth Science Enterprise (NASA)
On the Move...Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics. Jan. 22, 2003. http://kids.earth.nasa.gov/archive/pangaea/evidence.html (April 14, 2006).

Northrup, Bernard
1979   Continental Drift and the Fossil Record. Pp. 165–166 in Repossess the Land. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bible Science Association.
On Finding an Ice Age Book. Sept. 9, 1996.
http://www.ldolphin.org/iceage.html (April 14, 2006).
The Genesis of Geology
. n.d.
http://www.ldolphin.org/genages.html (April 14, 2006).

Oard, Michael J.
2001   An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research.

Schroeder, Lawson L.
1990   A possible post-Flood human migration route. TJ 19(1), pp. 65-72.

Vardiman, Larry
2005   Climates Before and After the Genesis Flood: Numerical Models and Their Implications. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research.

United States Geological Survey
Historical perspective. May 5, 1999.
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/historical.html (April 14, 2006).
Comments Comment RSS

4/27/2010 8:47 AM #

It´s a relief to find this information - it confirms what I have always thought.

Ann Gould - 4/27/2010 8:47:47 AM

6/1/2010 7:38 PM #

I read some time ago, that the earth being divided was in fact the gathering together of Noah, his 3 immediate sons, and all their several generations of sons into one place, so as to divide the earth between them. Noah being old, and the sons already tending toward sinfulness.

Lots were drawn, and indeed Shem drew for west, Japeth for east, and Ham for the land of cush. Wherein Noah gave thanks to God for His bringing Noah's prophetic words to pass.

It seems natural that these people should sort out the division of the earth in their fathers lifetime, in order to prevent unnecessary bloodshed. Even so, when Babel occurred there were 70 languages, which became the 70 original races on the earth. Each race headed by a "watcher" as stated in the book of Enoch. After this division, it is probable that waring increased, due to non-observance of this original division.

William Edwards - 6/1/2010 7:38:13 PM

6/5/2010 2:44 PM #

Thank you so much for this article.  I only recently heard about Peleg and how his name shows that the land was divided.  For many years I had wanted to understand more about "when" the land underwent the division we now see.  Because of all the scientific information I learned in college, it became so confusing especially with the "dating" of fossels and such.  I have never lost my faith in God, but the information I got from the school system, caused much confusion.  Now however, this article has reinforced my original and ongoing beliefs.  Consequently, when scientific dating finally catches up to the Biblical truths, I believe that more understanding will become available to those who want to learn more about the One who Created this complex system in which we dwell.

Johnna June - 6/5/2010 2:44:21 PM

6/5/2010 2:53 PM #

Oh yah, as a secondary thought:  This may answer why so many civilizations around the globe had a similar pattern in building pyrimids.  This was something I had noticed several years ago, but didn't even come close to a reasonable answer until I read this wonderful article.  -- Thanks again.

Johnna June - 6/5/2010 2:53:01 PM

6/16/2010 1:52 PM #

Thank you very much for your kind comments, Johnna! The fact there are pyramids in Central America very like those in the Near East was one of the mysteries that prompted me to study this. I may not have all the answers, but I am convinced God wants us to begin with what is revealed in the Word, and study diligently to relate what we see in the world to it, rather than just coming up with some idea that conflicts with the Bible, and saying the Bible is wrong. May you do the same in your own study!

God bless,

Rick Lanser
ABR

ABR - 6/16/2010 1:52:48 PM

7/29/2010 7:13 PM #

Thank you for a very informative article.  Fifty-eight years ago I accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Saviour, but only recently has some passages of the Bible been revealed to me.  It cannot be over-emphasised that the Bible is concise to the point sometimes of brevity without explanation, so implication is clearly an option as its Word is true for all generations, from ancient time until today.  A statement may be either expressed or implied. The relevant passages must be read as they are written: no other interpretation is permissible or desirable.  

'' In the ''days of Peleg'' the earth was divided''.  There it is, in plain sight; the EARTH, [as in 'God gathered the dry land into one place'] was DIVIDED, i.e., split up into fragments from its former whole in the days of Peleg.  Peleg was born 101 years after the Flood and lived some 239 years altogether.  All peoples had a common language prior to Babel, and they were now forced to migrate with those of their families who spoke the only language they now understood.  The implication, I would say biblical chronological evidence, is that they, their growing families, and all the various animals, were all given sufficient time to travel great distances until the subsequent worldwide volanic activity merely caused the land on which they had taken up residence to drift apart, with them still upon it.  Mountains and valleys, rivers, and eventually oceans, would isolate these people still further and discourage reintegration until their Nations were established.  It also explains why the old civilisations all have references to a huge Deluge and other 'mythical' events which have been handed down through their culture.

We also read in Genesis 10:1-6 about the grandsons of Noah that '' by these were the ''Isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their Nations ''.  I suggest this a different type of 'division', a splitting up of the lands already divided or separated from the vast Original continent of God's Creation.

May God continue to bless your work,

Ray.

Ray Harris - 7/29/2010 7:13:00 PM

9/5/2010 12:14 PM #

Thank you for this article.

I would like to comment on Genesis 11:8
And Jehovah scattered them from there, over the face of all the earth. And they stopped building the city.

From my studies most commentators say that the people migrated from Babel after God confused the language. But it seems to me that the Bible says God scattered them. Which to me suggests that God in some form or fashion made them scatter over the face of all the earth. Not that they just slowly got together in groups that could understand one another and moved out. I think they still wouldn't have listened to Him and stayed close to Babel. God had to force them or physically move them out across the entire planet.

Just my thoughts.

Glenn - 9/5/2010 12:14:04 PM

2/23/2011 8:11 AM #

Hello,
In regards to Pelag and the division of the land mass. One contention is that there would have been absolutely huge sunamis and general disorder perhaps even greater than the flood, by the continents drifting apart in a reletavely short period. Is there any info on this?
Jim

Jim Beguely - 2/23/2011 8:11:42 AM

8/21/2011 12:29 AM #

The division of the land masses is clearly what Eber, Peleg's  father, is referring to, with regard to naming his son. And it also makes sense that it would take some time for the continents to be affected by the "cutting" waters that were receding. God's word will always be true and triumphant. For those who doubt, here are evidences that can give or increase faith. John 6:28,29.

Gilbert dekelaita - 8/21/2011 12:29:17 AM

8/21/2011 7:10 PM #

The other day, I was standing by the microwave, when a thought lit up in my mind.  Before Noah went into the Arc, the animals came to him in two's (except the clean animals who came in pairs of seven's) [Gen 7:9].  That means that Noah and his family and all the peoples of the then known Earth, were living on Pangaea.  It also proves Pangaea still existed during the receding of the waters from the great flood, and that the animals redistributed themselves after the flood but before the land divided.  Therefore, the Bible shows correctly the order of each event including the division of the land in the time of Peleg.  Wow, what confirmation that the Word of God is true.  

History has proven that most ancient records were written after many years of oral communication, but the Bible was inspired by men, or prophets, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  Moreover, Jesus being the Word, from the foundation of the Earth, would not allow the ancient writers of His Word to get His events mixed up and out of order.  How awesome is that?

Johnna June - 8/21/2011 7:10:44 PM

12/18/2011 10:52 AM #

WOW...this is great!  good job!

Dave - 12/18/2011 10:52:19 AM

12/28/2011 1:02 PM #

Dave

Thank you for your comment to me at my email address.  Subjects like this one, about Peleg, has always excited my thought processes -- lol.  There is so much to discover and learn from the Earth's past which would help further both Biblical and scientific studies.  Too bad many people want to remove the One who spoke our worlds into existence, from the science we seek to understand.  At least some of us try to think out of the box.

Johnna June

Johnna June - 12/28/2011 1:02:12 PM

5/9/2013 11:18 AM #

I know this is an old article but I really hope the author or others are still following it because I would really like some feedback.

I had been having issues with Four things.  First how Noah's Ark could have been big enough to hold all the different species of animals.  Second how some animals seem to have "evolved" to suit themselves better to their environments and finally why would just the changing of one's language be enough to confuse someone enough to want to separate others.  Finally if the earth is only thousands of years old how could the separation of Pangaea be millions of years old.

One Day a group called Answers in Genesis came to our church and said most of the hard questions about the Earths History could be found in Genesis and it got me thinking.  I thought "What about changing my language would convince me not to talk to my friend anymore.  For example when some one goes blind or mute we still find a way to communicate. If my friend suddenly spoke a different language we would figure out how to communicate.  However, if my friend was suddenly a different race (especially if it was a race I had never seen before) than I and spoke a different language it would be very difficult.  

That's when the Pangaea Idea started forming in my head.  The Bible said the land was formed in one place.  I also started thinking one mass of land equals one race of people,  and in turn one type of each animal. One type of cow, horse, cat, dog, etc.... That would be a lot easier to fit into the ark. It wasn't until God Divided the nations and confused languages that people and animals changed based on the environment they would be living in.  Dark skin for hotter climates and light skin for cooler climates.  Also the animals would be change to suit there environments as well.  

Then I came across the name Peleg (for in his days the earth was divided). It hit me that maybe my idea had some merit.  The lands were divided some time after the Fall of the tower of Babel and the people were scattered about the earth according to their Language or Race.  Maybe there wasn't a word for race back then and different races just spoke different languages so they just use language rather than race.  Even in our time people have a hard time communicating with people who are different races.  Maybe that is were prejudice stems from.  An Instinctual knowledge that the different races have something to do with going from an age of greatness to being cast out and having to start over.  

Anyway just thought I would throw that out there. I know it is a bit jumbled and incomplete but it is just a theory that has been pecking away at the back of my mind that I can't seem to stop thinking about.  Is the Holy Spirit trying to tell my something?

Any way great article and God Bless you all.

Dan - 5/9/2013 11:18:30 AM

5/14/2013 6:09 AM #

Hi David,
There are many good resources available from the CMI (Creation Ministries International) site in relation to these questions, just do a search and you will probably find much to answer.
You asked - First how Noah's Ark could have been big enough to hold all the different species of animals.
I recently visited the Museum of Natural History in New York. A very large place and I believe the actual floor area is not out of the ball park with Noahs Ark. (That is not taking into account the possibility of mezzanines etc. in the ark. Nor does it take into account the large spaces for the exhibits in the museum and the fact that a lot of the floor space was dedicated to marine life, meteorites and space (universe).
  You said - Second how some animals seem to have "evolved" to suit themselves better to their environments
I agree original creations such as perhaps the wolf and the big cats later and quite quickly morphed into numerous sub species because of the genetic potential within the original created kinds (of dog or cat and any other created kind).
You said - Why would just the changing of one's language be enough to confuse someone enough to want to separate others.

I think if you see what happens in major cities and where there are a large number of immigrants then there is a tendency for ghettos to form. Also, the languages were totally new. There was no existing ability to interpret totally new languages. (We are still trying to decipher ancient texts).
Added to this, you can guess from the story of Babel that mankind was in a state of rebellion against God and probably not all that cohesive with each other, so the separation of the language groups would have been quite dramatic and happened quickly. The later racial features of the Europeans, Asiatic and Africans developed because of the separation over time, as with the various cultural traditions from there. Note that many traditional cultures have the same Flood and Creation stories which I imagine are the remnants of a global cultural memory that was based in facts.
You said - Finally if the earth is only thousands of years old how could the separation of Pangaea be millions of years old.
I think of the idea of Pangaea as the pre-flood world (I am a young earther so millions of years are not relevant to my reasoning, sorry)(I.E. Genesis chapter one.) The continents probably formed in the completely catastrophic flood that was initially caused by the breakup, the “fountains of the deep” and global volcanism which may have precipitated some continental drift, but perhaps the sinking of the ocean trenches and the lifting of mountain ranges as indicated in the Psalms.

You said - Then I came across the name Peleg (for in his days the earth was divided). It hit me that maybe my idea had some merit.  The lands were divided some time after the Fall of the tower of Babel and the people were scattered about the earth according to their Language or Race.  
I had a look at this some time ago as well. I guess there is nothing to say that the earths crust did not fracture significantly during the time of Babel and afterwards, but I have also seen that reference relating to the “breaking Up” as relating to the breaking up of the cultures according to the language they spoke.
I haven’t closed my mind to either of these ideas. It is fascinating isn’t it?

James Beguely - 5/14/2013 6:09:28 AM

2/10/2014 8:57 AM #

Great piece of Scriptural elucidation.

How come Noah was the only person to seek refuge in a boat? If the world had already been in its present fractured state, then there would have been sea-faring people everywhere.....(and boats to try and escape to).  

Marcus - 2/10/2014 8:57:14 AM

2/10/2014 9:09 AM #

I suppose the other glaring problem (for those who dispute Pangaea and the Bible) is that Noah would have seen the Himalayas emerge first from the water, (5 miles above sea level) , if the world then was the same as the world today

Marcus - 2/10/2014 9:09:51 AM

2/19/2014 6:04 PM #

I have always thought that Peleg's name (Division) was not connected to the language changes of Babel, but rather to the wars between city states governed by the Patesi's of ancient Sumeria/Akkad. Evidence shows many cities were burned to the ground at that time. I'm not sure I would concur with the conclusion of continental movement being the source of his name, however I would agree that there were different geographical features that allowed migration of peoples from civilization across a land bridge and into the Americas.

Tim Lutz - 2/19/2014 6:04:30 PM

2/19/2014 8:20 PM #

My timeline of events based on what I know about the bible and archaeology is this:
1) The people revolt against God by building a city and ziggurat. Genesis 11:4 NIV: "Come, let US build ourselves a city" While many would say Nimrod was the one who instigated the construction of the tower of Babel, the Bible indicates that it was a consensus among the people.  Nimrod may have been a party to the conspiracy, but not the soul culprit.
2) The languages are confused and people spread out.  Asshur for instance probably migrated and became the forefather of Assyria. During this time many cities are formed.
3) Division: During the time of Peleg these new cities (with new languages and religion) battled against each other.
4) Nimrod (still alive due to the longer life spans mentioned in the Bible) becomes the first to unify the city states and/or create an empire. The cities mentioned in the Bible that he controlled, may have been ones that already existed and he "built up" or "fortified"

Tim Lutz - 2/19/2014 8:20:54 PM

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