The phrase that means “God faked the age of the Earth”

March 29, 2012 | By | 90 Replies More

I’ve run into more than a few fundamentalist Christians who have insisted that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

“Then please explain the results of radiometric dating,” I typically ask, adding that even carbon dating can accurately date materials up to 60,000 years old, far older than 6,000 years.

Most modern savvy Young-Earthers won’t fight me on the general usefulness or accuracy of carbon dating. Instead, they will insist that A) God has created an Earth that only looks like it is billions of years old, and B) I need to have faith.  That is how they would explain everything older than 6,000 years old, including the Old Tjikko tree in Sweden, which certainly appears to be 9,550 years old.  God must have transplanted it from another universe when he made this universe.

The Young-Earthers thus offer an provocative argument.   I don’t believe it, but there’s would be no way for me to disprove it.  They do not offer any way to falsify their claim (a topic on which I recently posted).  In that way this young Earth argument reminds me of idea that I’m actually a head in a jar and that I’m dreaming all of this stuff that I think I’m experiencing.  On many days, it’s an argument that brings to mind the idea of multiverses.  The proposal can’t be disproved, though one can certainly doubt the premises as far-fetched, as an obvious violation of Occam’s Razor.

The reason I’m bringing up this topic is that I recently discovered that there is a phrase that describes the claim that God created the universe such that it only looks much older than it is. I’m referring to the “Omphalos hypothesis,” and there is a Wikipedia entry on the topic. Here’s the Wikipedia description:

God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with hair, fingernails, and navels (omphalos is Greek for “navel”), and that therefore no evidence that we can see of the presumed age of the earth and universe can be taken as reliable.

Photo adapted by Erich Vieth

In the past, I might have gotten frustrated with jury-rigged explanations like the Omphalos hypothesis. Nowadays, I take a different approach.  I assert that my God told me that the universe is actually billions of years old. As I understand algebra, the opposing Gods then cancel each other out, and then we can get back to discussing carbon dating or counting rings on extraordinarily old trees (here’s a whole bunch of them).   Methuselah, the oldest living non-clonal tree was apparently not washed away in the Great Flood (according to this Christian site, the Great Flood “began approximately 4,359 years ago in the year 1656 AM or 2348 BC.”  If you insist on learning the methodology for these numbers, Answers in Genesis would be happy to sell it to you).   Perhaps Noah anchored the ark to it, assuming that it was tall enough to stick out of the water.

So little time.  So many questions.

Note: If you’d like to know more about the debate of whether Adam and Eve had belly buttons, a Christian church was once formed as a result of that debate.


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Category: Anti-science, Religion, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (90)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:


    A science teacher who denies science… now THAT’S an innovation.

  2. C.Floyd says:

    I don’t know if this has been said earlier, but we know that light travels at 186000 miles per second and the galaxies we see are many millions of light years away. If the universe was only created a 7/8000 years ago, how come we can see them?

    • Erich Vieth says:

      C. Floyd: A young earth fellow named Karl frequents this site and he will likely be happy to tell you how you are somehow mistaken about the age of the universe. Perhaps he will argue that light travels faster than it does or that the stars are closer than they are. Maybe he’ll simply tell you to go read your bible more often. Be warned that even if you taunt or beg him, he will refuse to agree to any hypothetical set of facts that would convince him that the earth is billions of years old. In sum, the various discussions we have with Karl are not scientific, but he refuses to believe this too.

      I do like your example, though, because most young-earthers I know don’t seem to have a problem with either the speed of light or the distances among the stars.

      I see from this site, that some have made the argument that God created “light on its way.” Ingenious! There is no limit to the number of reasons flowing from a motivated mind (Karl says that I’m equally ill-motivated, and that he is intellectually neutral).

  3. Karl says:

    Hypothetical models and conclusions are not facts. They are not even proven if you accept the foundational nature of the premises. They are a work in progress, which means they do not dictate reality, only how one is interpreting it.

    Once out of the solar system some factor in the gravity/light/distances models don’t seem to hold true as probes seems to be out of sync with expected reality. Try this site for starters.

    Science is suppose to teach about observations and patterns, not call the patterns the expected observations.

    • Dan Klarmann says:

      Simple thermal recoil is one of the likely explanations of the so called Pioneer anomaly. There are a few other slightly less likely explanations, any of which would sufficiently obviate the mystery.

      Check the wiki on the Pioneer effect.

      The error in the first place was one part in 10,000,000,000 or a billionth of a percent. Hardly evidence that Einstein and Hubble were wrong; necessary conditions for the currently understood age of the universe being any less than what we are measuring. But it could be much older, if the current theory of early expansion turns out to be wrong.

    • Karl says:


      I take that to mean the pattern expected is not in error simply because there isn’t expected to be an error, so there must be another explanation.

      We do not have the right to assume several things about light.

      One, we have no right to believe it has to travel in straight lines.

      Two, we have no right to believe it has a set speed everywhere across the cosmos.

      Three, we have no right to believe it is traveling through “empty” space.

      Four, we have no right be believe there couldn’t be ultra fine, ultra close (actually touching each other) dark matter throughout the confines of space and time, and the density of that dark matter could be a factor in how light is propagated.

      At some point extrapolated calculations that exceed the time limits of the range of actual real-time measured observation must be willing to be called into question or your assumed mathematical description in a specific time/space matrix is governing what you believe about reality beyond what is actually observable.

      I know interpolated comparisons will have measurable percentage errors.

      I also know extrapolated calculations have nothing to calculate an error from except from statistical comparisons to the assumed mathematical description that is the stated relationship in a specific time/space matrix.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Selective destructive hyper-skepticism at work. Karl simply aims it at whatever is inconvenient and … Poof … It’s gone.

    • Karl says:

      Which is exactly what human animals do when they have no interest in believing things they find offensive to their own thought process.

      Tell me how the rejection of catastrophic and seemingly supra natural events that are recorded in human history by your brand of hyper skepticism that favors unobservable calculated uniformitarian assumed gradualism is considered acceptable and logical?

      If you can be skeptical of actual recorded history, I can be skeptical of matters assumed real because someone made calculations based upon their presumed interests as well.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Karl: I would recommend that you stop flying in airplanes, because they might stop flying, because aeronautics is based on unobservable calculated uniformitarian. When you write your next comment, it is based on unobservable calculated uniformitarian.

      The next time you hear that Christianity is evil and that Islam is the only true religion, remember that that assertion is based on the same process you use for assuming that the Earth is only a few thousand years old.

    • Karl says:

      Please don’t truncate my thoughts and ideas. I used the phrase “unobservable calculated uniformitarian assumed gradualism” not “unobservable calculated uniformitarian.”

      Airplanes can be bouyant in fluid air because of the alteration to the physical pressures upon the wings resulting from the interaction of the velocities of the individual fluid particles as the object moves through the fluid.

      The fluid particles encounterd by the front edge and upward slope of the wing are made to reflect upward and into the fluid particles on top of the wing thus making the fluid pressure less on top of the wing than under the wing.

      The airplane does not fly because the mathematical model exists.

      I do not only use religious belief to come to any conclusion about how physically old anything may or may not be.

      What I havew been saying over and over again is that I don’t eliminate recorded history as not happening simply because someone happens to believe it doesn’t suite their liking.

    • Dan Klarmann says:

      Karl often confuses the “right to believe” in supernatural explanations with the observation of nature itself. For over 100 years (since Einstein figured it out) the most convenient and consistent way to measure anything is to define light (actually signal propagation) as the maximum speed, and as the straightest possible line. For the last century, thousands of experiments have been designed to find fault with this. Every experiment has proven repeatedly that light travels at the upper limit of speed (both in labs and in observations of cosmological events) and that light travels in Einsteinian geodesics (for all practical purposes, straight lines except as bent by strong gravity).
      Actually, Feynman’s Quantum Electrodynamics (called QED and he got a Nobel for showing this subtle variation on Einstein’s view) showed that a photon is not an object that travels, but actually an integral of an infinite number of paths that always average to the minimum moment (again, for all practical purposes, a straight line).

      Once again, it is not that we are assuming “uniformitarianism” (whatever that may be) but that every measurement done on every perceivable scale shows a consistent set of rules that do not change over time.

      It’s not that we “believe” that the speed of light is constant everywhere and everywhen. It is that it has been measured to be so. The hydrogen quantum emission wavelengths that we measure from light in a lab exactly matches the wavelength emitted by the sun (8 light minutes away), sources across the galaxy (10,000 light years), and from galaxies a billion light years away. Therefore the speed of the light emitted has not changed in the interim. QED (in both senses).

  4. Tim Hogan says:

    Didn’t someone recently post a remark from my favorite satirist (Mark Twain) on not arguing with fools? I repeat: “Don’t wrassle with pigs; you’ll get dirty and the pigs like it!”

    Instead of attempting to do the impossible (change the minds of people like Karl), why not think about how you might develop FTL drive or solve the world’s hunger problem or generate such good will among humans that World Peace breaks out and armies actually do have to hold bake sales to fund aggression? Too much energy is spent on frivilous pursuits, time to grow up and deal with that which can be done rather than flogging dead horses.

    It is simply so that among some people, facts do not matter. So, whatever you may posit in the way of some proofs to oppose a belief held despite facts to support such a belief, you will not sway the believer. I’m still a practicing Catholic and the object of some ridicule and much apparent abuse in these pages (and off), fine.

    My faith is the simple belief in somethings in the absence of proof. I see Catholicism as essentially the tenets in the Nicean Creed plus a belief that Mary, the Mother of God, was conceived without sin and did not die but, was assumed into heaven.

    One may choose to think that I believe in invisible friends or whatever, God bless you and America! It’s still a free country (unless Romney wins). Enjoy life, treasure your family, cherish your friends, be just and do good, I say.

    • Jim Razinha says:

      Saw this question recently (and am weakly trying to track the source) which reminded me of questions I asked when young and conscripted for church going:

      …How is it that Noah was the only guy in the world who had a boat?

      Giant forehead slap on everyone who hasn’t questioned the myth when you ask it. Begging, of course, the rest of the questions…if one is so inclined.

      I was. The evidence was lacking and I rejected the hypothesis.

    • Karl says:

      Here’s a news article that attempts to do the nearly impossible but waves its hands and vioila all is well in river city once again.

      The geologic transition from the “Great Unconformity” to the “Cambrian Explosion” is viewed by believers in macro evolution as the epitome of what natural selection accomplished in a relatively sudden and compacted geologic time framework. How macro evolutionists are trying to account for this is truly what has been called the hopeful monsters of evolution concepts.

      Two things are viewed in tremendous numbers of geologic records from around the world. On top of what are considered basement metamorphic and igneous rock formations great diversity of “swallow sea” orgamism both lived and died and showed literally no actual evidence of transitional fossils, only faith filled hopeful monsters ideas for partial transitional life forms. It is simply “evolution on steroids” that needed to have an explanation, so one must be contrived from somewhere.

      Instead of considering that the great unconformity points to a huge geologic cataclysm, a steady influx of gradual geologic changes are described as being the triggers for living things to alter the makeup of their DNA.

      Those who believe in creation see this as support for the sudden creation of numerous kinds of life, those who believe macro evolution have to jump through hoop after hoop of accelerated adaptated change and not ask the simple question – what if it wasn’t an explosion of life but an explosion of the biosphere that marked the tremendous numbers of similar fossil records?

    • Dan Klarmann says:

      Karl, no one who understands evolution says that everything happens gradually.
      The oxygen generated by early photosynthetic organisms was absorbed by the rocks (mostly iron becoming rust, depositing those scenic red bands of rock) for millions of years. Then very suddenly, over a century or few, free oxygen flooded the environment.
      When the oxygen level in the sea and atmosphere finally rose to the point where multicellular organisms could evolve, they suddenly did. We call this event the Cambrian Explosion.

      There are known extinction events caused by interplanetary impacts, by eruptions of trapped gas (usually sulfides), and some by sudden climate changes (big freezes) that are observed in the fossil record but not yet explained. All of these are sudden cataclysmic events.

      Also, when spectacularly advantageous traits appeared there were sudden changes in the fossil record not apparently related to climate. The Lenski experiment showed that a completely new species of bacterium with an ability not seen in the wild can appear in only 20 years, simply given an environment suitable to the mutation and not entire lethal to the original species.

    • Karl says:

      Noah wasn’t the only guy on the planet with a boat.

      He was the only guy on the planet with a huge boat designed to keep out most of the intensity of the extremity of the elements that were present for forty days and forty nights. Other boats no doubt started off well but their inhabitants didn’t whether the elements, especilaly the first forty days and forty nights.

      The flood was not a cool clean rainfall event. It was a toxic holacaust thatt nothing living incontact with the direct rainfall could have survived. The rain was just too toxic and radioactive as well.

      Notice the door to the Ark was sealed shut by the chemical coatings and Noah had to tear off a portion of the roof to disembark.

      He also had enough food and drink to keep his family and the animals alive for over a year while the suface of the planet was returning to an inhabitable place once again. It wasn;t until he knew there was new plant growth that he felt confident enough to leave the Ark.

      Those mushroom cloud “fountains of the great deep” that he saw in the distance and that caused that the bulk of the destruction was probasbly of a dual nature. It was probably full of chemical toxins to life but also nuclear radiation from fall out that would have caused death to living things as well.

      Why didn’t Noah want to just scamper on out after the boat ran a a ground on what was becoming a very tall mountain?

      Obviously the conditions warranted his being careful to realize that life could return before he released his precious cargo.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    Good question, Jim. it IS a forehead slapper.

    The question I asked my sixth grade religion teacher was this: If the entire world was covered with water, where did all that water go when the water supposedly receded?

    Then there is the moral quandary, explored by this “news report:

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Why am I reminded of multi-theistic pan-dimensional solipsism?

    Your explanations of Bernoulli’s principle is very lacking.
    Airplanes do not rely on buoyancy to fly. Buoyancy would require the aircraft be less dense than the air around it, so the the aircraft floats upward to the altitude where the air density matches the density of the balloon ( or blimp or dirigible)

    Airplanes and rotor-craft are heavier than air, and moving has no effect on the density of the aircraft. The cross sectional shape of the wings is flat on the bottom and curved on the top, inducing a slightly faster airflow over the top of the wing, reducing the air pressure on the top surface of the wing and permitting the higher air pressure below the wing to push the wing upward.

    While most aircraft designs have a slight upward angle, this attack angle provides very little lift. In fact, slightly increasing the attack angle can result in turbulence over the top surface and the wing to stall and lose lift.

    Rotor craft use the same principle to provide lift. the rotor blades have a similar cross-section. On particular type of rotor craft has rotor blades with a negative angle of attack. The autogyro has a rotor that uses the forward motion of the craft to spin the rotor like a windmill and the spinning motion of the rotor provides lift.

    Mathematical models exist to define the relationships between real world parameters, permitting engineers to design aircraft that actually fly, for example, as opposed to most of the Flugtag contest entries.

    • Karl says:

      Mathematical models do not define a relationship between parameters. Mathematical models describe an observable relationship that is in somwe way quantifiable under the conditions being studied.

      The equation doesn’t drive the physical reality. The observable and also interpreted physical reality has patterns that can be described by referring to a mathematical model.

      Where any science gets off track is when it trys to assume that specific observations in space and time have universal application to anyother and everyother place imaginable in space and time.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Karl: I simply want to note for the record that even if you have the last word on this thread, it doesn’t mean that you’ve convinced anyone of anything. In THIS space and time, there is much reason to assume that the discernible laws of nature will continue to be consistent based on past observations. That is, and should be the default position.

    • Karl says:

      I have never had a problem with the consistency of bona fide laws of nature.

      I have issues with people believing they can justify long periods of un-provable gradual change from nearly steady state conditions (macro evolution) across time frames that will never be directly connectable by observations simply because these people find it hard to accept the documented written records of a credible eye witness such as Noah.

      Other people were not observed by Noah to have survived the Flood. That does not mean there couldn’t have been other boats and other people that perhaps could have survived the Flood. If there were other people, they weren’t given the same guidance and direction that Noah was given, and further other survivors were not known by Noah, who lived for many years after the flood occurred.

      The emphasis in the Hebrew Bible is upon Noah and his clear direct connection back to Adam. There are other ancient writings concerning the great deluge but the clear emphasis on behalf of those who wish to discredit Noah’s writings is that if the Flood didn’t happen as he described it, the rest of the information that came through the flood from the antediluvians can also be discredited as well.

      The Flood event was natural laws energized by such huge amounts of energy and with such transformations to topography that many people would rather not wish to consider it at all. They would prefer to change catastrophic evidence into uniformitarian gradualism rather than accept that the Flood event could have ever happened as Noah described it.

      It is not my desire to have the last word. It is my desire to keep a dialogue open. Saying no one has been convinced of anything is a rather presumptive statement as well.

      If nothing else I hope I have convinced some that those who doubt the Bible’s credibility do so because they chose to raise issues mostly on the basis of differing cultural contexts from when the Biblical events happened to what our cultural context is today.

      Too many people assume the literal words from the culture of our day mean the same thing they did to the cultures in which the Biblical events occurred.

      Scientific definitions have changed over time. Where the original people who used a term in perhaps a not so scientific way wrong in their word selection? The term “waters” historically was once the equivalent term for what we now use the term liquids.

      Is the Bible scientifically wrong when it uses the common archaic terms of the day that have since been better and more clearly defined?

  7. Karl says:


    The common force or lift used to describe most airborn objects ability to counter act gravity would not exist unless there were actual differential pressures on the objects that result from actual differential in the velocity vectors of the fluids that are created by either the motion of the object in its fluid surroundings or by the ability of the object to induce infinitesimal differential velocity vectors in the fluid by some others means that actual physically manipulates the velocity vectors of the fluid itself.

    Density has little to do with this other than that more dense objects require greater velocity vector differentials to produce sufficient lift to offset the weight of the object.

    The use of the term bouyancy is appropriate to me becuase when an object attains a specific vertical positioning in a fluid the force opf gravity is balanced out by the lift being produced by the pressure differentials.

  8. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    You had me ROFLMAO with your comments.

    “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!” – W. C. Fields

    If I understand your somewhat malapropist style of prose, you argue that math is entirely arbitrary, Since science relies on math to describe the workings of the physical world, if math is inherently flawed, then the conclusion is that science must be flawed. Then you claim you disproving of science as proof of the biblical account.

    To be fair, you also employ numerous “judo” arguments against science. Like all judo arguments, yours ignore the tristate nature of knowledge:
    There are things that can be proven true,
    There are things that can be proven false,
    And there are things with no conclusive evidence to be proven either or false.
    Scientists make observations, search for patterns that can be expressed mathematically as a relationship. The mathematical relationship os then tested through experimentation, and sometimes revised and fine tuned. A small amount of error is expected, due to technical limitations on measurements.

    Once science has discovered the math, the knowledge is applied. Airplanes and rotor craft fly because engineers use calculations based on aerodynamic principles discovered by science to design airfoils capable of providing more than enough lift at speed to counteract the weight of the aircraft, its fuel, crew, passengers and cargo. Airfoils are also used to provide downforce in the design of high performance race cars and exotic supercars.

    The original point is that you and others seek to dismiss the validity of radiometric dating techniques. You have yet to convince me.

  9. Chip Camden says:

    Karl, there is nothing to suggest that Noah wrote anything. Even the most conservative traditional view makes the author Moses, approximately a thousand years after the supposed event. But Genesis does not even claim to be written by Moses. Textual evidence suggests that the earliest written accounts preserved in the version we now have date from at the earliest the tenth century BC, and much of the content is probably much later (perhaps even as late as the Maccabean revolt).

    If this story refers to some actual event, it was transmitted by oral tradition for thousands of years before reaching its current form. That’s hardly an eye witness account in my book.

    • Thank you! I’ve promised myself not to respond to Karl anymore but my knuckles are raw from watching this exchange, so thank you!

      He keeps talking about historical accounts and I keep thinking “What historical accounts? They’re stories!”

    • Chip Camden says:

      My, um, pleasure. I’ve been watching from the sidelines for a while now, but this one required a response. For the last several months I’ve been doing a detailed analysis of Genesis using all available resources (Massoretic Hebrew text, Septuagint, Samaritan Pentateuch, Syriac, Josephus, and anything else I can put my paws on). The one thing that’s crystal clear is that these stories did not become fixed as sacred until almost the common era, and in fact continued to be altered in minor ways into the Middle Ages.

    • Karl says:

      Chip and Mark,

      You can say all you like that Genesis was only oral tradition passed along from Adam to Moses who combined and edited this early information from the “archives” of the Hebrew people.

      If it was simply oral tradition why did they include the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly? Why didn’t Moses try to make the numerical data more sensible? There was hard copy he was working from as a researcher and editor.

      To say there is nothing to even suggest this is going way beyond pallor. It is simply an attempt to discredit the messenger.

      Thousands of clay cunneform tablets have been unearthed from multiple sites that indicate people were writting down historically based information long before the Egyptians started encouraging papyrus.

      In fact there was so much clay after the flood that it was way a more convienient method of recording information than etching it into hardened rock.

    • Chip Camden says:

      First of all, I don’t believe that Moses wrote the majority of the Pentateuch. The Bible does not claim he did. It only says that he wrote the law in a book (Deut. 31:9). It does not say that the books that we have are that book.

      If we take the story at face value, it’s highly unlikely that slaves in Egypt ca. 1500-1200 BC would have any written records. Writing at that period was a difficult art mastered only by scribes. The democratization of writing that came with the introduction of simple alphabetic systems did not occur until about that time (late second millennium BC).

      It’s certainly true that the Pentateuch relies on older sources, but most of those sources are not as ancient as Moses. You are correct, Karl, that the authors have been as meticulous as they could be to preserve what was given to them, even when the accounts conflicted with one another. However, the fact that the conflicting accounts occur at all shows that the transmission from the original story to its current written form was not free from error. We cannot therefore rely on any of those stories as scientific observations. Besides, the scientific method was unknown to these people, and the Hebrew language itself is incapable of that type of precision. It uses metaphor much more than any modern language, and is therefore prone to both inaccuracy in itself and misinterpretation in its readers.

    • It’s worse than that. Recent archaeology—by that I mean over the last 40 years or so—has thrown the entire “Hebrew slaves in Egypt” thing into doubt. There were Hebrews in Egypt at one time, verified by DNA evidence, but it was at a much later period than the events described in the Pentateuch and they weren’t slaves but mercenaries. It’s beginning to look like contract workers built all that stuff, not slaves. Furthermore, the 40 year sojourn apparently left absolutely no evidence behind and the only records seem to be in the Torah.

      No one, I think, could argue with claims that a flood occurred at some time in that region—a few years back I recall some work done on a rather large reservoir that once existed in the region that showed signs that it burst, flooding a tremendous area. But there is no corroboration outside myth for any global flood at that time (roughly 2350 BCE). Several civilizations extant at the time seem not to have noticed.

      Clinging to a single piece of apocryphal documentation in the face of everything else may have a certain nobility to it, but it’s not science…and it’s not history. As to the suggestion that such a flood left behind plenty of clay…

    • Chip Camden says:

      The archaeological evidence of the conquest of Canaan also conflicts in significant details with the narrative in Joshua. About all we can say about that book is that it preserves an embellished version of a very hazy memory of a real conflict.

    • Karl says:

      Chip writes \”First of all, I don\’t believe that Moses wrote the majority of the Pentateuch. The Bible does not claim he did. It only says that he wrote the law in a book (Deut. 31:9). It does not say that the books that we have are that book. If we take the story at face value, it\’s highly unlikely that slaves in Egypt ca. 1500-1200 BC would have any written records.\”

      Believe what you want but don\’t misquote what is written in the Pentateuch and elsewhere in the Bible as well.

      You state the Bible doesn\’t state Moses wrote the Pentateuch.

      Please read these passages (Ex. 17:14; Num. 33:1-2; as well as Deut. 31:9). In them you will find the direct words that Moses wrote . . .

      I\’m sorry the words aren\’t clear enough to confirm your statement.

      I\’m really sorry Moses didn\’t keep writing to say he was the author every other line.

      No one usually doubts Moses wrote Leviticus because they see that its instructions are mainly about interpreting the finer points of the law, the use of the Tabernacle, and the sacrificial system to be used in worship.

      Why would anyone doubt Moses was the writer of the majority of the Pentateuch?

      I can see where the last chapter of Deuteronomy was probably a post mortem edit since it writes about Moses from a third person and an historical sense. However, just as you state in Deut 31:9 it states Moses was doing the writing.

      I do see fully why Genesis couldn\’t have been a direct eyewitness account for anyone human person, so the material in Genesis had to have been an edited compilation from written material passed along through the Hebrew Patriarchs. Moses was trained in the schools of the Egyptians and would have known how to do scholarly research for his day and age.

      Moses probably as a course of reflection had issues no doubt with the information concerning the longevity of man, but he none the less doesn\’t try to doctor the numbers to make them more reasonable to a reader of his day and age where the maximum life span was about 120 years. In fact Moses himself lived to be 120 years old.

      It does appear to me that Moses took a log book of the Flood event itself of some sort from Noah and translated it into the Hebrew language of his day. This was also probably the case for each of the sections of Genesis that refers to what was called the generations of a specific important patriarch. Each Patriarch would have had their specific written records that would have come to us through the Flood by way of the Ark and then passed along as part of the inheritnce from one generation to the next.

      Stating that written documentation probably weren\’t existent for \”slaves\” begs the issue because they were not “slaves” until Egyptian rulers changed their status from free to bond servants. The Bible does record that they were \”paid rather handsomely\” when they finally left Egypt so if you want to call them mercenaries that is simply a matter of interpretation.

      Could have been the Egyptians Aristocracy owed the economy to the workers and had no way to pay them so they insisted they keep working until they could pay them and not lose their own preferred life style of the rich and famous. The workers finally realized it would probably never end until they were all dead so they cried out for deliverance to the unjust arrangement.

      Believing there wasn\’t written information that would go back to the pre or post flood days is totally absurd. Read about the tablets found in Ebla and you will see that not only were there written records, there were also lexicons being used to enable differences in many languages to be studied in comparison.

      There was a need to communicate clearly for commerce reasons and that appears to be the driving factor behind most of the tablets at Ebla.

      I\’ll grant you that Moses was an more like an editor of the material in Genesis, but it was not as though an angel dropped out of the sky and told him to take dictation. The source documents Moses used were not whimsical fancies from distorted oral tall tales.

      Moses simply did what those before him had done and placed the materials being passed along to the generations to follow in an ark for safe keeping.

      Really is ironic that the materials not only came to be passed on through the flood in boat called the Ark but these records were probably also in a safe strong box of some sort which was also called an Ark.

      These people had their history preserved, they knew it, and they weren’t about to let it get corrupted by the revisionists of history.

    • Chip Camden says:

      The English word ‘ark’ translates two different Hebrew words used in the Old Testament. The Noah narrative and the Moses infant story use “tebah”. The Ark of the Covenant (as well as Joseph’s coffin) was an “‘aron”. ‘tebah’ apparently comes from an Egyptian word meaning ‘coffin.’ “‘aron” comes from a Semitic word meaning “chest” or “coffin.” The two words have no relationship except a similarity of meaning.

  10. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Karl and Ben,

    I grew up in a mid-sized town 60 miles southeast of Nashville Tennessee. The town of Manchester.Tennessee is best known as the location of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival, but just past the south eastern city limits lies Arnold Air Force Base.
    Arnold AFB is home to the Arnold Engineering and Development Center, a major aerospace design and research center. Nearby, and closer to the neighboring town of Tullahoma, on the shore of Wood’s reservoir is the University of Tennessee Space institute, another high tech research center.

    This means that significant part of the population in the area consists of current and retires employees of AEDC and UTSI. Think of it as a stealth high-tech center.A lot of [people I grew up around are now aerospace engineers, electrical engineers, computer scientists and physicists employed by AEDC contractors or at UTSI. In short, I know a lot of aircraft designers.

    We have all see old movies of failed attempts at powered flight failed because the designers used flat wings and tried to rely on the angle of attack to provide lift.The Wright brothers achieved powered flight only after redesigning their wings as cupped airfoils.

    keep in mind that there are successful and efficient aircraft using airfoils with a negative angle of attack.

  11. Jim Razinha says:

    This thread has taken quite an entertaining turn. Now I know where all the clay in North Texas came from! To think, all those geologists have wasted their education.

    And Mark, recent archaeology has cast doubt on the whole biblical version of the Canaan genocide. Seems the pre-Israelites might have been among the menial labor to the Canaan civilization. When the Canaanite world fell into disarray, the workers disbursed…but not before destroying the temples and artifacts in anger. And of course, adjusting their memory of the events to come out more favorably. (

    • Jim,

      The Canaan civilization of that period was a satellite to the much larger Hittite civilization, which apparently melted down. According to some work (Michael Woods among others) there was a general collapse all around the Mediterranean and Aegean basin at the time, in the wake, it seems, of the Trojan War, and Canaan was a collateral victim. In the power vacuum, the early Hebrews moved in and established Israel.

      Later, when the descendents of the Hittite got their act back together, they came down and took Canaan back—these would have been the Babylonians.

      Curiouser and curiouser.

      The thing is, obviously Something Happened, events which are given their own Hebrew-centric spin in the Torah—but as with many such broad events, the details are more fascinating than the stories recorded by any one culture. One of the jobs of the archaeologist and historian is to find that genuine history from the shards of many peoples.

    • Chip Camden says:

      Point of clarification: there was a revival of the Hittite empire in Syria, but these were not Babylonians – they were Anatolians who were later conquered by the Assyrians. Assyrians and Babylonians were Semitic-speaking peoples who were in Mesopotamia before the Hittite empire. The Hittites were an Indo-European speaking people.

    • Ah. Thank you. But as distinct empires, rather than specific groups, I believe the Babylonians superceded both the Hittite and the Assyrian? (Didn’t have my books to hand, so I forgot the Assyrians. Sorry.) Much of the mythography found in the Old Testament comes out of the so-called Babylonian Exile, during which most of it appears to have been written, but most especially portions of Daniel—where you can detect distinctly different periods being referred to and mashed together to form a single narrative from events that were separate in time.

    • Chip Camden says:

      Yes, the (late) Babylonians conquered the (late) Assyrians, who had conquered the (late) Hittite empire. Then the Persians and Medes conquered Babylon, then Alexander conquered the Persians, etc.

      A lot of the Old Testament comes from the period of the exile, you are correct. The Book of Daniel, however, is probably later. Some of it was almost certainly written after the Maccabean revolt. Large sections of it are written in Aramaic instead of Hebrew. Although Aramaic existed as a language prior to Biblical times, it did not become widely used by the Jews of Palestine until the Intertestamental Period. 2 Kings 18:26-27 implies that the common people of Judah at the time of the Assyrian invasion did not understand Aramaic at all. The Greek version of Daniel in the Septuagint contains large sections that aren’t in the Aramaic, either.

  12. Tim Hogan says:

    I repeat: “Don’t wrassle with pigs; you’ll get dirty and the pigs like it!”

    • Hey, I’m talking with Jim and Chip now, but I appreciate the warning.

    • Karl says:

      At least it should be concluded that the Hebrew Patriarchs had the potential to have passed written hard copy information on from generation to generation.

      Others in fixed city states were using written language, so why would it be impossible for the Patriarchs of the Hebrew Nation?

      The Patriarch’s as mainly groups that lived as sojourners year after year they would have needed a strong and safe box to transport their ancestral and historical records. Why does that seem as though its had be all myths and fables?

      I do not not agree with people that say the Biblical history, story lines and prophetic references were recorded years and years after they ocurred.

      Some may have been translated to or from other languages for sure, but that does not mean the original source materials were not contemporary current event records.

      Chip and Mark will probably comment that The National Enquirer is current events as well.

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