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Genesis Bible Commentary: Timeline Problems

Updated on August 21, 2017



This is part 2 of a series of 6 articles on the Bible's book of Genesis.

Click here for the series overview.


by Rod Martin, Jr.

(I recommend you read the series of 6 articles in sequence for the greatest understanding.)

Taken literally, the timeline of the past derived from Genesis and the rest of the Bible proves to be wildly inaccurate. Archbishop Ussher's timeline, published in AD 1650, gives us 4004 BC for the beginning of humanity and the universe. I suggest that the problem is not with the Bible, but with the interpretation of it.

For many people, their interpretation is the Bible. And it is this egotistical equivalence that is the source of a rift between religion and science. And my research has led to a possible solution.

Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man against a star field and nebula. Da Vinci drawing courtesy Star field courtesy NASA. Public domain.
Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man against a star field and nebula. Da Vinci drawing courtesy Star field courtesy NASA. Public domain.

Not many people think highly of Edgar Cayce and his clairvoyant readings. They are interesting, but potentially a mixed bag. He apparently helped a great many people heal from ailments for which medical science had given up. He was a devout Christian with an unusual talent for helping people, one which he was, at one time, reluctant to continue to use.

His date for the final upheaval of Atlantis does not match that given by Plato. Cayce places the final destruction at 10,600 BC while the date derived from Plato's works is closer to 9,600 BC.

Be that as it may, my notes included two dates found in works derived from Cayce's readings. One was that of 28,000 BC for Noah's Flood concurrent with one of three upheavals of Atlantis mentioned by Cayce. The other date was 10½ million BC for one of the earliest events of humanity (Adam)—a meeting between tribes. While I had originally considered the Flood date intriguing, I had rejected the "Adam" date as ludicrous (perhaps a sign of my own lack of restraint or humility). My encyclopedic reference told of earliest Homo sapiens at 50,000 BC. A more recent reference pegs it now at about 200,000 BC.

After I had started research for my novel, I found this note including the two dates and wondered if Genesis could confirm them. I felt I might be grasping at straws, but the potential seemed seductive enough to take a look.

If Genesis and the rest of the Bible were divinely inspired, it struck me that the non-literal timeline could be accurate. Divine knowledge would arguably be far superior to that of mortal knowledge; and perhaps only mortal interpretation was fallible. The obvious problems included,

  • How to discern the intended timeline, if indeed one has remained hidden,
  • What clues could legitimately be used,
  • What constitutes such legitimacy, and
  • Do the clues to be used have something in them which inherently connects them with the intent of providing a previously hidden timeline?

Obviously, picking numbers at random, or by some capricious convenience would prove unsatisfactory.

The book is done and now available. Click on the Source link for more information.
The book is done and now available. Click on the Source link for more information. | Source

Biblical Clues

I looked for any kind of anomaly. There were several kinds I considered.

  • Repetitions,
  • Disruptions,
  • Outrageousness, and
  • Contradictions.

As with any exegetical interpretation, these labels were not written in stone when applied to any particular passage. Instead, they were applied loosely and then the patterns examined for possible leads.

The actual sequence of discovery was rather haphazard. Only later did a more cohesive understanding come about. Many avenues of thought had been explored and rejected. Here I will discuss the various clues grouped thematically.

Read the Book that Changes Everything

The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood (Volume 1)
The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood (Volume 1)

This book is from years of my own research into a biblical timeline compatible with those of mainstream science. I wasn't surprised that God's holy book would match his own creation (reality), but there were many surprises, including discovering through science the target of Noah's Flood -- a species which went extinct at that time.


Seemingly Outrageous Longevity

A critical part of the biblical timeline rests with the lifetimes attributed to the pre-Mosaic patriarchs. The youngest at death was Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel)—110 years.

Some scholars completely ignore these ages and the resulting timeline. To them, Genesis was never meant to be a roadmap to history. While this is a perfectly valid viewpoint, until we know for certain, it leaves a great many mysteries untouched concerning those ages.

Some scholars take the ages as literal truth. This seems to me to be a far less defensible position since so much in the Bible cannot be taken literally, but must be interpreted in order to resolve conflicts, contradictions or other illogicalities.

The timeline given to us by Archbishop Ussher of Ireland pegs creation at 4004 BC. Ussher's scholarship was brilliant, for its day. His attention to detail produced many dates that historians still use or which remain close to those currently accepted. All of these occur after Moses. Before Moses, it's a completely different ball game.

Science studies the products of creation and it has done a fabulous job of it, by-and-large. Too many scientific disciplines point to a far older universe. I have no doubt that Ussher would have agreed, if he had known.

To adhere to Ussher's "literal" timeline is to ignore science and postulate that God faked all of that evidence. While I personally feel this is possible, it seems as unlikely as God making Martians visible only to a few select folk in the extreme care facilities for the mentally challenged. To adhere to Ussher's timeline is tantamount to courting delusion. After all, science has a good bead on reality, and "ignoring reality" is one way to describe delusion.

Anthropological science keeps finding new evidence, some of which keeps pushing back the date for earliest Homo sapiens sapiens—further from 4004 BC.

If Genesis gives us an accurate timeline when properly interpreted, then the ages of those early patriarchs are far too short! Could Methuselah have been forty thousand years old when he passed on? This, of course, seems even more unlikely than his already unbelievable 969 years.

Next: Timeline Clues

I had established to my own satisfaction that there were interpretational errors with the literal biblical timeline. Were there any clues in Genesis which might lead to a solution? See, Timeline Clues.

© 2012 Rod Martin Jr


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    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 2 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you, "Friend," for your impassioned discussion. It looks as though you are taking the Bible literally, yet it has been shown by many (including myself) that biblical literalism is entirely wrong. I refer you to 2 Cor. 3:6 -- the letter (literal reading) killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

      The Bible is a spiritual book written by Kabbalists who created a language to discuss spiritual things. It is a non-literal language, called the Language of Branches, which Abraham created, because human languages lack the words to discuss spiritual things.

      God created reality. Science studies reality and gets it right a remarkable amount of the time. I suggest that ignoring reality for no other reason than to prop up a literal interpretation, instead of a spiritual interpretation, of the Bible, is tantamount to delusion.

      I'm still looking for Truth, because I do not yet know all that God knows. You, my "Friend," appear to think you already know Truth, but I left your biblical literalism 57 years ago, simply because there is so much of spirit it doesn't come close to touching.

    • profile image

      Friend 2 years ago

      You are so wrong about you believe the interpretation you is false without basis and it's been proven over and over again that the timeline of the bible is watertight 4000 years from Jesus to creation. You are filled with false assumptions and lies in your own head that you ignore the true interpretation of the bible which is proven to be literal 4000 bce for creation and 2300 bce the characters are intended to be literal there's no hints of what you at all in fact opposite is shown to be true what you biew is false and incorrect terribly true exegetical reading shows that the timeline is absolutely in defiance of what we know from reality so you are the delusional one here and clearly don't believe the bible and make up false speculations that are with no basis. You need to see here is that true exegetical interpretation proves you wrong. Abraham lived 2000bce and Noah dies when he was 58 and his numeric value of his name is 58 which would be pointless and baseless if it's not intended to be united as one and the same. Melchizedek is Shem if study the text exegetically. So this means Abraham was born 292 years after the flood and methuselah means when he dies it will come referring to the flood which means that he dies in the year of the flood 1656 and Adam the first human in Hebrew Jewish myth and Genesis created on day 6 dies on the 56 th year of lamecks life and the days of creation all 7 are 24 hours each with a evening morning and number as well 7 TV which exegetically shows it has it intrinsically in there. So Abraham was born 1948 literal years from Creation Genesis 1:1 and this is true and consistent to the text and story and mythos you're just ansolutely wrong on everything you say and outside sources change nothing but is in fact clear true blatant proof the bible and Genesis is false and wrong so you shouldn't believe any of what you say. 4000bce is the true date of creation totally and absolutely in defiance of truth and reality as well as the flood of Noah 2300bce which contradicts outside sources that already prove the bible wrong and the bible and Hebrew myths in other areas spits as contrary to its position so the only is the book by its true nature is contrary to truth and reality and you're false interpretation which I'm calling you out and correcting you on. The bible is true to what is contrary to what you believe and reality.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @DrBill, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. The time did not seem right.

      I have not seen the program you mentioned, but I've seen a number of similar ones. Certainly, our pre-history may very well be far more complex than we have yet imagined.

      Could that dark period include both aliens and advanced humans? I remain humble on this and say, "I don't know."

      It seems that Plato's Atlantis may well have existed. I have found a great amount of evidence in support of it, including a veritable "smoking gun" in the death of Atlantis -- 3 pieces of evidence, each from a different scientific discipline that point to a major event or series of events 9620 BC -- a virtual match for Plato's date.

      I'm glad you broached the subject of the destruction of that civilization. Certainly, selfishness carries with it a certain kind of energy and creation. The focus of attention is completely different than a righteous one. Ego is a created (false) self and thus is based in action-reaction dichotomies. In fact, Genesis 3 tells us about the core dichotomy, good-evil. As a physical self, ego results in karma. Selfishness results in a balancing force that brings the lofty to a lower position. This is an extension of simple Newtonian physics.

      So, Atlantis was selfish and greedy. They were bent on world conquest. It reminds me of the current consolidation and dismantling of America by the Power Elite globalists -- the Rockefellers, Rothschilds and their puppet government officials across the globe.

      With competition of governance, comes freedom of choice. That's the beauty of a representative and elected form of government. That freedom is an extension of the creation of civilization toward the ability to search for Truth -- spiritual answers. An Atlantean global hegemony would've been almost as bad for spiritual growth as was the Neanderthal-human hybrids I discuss in a later article in this series.

    • drbillfannin profile image

      drbillfannin 6 years ago from Atlanta

      Have you ever watched Ancient Aliens on History channel? The people who believe in aliens explain the anomalies in human history as alien interventions. For example, there are architectural structures that could not have been built with today's technology, much less anything that existed in ancient history. The problem with this thinking is that it completely ignores the possibility that a highly advanced human civilization existed prior to 10,000 BC, even more advanced that the one we have today. Was there a very technical and capable civilization in the ancient past that was destroyed by God? Were these people co-existing with the lesser humans? Were they aliens or another one of God's earthly creations? If so, they would have been highly advanced in comparison to the other humanoids on earth. I, for one, believe that Adam was not the only humanoid creation from God. The archaeological and geological evidence supports this thinking. God destroyed that civilization for disobeying Him, and He will destroy this one as well.