A Thin Thread

Was Adam created 20,000 to 100,000 years ago? Does the Biblical record actually allow for this? It is claimed by some that there are large gaps in the genealogical records. Is this true? I looked at two important genealogical records in the Bible: Adam to Noah and then Shem to Abraham. (There is very little debate about the timeline following Abraham so if we are going to find thousands of years worth of gaps we will find them prior to Abraham.) I will look at other genealogical records later, but I think these prove my point.

There are three places where we find the genealogical record from Adam to Shem. Here they are:

Genesis 5 (Adam to Shem)
Adam
Seth
Enosh
Kenan
Mahalalel
Jared
Enoch
Methuselah
Lamech
Noah
Shem, Ham, Japeth

I Chron 1:1-4 (Adam to Shem)
Adam
Seth
Enosh
Kenan
Mahalalel
Jared
Enoch
Methuselah
Lamech
Noah
Shem, Ham, Japeth

Luke 3:36-38 (Adam to Shem)
Adam
Seth
Enosh
Kenan
Mahalalel
Jared
Enoch
Methuselah
Lamech
Noah
Shem


One can see that all three of these line up exactly with one another. There are no gaps, no exceptions, no spaces, nothing to indicate anything other than a straightforward list of men who lived one following the other.

Also Jude 1:14 says, “It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones.”

So there are three times outside of Genesis 5 where the genealogy of Genesis 5 is confirmed exactly as we have it written there. The Bible provides no quarter for those who want gaps in the genealogy from Adam to Shem. 

The line from Shem to Abram is also listed in its entirety three times. There is a mini list in Genesis 10:22-25, which goes from Shem to Peleg and then stops. Here are the three other times Shem’s line is listed.

Genesis 11:10-26 (Shem to Abram)
Shem
Arpachshad

Shelah
Eber
Peleg
Reu
Serug
Nahor
Terah
Abram

I Chron 1:17-28 (Shem to Abram)
Shem
Arpachshad

Shelah
Eber
Peleg
Reu
Serug
Nahor
Terah
Abram

Luke 3:34-36 (Shem to Abram)
Shem
Arpachshad
Cainan
Shelah
Eber
Peleg
Reu
Serug
Nahor
Terah
Abram


Here there is almost total agreement with the exception that Luke adds “Cainan” between Arpachshad and Shelah.  Why does he do this? One possible answer is that he didn’t. It is a copyist error. Jonathan Sarfati makes the follow points to show that the inclusion of Cainan in Luke may not be original.

-The extra Cainan in Genesis 11 is found only in manuscripts of the LXX [The Greek Version of the Old Testament] that were written long after Luke’s gospel. The oldest LXX manuscripts do not have this extra Cainan.
-The earliest known extant copy of Luke omits the extra Cainan. This is the 102-page (originally 144) papyrus codex of the Bodmer Collection labeled P (dated between A.D. 175 and 225).
-Josephus used the LXX as his source, but did not mention the second Cainan.

-Julius Africanus (c. A.D. 180 – c. 250) was “the first Christian historian known to have produced a universal chronology.” In his chronology, written in c. A.D. 220, he also followed the LXX ages but once again omitted this mysterious Cainan

So it is possible that the Cainan should not be in Luke at all. Still, even if it is original it does not help much. 

What if Luke or the writers of LXX knew there was another man between Arpachshad and Shelah? Does the addition of Cainan indicate that there can be thousands of years worth of gaps in genealogies? That is a thin thread to hang on. Those who translated the LXX might have included Cainan in Genesis 10:22 and 11:12-14. (They did not include him I Chronicles 1, though there are several verses missing in my version of LXX. I am not sure why that is the case.) However, they included no other men. There are not numerous gaps mentioned. The assumption should be that if Luke knew there was one gap he would have kown about others and included those. However, there is only one extra name. 


In the end, there are no reasons within the text of Scripture to put gaps of thousands of years in the Biblical genealogies. The list before Noah is the same everywhere in the Bible with no hint of gaps. From Shem to Abram there is the possible addition of one man, but that is all. There are no gaps of substance seen in these two genealogies. The argument for large gaps in the genealogies of Scripture is a forced argument from silence to accommodate certain ways of thinking.  

Book Review: Creation and Change

Creation and Change: Genesis 1:1-2.4 in the Light of Changing Scientific ParadigmsCreation and Change: Genesis 1:1-2.4 in the Light of Changing Scientific Paradigms by Douglas Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a while since I have studied the age of the earth/evolution debate. But I feel like I need to stay on top of it. Compromise in this area is common. I really enjoyed Kelly’s book. He is a theologian, not scientist. Therefore what he asks is, “What does the Bible say and how can I get science to fit into what the Bible says.” Thus he begins with the text and works his way outwards. This is how it should be.

He does a good job of showing that the debate is usually between theistic and naturalistic assumptions. Faith and presuppositions govern both groups. This does not rule out the study of the material world. But it does rule out us studying it without certain presuppositions. He differentiates between empirical science and naturalistic science. He also works through the seven days of creation. He is clear where he disagrees, but he is not normally derisive of his opponents. The book is a bit dated, having come out in 1997. He is well read, quoting numerous pro-evolution and anti-evolution men, secular and Christian scientists, as well as numerous scientific studies in foreign languages.

When he approaches science he is humble and tentative, but still comes to some solid conclusions on things like radiometric dating. Throughout the scientific chapters he notes how assumptions about the past govern our research in the present.

The value of this book lies in his solid exegesis, his humility, and his ability to expose the assumptions that govern how we operate.

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