Modern Christian Mythology: A Young Earth

Modern Christian Mythology: A Young Earth

This common myth is derived from a literal reading of the book of Genesis in the Hebrew bible. In order to find out when Adam and Eve where molded out of dirt, the ages of the patriarchs listed in the book of Genesis are added up and, presto, with only a little remedial math and a lot of really dull reading, you too can prestidigitate the magic date (October 23, 4004 BC, according to Bishop Usher).

Modern archeology, though, has shed some purer light on the origin of this myth, though:

An ancient Sumerian kings list that has been discovered seems to match up with the ages of the Biblical patriarchs. The reigns of the kings were extraordinarily long (pointing to the mythical nature of the kings listed, of whom no historical trace has ever been found). The kings were assumed by that ancients to have lived before the Gilgamesh flood myth. This Sumerian flood story was so popular, copies of it have been all around the Mediterranean, including translations in Hittite and Hurrian. The reigns of the kings listed lasted into the thousands of years, though the units they used were a base 60 measurement that could easily have been confused with the Hebrew base ten numerals. Once the conversion is done, the reigns match up with the Biblical patriarchs too closely to ignore.

Babylonian influence is evident more than any other in the primitive legends. We can demonstrate this in the case of the legend of the Deluge, of which we possess the Babylonian version; and we have strong reasons for accepting it in the case of the story of creation, which agrees with the Babylonian story in the characteristic point of the division of the primeval sea into two portions; also in the legend of Nimrod, and in the traditions of the patriarchs, the ten patriarchs of the race as given by P being ultimately the same as the ten primitive kings of the Babylonians.

-“The Legends of Genesis” by By Hermann Gunkel

see also, “From ancient writings to sacred texts: the Old Testament and Apocrypha” By Solomon Alexander Nigosian

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