Thursday, January 19, 2017

Contextual Incongruities in Genesis


Alice C. Linsley

Genesis is a complex and layered narrative. Understanding the material requires unraveling the interwoven elements and paying attention to the textual incongruities. A critical reading avoids imposing a presumed order or interpretation upon the text. To flesh out the narrative we must notice the incongruities and discrepancies, and what Jacques Derrida calls the trace of the subordinated voices.

For example, at the end of the book, Jacob's clan settles in Egypt. The general thrust of the narrative is set up for the story of Moses and the Exodus. Yet the text makes it clear that Jacob's people maintained contact with relatives and friends in Edom. Judah had sexual relations with Tamar in the region of Timnah (Gen. 38:12-30), an area controlled by the Edomites. Tamar sat at the entrance to a Horite shrine there.

The Horite rulers of Edom are listed in Genesis 36. Analysis of their marriage and ascendancy pattern demonstrates that they are the descendants of the rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10 and 11.

Abraham's territory was entirely in the region of Edom. It extended on a north-south axis between Hebron and Beersheba and on an east-west axis between Engedi and Gerar. This region was called Idumea by the Greeks which means "land of red people." We recall that Esau and David are described as having a red skin tone. It is likely that the name Adam is also a reference to a red skin tone. By considering the incongruity of settlement in Egypt and the presence of Jacob's son and kinsmen in Edom, we gain a fuller and more accurate picture of the events that shaped Israel's early history.

Many of the incongruities of Genesis are contextual; posing a contrast between the earlier context of Abraham and the latter context of the Deuteronomist who narrates Israel's history through Moses. The Deuteronomist stresses rejection of images, exclusive devotion to the God Yahweh, and obedience to his prophet Moses (Deut. 18:18; cf. Mark 6:125; Matt. 16:13-20; John 1:21). The Deuteronomist writes from the context of the Neo-Babylonian Period, about 700-300 BC. This is about 1500 years after the time of Abraham.

The Deuteronomist seeks centralized worship at the Jerusalem temple, and the reshaping of the Passover and Tabernacles into national observances. This perspective does not align with the historical, archaeological, linguistic, and anthropological data concerning Abraham. It ignores his R1b cattle-herding ancestors who lived 4500 years ago in central Africa. The result is a disconnection between the Deuteronomist's portrait of Abraham and the earlier portrait of Abraham as a Horite Habiru ruler in Edom whose ancestors are named in Genesis 4 and 5.

Some interpreters believe that the disparate narratives reflect a conflict between priestly families. However, Moses's family is descended from Abraham's family and their marriage and ascendancy customs are exactly the same. Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Moses's family reveals the distinctive pattern of the Horite ruler-priest caste. This should not surprise us since Moses is the half-brother of the ruler-priest Korah, a descendant of the Horite ruler, Seir of Edom. There is greater continuity in Genesis on the level of kinship patterns than is generally recognized.


Digging deeper

The Jewish people view Genesis 15 as the high water mark in the later narrative. Here we read that Abraham received divine protection and promises in a night vision. Abraham's complaint that he had no proper heir is not answered with the promise of Isaac, but instead Abraham is promised offspring as numerous as the stars. God seals this with a covenant on the mountain in which Abraham's sacrifice is consumed as a smoking pot of fire (or a torch?) passes between the severed animals Abraham has set out.

God now tells Abraham, through the agency of Moses, what will happen in the opening chapters of Exodus. Abraham's descendants will be foreigners in Egypt for 400 years, but God will judge Egypt and bring Abraham's offspring out of the land with great wealth. After four generations, Abraham's offspring will return to Canaan.

The Joktanite clans

In reality, many of Abraham's offspring never lived in Canaan. His firstborn son, Joktan, served as a high ranking official in the territory of his maternal grandfather in the region of Beersheba in Edom. The clans of Yisbak and Shuah, other sons of Keturah, are associated with the Euphrates valley. Zimran and Medan are clans in Arabia. Midian is associated with northwestern Arabia. Frank Moore Cross believes the origins of Israel's conception of God is to be found in the region of Midian. Cross argues that archaic biblical poetry locates Yahweh's movements in Edom/Seir/Teman/Midian and that these "are our most reliable evidence for locating Sinai/Horeb, the mountain of God."

As Abraham was a Habiru ruler-priest, his proper heir was the firstborn son of his first wife and half-sister, Sarah. As Sarah was barren, the next in line was the firstborn son of a related concubine. In this case, that was Eliezar, son of Mesek. "Dam-Mesek" means the one born of Mesek or the blood of Mezek. This has been improperly rendered as Damascus.


Isaac assumed governance over Abraham's territory in Edom, which at that time extended from Hebron to Beersheba. As far as the text goes, Isaac never lived in Canaan.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pondering Divine Epiphanies


O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A blessed Epiphany to the readers of JUST GENESIS.

By 4245 BC, the priests of the Upper Nile had already established a calendar based on the appearance of the star Sirius, known to the ancient Egyptians as the Sothic cycle, which is a span of 1,461 sidereal years (365.25 x 4) in which the heliacal rising once again “syncs up” with the solar calendar. In 3000 BC, the heliacal rising of Sirius and the flooding of the Nile occurred around June 25th, near the summer solstice. This also marked the Egyptian New Year.

Clearly, Nilotes had been tracking this star (and its binary twin) and connecting it to seasonal changes and agriculture for thousands of years. This is verified by the Priest Manetho who reported in his history (241 BC) that Nilotic Africans had been “star-gazing” as early as 40,000 years ago. Plato, who studied in Egypt, claimed that the Africans had been tracking the heavens for 10,000 years.



How the heavens influence patterns on Earth:

Wisdom Seeks to Understand
The Dung Beetle and Heavenly Lights
Jesus: From Lamb to Ram
Solar Imagery of the Proto-Gospel
Christ's Sign in Creation
Religion of the Archaic Rulers
The Sun and the Sacred
The Sun and Moon in Genesis
A Tent for the Sun
Iron Seeds from Heaven
Celestial Symbols that Speak of God
The Swelling of Sun and River Speak of God
Horite Expectation and the Star of Bethlehem
The Celestial Dance Observed by the Magi
A Blessed Epiphany
Ancient African Astronomers
Seven Planets, Seven Bowls


Friday, December 16, 2016

Genesis on Humans and Apes


Homo-Panhypothetical last common ancestor

Alice C. Linsley

In Genesis 1:11-25 we are told that God created the first creatures “according to their kinds" and this would include apes. However, the text never applies the term "kind" to humans who are made in the “image” of God. This indicates that humans are unique among Earth's creatures. The Bible rejects the theory that humans represent an evolutionary advancement over apes.

Much has been made of the genetic similarity between humans and apes, as if this proves they have common ancestry. The DNA code uses letters to specify the exact sequence of amino acids that are to be used to construct a protein. Human and chimp DNA align up to a point. The difference between the genetic code of apes and humans is the T (tau) or Cross.

Human: G-C-C-G-A-T-A-A-G-C-A-C
Chimp: G-C-C-G-A-G-A-A-G-C-A-C

Genesis does not speak of humans being "according to their own kind" because we are supposed to be imaging God and that reality is centrally and deeply planted in our genetic code.

The T is one of the oldest known marks made by humans and it always refers to what is above us: the heavens, the mountain top, the solar arc, and the Creator. The mark could represent human speculation about our origins, a matter far above our heads.

Related reading: Adam Versus Claims from Genetics by Vern S. Poythress; Genesis Has No Evolutionary Framework; Biblical Anthropologists Discuss Darwin; Early Written Signs; Symbols of Archaic Rock Shelters; Debunked Claims of the Ark's Discovery; The Cross and Reality

Debunked Claims of the Ark's Discovery


Alice C. Linsley

Claims of the discovery of Noah's Ark have circulated for decades, but none have proven to be legitimate. Based on a common reading of Genesis, the attention has focused on the Ararat mountains (shown below).


Recently, the longstanding claim of the discovery of fossilized Ark material was debunked when it was shown that the supposed Ark in eastern Turkey is a slab of basalt. Read the account here.

A careful reading of Genesis diminishes hope that the ship of Noah will ever be found. The Bible tells us that it was built of gofer or papyrus reeds which would have disintegrated long ago.

Reed boat building
Reed boats of this type can carry up to 50 tons when fully loaded.

Reeds were readily available in the region of Bor-No (Land of Noah) during Noah's time. Moses's mother placed him in a reed (gofer) basket which is called an "ark" in Exodus 2:3. This is why some Bibles correctly read: "Make yourself an Ark of gofer wood, with reeds make the Ark..." (Schocken Bible, Vol. I, p. 35)

If the ark was constructed of a wood frame with hollow reeds in large bundles it would have had great buoyancy. Thor Heyerdahl learned from the Marsh Arabs that if the reeds are cut in August they retain their buoyancy rather than absorbing water.

Noah lived approximately 2490-2415 BC, when the Sahara experienced a time of wet conditions. His reign coincided with the period of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, a time of great cultural and technological achievement. This places Noah and his sons in relatively recent history, not at the dawn of human existence. Some of the rulers who lived around Noah's time include: Hor-SanakhtSekhemkhtDjoser, and Khasekhemwy. These were the "mighty men of old" who built kingdoms, fortified shrine cities (the "high places"), palaces, pyramids and temples. In Genesis 6:9-11, Noah is described as God's favored ruler on earth; "an upright man among his contemporaries."

The Genesis accounts of Noah's flood do not specify a mountain and there is doubt that the word Ararat refers to a mountain chain. That idea is based on a supposition that the Biblical Ararat corresponds to Urartu, the Assyrian name for a kingdom in the region of Lake Van.

This view is based on Jerome's reading of Antiquities of the Jews, in which Josephus wrote:
“the ark rested on the top of a certain mountain in Armenia ... However, the Armenians call this place, αποβατηριον 'The Place of Descent'; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day. Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark; among whom is Berossus. For when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: "It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs."  (I.3.5-6, trans. William Whiston)

However, there is another interpretation that aligns with the biblical data about Noah, the Proto-Saharan ruler. The word ararat is from the root RRT in which the T was a mark symbolizing a mountain. The reduplicated R symbolizes a high ranking ruler, even the Creator. This archaic symbolism is preserved in the Old Arabic as ararat, meaning vehemence. The word "vehemence" fits the story of the Creator's vehement disapproval of the sinfulness of Mankind. According to this theory, the mount upon which Noah's ark rested is a metaphorical mountain that represents divine judgement.

Throughout the Bible mountains represent God's interaction with Man. Abraham and Isaac encounter divine grace and provision on Mount Moriah. Moses comes face-to-face with God on Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai.

The motif of mountains as the connection to the Creator and the Heavens is found in many ancient texts. In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna says, "Among the mountains, I am Meru", that is, the spinal cord of the world. The Vishnu Purana (c. 200 BC) speaks of seven peaked continents (volcanic?) ringed by seven oceans. This cosmology was a mirror image of the seven celestail planets/bowls, following the ancient belief "as in the Heavens, so on Earth."

Likely, the association of Noah with Armenia has both a mythological and a historical basis. The word Armenia may be an inaccurate rendering of Har-Meni, meaning Mount Meni. As Noah's territory was Bor-No in the region of Lake Chad we should consider a mountain closer to Lake Chad. David M. Westley, PhD, who served as Director of the African Studies Library at Boston University, reports that "From the center of the Chad Basin to Mount Meni is about 230 miles."

Josephus also quoted Nicolas of Damascus, where he wrote in his ninety-sixth book: "There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas [a word for mountain], called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved." In the Greek we find Minyas and Meni in connection to the mount upon which the Ark was said to rest.

Noah's reign in Central Africa must have been one of great prosperity. There was abundant fishing and hunting. The climate sustained vineyards (Genesis 9:20).  An oracle concerning Noah states, “This one shall bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands.” (Genesis 5:29)

The dispersion of peoples from Noah's homeland has been verified by DNA studies. YDNA R1b is found in the region of Lake Chad and the Upper Nile, Europe, France, and the British Isles. This dispersion began about 20,000 years ago, long before Noah's time.


The dark red spot in Central Africa is Noah's homeland.

Haplogroup R1b, also known as haplogroup R-M343, is the most frequently occurring Y chromosome haplogroup in Western Europe, some parts of Russia (the Bashkir minority), Central Asia (e.g. Turkmenistan) and in the region of Lake Chad, Noah's territory.

This is the Haplogroup of Abraham's Proto-Saharan ancestors who dispersed widely and are known by different names in ancient history: KushitesKushanAnnuSaka, Hittites, etc. Among them was a caste of ruler-priests known in ancient texts as 'Apiru, Hapiru, Habiru or Hebrew


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Genesis Has No Evolutionary Framework



Alice C. Linsley

Many evolutionary creationists attempt to read Genesis through a Darwinian template and in doing so they distort the meaning. The ancients through whom God delivered this material did not think that humans and apes descend from a common ancestor. They believe that God created humans fully human from the beginning in a divine act at a moment in the distant past. There is no reason to reject this view since humans appear suddenly on the earth about 4 million years ago, and though these were anatomically archaic, they were nonetheless, fully human. We have evidence of hunting and butchering, control of fire, human dentition, erect walk, and opposing thumbs.

The discovery of a complete fourth metatarsal of A. afarensis at Hadar shows the deep, flat base and tarsal facets that "imply that its midfoot had no ape-like midtarsal break. These features show that the A. afarensis foot was functionally like that of modern humans." (Carol Ward, William H. Kimbel, Donald C. Johanson, Feb. 2011)

In 2011 researchers discovered jaw bones and teeth of four individuals in the Afar region of Ethiopia which date to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old. These archaic humans were alive at the same time as other groups of early humans, suggesting that it may be time to abandon the linear evolution hypothesis. Clearly, there were more archaic humans living in Africa 3 million years ago than has been generally recognized.

The writers of Genesis should be given credit for a worldview that is philosophically sound and supported by physical evidence. Their worldview cannot be made to align with all aspects of evolutionary science.

The worldview of Abraham's ancestors is grounded in their closeness to the natural world and their acute observation of patterns. They noted that humans reproduce only humans. They observed that the fig tree produces only figs and though the figs varied in shape, size and flavor, their "figness" remained. This is an essentialist worldview and it is described by the term "kinds" in Genesis.

The word min [מִין] according to Strong's H4327, refers to kind or species, yet "kind" and "species" do not have the same meaning. In Genesis "kind" pertains to fixed essence, not to a biological category. The Biblical "kind" refers to the original pattern of a created entity. It pertains more to essence than to form.

Screenshot of the Blue Letter Bible entry on the word “kind”

The term "kind" in Genesis 1 refers to biological organisms that reproduce themselves. God created this mechanism so that fruit bearing trees reproduce trees that bear fruit of the same kind. Ferns and other rhizome plants bring forth plants of their kind through the spread of subterranean root systems. Apes bring forth apes, not humans. While there may be modification of condition or form, the essence of an entity remains unchanged. This is called "Essentialism" in philosophy, and this is what is meant by the Biblical term "kind."

Essentialism is a very ancient metaphysical concept. It is the basis of Plato's Forms, an idea he borrowed from the ancient Egyptians. Plato studied for 13 years with an Egyptian priest and borrowed many ideas from the Egyptians. Many of these ideas are evident among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors. They are the people from whom we receive the creation stories in Genesis 1, 2 and 3, although Genesis 2-3 is the older story.

As poorly defined as the term "species" is in biology, biologists recognize that a "species" boundary is that point beyond which there is no reproductive generation. This is called horotely, a term that describes the rate at which an organism can change over time. It indicates a genetic boundary beyond which the organism cannot change even if the mutation rate is high. The word relates to Horus, the Fixer of Boundaries, also known as the son of the Creator. This Greek word relates to the words Horus, oros (boundary/landmark/term), horizon and hour.

The ancients believed that cosmic boundaries were fixed by Horus. Even today Christians believe that all things were made through Christ and that all things are sustained in Christ. In this sense Christ is the fixer of boundaries and the ground upon which all biological life is unified. This is why Christians are justified in questioning the common ancestry hypothesis.

It is true that essentialism is not as evident among organisms that lack binary features such as symmetry, bilateralism, or bicamaralism. These organisms are found in the Precambrian and Cambrian layers, long before the appearance of humans. The binary feature appears to signal greater complexity. The earliest fossils are neither vegetation nor animal. They are without symmetry and binary features. In the Precambrian organisms we find neither bilateralism nor any bivalves. Once binary features emerge we begin to see greater diversity and complexity (the so-called Cambrian "explosion" which lasted 90 million years).

It is interesting to note that the term min [מִין] is never used in the Bible in reference to humans. Humans are unique. They are made after another kind, in the image and likeness of the Creator. This is true of both archaic and modern humans.

When we speak of archaic humans and modern humans, the distinction is one of anatomical difference explained by local adaptation. The essence remains unchanged. The evidence concerning archaic humans does not support the hypothesis of common ancestry proposed by Darwinians. The oldest humans fossils date to about 4 million years and all the evidence indicates that these were essentially human, despite the small brain size. Brain size is not a measure of sophistication of thought.

Mary Leakey was convinced that her Australopithecus afarensis finds at Laetoli were homo, but Donald C. Johanson had already announced to the world that the A. afarensis was an ape. Mary expressed regret that “the Laetoli fellow is now doomed to be called Australopithecus afarensis.”

A. afarensis used polished bone tools to cut, chop and scrap, shared food, and used fire. Some of the earliest evidence of controlled fire by humans was found at Swartkrans in South Africa. Other sites that indicate fire use include Chesowanja near Lake Baringo, Koobi Fora and Olorgesailie in Kenya.

A. afarensis also had human dentition. In humans, the back teeth are larger than the front teeth (not so with apes), and the canines are not pointed. Humans also lack the characteristic diastema or tooth gap found in apes.

The so-called "Apes of the South" were fully human, though anatomically archaic, and they appeared suddenly and unheralded on the surface of the Earth about 4 million years ago. Humans appear to be a de novo creation. From the beginning humans have had a binary thought pattern, a binary structure, and a fixed essence.


Conclusion

Strong's and other similar study tools do not reflect the latest research. Many of the oldest Hebrew roots are found in African cognates. For example, ha-risoniym (righteous ancestors) in Psalm 79.8 is related to the Arabic rais (leader), the Hebrew raz (leader), the Aramiac resh, the Akkadian rishu, and the Yoruba orisha (deified ancestors).

Min among the ancient Nilotic peoples was a symbol of the life giving seed that comes from the Creator and gives life to growing things on earth. The Creator's symbol was the sun which was perceived to inseminate the earth. However, the term min is never used in the Bible in reference to humans. Humans are unique. They are made, not as plants from seeds, but molded in the image and likeness of the Creator. This is why onanism was considered such a great offense against the Creator. The seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 A.D. 191).

Related reading: Biblical Anthropologists Discuss DarwinThe Binary Aspect of the Biblical Worldview; Does the Binary Feature Signal Greater Complexity?; Questioning the Common Ancestry Hypothesis; A Theological and Scientific Conversation About GenesisPre-Darwinian Taxonomy and Essentialism by David Stamos; Theories of Change and Constancy

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Lion and Ancient Rulers


Alice C. Linsley

Akar

The twin lions face east and west on the banks of the Nile. The Sun rests at high noon over the life-giving waters. This is the time of no shadows when the earth is divinely overshadowed (James 1:17). Reflecting on the fact that the Sun was the emblem of the Creator and his son Horus, this is a Proto-Eucharistic image.


Rulers in the ancient world were identified with the lion. The lion was the animal totem of the ruling caste that are identified in Genesis as the "mighty men of old." Thus many rulers named in the Bible have the AR affix, signifying both the lion and the ruler. Ari was used in Hebrew as an honorific for a man if distinction and power.

The Hebrew Ari or Aryeh is cognate with Akkadian aria, Aramaic arya, and the Sanskrit aryeh means "noble."

Arpacshad is one of the rulers named in Genesis with the AR affix. He was the son by Asshur's daughter. His name means "happy ruler" or "happy lion." He ruled during the time of the 7th- 10th Egyptian Dynasties (2445–2160 BC).

Two royal scribe castes are listed in Genesis 10: the Arvadites and the Arkaites. The Igbo of Nigeria call their scribes the Ar or Aro. The late Dr. Catherine Acholonu explained, "In Nigeria the caste under reference is the Ar/Aro caste of Igbo Eri priest-kings, who were highly militarized in their philosophy."

The association of the name Ar with the royal scribal caste is further demonstrated by the discovery of Aramaic scrolls written by the satrap Arsames to his Egyptian administrator Psamshek and to an Egyptian ruler named Nekht-hor. 

Another Bible name with the honorific title is Arba, the son of Anak. Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba.

In Genesis 49:9, Jacob refers to his son Judah as Gur Aryeh גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, a "young lion."

The totem of Shobal's clan was the lion fierce in it youthful strength. Shobal was one of the Horite Habiru kings named in the Genesis 36 ruler list.

Other names include Aroch (1 Chr 7:39, Ezr 2:5, Neh 6:18, Neh 7:10) and Ariel (Ezr 8:16, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:7). ) High ranking officials and rulers with the AR title include Arshem, Artix, and Araxes, all named in historical texts.