How long has Man been upon earth? Where, and through whom, did civilization originate? What about "prehistoric man"? Can the history of the Bible be reconciled with ancient history? with Egyptian and Babylonian chronology? Historians and archaeologists are sharply divided over these questions today. Many sense something is drastically wrong with the present explanation of the ancient world. How did all this scholarly doubt arise?
It is Never Safe to Assume
Remove from a library shelf any volume on world history or ancient man and examine its opening chapters. In it will be such expressions as: "it is thought," "there appears to be some basis for believing," "it has been suggested," "it may be presumed," "one may safely assume," and "others are of the opinion" — just to mention a few. What do all these carefully chosen expressions really signify? Just this: that no demonstrable evidence really exists for accepting as a fact what has been written in the textbook. It is mere speculation! The modern reconstruction of ancient history without God is almost 100% erroneous. And no wonder! It is derived from only a part of the historical sources that are available. It casts aside as "myth" factual and datable evidence of the past merely because God appeared in that evidence. without it, the modern historian is able only to theorize about the time or the place man appeared upon the earth. He cannot know. When these written records are rejected, not even archaeologists or geologists can come to the historians' aid and provide adequate dating. Some modern writers, relying only on geological inferences, would place the appearance of man about 25,000 to 35,000 years ago. Others suggest the period is no less than 100,000 years ago. No small number of scholars assume it may be 500,000 years ago. And there are a few who place it several hundred thousand years earlier. But how could intelligent, able men arrive at such absurdly varying figures for the origin of man and the beginnings of ancient history? They all have access, remember, to the same geological and archaeological sources of information. The answer is, they are all interpreting geologic and archaeological evidence in accordance with their private theories. They are only guessing. They have no way of knowing. One well-known writer phrased it this way: "We know that there is no absolute knowledge, that there are only theories, but we forget this. The better educated we are the harder we believe in axioms" (from Lincoln Steffens "Autobiography", page 816). But we can know. The God who has intervened in history, records of whose acts we may read of in ancient sources from many nations — that God has made known both the time and the place of origin of man. But historians, theologians and scientists alike refuse to believe it, for it leaves them no room to guess! Before we examine these ancient secular and Biblical records, let us notice one classic illustration of the total inability of either archaeology or geology to determine DURATION OF TIME. Take the case of the Neolithic (New Stone) colonists of Wessex, England — near the site of famous Stonehenge. "Estimates of the length of their sojourn have been very varied, the most extreme being that of W. A. Sturge, President of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia in 1909, who confidently stated and considered that he had proved 'on irrefragable evidence' that the Neolithic period had lasted well over 200,000 years — a grossly inaccurate estimate .... Five to ten generations of men, or 100-200 years, would perhaps be nearer the mark as an estimate of time ...," declared archaeologist J. F. S. Stone recently ("Wessex Before the Celts", page 51). Why such incomprehensible variations? Because no scientific means can determine the speed with which geological deposits were laid in the past — or how long ago the deposition occurred, or the cause. Nor can any archaeology determine accurately the rate of accumulation of human remains unless there is some contemporary written evidence!
No "Prehistory" of Man
The modern idea that man has been upon earth for more than 6000 years is predicated on the assumption that "prehistoric time" once existed. Almost everyone takes it for granted. Few have ever thought to question it. As used by critical historians, "prehistoric time" is said to refer to earliest antiquity that is nowhere documented in written records. Is this kind of "prehistoric time" really a fact? Turn to Genesis 1:1 for the answer. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Time is coeval with the creation, for time is measured by the movements of the created heavenly bodies. But here also is a record of what occurred at the beginning. Here is a documented account reaching back even to the beginning of time. "Prehistoric time" in this sense is therefore irreconcilable with Scripture, for there is no period of time that is not documented in the Bible. But how did the theory of "prehistoric time" originate? Why was the idea invented? Stuart Piggott, noted British archaeologist, summarized the development of the theory in his book "Approach to Archaeology." Note carefully his wording: "The first step was the realization that non-documented antiquity could in fact exist at all: that the whole creation and the sum of human history was not in fact contained within the Biblical narrative. This was the repudiation of the theological model of the past ..." (page 53). "Prehistory" was developed to explain the presence of man without the Bible. It is merely another facet of the "historical method" which denies the possibility of God in history. The fallacy of "prehistory" is clearly explained in the "Encyclopedia Americana". Here is its surprising statement: "... it is no longer accurate or logical to use the term 'prehistoric,' unless it is employed to designate that vague and hypothetical period in the beginnings of human development of which there exists no positive and tangible record ...." (from "History, its rise and development".) Could words be plainer? "Prehistoric" — scholars now admit — denotes nothing more than a "vague and hypothetical period ... of which there exists no positive and tangible record"! But what of the famous periods or "ages" designated the Palaeolithic (Old Stone), the Mesolithic (Intermediate Stone), the Neolithic (New Stone), the Chalcolithic (Stone and Copper), the Bronze and the Iron?
Cultures, Not "Ages"
These terms do not represent "ages." They are CULTURAL appellations. It is a historical deception to speak of the "Stone Age." There are only STONE CULTURES. "These names," writes William L. Langer in "An Encyclopaedia of World History", "are excellent to identify cultures, but their use to designate periods of time has led to much inaccuracy and confusion, as the dates of the cultures to which they refer differ widely in different parts of the world" (page 2). That is, societies using iron were contemporary with other societies using bronze or only stone. Most ancient societies used stone and bronze and iron. Today one may see backward tribes with a stone culture in New Guinea, Australia, areas of India, Africa and South America side by side with highly industrialized civilizations. These tribes are not "prehistoric." They are contemporary. Throughout history they have paralleled contemporary higher cultures, not ancestral to higher cultures as anthropologists assume. Even the Bible makes special mention of some of these degenerate tribes who anciently lived in Palestine and Sinai. The reference is found in Job 30:1-8, Jewish translation:
"But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, Whose fathers I disdained to set with the dogs of my flock .... "Men in whom ripe age is perished. They are gaunt with want and famine; They gnaw the dry ground, in the gloom of wasteness and desolation. "They pluck salt-wart with wormwood; "And the roots of the broom are their food. "THEY ARE DRIVEN FORTH FROM THE MIDST OF MEN .... "In the clefts of the valleys must they dwell, "In holes of the earth and of the rocks. "Among the bushes they bray; "Under the nettles they are gathered together. "They are children of churls, yea, CHILDREN OF IGNOBLE MEN; "They were scourged out of the land."
No evolution here. Only degeneration. civilized man did not descend from degraded, "primitive" tribes. But degraded tribes did descend from civilized men of low birth and degenerate habits. They were anciently driven out from the Middle East with its rising civilization, only to be rediscovered in tropical forests in recent centuries! These facts make it clear why evolutionists are forced to admit: "Evolution is in the last analysis not a matter of evidence, but a matter of inference" (from "New Views of Evolution" by George Perrigo Conger, pp. 91).
Origin of the Study of History
Now we come to the origin of the scientific study of history. The facts are surprising. Few historians are aware of the real origin of their discipline. They generally take for granted as true the principles already laid down for them by preceding historians. Yet one of the basic rules of any scientific study is never to take anything for granted. Let us pull back the curtain on the study of history and view a plot that has eluded even the historians' keen eyes. History as a scientific discipline may be said to have taken its rise with Lorenzo della Valla. He demonstrated that the "Donation of Constantine", on which the secular claims of the Roman Catholic Church were originally based, was a medieval forgery. Forgery. That word became a touchstone. Soon non-catholic scholars everywhere became critical, negative, looking for spurious documents. The Middle Ages provided many rich finds. During the same period a great revival in Classical Learning had been occurring, The popes had encouraged Catholic scholars of the Renaissance to revive the study of ancient Roman and Greek literature. In non-Catholic educational circles Classical Learning became associated with Catholicism. The inevitable occurred. Scholars who resented everything the word AUTHORITY stood for saw in the Greek and Roman Classics the symbolism of authority and tradition. Tradition would not be purged out, they reasoned, unless the Classics were also attacked and labeled as spurious. The frontal assault began. At the close of the eighteenth century Friedrich August Wolf challenged the scholarly world with his "Prolegomena ad Homerum" (1795). The ancient Greek poet Homer — famous for having composed the two great epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey — did not compose either epic in its present form, charged Wolf. Homer, he reasoned, did not know how to write. The epics, he concluded, were pieced together about the seventh century from oral traditions, long after Homer lived. They were therefore unauthentic, Wolf concluded. The floodgates of criticism were now opened wide. Thousands of youths, flocking to the German universities for their doctorates, were assigned the task of criticising classical literature. At the height of the epidemic, scarcely a single ancient work remained unimpugned as biased, untrue to fact, or unauthentic. Into the swirl of condemned poems, dramas, myths were heaved the sober histories of Herodotus, and Thucydides, the annals of the Greek city states, the Greek records of ancient Egypt, Assyria and Media. All ancient Greek and Roman history was condemned as spurious, unauthentic, fabulous, unhistorical — because writing, said the critics, had not been known. How could the Greeks have preserved authentic histories reaching back 2000 years before the time of Christ, asked the critics, if the Greeks did not even know how to write till the seventh century before our era?
Historians Follow the Higher Critics
The historians of that day were greatly influenced by the subjective reasoning of the German Higher Critics. They accepted their verdict. Greek records prior to the seventh century disappeared from history books, or were labeled in footnotes as fabulous, or, at best, garbled. Nearly a half century elapsed. During that period a new science arose — archaeology. The past was being dug up. What did the excavators discover? Writing materials and documents dating more than 2000 years before the time of Christ! And in the Greek world, too! The Greeks did know how to write after all. The critics, including Wolf, had been wrong. The imagined illiteracy of the early Greeks was a myth. The argument that they could not have preserved their history correctly was false. But did the new evidence make any difference to the critics or to the historians? Were they willing to reconsider their conclusions? How were the historians going to explain that the basis for rejecting Greek history had been exploded? No answers came forth. The new evidence was greeted with silence. All who brought up the problem were ridiculed as unscientific. Decades have passed, but not once has the evidence been reconsidered. The plot to suppress the truth had succeeded till now. There is absolutely no reason why the records preserved by the Greeks should not be reinstated in their proper place in history. Refusal to reconsider the evidence is a standing indictment against the modern naturalistic interpretation of history. But the story does not end here. Every year saw fresh hordes of students arrive at the German universities demanding doctoral dissertations. Johann Gottlieb Fichte had made the German educational system famous the world over. Many students from abroad were coming to study in Germany under the great literary critics. The German professors insisted that their students thresh again the old classics. But this was not research. It was mere confirmation of what had already been universally accepted. With the quantity of classical raw material strictly limited in the early nineteenth century, a new field of study had to be thought up. A "new discovery" must be found, the critics agreed, if Germany was to maintain absolute educational domination of the world. Such a discovery necessarily meant something to attack, for assailing a commonly accepted idea always creates interest. What literature, the critics asked themselves, did people believe to be true, but which had not yet been subjected to higher criticism? The Bible! Protestant Germany had, since the days of Dr. Martin Luther, assumed the absolute authenticity of Scripture. What a challenge! The opening wedge of the attack had, in actuality, been made by Dr. Luther himself, for had he not denounced the epistle of James as a book of straw? All the methodology and reasoning, once feverishly applied to classical literature, was now directed in a frontal assault on the authenticity and historicity of Scripture. The Bible, proudly announced the critics, was pieced together from tradition in much the same fashion as the ancient Greek and Roman classics had been. The extremists declared it a pious fraud. The literature of the Old Testament was rejected as contrary to human experience. It was obviously unhistorical, they concluded, for no events of a supernatural nature were befalling any nation today — and certainly not any German professors and students! There was no God punishing them for their attacks upon Him, as He had once punished Israel, or Egypt, or Babylon. Historians who had heretofore acknowledged the authority of the historical record in the Old Testament were impressed with the theories of the literary scholars. Then, too, the theory of organic evolution was mushrooming. Rationalism was king. Within a few decades the entire study of history was reshaped to meet the new theories. But how were historians to reconstruct ancient history without the Old Testament? without God? without the supernatural? with all the early classical events removed? What kind of framework would they use to date events? History had to have some kind of chronological backbone.
Framework of History Founded on Egypt
A new reconstruction and interpretation of history without God or the supernatural, and now without Genesis, was foisted upon the world in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It first created the phantom of "prehistory", as we have already noted. To bolster their concept of "ancient man," the discoveries by travellers of savage, cannibalistic tribes in far away places were heavily called upon. It became a fad to picture "early man" in the garb of a savage. The next step was to tie "prehistory" to modern history. What chronological means was to be used? The answer is two-fold: astronomy and the history of Egypt. Rationalism had disposed of all supernaturalism in history. God was excluded from nature. Uniformitarianism became a basic concept. The astronomer was now called on by the historian to date the past for thousands of years on the basis of the present movement of heavenly bodies. All ancient historical records referring to supernatural movements of the heavens were rejected as mythological. Away went "Joshua's long day," and the backward decline of the sun for ten degrees in the kingship of Hezekiah. (See II Kings 20:8-11.) From the Biblical record it would be impossible to determine the position of any solar body prior to the time of Hezekiah. But historians postulated that since God, according to their reasoning, could not intervene in the course of nature, it would be possible to date the past by calculating backward the present movements of the sun, moon and other planets, and the stars. All that was necessary, said the historians, was to discover, through archaeological means, early calendars and ancient documents that referred to positions of the sun, or moon, or the rise of the stars on certain stated calendar days. A few documents were discovered — but, alas, they did not agree with the present movements of the heavenly body. The historians — unwilling to admit uniformitarianism an error — decided the mistaken numbers lay in the scribes who copied the astronomical documents. It was an easy task to change the figures on the cuneiform tablets and Egyptian papyri. Still a problem remained. Astronomical movements repeat themselves in varying cycles. The 19-year cycle of the Hebrew calendar is an illustration. No ancient date could be determined by astronomical means unless the approximate date had already been determined by historical methods. Here is where Egypt comes on the scene. Egypt seemed to provide the best solution. Her earliest documents were more likely to be preserved because of the warm, dry climate. Most of the monuments were above ground, unlike those in Mesopotamia. This made it a much easier task for the archaeologist. Egypt, decided the scholars, should become the historical standard of the world. Its civilization was certainly one of the oldest and earliest. Why not tie "prehistory" and modern history together through Egypt. Now came the difficulty. Archaeology could not always determine which Egyptian monuments and which kings reigns came first. There were no buried cities, one above another, as in Mesopotamia. No stratigraphy to determine the exact order of events. The only solution was to adopt the traditional dynastic history of Egypt. It is based on the Greek versions of Manetho, an Egyptian priest and historian, who drew up the history of ancient Egypt under thirty dynasties. The influence of Manetho on the order of events of ancient history is tremendous. This is confirmed by Sir Alan Gardiner, one of the most famous Egyptologists of the twentieth century. "That I have devoted so much discussion to what survives of Manetho ... will need no excuse for those familiar with the evolution of our science; no Egyptologist has yet been able to free himself from the shackles imposed by the native annalist's thirty Dynasties, and these are likely always to remain the essential framework of our modern expositions" ("Egypt of the Pharaohs", p. viii).
Is Egyptian History Correct?
The dynastic history of Egypt is universally assumed to be correct. NO historian thinks of questioning it. It is simply one of the assumptions he has taken for granted. The time has come to explode this assumption! The story of how it became universally accepted over 2000 years ago is one of the most intriguing in all the annals of history. Let us roll back the centuries and discover the plot that changed history. The historians of the last century inherited their views of history from the classical professors, for ancient history was for a long time an aspect of classical studies. The classical professors were interested in attacking LITERATURE. But they needed history for background if they were to demonstrate that early writings were merely garbled oral traditions and mythical accounts of heroes. It suited their purpose to retain the commonly accepted view of history — especially Homer's story of the fall of Troy. The earlier that ancient events could be placed the longer the time for oral traditions and myths to develop. The greater the likelihood for events to become garbled and untrue to fact. Thus the framework of history remained essentially the same as it has been all through the Middle Ages. Medieval and Modern Europe inherited its account of the past mainly through Catholic scholars and historians. Sextus Julius Africanus (early third century), Eusebius (early fourth century), and George the Monk, known as Syncellus (eighth to ninth century) contributed greatly to the transmission of ancient history. These men, together with the Jewish historian Josephus, obtained their information from earlier Greek documents long since lost. But from where did the Greek world obtain its history of Egypt? From the Egyptians. The framework of all history, in simple terms, is derived ultimately from Egypt — particularly through the writings of Manetho. "In the arrangement of ... Egyptian materials within a framework of consecutive dynasties, all modern historians are dependent upon an ancient predecessor. This was an Egyptian priest and writer Manetho who lived under Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.). Manetho was born at Sebennytus (now Samannud) in the Delta. Eventually he rose to be high priest in the temple at Heliopolis. Berossos of Babylon," continues Finegan, "was practically a contemporary, and the two priests became rivals in the proclamation of the antiquity and greatness of their respective lands." (From "Light from the Ancient Past", by Jack Finegan, pp. 65-66.) In Manetho's time this spirit of competition reached a climax. Egypt and Babylonia were vying with each other for influence over the Greek-speaking world. Each sought to be known as the founder of civilization, of cultural and religious institutions, of political unity. Vanity was coupled in both by a deep sense of inferiority, for both were peoples subject to the Greeks. To rise above that feeling, each claimed to be the first people of earth, not alone in the sense of civilization, but in the sense of time.
To justify their claims to antiquity, Manetho and Berossos utilized their early records, the king lists of the various cities, and cleverly marshalled them together in consecutive order. Manetho summarized the history of Egypt under the rule of thirty dynasties, or ruling houses, from the royal cities of Abydos, Memphis, Elephantine, Heracleopolis, Xois, Thebes, Tanis, Bubastis, Sais and other cities. The history of the royal families of each city was drawn up to make it appear that only one city at a time dominated Egypt, and that Egypt was, from its beginning, under the government of only one ruler at a time. The result was that Egypt appeared to be extremely ancient and the first land to establish unity — thousands of years before the Greek city-states were united. It was a fraud! The internal details of the reigns of the kings of the various dynasties were scrupulously correct — they had to be to make the history look valid — but the order in which the dynasties appeared was a historic lie. Manetho cleverly told the history of the ruling families of each city, then attached them end to end to make Egypt appear the oldest and earliest unified nation on earth. Egypt was a confederation. Its several kings exercised authority under the most powerful who was called Pharaoh. The word "Pharaoh" means the Great House — as there were also lesser houses ruling. Even the Bible preserves an account of more than one king in Egypt at the same time: "Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us," said the Arameans, "the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians" (II Kings 7:6). Like Egypt, the land of Assyria also had more than one king at the same time: "At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him" (II Chronicles 28:16). Historians falsely charge these verses are untrue to fact. As an example of the strength of a great confederation, one may name Germany. Few are really aware that the German Empire, like the ancient Egyptian Empire, was a confederation governed by several kings even at the time of World War I. The supreme ruler was of the Prussian House of Hohenzollern, William II (1888-1918). Ruling with him in the German Confederation were Frederick Augustus III (1904-1918), king of Saxony: William II (1891-1918), king of Wuerttemberg Louis III (1913-1918), king of Bavaria and Ernest Augustus (1913-1918), duke of Brunswick. All lost their thrones in November of 1918. To return to the theme of the story. Succeeding chapters of this compendium will now demonstrate how the true history of Egypt may be restored. Never before has the history of the ancient world been made clear as it will now be.