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Do ancient calendars contradict the Bible?

Calendars of ancient peoples help to confirm the biblical time frame. They point to a 6,000-year span, which is consistent with a literal reading of the Bible.

The Chinese calendar, for example, is at about the year 4704. It appears to mark the birthdate of either Shem or Noah. Their civilization does not at all predate that time. But they have laid claim to this particular starting point or starting person’s origin.

Not only cultures, but also organizations want to establish their historical stability. For example, the Daughters of the American Revolution (as one organization) can point to a long heritage. Wanting to establish a strong past has been important for most peoples.

Although completely different in nature, though in a similar way, the Catholic Church tries to establish credibility by claiming a priesthood descended directly from St. Peter. The longevity gives an appearance of greater authority, no matter the current batch of priests and bishops, etc. Businesses, too, may do this when they boast of how long they’ve been established. (The web page for Hudson’s Bay Co. boasts of their 1670 establishment, for example.)

Establishing credibility or seniority happens today. Certainly past peoples did so as well. The Egyptians appear to have tried to get their “origins” to be older than others. Did they “fudge” a little? The Sumerians somehow dated the life spans of early rulers into the thousands of years. It is an interesting exaggeration of the true pre-Flood life expectancies of the pre-Flood patriarchs. They actually lived up to around 900 to 950 years.

This is discussed briefly in Seminar #1 (regarding ancient languages and calendars). I hope this reasoning helps to clarify the human propensity to seek validation and credibility with the true (and unexaggerated) Biblical time framework.

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Leave13 Responses to testDo ancient calendars contradict the Bible?

  1. Jay Liverstitch January 21, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Just want to make a quick point here about confirmation bias.

    Note the difference between paragraph 1, and paragraph 5. The post starts out telling us that ancient documents can be shown to coincide with your interpretation that the earth is only 6000 years old. Then in paragraph 5, all the sudden we’re told that when or if ancient documents don’t agree with this interpretation, they must have “fudged” their numbers.

    The argument is constructed so that no matter what the data show, you can claim that the data support your pre-formed conclusion. If the number agrees, then you use that as evidence. If it doesn’t you use the fact that people try to exaggerate their peoples longevity as evidence.

    Now, I agree with the idea that we can’t blindly take all ancient accounts of chronologies and calenders at face value. This is why we have archeology. Ancient documents (like your bible, for instance) must be investigated, studied academically, and compared with both other ancient documents as well as physical evidence before we can say with any amount of certainty what is myth and what is fact. Unfortunately for you, when these measures are taken, we find that civilization dates to well before your supposed creation event. The Egyptians were rationing beer some four thousand years before you say the universe was created. That’s right, beer is older than you believe the earth to be.

    Jay

  2. Jack Napper January 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Calendars of ancient peoples help to confirm the biblical time frame.

    Except when they pre-date the myth.

    They point to a 6,000-year span, which is consistent with a literal reading of the Bible.

    Literal? No. Though I’m sure you could make those interpretations if you worked solely from the KJV and were completely ignorant of ancient and extant languages.

    The Chinese calendar, for example, is at about the year 4704.

    You should really stop copying and pasting Eric. This needs updating.

    Their civilization does not at all predate that time. But they have laid claim to this particular starting point or starting person’s origin.

    So you are ignoring all of the ancient Chinese texts which tell the history leading up to the Zhou Dynasty? I’m sure if you do the math you’ll get somewhere around the claimed flood era (+/- a few hundred years). That is of course if we also ignore that Chinese history dates backs a few thousand years before that (an era referred to as “Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors”).

    I’m sure you could probably use your power of apologetics to try and account for this. You could put all this to around 6,000 years give or take. However, this contradicts your earlier statement that …

    Their civilization does not at all predate that time.

    That’s right Eric you’d have to ignore the 3S5E period as well as the entire Xia Dynasty and much of the Shang Dynasty. Then again according to Creationists population mathematics when these dynasties were established there were less than 50 people on the entire friggin’ planet.

  3. Susan or Dan Nelson January 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Once again, much to the chagrin of humanists, the facts point to the historical accuracy of the Bible. If this part is right, it gives even more credibility to the rest of it. In the short form, if the Bible is true, the path to God is clearly laid out before us with Jesus as Lord and the way to the Father. This is yet one more reason that we cannot and should not defend our faith by simply saying we just have to believe. God has given us many proofs, science cannot disprove the Bible and usually ends up supporting it, and history testifies to the accuracy of the Scriptures. No other religion can claim all of this that I am aware of.

  4. John Bebbington January 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    “Their civilization does not at all predate that time. ”

    Which conveniently ignores the neolithic Yellow River settlement at Jiahu established around 7,000 BC which falsifies the Biblical time frame by some 3,000 years.

  5. Duane January 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    What does a Chinese year of 4709/4708 (not 4704, please update your copy and paste occasionally) have to do with Ancient Jewish apocrypha? In a quick bit of research, it appears that China dates its calendar back to the reign of the Yellow Emperor but they also did have a history that goes back to 3500 BCE (well before Noah). Looking at his story, he doesn’t appear to have ANYTHING to do with Shem or Noah or their birth dates. There is quite a story around him, he was one of two early emperors (Yellow and Yan) of a tribe in China. They appear to have warred with various other tribes and defeated them before finally warring with each other and Yellow taking over. The Yellow Emperor had 4 wives and 25 sons who went off to found various clans. Anyway, they seem to have kept a pretty meticulous history and have their own rich culture that has nothing to do with ancient Middle-eastern culture.

    So, you basically just looked at the year, decided that was pretty close to Noah and then completely made up your conclusion. In other words, LIED.

    Certainly past peoples did so as well. The Egyptians appear to have tried to get their “origins” to be older than others. Did they “fudge” a little? The Sumerians somehow dated the life spans of early rulers into the thousands of years. It is an interesting exaggeration of the true pre-Flood life expectancies of the pre-Flood patriarchs. They actually lived up to around 900 to 950 years.

    Ok, so the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians “fudged” dates and ages but we can COMPLETELY trust the ancient Jews when they talk about 900 year life spans? Never mind that the Jews never even wrote anything down until approximately 500 BCE, give or take, and the stories we know as the Bible were handed down verbally for a 1000 years. We just know they are completely accurate.

  6. Duane January 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    @Susan or Dan Nelson January 21st at 2:46 pm

    Once again, much to the chagrin of humanists, the facts point to the historical accuracy of the Bible. If this part is right, it gives even more credibility to the rest of it. In the short form, if the Bible is true, the path to God is clearly laid out before us with Jesus as Lord and the way to the Father. This is yet one more reason that we cannot and should not defend our faith by simply saying we just have to believe. God has given us many proofs, science cannot disprove the Bible and usually ends up supporting it, and history testifies to the accuracy of the Scriptures. No other religion can claim all of this that I am aware of.

    Yet another Stepford Christian Hit & Run. If you take ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING the Hovinds say at face value then you should be embarrassed. OK, let’s go with this.

    “If this part is right, it gives even more credibility to the rest of it.”

    And it follows if this part is wrong, then it is evidence AGAINST the credibility of the rest of it. What Eric has posted here is complete nonsense. As pointed out by others, he ignores actual historical record (unlike the Jews, the Chinese actually wrote their history down when it happened or soon after rather than pass it down through oral folktale for generations only to write it down a 1000 years later ~500 BCE- anything earlier than 500 BCE in the Bible is complete myth or so time-corrupted as to be essentially the same as myth) and then completely invents conclusions based upon nothing. Where in the world did Eric get the idea that the Chinese calendar marks the birthdate of Noah or Shem, or whatever???? Eric takes a premise that ancient calendars confirm his bias, gives one example and embellishes it with LIES, and then completely contradicts his premise with other cultures and has the nerve to call these examples out as lies.

    That’s why I come to this site. Whenever I have the slightest doubt, along comes Eric and his minions to confirm that they really have no idea what they are talking about and the level of competence it takes to believe in a Biblical worldview.

  7. Janine Negron January 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    How could human kind be so ignorant and self centered to believe that 7 days to God is the same as our 7 earthly days when he created the whole universe. A universe that has countless interpretations of how long 1 day can be. 1 day on Jupiter is about 9.9 hours while 1 day on Mercury can be 175 earth days.

    “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1.3. What is that light? It is not the sun. He created the sun on the “4th day.” Lets have an opened mind and just consider for a moment that that light was the light of spiritual awareness which, in the beginning, was “separated” from the darkness, Genesis 1.4. In fact, Let’s consider for a moment that the first “3 days” of Creation were at the spiritual level rather then the physical. Heaven and the waters were made on the “2nd day”. Heaven is obviously a spiritual reference but, as for the water, there are many references in the Bible that refer to the Word of God as water. On the “3rd day” the earth brings forth “grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree” Genesis 1.11. Could these all be spiritual references?

    Lets consider that physical form at the 3 dimensional level did not begin until the “4th day.” And the physical form of man was not created until the “6th day.” “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7. Evolution says that all living things evolved from microbial life forms which ultimately have their origins in complex chemical compounds- a stunning example of intelligent design. If we don’t take the 7 days of creation as literal earth days then, “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground” in Genesis 2 makes perfect sense. In fact, if we don’t look at God’s 7 days as our 7 earth days then dinosaurs and Evolution, for that matter, can hypothetically fit perfectly into Creation.

    And God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a live soul.” Genesis 2.7. Lets imagine for a moment that a simple minded animal now referred as an early homo sapien receives from God the breath of spiritual awareness, the breath of life… man became a living soul! The moment when we went from being merely animals to becoming human beings.

    Why does Evolution and Creation cause such controversy when they can easily exist so well together. I truly believe that more research from both sides needs to be conducted regarding this topic.

    • Kyle Winkler January 25, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Hi Janine,

      We don’t have to be ignorant nor self-centered to think that God wrote in a way that relates to whom He was writing. This is a crucial part of communication; you communicate in such a way that the listeners understand it in their language. If He were writing to people on Jupiter, perhaps He would have communicated what they knew as a day. However, he was writing to people on planet earth, that knew a day to be morning and evening, about 24 hours. It’s just that simple.

  8. Janine Negron January 25, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you for your insight, Kyle… but I must respectfully disagree.

  9. Janine Negron January 25, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    The rift between science and religion must be bridged or we will continue to loose young, intelligent souls to the evils of atheism.

    • Kyle Winkler January 25, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      Hi Janine,

      I appreciate your thoughtfulness towards the youth. And I think we share a common concern.

      It hasn’t been so long ago that I was a high school student (in public school). I was introduced to creation science in my high school youth group. Let me tell you, the resources we watched on young-earth creationism captivated the students who finally heard an alternate view to what was being shoved down their throats. On every occasion that we got to choose a video to watch, Dr. Hovind’s Creation Seminar was always selected.

      A number of my high school peers were atheists or agnostics. Several were also into witch craft. Over and over I heard these friends tell me that they were atheist or wiccan because “science is on our side.” The science, of course, was evolution. And in my high school, because of this “science,” teenagers were rejecting the faith in droves.

      As one not so disconnected to today’s youth, let me assure you that the youth are looking for something with power–something that’s real. Many are indoctrinated into believing that science provides this power. And so, they reject the faith and turn to humanism or witchcraft, or any number of the cults. The Church, with its lackluster teaching of Scriptural authority (from the very first verse) is largely to blame. The Bible has not been given a sporting chance. Sure, some have “tried” religion, thinking they’ve tried God. And they’ve never found the power they’re looking for. It is my contention that a foundation of biblical authority connects with the youth, much more than compromising a Bible that has never been proven wrong with a theory that’s never been proven right.

      Sometimes Washington needs to listen to the boots on the ground. And from my boots, the youth are craving something with authority. When my peers and I caught on to biblical authority, we wouldn’t let go.

  10. Duane January 26, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    I missed the closure of “Why don’t creatures today look like pre-flood fossils”, so I’ll put my reply here:

    @Christopher Flournoy January 20th at 8:47 pm

    “Straw man arguments: Everyone believes in evolution as defined as simply change over time. The dispute is over how much change and how much time. Evolutionists say that all dogs (and every living thing for that matter) came from bacteria which came from molecules which came from nothing by random undirected processes. 13.7 billion years is not even close to the amount of time you would need for that to happen. Creationists say that all dog-kind animals came from an original created dog-kind animal pre-programmed with all of the genetic information needed to produce all of the dog varieties. This could easily take place in a few thousand years.”

    So, let me get this straight. All antedeluvian dog-kind and other animal-kinds had pre-programmed in them for a couple thousand years all the genetic information necessary to produce the variety we see today in only 4000 (or much less, since other than dog breeds, these varieties have been with us for at least the last 4000 years) years from the bottleneck that was Noah’s Ark? Wouldn’t that leave a trace in the current genome? Every dog-kind should have the genetic information needed to make any other dog-kind.

    @Stephen Holshouser January 25th at 12:30 pm

    John Bebbington,

    “Which, of course, is why Matthew and Mark wrote their stories utilising Old Testament verses. Prophesy is easy if you make sure you write your later stories around the earlier texts.”

    You have no evidence at all of this. But may I point out that the reason you have to suggest this is because if the writers were telling the truth(and they were), that it would be such an obvious and amazing fulfillment of prophecy, it would give you no choice but to seriously consider that the Lord Jesus really is who He says He is.
    As I have pointed out before, many of the NT writers lived, suffered, and died affirming what they witnessed to be true. Not only this but, “this thing was not done in a corner”… it was well known throughout the land of that day and time who Jesus was and what He did. Their writings were within the lifetime of the other eyewitnesses, which corroborates even further their accounts. If they were lying about what Jesus said and did(and they weren’t), they had everything to lose and nothing to gain.

    “That depends upon which Gospel you believe as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John disagree on Jesus’ final words. I can hardly wait for the apologetics.”

    Apologetics? Not really, you’re just mistaken or purposefully trying to deceive. Were you hoping that no one would actually read the texts?

    John, I know first-hand what it is like to be an unbeliever and love to have it so… may the Lord grant you a new heart to see your need of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus quoting scripture while being crucified is fullfilment of prophecy? Again, that’s a pretty low bar there. We are told throughout the Gospels that Jesus knew the scripture well, so why are we surprised he can quote it at a pithy time? Go back and read Psalm 22. It’s a lament for a time of great dispair, it doesn’t say this is something that will happen to the messiah. Jesus was quoting appropriate scripture for his situation. That the author continues the thought is poetic license. Even if we grant the event (casting lots) happened, so what? That something happened to Jesus and it paralleled a bit of poetry in well known scripture is irrelevent to the claim of messiah-hood. He didn’t meet the burden of fullfilling any prophecy specific to being the messiah.

    If Jesus was well known throughout the land, why do we only have the New Testament to account for him? If you are going to assert that he was well known, then you must have some other source no one else has ever heard of. I’m not saying such documents have never existed, but we certainly don’t know anything about them enough to assert Jesus was well known at the time. Best we have is latterday reports of the cult of Christianity itself and one forgery interpolation in the works of Josephus.

    I came across this the other day concerning Old Testament “prophecy”. I found it quite amusing.

    My name is Moshe Shulman and I am a Chassidic Jew who has, from my youth, learned the words of our Holy Prophets, and has been puzzled by their meaning. Then, on the day before Yom Kippur, I contemplated the solemnity of the day and was made aware of the amazing meaning of G-d’s words. I recognized the fulfillment of 42 Messianic prophecies of the Tenach, and they changed my life forever.

    1. Early in the morning I went to get my rooster to fulfill the ancient custom. There in the light I looked into his eyes and saw fulfilled the words, ‘I am the rooster1 who has seen affliction.’ (Lam. 3:1)
    2. I took him and swung him around my head as the verse says, ‘And he circled his head2.’ (Lam 3:5)
    3. I moved my hands as I swirled him, as it says, ‘Only against me did he turn his hand.’ (Lam 3:3)
    4. With this he leaped from my hand and started to run. As it says, ‘They have run away without seeing good.’ (Job 9:25)
    5. I cried a short pray to HaShem as it says, ‘My words I say out of the bitterness of my soul.’ (Job 10:1)
    6. He ran from me, fulfilling the verse, ‘To me they showed their back and not their face.’ (Jer. 32:33)
    7. I borrowed a cane from a man near me so as to catch him with the rounded edge, as the verse says, ‘And Moshe took the stick.’ (Ex. 4:20,
    8. (Num 20:8 — same)
    9. I tried to catch him with the hook, but only the blows of the cane hit his back as it says, ‘Afflicted by the rod of his anger.’ (Lam. 3:1)
    10. It also says, ‘I struck you with the blows of an enemy.’ (Jer. 30:12)
    11. He turned to me and I got him right on the cheek fulfilling the verse, ‘I have offered my cheek to the one who strikes me.’ (Lam. 3:30)
    12. He ran from me into a dark corner and I followed after him, as the verse says, ‘He has led me and driven me into the darkness and not light.’ (Lam. 3:2)
    13. I had him there in the corner as it says; ‘All her pursuers overtook her in the small place.’ (Lam. 1:3)
    14. He stood there silent, as he had been to this time in fulfillment of the words of the prophet, ‘He was persecuted and afflicted, be he did not open his mouth.’ (Is. 53:7)
    15. In that corner there was just nowhere for him to hide from me as the verse says, ‘Can a person hide in a concealed place, and I should not see him?’ (Jer. 23:25)
    16. He was now trapped as the verse says, ‘He has walled me in so I cannot escape.’ (Lam. 3:7)
    17. In his eyes I could see him praying silently to HaShem, ‘My G-d my G-d why have you forsaken me?’ (Psalm 22:1)
    18. Clearly it was fulfilled for him, ‘The mighty ones of Bashan encircle me.’ (Psalm 22:13)
    19. I grabbed him and he started to call out to HaShem. As the verse says, ‘My G-d, I call to you by day and you do not answer and by night and there is no respite.’ (Psalm 22:3)
    20. But there was no answer as it says, ‘Though I would scream out and plead he shut out my prayer.’ (Lam. 3:8)
    21. It was clearly the end. I grabbed him and took my place in the line waiting to give my rooster to the shochet (ritual slaughterer.) He was silent, ‘Like a sheep being led to the slaughter or a ewe to her sharers he did not open his mouth.’ (Is. 53:7)
    22. The shochet took him by the neck as it says; ‘He grasped me by the neck.’ (Job 16:12)
    23. With that he screamed out, ‘Be not far from me because distress is near and there is none to help me.’ (Psalm 22:12)
    24. He also said, ‘Save my soul from the sword.’ (Psalm 22:21)
    25. He slaughtered him fulfilling ‘He was removed from the living land.’ (Is. 53:8)
    26. He let the blood fall on the floor, as it says, ‘I am poured out like water.’ (Psalm 22:15)
    27. I took the dead chicken and gazed at it as the prophet says, ‘They have looked upon me whom they have pierced.’ (Zech 12:10)
    28. I took it to be made kosher. We separated it into pieces snapping it’s bones as the verses say, ‘All my bones became disjointed.’ (Psalm 22:15)
    29. Also ‘He has broken my bones.’ (Lam 3:4)
    30. Then I took him home to cook. My wife removed the skin as it says, ‘He has worn away my flesh and skin.’ (Lam. 3:4)
    31. She placed him in a pot with water, as it says, ‘For the waters have reached unto my soul.’ (Psalm 69:2)
    32. She added many spices as it says, ‘And she gave …many spices.’ (1 Kings 10:10)
    33. She covered up the pot so it could cook as it says; ‘He has placed me in darkness.’ (Lam 3:6)
    34. The smell of it filled the room as it says, ‘That the spices may flow out.’ (Song 4:16)
    35. After that it was served on the table and we gazed upon it as the verse says, ‘I count my bones and they gaze and look upon me.’ (Psalm 22:18)
    36. He was divided among the members of my family, as it says, ‘Therefore I will divide him among the many.’ (Is. 53:12)
    37. We rejoiced and sang as we ate him, as it says, ‘I have become a thing of laughter for my people, they sing all day long.’ (Lam. 3:14)
    38. Also, ‘In him our hearts were joyful.’ (Psalm 33:21)
    39. 39/40/41. After which we were full and praised G-d as it says, ‘You shall eat and be satisfied and praise HaShem your G-d.’ (Deut. 6:11,
    40. (Same for Deut 8:10)
    41. (Same for Deut 11:15).
    42. We truly saw the goodness of G-d as it says, ‘You should taste and see that HaShem is good.’ (Psalm 34:9)

    There were many more messianic prophecies that I could have added that applied to my messianic rooster. Many more he will fulfill when he comes back.
    In all seriousness the above example is no different then the lists claiming 200/300/400 prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. They claim the odds against a single person fulfilling them are astronomical. Or of their claims that passages like Psalms 22, or Isaiah 53 are about their messiah/god. Consider this well when you see or hear the claims made by missionaries or just simple Christians who you may meet. If not there may be a prophecy that does really apply: ‘They are a people bereft of council and they don’t have understanding.’

  11. Stephen Holshouser January 27, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Duane,

    “If Jesus was well known throughout the land, why do we only have the New Testament to account for him? If you are going to assert that he was well known, then you must have some other source no one else has ever heard of. I’m not saying such documents have never existed, but we certainly don’t know anything about them enough to assert Jesus was well known at the time. Best we have is latterday reports of the cult of Christianity itself and one forgery interpolation in the works of Josephus.”

    I wrote this to John B. on the “depends on whose hands” thread;
    Read the secular writings regarding Jesus and Christianity by Pontius Pilate, Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Lucian, Trajan, Hadrian, Josephus, etc…(there are many others) all done at the time of or shortly after Christ’s time on earth. Google “secular history of Jesus” Also, read Luke 23:8, Acts 17:6 and 26:26

    PS. Your irreverent prophecy can’t work because the Messiah had to appear at the exact point in time when He appeared (Daniel 9). Also, your just mistaken about the forgery of Josephus work… you just have to say that because it validates Christianity even further.