TIME UPSIDE DOWN
Dr. Erich von Fange Ph.D.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Much has been written about origins. This book focuses more on the problem of time as treated by scientists and others. Generally speaking, this is a book about prehistory, those areas of the past in history where written records either do not exist or where they do not furnish as yet clear answers to crucial questions about ancient times. To this definition of prehistory we add those aspects of ancient history where Biblical accounts and other accounts (or modern assumptions) are in serious conflict.
|One can’t read very much about the past without running headlong into problems of time. Do we live on an ancient earth or on a young earth with an appearance of age? When one sees a fossil tooth or an insect in amber, invariably the first question is, ‘How old is it?’ The Christian especially, who reads widely, soon comes to agree with Shakespeare: ‘The time is out of joint!’ I often explain in my lectures that I believe in a young created earth, but that the Bible does not give us enough information to pin down the precise age of the world. Then the hands are raised, and the first question is: ‘Yes, but what is your date for the creation of the world?’
|Fossil dinosaur and mammal teeth – how old?
|The following example shows that something is wildly wrong with conventional views of time.
According to many textbooks, the Antarctic ice cap is 60,000,000 years old. Earliest man was thought to have emerged into history about 1,000,000 years ago, although this time is generally moved back farther with almost every news release that deals with fossil man. In the National Museum of Turkey you will find on display two map fragments dated 1513 and 1528. The maps were compiled from a number of now lost ancient originals which existed long before the time of the Greeks. At the bottom of one of these fragments is shown the coastline of much of the Antarctic continent, including rivers and mountains.
The original map, which shows amazing knowledge and accuracy, was made when the Antarctic was ice-free;. Antarctic mountains and portions of the coastline depicted on the map were confirmed by scientific studies in 1952 and again more recently. The evidence of the maps cannot be ignored, according to responsible reviewers who have studied them (Hapgood, 1966).
Independent evidence of the recency of the Antarctic ice cap came to light with the discovery of 81 mummified seals in some mountain caves, 2500 feet above the present sea level (Edwards, 1964, p.160). These remains were mummified, not fossilized. It therefore follows that the caves in which
|they were found were suddenly uplifted from just above sea level rather than gradually elevated by uniformitarian processes, or the remains would have turned to dust millions of years before the process had been completed. It seems reasonable to say also that the caves were used by the seals before the ice cap appeared. Seals are supposed to have evolved in Miocene times, conventionally placed between 13 and 25 million years ago. In no way can the find be placed into the context of a 60,000,000 year-old ice cap. How do scientists explain this anomaly? All they can do is say that the seals got mixed up or lost and climbed up into mountain caves 2500 feet above sea level.
If that is the case, we should find seals at similar altitudes in California and elsewhere, but of course nothing of the sort has ever been reported.
‘Impossible’ facts such as these have been gathered to shed new light on the past. In a way the adventure of writing these chapters began many years ago when a seminary student asked, ‘What about dinosaurs?’ A tough question, indeed! Behind the question was the tacit point that the testimony of Scripture and science as written in texts are worlds apart. He did not have any satisfactory answer, nor did I at that time. Our children face the same puzzle. What they learn in Sunday School is a different world than that described in their textbooks. How can parents be helped to answer their honest questions?
When we read newspapers, magazines, and books, we frequently find statements in direct conflict with statements of Scripture. Is the Bible history learned in childhood days just a comfortable fairy story to be abandoned by grownups? When we witness our faith to others, particularly to educated people, how do we go about answering honest questions about the origin and early history of the world? What do we say? Do we hope the questions never arise?
In recent decades there has been a rash of books – some of them best sellers – on some exotic subjects: Flying Saucers, the Hollow Earth, Chariots from the Gods in Outer Space, Mu, Atlantis, mysteries which science cannot explain. What can we say to others when they ask about the theories and the evidence given in the books to support the theories?
We can quote Scripture and hope that this answers the questions people raise. Its testimony of the Good News of Jesus Christ is the heart of our own faith and the faith we share with others. We do not need to try to prop up the Scriptures in order to make them more respectable and more palatable to modern man. At the same time we must learn to give a proper answer to everyone. When we speak with Romans, we must become as Romans. We can learn much from the world, including science, with the purpose ultimately of winning some for Christ. Very little of Scripture is quoted in this book. We already know the testimony of the Bible.
When we take on the world in areas where science conflicts with Scripture, we are at a great disadvantage – at least in the eyes of the world. For generations the image has been projected of faithless fact, that is, the objective truths of science, opposed to the factless faith of those who somehow try to hold fast to the testimony of the Bible. We have all probably received the pitying smiles of ‘enlightened’ persons who have cast aside the dull trappings of myth, legend, and Sunday School fairy tales. We are on the defensive. We are the closed minds, the parochially educated, and we are afraid to face up to the ‘truths’ of science which must not be questioned..
|We are the ones who are so far out of it that ‘educated’ people can hardly believe such people still exist on our planet in our enlightened age. Name calling is common. Supposedly, the battle of the Bible versus evolution was fought and won a century ago. Why don’t we face up to the facts and accommodate ourselves to the obvious?
But as we shall attempt to show in a different and unusual way, we do not need to be on the defensive. We can speak out to the world in its own language. Just as Jesus Christ in His own ministry led the people from the evidence of the world around them into spiritual matters, we too can use the testimony of the world itself in order to lead people into spiritual insights.
In presenting evidence, however, the old, old question of ‘What is truth?’ immediately arises. This is by no means an easy question. Theory, assumption, conjecture, and evidence have a way of blending together in a confused fashion, so that many cannot easily distinguish between them. Yet there are radical differences. Vast amounts of fog would lift if each statement were labeled for what it is in scientific writing, especially in writing about origins and about time. As we shall see over and over, the facts do not contradict the Bible – only the interpretation of the facts do so.
In these chapters the reader will be confronted with startling facts in support of a young earth – facts not typically found in textbooks. If such data are used at all in texts, they may be referred to as anomalies or mysteries, but with no attempt to change the theory which they undermine. Someone has described them as the ugly little facts that destroy beautiful little theories. It should be remembered that it takes only one fact to destroy a theory. There is, of course, always some risk involved in accepting data reported in newspapers and journals. A new edition or succeeding issues of a journal or newspaper may retract ‘facts’ reported earlier. Readers perform a genuine service when they point out such errors to the author.
In the history of science we often note that fear of ridicule – perhaps man’s most powerful weapon – has often been used to suppress uncomfortable truths from emerging. The position is taken here that such facts – if indeed they are facts – ought to be taken out of hiding for an airing. Yet, as the reader will soon discover, picking out facts is a risky business. Some sources are more reliable than others, but sometimes fraud and humbug are found in high places.
The question is not ‘Are some of the reported facts possibly untrue?’ This may well be and is part of any game within any aspect of science. Enough of the information in the following chapters has been validated to upset commonly held views. We know from experience that people – even scientists – see the world pretty much as they want to see it, rather than objectively. A sort of scholarly amnesia sometimes occurs in the face of inconvenient data.
Are scientists dishonest? It would not be fair to assess them that way, any more than it would be fair for them so to consider a Christian. We are all trapped, as it were, in our assumptions. If the assumptions are true, then everything that follows from the assumptions is also true. For example, the geological age column was developed in England on the basis of some assumptions over a century ago, not by a geologist, but by a lawyer. It has had many millions of years added to it from time to time. It has never been subjected to verification period by period by scientific dating processes. It is as true as the assumptions on which it rests. Some scientists elsewhere in the world – no friends of the Bible – do not bother with ages of millions of years. They simply refer to zones, which may well in fact be ecological zones rather than having anything to do with time. There may be a useful lesson in this procedure.
Most scientists assume a very old, evolved world, and they use evidence which seems to support this assumption. They disregard, or reject, or label as anomaly, anything which does not support this world view.
More than a century ago Huxley stated the view of scientists this way (Victoria Institute , 1866, 2:304):
You (clergy) tell your congregations that the world was made 6,000 years ago in six days, and that all living animals were made within that period…I am bound to say, I do not believe these statements you make; and I am further bound to say that I cannot call up to mind amongst men of science and research, and truthful men, one who believes those things, but, on the other hand, who does not believe the exact contrary.
A professor of biology at a state college said this (Pensee , 1972, 2:3, p.49):
For many years I have been very disenchanted with the current theories of evolution as well as those dealing with fossilization, extinction, geological processes, etc. Other biologists have argued at length with me basing their position on the claim that there is no other possible alternative.
A geology text speaks of the need to study a patient unhurried universe (Brown, 1958, p.384-385). For more than a century any sudden change has been anathema, as well as any sort of divine role in the process. In the past decade or so, however, in the face of evidence that even a child can see, it is interesting to note that the old hard-line uniformitarianism is reluctantly and slowly giving way to what is now called uniformity. The new dogma does not really give an inch, but admits that some catastrophes did have some effect on some formations. Long pauses in time are placed between catastrophic events, with no erosion taking place, to keep the total number of years for the age of the earth the same.
One candid historian (Easton, 1966, p.11-12) gives us the following illuminating statement:
In this age, on principle, we are inclined to prefer even the more farfetched of material explanations to the possibility of any kind of divine guidance or intervention, or the fulfillment of any divine purposes. Change and probability appear to us so much more scientific, and therefore more credible.
Usher assumed that the Bible gave a complete record of world chronology. It is often said that Lightfoot popularized the statement that the Creation took place at 9:00 a.m. on October 23, 4004 B.C. Other sources give this date as 376l B.C. (Hebrews); 5509 B.C. (Russian Orthodox). Hebrew, Samaritan, and Septuagint versions give variant readings on early chronology. In sharp contrast, Darwin carefully inspected the once forested, open rolling upland of England and announced its age as 306,662,400 years (Tuttle, 1865). Incidentally, Darwin advised his followers not to use too many zeroes when they estimated time, because zeroes leave the impression that one is guessing.
Each of these people above began with certain assumptions and came up with logical results that followed from the assumptions made.
Within the church, many people tend to be overawed by ‘science,’ and are too ready to compromise on clear Scriptural statements. But if we look at actual evidence, we can see that this situation does not need to exist.
|As an aside on the matter of evidence, we are aware that we face something of a dilemma. Our fellow Christians don’t need evidence if they already accept Scripture for what it says; our friends who accept another set of assumptions about the world will not believe even when confronted by evidence.
Nevertheless we continue because there are open and searching minds. There are honest questions and concerns expressed by our Christian brothers and sisters. In the rush of our daily life, with more responsibilities than we have time to cope with, it is all too easy to restrict ourselves to a narrow scope of reading. In this book a wide range of literature is used to give us some very interesting and useful insights in responding to the honest and searching questions people ask.
We expect to show that conventional dating as reported in the news media and in textbooks is radically in error and is based on assumptions that do not hold up against evidence to the contrary. If we then recognize that science is really not equipped to reconstruct the past nor to foretell the future, just how do we proceed in developing an adequate framework for ancient history? While we cannot hope to find answers to many of our questions, there is nevertheless much material available of value and interest for study and synthesis.
Despite the most fervent attempts to undermine the truth of the Scriptures, the Bible remains a reliable and indespensable key for an attempt to reconstruct ancient history. Among events described in the Bible that need investigation are the following: the geological implications of God cursing the ground after the Fall of man; attempts to fix the point in geological time of the Flood; the curious passage about Peleg and the dividing of the earth; the consequences of Babel when men were subsequently ‘splattered’ across the face of the earth; the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; the plagues and the Exodus; events recorded in the Bible around the time of King Hezekiah; amd the astonishing number of Old Testament passages that refer to catastrophic events.
In recent years a number of scholars have urged that universal myths and other ancient writings need decoding for the truths they contain about man’s past. As one example of many that could be cited, Stahlman urges a new approach to the study of prehistory. He notes that modern man revels in the denial that ancient myth has truth value, that historians have blinded themselves to essential clues that lie right before their eyes, and that they misuse the biological seedbed of evolution by trying to apply evolution to history. He scolds the simplistic notion that all fields of knowledge are very modern and that they simply evolved (Saturday Review , 1/10/70, p.100). In sharp contrast to scholars who urge that we extract truth from myths, evolutionists attempt to force captive audiences into believing that the Bible is only myth.
The value of research in geology, palaeontology, ancient astronomy, and archaeology will become obvious from the content of this book. Much of the focus of these fields is on painstaking analysis. These findings form the raw material for syntheses that are based on new assumptions and an appropriate model of prehistory based on the Bible.
Other scholars have pointed to the value of word and language studies including ancient place names, many of which have come down to modern times, as important clues to prehistory.
The failure in current attempts to write a satisfactory account of prehistory is that the evidence runs completely counter to evolutionary assumptions. Historians know that something is wrong, but they are frustrated by a lack of any ‘respectable’ alternative. We can hardly appreciate how bad the situation is unless we listen to examples of scholars scolding other scholars.
One historian, more candid than most, says the truth is that we know very little indeed about prehistoric man. Our ignorance is almost total, and no two experts tend to agree on what little we do know. Although Easton accepts biological evolution, he does not want it applied to history (Easton, 1966, p.11). This is what he has to say:
There are still many inconvenient facts, which seem very difficult to explain on the basis of natural selection; and the entire theory (of evolution), if viewed dispassionately often seems to a layman so extraordinarily unlikely as an explanation of how the present…including man evolved, as to suggest a willful perversity in present-day man.
de Santillana and von Dechend (1969, p.65-66) state that the lazy word ‘evolution’ has blinded us to the real complexities of the past. The simple idea of evolution, which is no longer thought necessary to examine, spreads like a tent over all those ages that lead from primitivism into civilization. Gradually, we are told, step by step, men produced the arts and crafts, this and that, until they emerged into the light of history… These soporific words ‘gradually’ and ‘step-by-step,’ repeated incessantly, are aimed at covering an ignorance which is both vast and surprising. One should like to inquire: ‘Which steps?’ But one is lulled, overwhelmed and stupefied by the gradualness of it all, which is at best a platitude, only good for pacifying the mind, since no one is willing to imagine that civilization appeared in a thunderclap.
Yet the word ‘gradually’ leads into all sorts of difficulties, and so the word ‘suddenly’ is used to explain what cannot be explained by the word ‘gradually.’ Marshack (1972, p.11) is disturbed by the frequent use of this word in historical writing, for example, science began suddenly with the Greeks, other sciences appeared suddenly in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, civilization itself had begun suddenly in the Fertile Crescent, writing began suddenly, agriculture appeared suddenly, and the calendar suddenly appeared fully developed.
As French scientist Bounoure said so elegantly, ‘Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grownups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of sciences. It is useless’ (CRSQ , 1966, 3:1, p.4).
With only one ‘respectable’ option, however, that is, evolution, open to scholars today, there is in their minds simply no intellectually honest way they can write prehistory, except to repeat parrot-like what others wrote before. It is interesting to see that more and more writers of ancient history texts are copping out. Instead of writing the usual Chapter 1 on the caveman, followed by Chapter 2 on the Greeks, with perhaps a nod toward Egypt and Mesopotamia, they are now beginning the texts with the Greeks. It is simply too embarrassing for them to keep on writing the same old first chapter, generation after generation, which bears no relation to what follows. Even historians can see that you don’t chip rock tools one day and then build mathematically perfect pyramids the next.
Any attempt to reconstruct ancient history must cope with the fact of a Golden Age before the time of Abraham, and of which by comparison the Greeks were little children. More than a century ago a scholar observed that man has not originated from a state of barbarism, and then risen to civilization; but that, wherever man has been found in a state of barbarism, it is barbarism arising from a degenerated civilization. All known peoples with a knowledge of their past have some tradition of their having been raised from barbarism by a people more civilized than themselves (Victoria Institute , 1867, 3:21-22).
|Stefansson, the great explorer, stated that to those of us brought up the traditional way, where navigation of the high seas was supposed to have started with the Phoenicians, it is more than a little against the grain to believe that man swarmed over at least three of the oceans, the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific, during remote periods. No stir was caused at an international congress of archaeologists at Oslo in 1936 when the president of the congress lectured about a Golden Age of deep-sea navigation at its height long before
the time of Abraham and which was on the decline after 1500 B.C., so that the very period which we select as the beginning of real seamanship is shown as having been only a pale image of what had been earlier (Stefansson, 1942, p.25-26). The evidence presented in books such as Hamlet’s Mill (1969), Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (1966), and Children of the Sun (1923), is compelling and fascinating.
Ancient man’s total obsession with and terror of the planets call for radically different treatment of the role of astronomy in the ancient world than what is customary today. Strange events occurred in historic times that had dreadful consequences on the earth. de Santillana (1969, p.65-66) notes that modern archaeological scholars have been singularly obtuse by cultivating a pristine ignorance of astronomical thought which plays a crucial role in ancient history. Besides the terror factor, the ancients knew from the stars precisely where they were anywhere on the earth. The ancients knew when they crossed the equator, and could find remote specks of islands thousands of miles away in the oceans (Victoria Institute , 1897, 33, 274).
|von Dechend, a scholar of ancient history, determined never to become involved in astronomical matters, under any conditions. When she discovered two prehistoric shrines on two little specks of islands in the Pacific, one precisely on the Tropic of Cancer and the other precisely on the Tropic of Capricorn, the facts struck her like a sledgehammer, according to her own report, and she surrendered. There was no salvation for her anymore – astronomy could not be swept aside (de Santillana, 1969, p.ix).
No reconstruction of ancient history can be valid without treatment of catastrophic events. Darwin personally examined evidence of catastrophic events and passed them off as insoluble problems, giving them no place in his theories. He was ready to concede, however, from his study of the recent and sudden upheaval of the Andes, that the resulting catastrophe might have produced world-wide flood traditions (Victoria Institute , 1868, 4:255; 1887, 23:214).
Such events still happen today on a lesser scale. Recently the press reported that a mountain in the Caucasus moved 1.2 miles, blocking off a river along the way. yet fields, crops, and huts on the mountain remained intact (Ann Arbor News , 7/5/72).
More and more scientists are looking seriously at the evidence documenting the following description of catastrophes in historic times (Velikovsky, 1955, p.261):
Hurricanes of global magnitude, of forests burning and swept away, of dust, stones, fire, and ashes falling from the sky, of mountains melting like wax, of lava flowing from riven ground, of boiling seas, of bituminous rain, of shaking ground and destroyed cities, of humans seeking refuge in caverns and fissures of the rock in the mountains, of oceans upheaved and falling on the land, of tidal waves moving toward the poles and back, of land becoming sea by submersion and the expanse of sea turning into desert, islands born and others drowned, mountain ridges leveled and others rising, of crowds of rivers seeking new beds, of sources that disappeared and others that became bitter, of great destruction in the animal kingdom, of decimated mankind, of migrations, of heavy clouds of dust covering the face of the earth for decades, of magnetic disturbances, of changed climates, of displaced cardinal points and altered latitudes, of disrupted calendars and of sundials and water clocks that point to changed length of day, month, and year, mountains springing from plains and other mountains leveled, strata folded and pressed together and overturned and moved and put on top of other formations, melted rock flooding enormous areas of land with miles-thick sheets, ocean and lake shores tilted or raised or lowered as much as a thousand feet, whales cast out of oceans onto mountains, the Alps and the Rocky Mountains moved as much as a hundred miles.
In this context, ‘mountains skipping like rams’ sounds very tame indeed. There is a great deal of evidence that this passage from the Psalms is an accurate eye-witness report.
As prehistory blends into recorded history, a problem of ancient chronology exerts a crippling effect on both the study of the Old Testament and on ancient history in general. Evidence is accumulating that parts of Egyptian chronology may be off by as much as 500-600 years. Since most scholars calibrate Old Testament events and the history of other ancient cultures by Egyptian dates, the effect is devastating crippling, and stifling. If in the future major adjustments are found valid for the chronology of Egypt, the spinoff for Middle East archaeology and for Old Testament studies will be spectacular. We do not hesitate to say that there are many intriguing questions, problems, and puzzles about which the Scriptures are silent. Neither science nor the Bible can satisfy much of our curiosity. There is plenty of room for humility on both sides.
R E F E R E N C E S
Ann Arbor News . Michigan.
Brown, H., et al. 1958. Introduction to geology . Boston: Ginn.
Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ).de Santillana, G. and von Dechend, H. 1969. Hamlet’s mill. Boston: Gambit.
Easton, S. 1966. The western heritage . New York: Holt.
Edwards, F. 1964. Strange world . New York: Ace.
Hapgood, C. 1966. Maps of the ancient sea kings . Philadelphia: Chilton.
Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute (Victoria Institute).Marshack, A. 1972. The roots of civilization . New York: McGraw-Hill.
Pensee.Perry, W. 1923. The children of the sun . London: Methuen.
Saturday Review.Stefansson, V. 1942. Greenland . New York: Doubleday.
Tuttle, H. 1865. Physical man. Boston: Colby and Rich.
Velikovsky, I. 1955. Earth in upheaval. New York: Dell.