Tuesday, December 25, 2018

How Old Are We?

In answering this question I will present four (4) of the best reasons which I use to show when the earliest humans likely existed, and around which I base my current view that our existence is reasonably dateable to around 6000 to 5000 BCE, or around 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. My four reasons are:

1. Metallurgy;
2. Human Civilization, specifically, human “Structures”;
3. Human Communication, specifically, “Writing”;
4. Knowledge of Astronomy.

Bienkowski and Millard (Dictionary of the Ancient Near East [Philadelphia: University Press of Pennsylvania, 2000], page 294) explain that, as far as metal tools are concerned, they are as early as the “Old Babylonian date” (from 2000 BCE to late 1800 or early 1700 BCE), and that a “group of tenth-century BC iron tools from Tell Taanach in Palestine shows a similar range of implements” (Dictionary of the Ancient Near East, page 294).

Even if we accept that the Hongshan (early Chinese culture from 4500 to 2250 BCE) used copper or possibly iron tools to work their Jade pieces, this puts the use of metal tools by humans resembling our use of the same today to between 3,800 and 6,500 years ago.—See the article, “Hongshan Mysterious Artifacts,” Tripzbit, March 20, 2009).

Of related interest, and in further support of time when humans began to intentionally and with what we consider “intelligence” manipulate and use metal and mixed metal (alloy) tools, the historical record in the Bible names the one who started this as “Tubalcain,” who began “shaping any kind of bronze or iron” (Genesis 4:22). Compare this with Josephus, who references many earlier histories in his works (see Antiquities 1.26; 93-95; 118-121; 131-139; 2.91-94; 176-183), and who in his Antiquities of the Jews (Book I, Chapter 2.2) writes, “But Tubal/Jubel, ... first of all invented the art of making brass.”

Tubalcain is believed to have lived about 875 to 975 years after Adam was born according to my calculation of the information provided in Genesis Chapters 4 and 5. This is consistent with or within the date range for the use of metal tools since 4500 BCE. By contrast, our evidence for metallurgy does not provide dates consistent with how we currently translate and understand the Sumerian King Lists or various Indian histories which appear to claim human existence up to tens and even hundreds of thousands of years ago. But the easier to translate and to understand records in the Bible are, again, more consistent with the dates for our evidence of human metallurgy.

To this we can add between 875 and 975 years of human development from the first human(s) since the Garden of Eden to the first known use of tools according to Genesis 4:22. Based on this evidence, the most I could reasonably conclude along with some consideration for the time from the first humans in Eden to the development of metal tools, is between 6,500 and 7,500 years of human existence.

Human Civilization: Structures
Humans today and throughout our recorded past have built buildings, structures, and cities in which to live and to house their property. While there have been some findings of structures believed to date back approximately 8,000 years (see, “Prehistoric building found in Tel Aviv,” AP January 11, 2010), these are far different from the kinds of buildings or structures that are elsewhere described as having had their “top in the heavens” (compare Genesis 11:2). The oldest of these types of buildings or cities which have come to light through archeological discovery include the Egyptian structures and pyramids (3809 to 2853 BCE) and Stonehenge (2400-2200 BCE), neither of which exceed 6,000 years in age. Even the Tel Aviv structure dates at most 2,000 years earlier than these buildings, or to around 6000 BCE.

Subsequently, after the Flood, the Bible records that humans like us “migrated from the east” and “came upon a plain in the land of Shinar,” or Babylon (in modern-day Iraq), where they decided to build “a city and a tower with its top in the heavens” (Genesis 11:2-4). This “tower” or “ziggurat” (Hebrew: migdal, likely a loan-word from the Akkadian ziqqurat or zaqaru, meaning, “to be high up”) of “Shinar”/Babylon is consistent with archaeological findings of structures in the region of ancient Mesopotamia, such as the remnants of the Tower of Babel itself and the Ziggurat of Ur, which are dated to around 3500 BCE to 2500 BCE, respectively. You can see images of what remains of the Tower of Babel in my video, “The God Jah”(11/25/2018), starting at minute 7:00 and ending at minute 7:45.

Even places like the still-being-excavated Gobekli Tepe, which some date back 10,000 years or more, there is no way to date the stone and attempts to date organic material around the site will produce numerous different dates, none of which indicate when the stone was actually carved and erected, but only when organic material already grown was used at some point at the site. Again, this could have been organic material alive for many years earlier than the completion of Gobekli Tepe, and the material was certainly deposited over a long period, like with any other open site, and then dug up along with the earth and sand.

One final note on Gobekli Tepe, I believe this place is potentially a site used by Noah in the pre-Flood world to contain and to keep the animals possibly for up to 100 years before entering the ark, a story told in various forms throughout the ancient world and consistent with archaeology (Genesis Chapters 6 through 8). Further, Gobekli Tepe is not far from the biblical “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4) and it was buried by tons of sand, sand that could likely only have been moved by massive amounts of water, as in the Great Flood.—See my video, “The God Jah” (11/25/2018), starting at minute 2:25and ending at minute 4:45 (see the images of Gobekli Tepe shown in the last part of this segment of the video).

Human Communication: Writing
The oldest evidence of any form of written (and, hence, likely spoken) language is believed to be on pottery from Harappa, in southern Egypt, which contain “primitive words” at the tomb of the “Scorpion king” dated to between 3300 and 3200 BCE, as well as the writing of the Sumerians from “the Mesopotamian civilization around 3100 BCE.—See “‘Earliest writing’ found,” Dr.David Whitehouse, BBC News (May 4, 1999).

The earliest of the Sumerian writings are believed to date between 3500 and 3000 BCE (see Dan Vergano, “Ancient writing system getsInternet update,” USA Today [May 21, 2002]). This is also around the time (3500 to around 2200 BCE) when the Tower of Babel and other, similar structures were likely built. In fact, this is the precise area (southern Mesopotamia) where the division of human language is said to have occurred according to the record in Genesis 11:7-9, and which is supported by the best available evidence as I show in part also in my video, “The God Jah” (11/25/2018), starting at minute 6:00 and ending at 7:45.

Knowledge of Astronomy
Other evidence of human existence is surely the understanding of the movements of our moon, other planets, and the sun and other stars. The best available reasons from our history indicate we have only kept “time” in these ways from between around 5000 BCE to 3000 BCE. For example, the Goseck Circle is presently dated to between 5000 and 4600 BCE. It is considered to be the earliest sun observatory found to date.—See “Goseck Circle, The Oldest Solar Observatory in the World,” Charismatic Planet(July 19, 2017).

After this, we find other similar objects being used by humans for measuring or marking time and season, such as the Nebra Disk, which was found 25 kilometers (about 15.5 miles) away from the Goseck Circle, and which is believed to be “the oldest concrete representation of the cosmos.”—From an article comparing the Goseck site to the Nebra Disk published on DW.com as “Archaeologists Unearth GermanStonehenge” (August 8, 2003).

Dated to around 1600 BCE (about 3,000 years younger than the Goseck Circle), the Nebra Sky Disk was found near Goseck and appears to have an image similar to what we find represented by part of the Goseck Circle. The dates for both the Goseck Circle and the Nebra Sky Disk are consistent with the date ranges for other types of cosmic representations intelligently designed and built by other humans. For example, the dates for the building of the three Egyptian Pyramids of Giza, Khafra, and Menkaura are not older than 3000 to 2500 BCE. Together these three pyramids represented the constellation known as the Belt of Orion.

The Goseck Circle, the Nebra Sky Disk, and the Giza Pyramid and other pyramids of Egypt represent clear human understanding of cosmic objects and of their position relative to the earth and to humans on it. As noted already, the earliest date of these three items is the Goseck Circle, which takes us to around 5000 BCE, or about 7,000 years ago. To this we might add up to another 500 or even 1,000 years (but not with hard evidence, like we have for up to 7,000 years) to account for certain development in understanding of astronomy from the first humans to the point of the Goseck Circle, if we accept the 5000 BCE or 4900 BCE date for it. More likely in my view, it was built after the Flood (around 4500 to 4000 BCE), when we see many other monuments dedicated to astronomy appearing all over the world.

So here is what we get from a consideration of these four undisputed evidences of human existence:

Evidence of Metallurgy: (4500 to 2250 BCE) = 6,500 years ago (max.);
Evidence of Human Civilization: Structures: (6000 to 3500 BCE) = 6,000 years ago (max.);
Evidence of Human Communication: Writing: (4000 to 3500 BCE) = 6,000 years ago (max.);
Evidence Showing Knowledge of Astronomy: (5000 to 3000 BCE) = 7,000 years ago (max.);
+ Development Allowance: up to 1,000 years.
= Human existence is: up to / around 8,000 years old.

It is also possible some of the max dates given for the above evidence are younger (or older) than I accept here. All things considered, I feel safe accepting up to between 7,000 and 8,000 years after reviewing these four credible means of defining human existence. In the end, I find the Bible, even with its pre-Flood lengths of some human lives in the hundreds of years, to be far more consistent with this mostly objective evidence than the current understandings of Sumerian King Lists and various Indian histories which do not have anywhere near the same level or quality of objective evidence supporting the dates they appear to allege.

Monday, December 24, 2018

VIDEO: "4000 to 3500 BCE: Earliest Accepted Writing, Tower of Babel (Genesis), and Language Development"

Here is a clip from one of my recent videos which I hope provides a helpful summary of the history of human language and how it relates to languages before and after the Flood and since the days of the Tower of Babel.

If you have any comments you can make them on the CWJah-Tube Channel hosting the video.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Non-Biblical Evidence for the Historicity of Jesus Christ

Evidence for Jesus as a real historical person includes more than the four familiar New Testament accounts of Jesus’ life, and more than even the New Testament letters written shortly after Jesus’ death. The evidence also includes several early, non-biblical, non-Christian references to Jesus and to his teachings. These include:

1. Cornelius Tacitus (55-57 CE to 120 CE):

Ancient Rome’s greatest historian, wrote about Jesus in The Annals. In this work Tacitus refers to “Christians” as those whose name came from Christus (Latin for “Christ”), whom Tacitus says “suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius” by “Pontius Pilate” (15.44). Tacitus’ record here is consistent with the New Testament record in Luke 3:1 and in 23:24-25, 33.

Also, we have Pilate's name in the New Testament (in addition to Luke, see Matthew 27:11-26), inscribed in stone from the same time period, and, more recently, on a metal ring found in the area Pilate governed.

2. Flavius Josephus (CE 37 to 97):

Famous Jewish historian Josephus was alive in the first century and he witnessed many events involving Jerusalem and the surrounding areas after Jesus was killed. His writings contain quotations from some very early biblical texts and he also provides credible, documented histories for the Jewish and for other people during and before the first century CE.—See Antiquities 1.26; 93-95; 118-121; 131-139; 2.91-94; 176-183. 

Further, his descriptions of what took place before and after the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 CE are extremely detailed and accurate. For example, Josephus writes about the lots used by the Jews at Masada and the Roman ramp constructed out of solid earth to lay siege to it, evidence for which we have today.—The Wars of the Jews Book 7, Chapter 8.5; Wars of the Jews 7.395-400.

In his Antiquities of the Jews (18.63-64) Josephus refers to a “wise man”  called “Jesus” and says he was “perhaps the Messiah.” This is the reading of the 10th century Arabic version, which agrees with the 12th Syriac version on this point, and which is nearly the same as Jerome's (342 to 420 CE) earlier translation of Josephus.—See Alice Whealey, “The Testimonium Flavianum in Syriac and Arabic,” NTS 54.4 (2008), page 581.

Whealey’s presentation of Pines’ translation of the Arabic version of Josephus text here is as follows:

[A]t this time there was wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.— Whealey, “The Testimonium Flavianum, page 574.

Though, as Origen also notes (Against Celsus 1.47; Commentary on Matthew 10.17), Josephus did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, in Antiquities 18.63-64 he nonetheless writes about Jesus being 'condemned by Pilate' (compare Tacitus' report in 1., above). Josephus also here writes about how Jesus' followers believed he "appeared to them three days after" his death, just as we read in the New Testament.—Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 27:62-28:6.

A little later in his Antiquities Josephus writes about a certain “James” whom he called “the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ” (Antiquities 20.9). This agrees with the history of Jesus’ life written by Jesus’ early follower Mark (6:2-3), as well as the New Testament letter to the Galatians (1:19), written by Paul, who describes James as “the Lord’s brother.” Here is the near-complete account by Josephus about what happened to Jesus’ half-brother James:

Ananus … assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent.—Josephus, Antiquities 20.9.1.

3. Pliny the Younger (c. 61 to 112 CE):

A Roman, non-Christian official and adviser to then-Emperor Trajan, wrote a letter (Letters 10.96) to Trajan briefly describing the early Christians and asking the Emperor what he should do about them. Here is Pliny’s entire letter to Trajan on this issue, with my underlining to one part which outlines what Pliny understood to be some of the early Christians’ beliefs and practices:


IT is a rule, Sir, which I inviolably observe, to refer myself to you in all my doubts; for who is more capable of guiding my uncertainty or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials of the Christians, I am unacquainted with the method and limits to be observed either in examining or punishing them. Whether any difference is to be made on account of age, or no distinction allowed between the youngest and the adult; whether repentance admits to a pardon, or if a man has been once a Christian it avails him nothing to recant; whether the mere profession of Christianity, albeit without crimes, or only the crimes associated therewith are punishable in all these points I am greatly doubtful.

In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have been denounced to me as Christians is this: I interrogated them whether they were Christians; if they confessed it I repeated the question twice again, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed. For whatever the nature of their creed might be, I could at least feel no doubt that contumacy and inflexible obstinacy deserved chastisement. There were others also possessed with the same infatuation, but being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried thither.

These accusations spread (as is usually the case) from the mere fact of the matter being investigated and several forms of the mischief came to light. A placard was put up, without any signature, accusing a large number of persons by name. Those who denied they were, or had ever been, Christians, who repeated after me an invocation to the Gods, and offered adoration, with wine and frankincense, to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for that purpose, together with those of the Gods, and who finally cursed Christ none of which acts, it is said, those who are really Christians can be forced into performing these I thought it proper to discharge. Others who were named by that informer at first confessed themselves Christians, and then denied it; true, they had been of that persuasion but they had quitted it, some three years, others many years, and a few as much as twenty‑ five years ago. They all worshipped your statue and the images of the Gods, and cursed Christ.

They affirmed, however, the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. Even this practice, however, they had abandoned after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your orders, I had forbidden political associations. I judged it so much the more necessary to extract the real truth, with the assistance of torture, from two female slaves, who were styled deaconesses: but I could discover nothing more than depraved and excessive superstition.

I therefore adjourned the proceedings, and betook myself at once to your counsel. For the matter seemed to me well worth referring to you, especially considering the numbers endangered. Persons of all ranks and ages, and of both sexes are, and will be, involved in the prosecution. For this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread through the villages and rural districts; it seems possible, however, to check and cure it. 'Tis certain at least that the temples, which had been almost deserted, begin now to be frequented; and the sacred festivals, after a long intermission, are again revived; while there is a general demand for sacrificial animals, which for some time past have met with but few purchasers. From hence it is easy to imagine what multitudes may be reclaimed from this error, if a door be left open to repentance.

See here for Trajan’s response.

This account by Pliny of the first and early second century Christians matches what we read in the Christian New Testament about Jesus being “a god” who was “with God” since he was the Son of God before he became a man (John 1:1-18; 10:29-37; Philippians 2:5-8), about singing to the risen Messiah who was killed  (Revelation 5:6-10), about acting morally (Ephesians 5:18-20; Philippians 4:8-9) Colossians 3:14-24; Titus 2:1-10), and about partaking of food and drink in remembrance of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:20-26), as he instructed them.—Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:13-20; Matthew 26:19-29.

4. C. Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 69 to sometime after 122 CE):

Suetonius, Roman historian and son of a Roman knight, wrote a work called, "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars." In it he refers to a Jewish 'instigator' whom he calls in Latin, Chrestus. In spite of what some wrongly believe, this is another form of the word Christus or "Christ," used by Tacitus in 1. above. We know this because of what the Latin writer Tertullian (160 to 220 CE) wrote in his Apology (Chapter 3), “Christian, so far as the meaning of the word is concerned, is derived from anointing. … it is wrongly pronounced by you, 'Chrestianus,' (for you do not even know accurately the name you hate)."—Translation by Rev. S. Thelwall (I italicized "Chrest" in "Chrestianus").

In this text Suetonius also writes that, because of the "disturbances" by Jews as the instigation of "Chrestus," then-Emperor Claudius "expelled them from Rome." This fits with what we read in the New Testament book of Acts 18:1-3, where the Christian Paul went out of his way to see a Jew named "Aquila," who was one of those Jews ordered out of Rome by Claudius. It is therefore likely this Jew named "Aquila" was also, like Paul, familiar with the one they called "Christ." Claudius, at this early date (41 to 53 CE), would not likely have seen any difference between the Christians and other Jewish sects of that time, so he would have undoubtedly considered them all "Jews."

5. Lucian of Samosata (c. 120 CE to 190 CE):

Though he was born in the second century CE, Lucian nonetheless provides some value insight about what he knew of the Christians at this time. Lucian was not a Christian. In fact, his writings show he looked down on and even sought to infiltrate and to take advantage of Christians.

Lucian also wrote various dialogues in which he satirizes humanity and the philosophies of his day. In his work The Death of Peregrine (11) Lucian writes about the devotion of “the Christians” to “a man” who “was crucified” because of the “novel rites” introduced by the “crucified” man (Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, 11). Again we find non-Christians familiar with and repeating to others the same story we find in Tacitus and in Josephus, namely, he was put to death in a torturous manner.

This is some of the earliest, non-biblical evidence showing Jesus was a real historical person and that the things written about him in the New Testament documents are consistent with the records of non-Christians living at or around the same time.

To this evidence we can of course add the wealth of material in the four earliest and best records of Jesus life and activities (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), records which are have more credible manuscripts supporting their content and textual history than any other written documents from or before the first century, unless we are going to compare them with other biblical books written before Jesus became a man.

I will discuss the textual history and credibility of the Old and the New Testament (and related) documents in comparison to other historical writings from the same periods in a future article. Suffice it is to end this article by concluding Jesus was a real historical person and we have credible representations from a variety of earlier sources to show this, in addition to the new Testament documents.


Here are three videos from our new YouTube channel, "CWJah-Tube," one from each new series:

Weekdays 5:00 AM PST - LIVE SHOW, "Day Texts with Greg Stafford":

Philippians 4:4-9 (on 11/30/2018)

Saturday 8:30 AM PST - LIVE SHOW, "CWJah Talk":

Show #2 - The God Jah

Sunday 8:30 AM PST - Pre-Recorded Weekly, "The Great Message":

On the Superiority of the Biblical Records - Part 1

If you want updates on new videos and information about the CWJ-Tube channel you can subscribe to it once you sign in to YouTube.

A topical series of videos is also being prepared with clips from our weekly videos and with some old and some new, separate videos on select topics. Enjoy!