The second presentation handout about which I would like to comment is a page entitled How Many Extra Generations Needed/Allowed by Kings Methodology? It begins with a relative date of 1700 BC which he claims is the "approximate date of Abraham give(n) (sic) by King." More than once in his material Phil misrepresents me on this point. He takes off from the relative date which was cited in my article: "The approximate dates for the life of Abraham obtained from the biblical data and archaeology are 2000 to 1700 BC" (p. 1). He knows that liberal critics date the life of Abraham at 1700 or thereafter, since they offer the Nuzi and Mari material cultures and their documentary evidence as establishing a late date for the patriarchal age. Phil is well enough in tune with that argument to know that I do not accept the late date for the age of the patriarchal period. Many archaeologists do, however, opt for this later time slot. That is why I mentioned it in the article -- not because I accept it. Note that in our earlier quotation from Hills handout, Hill himself mentions a date as late as 1800 BC!
Similarly, in his handout on Biblical Chronology - Possible Variables, he says, "Late date for the Exodus (1290 instead of 1446) King seems to accept this when he dates Abraham to ca. 1700. But the late date is not generally accepted among those who accept biblical inerrancy since it conflicts with the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1." I do not accept the late date for the Exodus either! In handwriting on the sheet he sent me, Phil had scribbled, "I told them that I doubted you accepted the late date." If he doubted that I accepted the late date, then why did he put it on his outline ("King seems to accept this") in two separate places and hand it out to a number of preachers?
Two dates were cited in the original article to which he makes allusion. Why did he not choose the earlier date of the two? He knows that all conservative Bible students consider the round figure 2000 BC to be the approximate age of Abraham. He also knows that 1700 BC is the approximate age in the mind of the modernist for Abrahams era. Why did he choose to connect me with the late date crowd, i.e., the modernists? Nothing in my article would suggest that I hold to the late date as the period of Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs. Nothing that I have ever said to him or written in any other article would give him that impression. Why would he engage in such distortion? Why would he imply that I do not accept the inerrancy of Scripture with his suggestive phrase "the late date is not generally accepted among those who accept biblical inerrancy"? I am absolutely appalled by his use of such methods!
I must admit my great personal disappointment in Phil Roberts as a Christian and a gentleman on this point. I have known and admired this man since 1976 when the two of us were invited to Florida College to address the upper division Bible students in a series of speeches that year. I have considered him a fine man and good friend even though we have not had much time together since my move to Nashville 12 years ago. I think that he will also certify that never a harsh word has passed between the two of us from that first meeting until now.
Phil Roberts knows that I do not entertain in my thinking or writing a late date either for the age of the patriarchs or for the Exodus. There is no need for him to misrepresent me in order to gain advantage. Has Phil dropped to the level of misrepresentation in order to defend the indefensible views of his brother, and perhaps those of Shane Scott also? I can understand his personal attachment to his brother Hill and desire to have him exonerated. I can understand his making a personal defense of his brothers honor and integrity. But I cannot justify his defense of Hills views unless they are also his own. And I certainly cannot reconcile his use of conscious misrepresentation unless he has decided to stoop to whatever level is necessary to win in this debate. I must confess my utter frustration at his usage of such tactics.
Turning our attention back to the Extra Generations handout, brother Phil mentions the date of 9250 BC "date of Jericho cited as 'fact' by King", then calculates that this leaves a difference of 7550 years. He further argues that "Jericho is post-flood by all accounts. Flood geologists typically argue that gorges such as the Jordan Valley, where Jericho is located, were created by the flood. All sedimentation that might be attributed to the flood in the Flood Geology approach is under Jericho. There is no sedimentation that might be attributed to a flood in any of the stratification of Jericho." These latter observations are accurate.
However, when he latches onto the approximate date of 9250 BC, which is proffered by some archaeologists as an approximate date for the citys first inhabitants, he is grasping at straws for what he considers relative advantage. Brother Roberts does not say whether he agrees with the 9250 BC date for the earliest evidences of occupation at the site, but I suppose that we would not have any great difference between us on this matter. If he considers this date to be dubious or at least questionable, why does he not simply say so and provide proof for his allegation, rather than alluding to it as "cited as a 'fact' by King"?
I must confess that I do not even remember the source which I consulted at the time to derive the relative date, and at present nearly one-half of my library is still in boxes from my recent move, so I shall quote from three sources which I have at hand to establish that this date is approximately correct. The Holman Bible Dictionary says, "The earliest recognizable building on the site dates from about 9250 B.C" ("Jericho" 761). Avraham Negevs Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land states: "The earliest remains on the site are of the 10th-8th millenium BC, and the material remains are of the Natufian culture" ("Jericho" 165). K. A. Kitchen of the University of Liverpool writes: "The story of Jericho is virtually a precis of the whole archaeological history of Palestine between c. 8000 and c. 1200...Already c. 9600/7700 BC, food-gathering hunters may have had a shrine there, and Palestines earliest-known agriculturists built huts by the spring" ("Jericho" Vol. 2 of The Illustrated Bible Dictionary 748).
This date is not a "fact" in the sense that it is a proven and established date which is not subject to revision or change, nor did I intimate such by my remarks. It is rather a relative range for the beginning of occupation at the site. It is assuredly a fact that many archaeologists believe it is approximately correct. My guess is that if you ask Phil directly and leave him no room to wiggle out of a straightforward answer, he will have to confess to you that he has no real quarrel with this relative date.
Brother Roberts next takes the 7550 years which represents the difference between the late date for Abraham (which I do not accept) and the relative date for Jerichos first inhabitants and calculates that there are
"at least 243 generations needed to span the time from the Flood to Abraham on the 31 year standard, or 189 generations on the 40 year standard. Thus an additional 233 generations must be found in Genesis 11, or an average of 23 generations must be inserted in between each of the persons named in Gen. 11 on the 31 year standard, or an additional 179 generations, or an average of 18 generations must be inserted in between each of the persons."
"Pre flood generations average 165.6 years per generation. If 233 extra generations may be included in that genealogy at an average of 165 years each, then the total time span from Adam to the Flood could easily be as much as 38,445 years. The present age of the earth could easily be nearly 50,000 years (38,445 + 9250 +2001 = 49,696) instead of the approximately 6,000 years a straight-forward reading of the text would seem to indicate. In other words, Kings own dates and principles would suggest that the earth could easily be as much as eight times older than the actual dates found in the Bible, and maybe much more."
In my opinion, and you will have to please excuse my frankness, all of this is pure nonsense. It is speculation gone to seed. You will notice that we steered completely clear of such speculative calculations in our original article. Moreover, we have no desire to get caught up in this sort of fanciful mathematics now. It may prove helpful, however, to observe that the entire basis of brother Roberts computation is flawed, from start to finish.
We may illustrate our point thus: It is just as possible on this matter to speculate that there are perhaps six generations missing in the ante-deluvian lineage with a lifespan comparable to that of Methuselah (who waited to procreate until their final years), seven with a lifespan comparable to that of Enos, or only a single generation missing with a lifespan comparable to those quoted in the Sumerian king list! (I am being facetious of course, but that document, written in the time of Utu-hegal, king of Uruk, catalogs the reigns of successive monarchs who ruled in that region before the Flood. The first kings of Sumer are said to have remained in power for incredibly long periods of time. One king, En-men-lu-Anna is said to have ruled for 43,200 years at Bad-tibira! At the mid-point of the so-called "ante-diluvian preamble," the ancient writer says, "These are the five cities, eight kings ruled them for 241,000 years. Then the Flood swept over the earth. After the Flood had swept over the earth and when kingship was lowered again from heaven, kingship was first in Kish" [James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament 265]. This list has, since its first discovery, been pointed to as historical evidence for the actual occurrence of the Flood, of long-lived ancestors, and life-spans which began as exceedingly long and gradually shortened until they reached the numbers to which we are accustomed today. The numbers used relative to the reigns of these earliest kings are not taken seriously by Bible students but the later periods correspond roughly with biblical life-spans in the ante-diluvian and post-diluvian periods. Modernists, of course, discount all of it as mythical).
To introduce the question of whether there may have been gaps in the genealogies comparable to those which we clearly observe at other places in the Old and New Testaments, represents nothing except comparing Scripture with Scripture, and taking a biblical concept in its overall biblical context. Attempting to do calculations based on what we do not know is a fruitless endeavor. There are too many variables. Of course, it never was serious in the first place. But, we suspect that every argument which Phil has made to oppose us on this matter may be turned back upon his own brother, Hill. For as we mentioned earlier, Hill has argued the same line of reasoning in his seminars that is found in our article which Phil reviews so harshly! There is surely something questionable about the authenticity of his righteous indignation! As Ezekiel (18:25) blithely pronounced of Israel in the long ago: Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?
Mark Mayberry did an excellent job replying to Hill Roberts on this point. Here are his remarks, which respond just as capably to Phils speculative "calculations":
"How much time elapsed from Adam to Abraham? Bishop Ussher, making no allowance for any generational gaps in the lineages, calculated that 2,000 years elapsed between Adam and Abraham. According to the Bible, twenty generations are under dispute. In the aforementioned handout, Hill correctly points out that sometimes several generations are skipped in Biblical genealogical listings. In at least one instance, Hill argues that a father/son generation is actually separated by 400 years. Okay, how much time can one reasonably insert into these 20 generations? For the sake of argumentation, let's say that each of the 20 generations from Adam to Abraham is separated by 400 years. According to this timetable, 8,000 years would have elapsed from Adam to Abraham (20 x 400 = 8,000). Hill does not dispute the Biblical dating from Abraham forward. He accepts that Abraham lived approximately 2,000 years before Christ, and that we live 2,000 years after Christ. Therefore, according to this method of calculation, Adam was created about 12,000 years ago (8,000 + 2,000 + 2000 = 12,000). Therefore, even if we grant that the first 20 generations of Bible history each cover over 400 years, this still does not help Hill Roberts. Having bought into the standard evolutionary timetable, Hill needs to make that 2,000 years become 100,000 to 250,000 years. Obviously, he has a problem. And we are not even touching the extra 4.5 billion years he has to get into the six days of creation" (Age of the Earth: Are There Biblical Parameters).
Your friend's email