By Bethany Youngblood
"So The Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because The Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:8-9 KJV)
The Biblical account of the Tower of Babel is a familiar one. We know that it was at Babel that God divided the languages and thereby scattered the people in all directions to fill the earth and multiply. But we are not so familiar with the span of time between the dispersion and the many civilizations that were created by the migration from Babel. Evolutionary models for how man populated the globe are so common that when confronted with the question of how it happened from a biblical perspective and within a biblical timeframe, we often come up short for answers.
Does the mainstream theory of human dispersal across the globe align with what we know of ancient man? If not, then how did ancient man travel to all those distant corners of the earth? How long did it take? Is this incredible journey even possible within a Biblical timeframe?
Let Us Review
Very quickly, let us review what is commonly presented to us by mainstream science, and then what we know of ancient man from a biblical perspective, to see where we stand before this journey even begins.
The most widely taught idea in the secular world today is that we (Homo-sapiens) evolved in Africa and it was from Africa that we emerged to populate the globe over tens of thousands of years. Variations of that theory are taught as well but the conclusion remains roughly the same; over millennia our species evolved and crawled out of Africa, by chance, to become the dominant animal on this planet.
"Our species is an African one: Africa is where we first evolved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth. The earliest fossils of recognizably modern Homo sapiens appear in the fossil record....in Ethiopia around 200,000 years ago…this is our best understanding of when and approximately where we originated."
The statement above is supported by an evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record as observed in Ethiopia, Africa. Since Africa is where secularists speculate humans evolved from apes, it is also where they speculate more modern humans emerged to begin populating the globe around 70,000 years ago. Therefore everyone on the planet is descended from this small group of pioneers.
Projecting back to a common ancestor requires an assumption on who that was; it also requires an assumption on where that common ancestor was located. Dealing with the exact same evidence for the entirety of humanity coming from one father and one mother, evolutionists say it was a homo-sapien in Africa whereas biblical creationists say it was Adam and Eve. Or, more to the point, our common ancestors were the people that were scattered from Babel to populate the earth.
"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 KJV)
God created Adam and Eve as the crowning jewel of His creation. They were the first humans, with no sub-species or prototypes before them, and the father and mother of all human life on earth. The Ancient Man Team has worked to post quality articles on this blog pointing to the fundamental notion that ancient man was not the grunting ape he is so often painted as. For a more in-depth review of some fantastic things we know of ancient man, try reading some of these articles on Archeoastronomy, Ancient Technology, and Ancient Art.
So, it turns out the mainstream evolutionary theories for how man populated the globe do not align with a biblical perspective of ancient man. Our ancestors were created with all the abilities and intelligence required to meet the challenges involved with something as incredible as populating and caring for the earth. Now our journey can begin.
Where Was Babel?
Where was the starting point? From where did ancient man scatter in all directions from? Where in the world was Babel?
The Bible says in Genesis 11:1-2 that Babel was located on a plain in Shinar, somewhere west of the land where Noah had settled after the Ark landed. Traditionally Shinar, meaning ‘between two rivers’, is located in southern Mesopotamia. This was the region of ancient Babylonia and Chaldea and of the modern country of Iraq.
When did this scattering occur then? When did man leave Shinar and begin spreading out? One possible date presented by James Ussher (a biblical chronologist) is 2242 B.C. This would have been 100 years after the Flood. Is it possible that man could have traveled to fill the whole globe within a few hundred years? Absolutely!
Which Way Did They Go?
Working off a combination of archaeological sciences, the routes that ancient man took to populate the earth can be roughly tracked. Of course, interpretation of the data affects where those routes started and ended, so there is no absolutely flawless version of ancient man’s migratory map. Now, when visualizing man on this incredible journey across the globe, remember that the landscape and climate was very different than what it is today.
Dispersion. (Drawn by Daniel Lewis of AiG-USA)
The major differences were caused by the worldwide ice age that was triggered by the Flood. It would have peaked around 400 years after Babel, corresponding well with the migration of peoples groups. Most creationists agree that there was ONE major Ice Age after the flood. It would have been caused by the warmer oceans and volcanic activity that released “aerosols” into the atmosphere, which blocked some of the sun’s heat. The warmer oceans would have caused more evaporation and more condensation of snow and ice due to the colder climate. Both creationists and evolutionists agree that the result of so much water in the form of snow and ice on land would have lowered the ocean levels 350-400 feet! (We will go into the amazing effects of that development a little later.) .
- Southwest - To the southwest of Shinar would be, what we know today as, Palestine and the continent of Africa. Due to the Ice Age causing cooler temperatures around the globe there would have been more precipitation around the equator, meaning the areas we know as deserts today would have been cooler and wetter. Even the Sahara would remain a fertile and hospitable place long after the Flood!
- Southeast - To the Southeast would be present day India, Asia, and the Pacific Isles. Even with the mountain ranges and small stretches of ocean in the way of this route, it would have been an easier trip than the route up into the north.
- Northwest - The same aftereffects of the Flood that made the south a tropical paradise made the north a harsh, cold landscape. As the Ice Age progressed the immigrants entering into Europe and Northern Asia would be met with the advancing ice sheets. Days were darker and spring and summer practically nonexistent, and yet, man still pressed onward.
- Northeast - One more ice-crowded route that led ancient travelers east and northeast through Asia and Siberia would eventually turn into a highway that led to the Americas.
For details on HOW the ancient people travelled around the globe, read Part Two of this article.