Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why did it take so long?

By Matthew Zuk

Artist's depiction of Babel

Ever wondered why certain civilizations took longer than others to become well established? Why did the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Europe rise to greatness literally thousands of years before the Americas, Australia, and Africa? Why did civilizations like the Minoans, Babylonians, Egyptians, and others have more sophisticated technology than the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan civilizations?


The Bible teaches that after the worldwide flood, God commanded Noah and his family (the only humans on earth) to reproduce and disperse across the globe. In rebellion most of mankind chose to ignore God’s command by coming together to build the Tower of Babel. God disrupted their corrupt unity by confusing their languages, causing the people to disperse. Some stayed in the Middle East, some traveled to Egypt, Europe, and the Indus Valley. However there were some who travelled much farther, some went to China, Australia, America and Africa. By looking at history you can track how the civilizations spread from Babel. Because many cities were already built in the Middle East and Egypt before the Tower incident (Genesis 10:10-12, Nimrod alone controlled eight) some people settled there after the dispersion and thus progress very quickly. The Indus Valley and Europe were established shortly thereafter, followed by China. It took much longer for those travelling all the way to Australia, Africa and the America’s for a variety of reasons.

Population growth

The first reason for slow establishment in the outer reaches of the globe was because their population growth was much slower than the civilizations in the Middle East. This slow growth was because of the great distance they had to travel and they were also in much smaller groups because the Middle East and its surrounding areas maintained a majority of the people groups. Thus with larger populations, pre-existing cities and greater resources the Middle Eastern area progressed much more quickly than any other area. In contrast the civilizations in the America’s, Africa and Australia had very small populations resulting in much slower growth. The sooner people settled the sooner their population would grow and the sooner they could establish their respective civilizations.


Isolation also played a major part in the slower advancement of the America’s, Africa, and Australia. In the Middle East and Europe the people could easily trade supplies as well as ideas and technology. In places like Africa, Australia and the America’s the people were mostly isolated, cut off from the rest of the world. This limited the amount of information that could be shared and handed down. The people who moved to Australia, America, and Africa were not less intelligent; they simply had less people, less information, and it took them much longer to reach their final destination. All these things resulted in much slower growth.[1]

Evolutionary racism

Many evolutionists tend to point to areas where a civilization was not formed very quickly as proof for evolution. This is not only incorrect; it is also discriminatory towards those from locations deemed “primitive”. First of all, by saying people from the Americas, Australia, or Africa are less intelligent, more primitive, and evolved later is a racist statement. To be fair most evolutionists don’t connect the dots and wouldn’t intend to be racist, but it is the final conclusion of their beliefs. 

In truth ancient man was more intelligent and skilled than we are today. Many people attempt to deny this by pointing to the technology and information we have today. They think it clearly shows we are smarter and better than our ancestors, which confirms evolution because we are progressing not digressing. However, they make the mistake of equating knowledge to intelligence.

Knowledge vs. Intellect

Modern scientists often make the mistake of equating knowledge to intellect. When we look at civilizations in history, it’s true that on a whole they did not have as much knowledge amassed as we do today. However, this does not mean we are more intelligent, it just means that we have a greater amount of knowledge. We have been able to produce a great deal of more advanced technology today because we can draw from the study and research of thousands of years. Once the printing press was developed it allowed that knowledge to spread out much more than before. Other advances in information gathering and storage have led to a dramatic increase in technology. So yes we have more knowledge and technology, but no we are not more intelligent and in many cases we are still trying to figure out how the ancients built many of their structures and artifacts.


There are many reasons why it took some civilizations longer than others to develop technology. But we must remember that lack of technology does not mean lack of intelligence. God created mankind in His own image and so mankind was created intelligent. However, our sin in the garden caused everything to go into a state of deterioration. We are not getting better as evolution tells you; we are getting worse (second law of thermodynamics). However, because of Christ’s amazing sacrifice on the cross we have the opportunity to be saved from our sin. We just need to repent of our sin and place our faith and trust in Christ. Then we have the incredible hope of living with Christ forever, completely restored from the consequences of sin!

[1] Landis, Don. The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolution's Nightmare. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2012.


  1. Excellent as usual. It is fun to trace the oldest civilizations to the areas closest to the area where the ark landed.
    I found this statement surprising, "The people who stayed in the Middle East, Europe, and Egypt were already well established by the time the Tower was built". Do you have any reason to think these people weren't involved in the dispersion? I'd not run into this viewpoint before.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I apologize for the confusion, I just went back and corrected the article so it makes more sense.

      What I was trying to say was the Middle Eastern area was quite well established before the Tower incident. In Genesis 10:10-12 it says that Nimrod alone controlled eight great cities. Therefore when the dispersion took place not everyone travelled great distances. Some were dispersed more than others, for example: some travelled all the way to South America before they began to settle, others weren't dispersed very far and simply resettled the pre-existing Middle Eastern cities.

      I hope that answers your question, please let us know if you have any other questions, we'd be happy to be of service!

  2. Thanks. I guess I'd assumed every person on earth was living in the Babel community up until that fateful day. Never thought of some people obeying and the "they" of Genesis 11 just referring to a segment (however large) of the whole.
    There are a couple early feats I'd love to hear more about: the tunnels under Europe dated to the Neanderthals (forget the link, but saw it on a news site last year) and the subterranean city in Turkey with multiple levels and sophisticated ventilation.
    It is such a blessing to have a safe place to learn about our early forefathers. They are fascinating, but tend so strongly towards godlessness I don't study them as much as my imagination would enjoy. :-)