This online institute is designed to give a brief analysis and discussion of all scientific disciplines through the lens of a biblical world view. +++ SDG +++

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lesson #51 The Patriarchs Part 2

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #51 The Patriarchs Part 2
            Break out your maps and histories as we travel again in our time machine to examine history & geography through a biblical world view. Before we get back to the biblical narrative lets do a quick fly over of some of the things going on in other places in the world from 2000 to 1500 BC.  During this window of time a number of civilizations and cultures are starting to transition from pictographic and cuneiform methods of writing to literary structures built on letters and grammar, from the beginnings of the Semitic alphabet to the first of seven defined periods of Chinese literature.  This is the window of time that Hammurabi and His codes become the first recorded legal system.  As Europe enters the bronze age, Stone Hinge comes into existence. Other innovations during this period are Dam building, irrigation and trade routes. Those are some of the things going on in the world as Jacob spends about 20 years at His (Uncle / Father - in - Law) Laban's place in Paddan Arram.

            We pick up our chronology after Jacob’s second wedding feast in one week in Paddan Arram near Haran in 1923 BC.  After his four wives spend the better part of the next 7 years competing  to see who can produce for him the most male heirs, his favorite wife gives birth to his 11th (and favorite) son Joseph in 1916 BC. When Joseph is about 5 years old Jacob decided it is time to return to Cannon in order to depart from the strife of dealing with Laban and see if he can reconcile with his brother Esau and live peaceably as his neighbor in the promised land. 

            A few years after reaching the age of 100 in 1906 BC The turn of the century brought Jacob a be a few bad years.  First after being blessed with 11 sons in the first 7 years of marriage, it would be 15 years before his next son Benjamin, the only son born in the promised land caused the death of his favorite wife Rachel in around 1901 BC.  Then a couple of years later around 1899 BC Joseph is sold into slavery, but of course Jacob thinks His favorite son has been mauled by wild beast.

            Things seem to get better about 15 years later in 1885 BC, they start to bring in bumper corps and this goes on for seven years. Jacobs little clan of around 70 people is doing well for them selves, they have more than they need that are dwelling in the land that God promised to his grandfather, what could go wrong? Then the first year of sevier drought hit and by the end of the second year of drought and famine they had to look elsewhere for food. Jacob heard that they were selling grain in Egypt so he sent His sons to purchase some in around 1876 BC. This began a sequence of events that eventually led to the reunion of Jacob with the son he thought was dead, but was now the Grand Vizier to the whole land of Egypt, and the relocation of His humble and hungry clan on the green lands of Goshen in the eastern part of the Nile Delta in Egypt.  Before He breaths his last he adopts his two grandsons born to Joseph, blesses all his sons and has them promise to bury him back in Canaan. and in the words of Genesis 49 "he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.". He lived to the ripe old age of 147 and with His death in 1859 BC would end the period known as the time of the patriarchs. The three men whom God identifies himself with when He addressed Moses from the burning bush.....Exodus 3:6 ... "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."...                  

            So thus ends my discussion on the Patriarchs. Next month we will discuss the entry into Egypt of God's promised people.  Their are some inconsistencies between the biblical chronology and the commonly held Egyptian chronology we will start to address some of those differences and likely explanations. till then have a blessed Thanksgiving.        

In Christ Pastor Portier 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lesson #50 The Patriarchs Part 1

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #50 The Patriarchs Part 1
            Break out your maps and histories as we travel again in our time machine to examine history & geography through a biblical world view. Let’s look at what is going on in the world around 2166BC, the approximate time of Abram’s birth. The life of Abram, later renamed Abraham at the age of 99, is covered in Genesis from chapter 11 to 25.  Let's not lose sight of where he comes from; he is a descendant of Shem. He left Ur with his father's family headed for Canon but ended up in Haran.  Abram was called out of the land of Haran (on the southern border of modern day Turkey) by God in 2091 BC at the age of 75.  After ten years of waiting for his promised heir, his wife Sari took things into her own hands and had Abram marry her servant Hagar. Ishmael was born to Hagar in 2080 and lived to the ripe old age of 137 when he died in 1943 BC. Ishmael was not the promised son but as the first son of Abraham, was blessed to become the father of all Arab peoples in the world.

            In 2067 BC God changed Abram’s (exulted father) name to Abraham (father of many). At that time God also promised Abraham that Isaac (laughter) would be born the following year. Sari (princess) laughed when she heard this, being 89 years old. God confronted her about her laughter, about doubting God's promise, and renamed her Sarah (princess of many). These events also give us the date for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 2067-2066 BC as it followed the promised birth of Isaac.

            In 2066 BC when Isaac is born, the Genesis narrative shifts to him, but not for long. The birth of Jacob and Esau are listed in the same chapter.  Isaac only really gets about 3 chapters that primarily cover his narrative. By Chapter 28 the narrative shifts again, primarily to Jacob.  Although Isaac lived for 180 years he serves more as a transitional character between Abraham and his grandson Jacob than a character himself. A few significant things in Isaac’s life story would include his mother Sarah dying in 2029 BC, making him around 37 years old at the time.  In 2026 BC, about 3 years later, Abraham arranged for Isaac's marriage to Rebecca.  About 20 years after that, 2006 BC, God blessed Isaac and Rebecca with their first sons, Jacob and Esau. In 1991 BC the first of the patriarchs dies at the ripe old age of 175. His 15 year old grandsons, Jacob and Esau, would have been able to attend the funeral.  Esau would have been about 40 years old when he married two Hittite women in 1966 BC. These marriages were a source of grief for Isaac and Rebecca according to Genesis 26:35.

            In 1930 BC Jacob, with the help of his mother, fooled his 114 year old father into giving him the blessing of the first born. Now Jacob has taken both Esau’s birthright and his blessing. Esau became furious and threatened to kill Jacob so his parents sent a 75 year old Jacob to Haran to Rebecca's brother Laban to keep him safe. They also wanted Jacob to marry an acceptable wife.  After 7 years of labor for his uncle as a bride price, Jacob, then 82, became a groom to Leah and a week later married her sister Rachel. Now you may be thinking 82 is pretty old to get married and have children. Keep in mind that Jacob lived to be 147 years old so for him 82 is middle aged, and remember too that his father’s parents were 100 and 90 years old when they had a child.

            Here at the Smoky Mountain Bible Institute we are going through these things with a biblical worldview. There is precious little scientific evidence for the accounts so far however you would not expect to find any evidence for a small family going from Ur to Cannon via Haran in those days. However, we do start to get some evidence outside scripture with Jacob’s 11th son Joseph. For now we have the best witness available, God's word, on which to build our historical chronology. My primary source for many of these dates, besides scripture, is a book by Andrew E. Steinmann from CPH titled "From Abraham to Paul". This is a great source book for a concise discussion of how ancient dates are calculated and reckoned and a great biblical chronology.

            So class, we come to the end of our lesson having just started to discuss the third patriarch Jacob. We will pick up our chronology next month after Jacob’s second wedding feast in a week in Paddan Arram near Haran in 1923 BC.

In Christ Pastor Portier 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute Lesson #49 - Lesson #19 revisited

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #49 - Lesson #19 revisited

            Don't break out your maps and histories this time as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view.  Last month I said we would pick up with the birth of Abram born around 2166BC, however I recently listened to a very interesting interview and felt compelled to share with you some of the intriguing things I heard. We will get back to Abram next month, he is not going anywhere. So, let’s quickly revisit a brief note on logic I made back in the biology department. 

            I am a regular fan of a few internet talk radio programs and one of them is called "The White Horse Inn". It is usually a panel discussion format with a Lutheran, a Baptist, and 2 united reformed speakers. These four men are pastors, professors and authors of many books. It is an interesting conservative dialog among four learned Trinitarian theologians but occasionally they do interviews and on August 11th that is what they did.

I touched briefly on this topic in lesson #19 when I discussed mathematics and logic associated with biology. I said "We can also use mathematics to estimate the statistical impossibility that life might spontaneously generate from non-life, resulting in a number so infinitesimally small, that to believe it, is an act of faith."  In the interview on the White Horse Inn program, Mr. Dean Overman, the author of "The Case Against Accident & Self-Organization", articulated the mathematical impossibility of life spontaneously and randomly springing from nonlife in a simple attention getting way.  First he defined what mathematicians consider to be numerically impossible, that is anything with 1 chance in 10 to the 50th power of possibility.  To help us get our mind around the size of that number, he explained that in 15 billion years there are 10 to the 18th power seconds and there are estimated to be 10 to the 80th power atoms in the known universe.

He went on to give the amazing numbers associated with the the mathematical improbability of life spontaneously arising on its own. These numbers are astonishing and they have been calculated by respected experts in their field of study.  See the two below. No one in the scholastic community questions the validity of their findings, their motives or their credentials.

First Sir Fred Hoyle’s findings. Sir Hoyle was an English astronomer noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. This Cambridge professor in astrophysics calculated the molecular biological probability that life would arise from the known basic elements and building blocks for life to be 1 chance in 10 to the 40,000th power. That is right, a number exponentially 500 times larger than the number that represents the estimated number of atoms in the known universe. Even still, that number pales in comparison to the one that follows.

            Sir Roger Penrose is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. He is an English mathematical physicist, internationally renowned for his scientific work in mathematical physics, in particular his contributions to general relativity and cosmology and refers to himself as an atheist.  His calculations in the area of particle astrophysics determined the chance of life forming on its own from the know elements as 1 in 10 to the 10th power to the 123rd power. That number is so large that if you could put a zero on every proton, neutron, electron and any other atomic particle in the known universe you would still not have enough matter to write out all the zeros in that number.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made

in Christ Pastor Portier

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#48 2343BC to 2000BC

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #48
            Break out your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view.  So let’s look at some of the things that start to appear in the historical record of different civilizations between 2343BC and 2000BC. We start to see some of the earliest archeological and geopolitical evidence of literature, religion, arts, music, technology, and family life of many world civilizations during these few centuries. Some are; Aramean, Semitic and Canaanite tribes in Palestine, the Yao & Shun Dynasties in China, Babylonian, as well as early Indian and Scandinavian cultures found in Neolithic or primitive stages of development.

            A special note on the Egyptian chronology: I will mention the commonly held dates for the Egyptian chronology as we go through these ancient events. However I would like to point out that there are some weaknesses in the commonly held Egyptian chronology. The main weakness in the current system is its heavy dependence on two faulty sources, Manetho's king list and Sothic dating. The ancient kings list, written by Manetho an Egyptian priest around 300 BC, has some significant holes. Its greatest weakness though is that it does not account for overlaps and co-regencies for which there is strong evidence. By the mid-second millennium BC it is off by a couple of hundred years. This will become important when we get to the Exodus.  The Sothic cycle, which is a 1461 year cycle associated with the Dog Star Sirius, is also an important bench mark to the current chronology. The problem is where to drop the anchor.  We can, with great accuracy, track the Dog Star but where we plug it into the chronology when it is mentioned in ancient Egyptian inscriptions is a whole different question. If this topic peeks your interest I suggest you read three books; "Centuries of Darkness" by Peter James, "A test of Time" by David Rohl, and "The Riddle of the Exodus" by James D. Long (which also has a DVD).  While these three resources do not answer all of the questions in the mismatch between the biblical chronology and the commonly held Egyptian chronology, they do clear up a lot of inconsistencies and give one greater scholastic confidence in the divine record over and above its conflicting counterparts.

            Some of the other events occurring during this time period: the first Egyptian libraries starting to collect the new technology of writings on papyrus; potters wheels; maps; and the bow and arrow, are becoming a part of the human story in many regions. There is even a carving on a rock in Norway that depicts skiing.

            Let’s look a little at Chapter 10 & 11 of Genesis. Most of these two chapters are genealogy, commonly referred to as the ‘begats’ (so and so begat so and so, and so on and so forth). What we get here are the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. They all seem to have settled in the Land of Shinar, that would be the plains south of the mountains of Arrant and just north of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq).  After God divides their languages, Ham’s descendants migrated to the region southwest of the land of Shiner to the Sinai Peninsula and North Africa.  Japheth's descendants went to the northwest, to modern day Turkey, Greece and Europe. And Shem's descendants took the region from modern day Israel and Palestine and all points east. Descendants of Shem are called Semites. All Jewish and Arabic peoples are his descendants. We can deduce a general time frame for the Tower of Babel event by looking at a few key notes in the genealogy. If we look at 10:25 we find  ...Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided. His name means ‘divided’ because the earth was divided in his lifetime. This could well be a reference to the Babel event. Peleg was probably born around 2247BC around 100 years after the flood giving 8 people ample time to heavily populate the plain at Shinar. Because each or the three sons of Noah's descendant list ends with the phrase "these are the sons of ---, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations." it is safe to assume that when God divided them by language He did so along family lines. Peleg lived for 239 years but the Tower event probably happened in His youth or even just before his birth since he was named ‘division’. Over the next 100 years large tribes descending from Noah's three sons migrated to their respective regions and over the next 80 years some of the descendants of Peleg migrated to the land of Ur just northwest of modern day Kuwait on the Euphrates River. One of those descendants was Abram born around 2166BC, and that will be a good place for us to close this lesson. Enjoy the rest of your summer in Christ Pastor Portier

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

#47 The Flood

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #47
            Break out your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view. So we back tracked a little last month and spent a some time on Noah's preparatory work leading to the day of departure.  Now, it is a beautiful day in 2344 BC and the weather starts to take a turn for the worse....all aboard!!!
            On the seventeenth day of the second month in 2344 BC after spending a week loading the Ark at God’s command, Noah and his family and all the animals were safely tucked in....and "The Lord shut them in" Gen 7:16b. The fountains of the great deep burst forth and rain fell for 40 days. Unlike the way most people understand the narrative, that is just the beginning of this sea story.  After the initial 40 day water storm they did not bump into a mountain and hop off. The waters prevailed for 150 days. That means this water hit and or remained at full flood stage for 5 months.  Noah’s sea journey ended when they finally bottomed out and came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. But the ark was still surrounded by water. It was another two and half months before the mountain tops appeared above the water around them. The water continued to slowly recede for another 150 days. (Where did all that water go? Ice caps) 40 days later Noah sent out the raven. A week passed between the time he sent the raven and each of the three times he sent a dove. By this time they had been on the ark for about ten months and two more months would pass before the land was dry enough to live on. Then just as obediently as he boarded the ark a year earlier, Noah and his family and all of the ark’s residents debarked in 2343 BC to re-inhabit the earth.

            I would have liked to cover this account with dates. However, between the Jewish twelve 30 day months, lunar calendars with 28 day months, and the modern Gregorian calendar some ancient dates are nearly impossible to pinpoint. The best I could do is say these years are probably within single digit years of the actual events and definitely not off by more than a few decades. I would also say that while a ‘fall to fall’ sequence is possible it was probably ‘spring to spring’ because of the Jewish method of numbering months. There are many scholars, much smarter than I, who have not figured this out and many claim it is a futile pursuit. That being said, when covering a historical chronology, some dates are more solid than others but you need to choose a date. The dates I have chosen for the flood narrative are the spring of 2344 BC to the spring of 2343 BC. After 371 days on the ark, they left and thanked God for delivering them through the waters that cleansed the world with a sacrifice of some of every clean animal and bird.

            I do not have enough space this month to address the years leading up to and including the Tower of Babel so we will start there next month.  Keep in mind that from this point forward we will be in a post-flood narrative so that biblical history will start to line up nicely with extra biblical narratives. We also have the earth’s continental and oceanic arrangement in place after the flood which exist today. A lot has happened to our earth’s geography over the past 4300 years, like the Ice age and the ancient inland lakes mentioned in lessons 35 & 36.

That is all for today class, have a great summer!
See you next month

In Christ Pastor Portier           

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lesson #46 Noah preperation

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #46
            Break out your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical worldview. We have traveled through 1656 years of world history and have come to the worldwide flood. We discussed evidence of this event last year in lessons 34 through 37 when we addressed Plate Tectonics, the Ice Age, and Ancient Lakes and Fossils. These four lessons give great evidence in our world’s natural geography and geology of a worldwide flood not a localized event that is used by many to dismiss the biblical account. Genesis 6-9 is a ‘second hand’ eye witness account, recorded by Moses but revealed to Him by God.   

            So in approximately 2444BC, Noah, a humble God fearing man 500 years of age, was told by God to build an ark.  First let me note that I am making an assumption that Noah, whose age is given as 500 in Gen  5:32, is still that age 14 verses later in Gen 6:14.  Scripture does not tell us how old Noah was when God actually gave him this instruction. So for those who believe the 120 years in Gen 6:3 are not a limit to human life but a limit to the years before the flood, Noah is then 480 years old when he got this instruction. (We do know from Gen 7:11 that Noah was 600 when the flood started) So from whichever age, for the next 100 or 120 years, he and three of his sons built an ark that many today say could not be built. Well, contrary to that belief, not only does the technology exist but you will be able to see a life size replica in Williamstown KY in 2015. The "Ark Encounter" plans to start construction either this year or in 2014.

            Before we discuss the ark narrative and time line let me first point out that there are hundreds of ancient worldwide flood narratives and just about every culture has an ancient flood narrative as part of its cultural heritage. Although hyper-skeptics use this to argue that the flood narrative is a plagiarism from other accounts like "Gilgamesh", it makes more sense that it is indeed accurate because all of the descendants of Noah and his three sons have some parts of this flood account in their narratives and histories. Flood accounts are part of who they were and where they came from. Unfortunately due to the division of language and people at Babel, and the hardships of populating the world under ice age conditions, all other accounts were corrupted by embellishment or loss of information.             

            We know very little about those 100 or 120 years between Gen 6:14 & 7:11. However we can make some reasonable deductions based on what we do know. The dimensions and ratios given for the ark are the ideal for nautical stability and self-righting. Feasibility studies have been done and if you care to revisit lesson 26, Kind v/s Species (see link above), you will see that there was more than enough room for pairs of 6000 kinds of animals, seven pairs of each clean animal. There was room for food, fodder and anything and everything needed for a long trip at sea. As a matter of fact when you do the simple supply math for this year- long trip, you see the real question was not ‘was there enough room’, the real question is ‘why is there so much room?’. Once you put all that scripture describes, and all that could be logistically needed for such a voyage together, you find that one third to one half of the upper deck was additional space that could be used. (Now I know what you are thinking, Noah's wife and her three daughters- in-law would have no problem filling that available closet space :-)......

            But actually that open space shows that God loves us so much that even though He knows everything,  He hoped that others would come to their senses, turn to God and join Noah on the ark.  This is of course speculation but it is in keeping with God’s loving and giving character to provide more that enough space, more than enough blessing, more than enough love, to redeem and cover the needs of all His creation. Trusting in his promises, receiving His great gifts of faith and salvation.

            Next month we board the ark! 2344 BC

In Christ

Pastor Robert Portier

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lesson #45 3000BC to 2344BC

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #45
            Breakout your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view. Let’s wrap up the antediluvian time frame from where we left off last month: 3000 BC to circa 2350 BC—the 650 years leading up to the worldwide Flood.

            Let me first mention one of the books I plan on using to highlight some of the events in history: "The Timetables of History." Interestingly, this book has over 700 pages and covers the first 3000 years of history on 2 pages (it starts in 5000BC).  It gets through the next 2000 years in 25 pages; the first 1000 years AD are covered in 16 pages; the reminder of the book (over 80%) is spent on the most recent 1000 years. I think this is an excellent representation of the amount of information that exists at different points in history—the further back you go, the sparser the information becomes.           

            However, we have some good information in Scripture covering this period of time. The world we observe today can provide clues about the pre-flood earth, but we must keep in mind that geographically speaking, the world was probably very different. In lesson 34 we discussed plate tectonics which can help us to understand how the pre and post flood earth would be geographically different.

            So let’s take a look at this 650 year period and see what Scripture tells us. Chapter 5 of Genesis starts with Adam’s death (as I mentioned last month) at the ripe old age of 930.  In the following centuries this line of patriarchs passes away at the rate of one about every 50 years. They all did live for a very long time—by our standards, a miraculous amount of time: Seth 912, Enos 905, Cainan 910, Mahalaleel 895, Jared 962, Methuselah 969, and Lamech (Noah's father) 777.  The chapter ends with Noah fathering three sons at the age of 500.  These ages and this sequence of events can produce a number of valid questions from post-flood people who rarely make it to 100 years old. Did they really live so long? Were Shem, Ham and Japheth triplets born to a man five centuries old?

            These questions have some good answers but they are speculative.  The truth is we know Scripture plainly claims these ages in chapter 5 of Genesis, and we cannot know for sure the answers to the above questions.  But we can come up with some good theories that coincide nicely with the biblical narrative.

            First let’s discuss Noah's three sons. It is possible but unlikely that He had triplets, because Genesis 5:32 says "After Noah was 500 years old." So these three sons were born to him after his 500th birthday.  Noah probably had other sons and daughters but these were the three who helped him build the ark.

            Next, this question of long ages—there are a number of good possibilities to help explain this, and we can draw on some clear biblical truths to put them together. If we keep in mind that Adam and Eve were created to live eternally, 930 years in comparison is a relatively short life span.  Before sin came into the world, Adam and Eve were genetically perfect.  It took centuries of sin, death, disease, and the accumulative effect of the loss of genetic information and mutations to shorten the human lifespan. This is all due to the harsh nature of life following the curse due to sin. It has been further theorized that the world had a vapor canopy like many planets in our solar system, and ours was made of water filtering out harmful rays from the sun that cause and accelerate aging.  This could further explain longer life spans that preceded the flood.  It is finally helpful to look at Genesis 6:3 which says Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years." This could mean that the flood will be in 120 years or it could mean that God intentionally limits man’s lifespan to 120 years to limit the affects of our sinful nature.
Whatever the cause, life spans gradually decrease in 15 generations from Noah to Moses.  Human life spans are reduced to an average of 120 years.

            Now that we have covered the first 1656 years of world history, I think the Flood account in Genesis 6-9 will be helpful in understanding all the history and geography that follows. So we will start an in-depth study at the worldwide flood of 2344BC (approximately) and consider some of the things we can learn from this historic event.                    
Till next month, blessings.  Pastor Portier  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lesson #44 4000-3000 BC

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #44
            Breakout your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view. Now that we have defined prehistory lets start our trek trough recorded history.

            We will cover the first 1000 years following the creation, circa 4000 to 3000BC. The world of recorded history still has very little for us because the practice of writing even in pictograph form by most accounts is in its infancy during this millennium.  Sumerian tablets show a pictographic based writing containing some 2000 signs. Some of the earliest Babylonian omen tablets that predate Hammurabi's code date from this period. Some of the earliest wedge shaped Sumerian cuneiform writing starts to appear around 3500BC.      
            Keep in mind that this first 1000 years is the Pre-flood or antediluvian earth. This means that we are dealing with an unknown geography, the land mass that ended up being the cradle of civilization and is now called the Levant or the Middle East may have been quiet different.  So when we speak of the earliest clay and stone examples of writing these are either pre flood artifacts or they are actually about 1200 years younger than is commonly held because they would have developed following the flood.  This makes more since as much of the advances of civilization would have been lost except that which Noah would have brought with him on the Ark. This miss match of dates will continue until we get to 2344 BC when commonly held dates and biblically recorded dates will come more in line with each other.  

            Other commonly held developments we find in that first millennium; The Egyptian lunar calendar, Earliest carbon dated cities in Mesopotamia, Cretan ships in the Mediterranean, The beginning date of the Jewish calendar 3760BC, this makes 2013 the year 5773 on the Jewish calendar.  The Myan calendar starts in 3373 BC, they were not around for the end of their calendar so maybe they were not around in the beginning or they were acknowledging a common ancestry.   Evidence has been found of masonry, metalsmithing of copper, gold and silver, wheels, linen, agriculture, animal husbandry, written numerals, pottery, harps, lyres, flutes, and ceramics.  We would expect to find high levels of technology and civilization from people who live for hundreds of years and were being fruitful and multiplying to a pre-flood population of billions by the time of the flood.  

            You might ask how can two people Adam and Eve multiply to such a vast population in only 1656 years, give or take a few.  Well they were created to live for ever and while death did come into the world Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930, for that matter so did most of His children.  When Adam died in 3070 BC The following individuals could have attend the funeral;
            His son Seth age 800,                                       grandson Enos age 695,           
            great-grandson Cainan age 605,                        great great-grandson Mahalaleel age 535,        
            3x great-grandson Jared age 470,                     4x great-grandson Enoch age 308,
            5x great-grandson Methuselah age 243,            6x great-grandson Lamech a mere toddler at age 56,
Noah would not be born to Lamech until 126 years later so he would not have been there. God would not limit mans life span to 120 years until after the flood. So back to the question about being fruitful and multiplying, if eight generations of your sons can attend your funeral, and if you and they are being blessed with children at the rate of one every other year and the child bearing years seem to be earliest age 65 Enoch oldest 502 Noah, then you will have an exponential population growth and getting to billions in 1656 years is quite easy mathematically, however raising such a large brood may be another matter.  That is enough for this month, we will try to wrap up the antediluvian time frame next month and maybe even cover a few more years.
Have a blessed Easter season
In Christ Pastor Portier                  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lesson #43 Pre History

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #43
            Breakout your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view. Last month as we defined history, I mentioned prehistory, and in order to give a thorough treatment of history, we must have a brief discussion of prehistory.  I say brief because  as a “young earth” creationist, I believe most, if not all, topics of discussion in the bulk of scientific study that would fall under the umbrella of prehistory to be incorrectly dated.  However, just because I disagree with the majority of experts on the timing of prehistoric research, does not mean there is not a lot of valuable information to be drawn from that research. So what we will do in this lesson is see how a young earth creationist can piece together all the great information in the prehistoric realm of study (what is popularly held to be a period from 3.5 million years ago to around 5000 BC when ancient recorded history began), and logically plug that information into the biblical timeline that starts around 4000BC.  I would like to suggest that all that is called prehistory can fit logically into a timeline that starts around 4000BC and ends around 1500BC.  This proposal will seem ridiculous to some, but in the area of prehistory, all timeline assertions are based for the most part on Carbon 14 dating and other assumptions.  I addressed these false assumptions in lessons #21 and #22.  In order to do this, we must first discuss the commonly held timeline for prehistory, and then discuss how that can be applied to a biblical timeline.

            Prehistory forms the popularly held three-age world view:  Stone age 3.5 million to 4500BC, Bronze age 3750 BC to 300 BC, and Iron age 1300 BC to 400 AD.  You will notice some peculiar things about my summary of ages here. First, there are some major overlaps and second, this goes deep into the time of recorded history. This is because I have summarized the entire world’s progression through these ages.  Different regions of the world entered and exited these ages at different times.  What I have listed here is the earliest entry into an age followed by the latest exit from that age.  These ages are determined by when these regions progressed through these technologies (stone, bronze, iron) be it through conquest, commerce, or ingenuity. Prehistory also starts at different times in different places based on the development of written languages which is popularly held to be between 3500BC and 2500BC. Ancient history is typically defined as around 3300BC to 600 AD. To finish things out, the Middle ages is popularly defined as 300AD to 1500AD with the Renaissance starting around 1350AD, and the modern period beginning as early as 1450AD. Again you will see overlaps due to different regions entering and exiting these ages at different times. As you can see in a discussion of world history, a simple question of where to begin can be a bit complicated.

            I propose that all of the prehistoric scientific dates listed above are simply misdated and can logically be placed in a biblical prehistoric time of 4000BC to 1500BC. During this biblical period of prehistory, the world was created around 4000BC, plus or minus no more than 50 years.  The world was populated to about 25 billion in the first 1650 years. Then the world was destroyed in a flood around 2350BC reducing the population to 8 and covering the earth with a large fossil layer and causing what remained of pre-flood civilization to be hard to date and analyze because of the vast geographic and geological changes that took place. In the 700 years that followed the flood, large ice caps formed and receded (see lesson #35).

            From a biblical perspective, the oldest written words are found in the book of Job from around 2000 BC. The next books in line are the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible written by Moses from 1446 BC to 1406 BC during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.  While we can have an intelligent debate on when history began, you would be hard pressed to find any written historical accounts that talk about events that predate 4000 BC because they do not exist.  This means that all discussion of prehistory must depend on areas of research outside the realm of written history.  When it comes to written history, the most dependable is the written account of a first hand witness. What we have in Genesis, chapters 1 through 11, is the first hand account of the Creator given directly to Moses for him to record in the Hebrew language some 3400 years ago. So we will start next month where the Bible starts, at 4000 BC, and we will address in small digestible chunks of time, the life, technology, art, faith and politics of God’s vast creation.
In Christ, Pastor Portier        

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Geography & History intro Lesson #42

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #42
            breakout your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view. I chose to cover these two topic together because when we speak of Geography we will discuss the world from the prospective of countries, kingdoms and boundaries and the only way any map is correct is if it has a date on it, because countries, kingdoms and boundaries are always changing and in flux.  That being said the Bible is the greatest source for geography and historical information in all of antiquity. Not because it is a geography text or a history text, quiet to the contrary, purely as an incidental reality because the Bible contains so many names of people and places and chronological narratives and in-depth, detailed descriptions of, legal, spiritual, and cultural practices of peoples in their context, it is an invaluable resource for Historians, Cartographers, Archeologist, Paleontologist, and any other field of scientific study that touches on any aspect of God's creation.           

            That being said lets start by defining Geography & History (what follows is a paraphrase of what you can get at good old Wikipedia.

            Geography: Geography is from Greek geographia, "earth description" is the science that studies the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the phenomena of the Earth.  A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276-194 BC). Historically there are Four traditions in geographical research. Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities. —not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences". Geography is divided into two main branches: human geography and physical geography.

            History: History is from Greek historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation" this is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about these events. The term includes cosmic, geologic, and organic history, but is often generically implied to mean human history. History can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyze a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect.
            Historians sometimes debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present. Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur) are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends, because they do not support the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Events occurring prior to written record are considered prehistory.
            Herodotus, a 5th century B.C. Greek historian is considered to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their influence has helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in University studies.
            George Santayana, a 20th century Spanish-American philosopher wrote in his book Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." this was a modification of Edmund Burkes statement in the 1700's, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.". I have also heard this said as "those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it". I would further state it this way. "Mankind's sinful nature will repeat itself and our knowledge of history and application of its lessons will have little affect on the pain and suffering sin will cause in the future, however the forgiving healing reconciling nature of Christ will heal all wounds of the past present and future.
In Christ Pastor Portier 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Erosion, Silt, Dust & Salt Cores, Lesson #41

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #41
            Welcome back class.  Please get settled in and take a hold of your pick point rock hammer and hand lens so that we can continue our study in geology.  Let’s wrap up our discussion on geology by looking briefly at mountain valleys which I touched on in lesson 35, erosion, silt, dust and salt cores from the Dead Sea.

            Normal erosion leads to V-shaped valleys.  It makes sense that over time as mountains wear down by rain, wind, and temperature variations, the different types of rock that make up the mountains would be broken down to varying sizes from boulders down to sand, silt, and dust. It also follows that these byproducts of erosion would cause many valleys to have soft gradual slopes giving us so many V-shaped valleys especially in the places where the mountains are older and more eroded.   This of course is in contrast to the U-shaped valleys caused by glaciers mentioned in Lesson #35.  We were able to identify evidence of glacial activity in the U-shaped valleys, with the signs of glacial till and moraines caused by the flowing ice. We can also look at the sediment, silt and dust (in areas around mountains) caused by water and wind to see how clearly the layers of these elements and known rates of erosion give evidence of a young earth on a world-wide scale.

                I feel the best evidence of this type can be found in the example of salt cores drilled out of the shore line at En Gedi on the west coast of the Dead Sea.  Dr. Steve Austin, a geologist and creation scientist from the Institute of Creation Research in San Diego CA, evaluated the findings of the geologists A. Agnon, C. Migowski, and S Marco, who investigated the chronology of earthquake disturbances in the Dead Sea area. Austin took Migowski's data on the uppermost 19 feet of laminated sediment of the Dead Sea and plotted it to make a 4,000-year sediment chronology.

            Dr. Austin notes that: "The biblical account does not specifically mention an earthquake, but the earth would have been shaken by the wall's collapse. Archaeological excavations at Jericho confirm that the massive wall made of mud bricks did collapse at the time of the conquest, about 1400 B.C. The site of the ancient city of Jericho sits directly on top of a very large fault associated with the Jordan Rift valley. Surprisingly, the Dead Sea sediment core has a distinctive mixed sediment layer at a depth of 15.1 feet that is evidence of a big earthquake at about 1400 B.C." This salt core gives an amazing record of biblical earth quakes which would have caused the brown layers visible at the point in which they appear affirming a connection between biblical earth quakes and the salt core evidence.  If you would like to read further on this topic, I would recommend visiting the blog: And the ICR article by Dr. Austin That is where I got the chart below.

            Well this concludes our study of Geology. I hope you have enjoyed our study.  Next month we will begin construction on our next wing: History & Geography.  Wings still to be built in the future are Philosophy which will contain departments on sociology, social science, and psychology and our final wing which will be Theology....important wing for a Bible institute.  So you can put away your pick point rock hammer and hand lens and get ready next month to breakout your maps and histories as we travel in a time machine of sorts to examine History & Geography through a biblical world view.  Till next month, have a blessed new year.
In Christ, Pastor Portier