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Prehistoric Man

by Dr. David Livingston

Cave Dwellers Are Not Necessarily Ancient

Furthermore there is no such thing as Neo- nor Meso- nor Paleo-lithic man! In spite of all that archaeologists and anthropologists contend about these early stone age cultures and their supposed long ages, it simply cannot be true. Why?

Because the Bible speaks of the very earliest cultures as being highly civilized with: musical instruments, woven tents and clothes, metal working, animal husbandry, etc. (Genesis 4: 3-4, 17-22). The fact that here and there we find people in the very earliest of times living in caves and using stone implements simply means that they lived in caves instead of houses. People in countries around the world are doing that in many places even today. Families live in caves for 40 miles along the Rhone River in France. In Cappadoccia, Turkey, almost every family living there has carved out for themselves a cave home from the strange formations. And there have been cave dwellers in every generation since the beginning of time. Even Jesus was born in, lived in (His traditional home in Nazareth was partly a cave), buried in, and raised from a cave.

In the National Geographic stone age cave dwellers in the Phillipines appeared so authentic to a research team that they published an entire book about them, The Gentle Tasadays, only to discover that the government paid them to live like that as a tourist attraction.

We do not mean to infer that situations like that are common. However, it does illustrate that we cannot be too careful about considering that our discoveries are the "last word" in our field of expertise.

The Bible has incidents of cave dwelling also. Refugees lived in caves (Genesis 19:30, Judges 6:2, I Samuel 13:6).

We wonder why other reasons have not been considered for cave dwelling?

Pre-Dynastic People in the Ancient Near East Were Few in Number

It took some time after the Flood, for enough people to gather together and build cities. But it did not take thousands of years!

As researchers write about this situation, they grossly overestimate the time from early man to modern man. For instance, highly respected anthropologist Robert Braidwood said, "Prehistory means the time before written history began. Actually, more than 99 per cent of man's story is prehistory. Man is probably well over a million years old, but he did not begin to write history (or to write anything) until about 5,000 years ago." (Prehistoric Men, Robert Braidwood, Scott Foresman & Co, Chicago, 1967, p. 1.)

We should be shocked at such a statement. To see why, look at the diagram below. It is true that there was no writing before 5,000 years ago. That is because the Great Flood occurred ca. 2400 BC and everything before that time was destroyed. Thus all pre-flood humans were wiped out. A time line shows the fallacy in Braidwood's statement.

Historic Man                   PREHISTORIC MAN
5000 yrs                                    995,000 years!

1/4 inch                                    Line extends 6 more feet!

It seems ridiculous to us that we should be expected to believe man could not read nor write for all that time, then suddenly within a very short time, perhaps not even a hundred years, he was writing all over the middle east in a number of languages!

Radioactive Isotopes Do Not Help

The use of C14 does not help in this situation. Carbon 14 and other isotopic elements should not be used to determine the absolute age of a specimen, according to Willard Libby, founder of the method. Only measured are the amounts of the remaining C14 against (stable) C12. (Willard F Libby, Radiocarbon Dating, University of Chicago Press, 1955.)

The following quotations are from "Rolling Back the Years," Science News, 12/1/07, pp.344-345):

"With radiocarbon it's not possible to obtain absolute dates-there's always a bit of the unknown."

Some archaeologists use it because they feel it gives absolute dates. During our 25 years of excavations in Israel we have never used C14 dating because it is too inconclusive. Even though there have been some noteworthy improvements in the radio isotope methods, the same problems still persist. And this goes for all radio isotopes used in dating.

C14 is "Garbage in garbage out . . . One of the biggest issues . . . is contamination . . . it soaks up anything in the ground. . . . even very small amounts of modern contamination can be fatal for old samples."

"What scientists are really holding out for is tree ring data that can calibrate absolute radiocarbon dates back to 60,000 years. . . .this hinges, of course, on whether they can find sufficiently old trees and samples that represent a continuum of ages throughout the past." However, they know, and so do we that they will never find successive tree rings with which to date 60,000. or 30,000, or even 10,000 year ago.

"At the moment we have a floating chronology . . . It is not connected. That is, the researchers have calibrated back ca. 5000 years, but tree rings can take them no further."

What he is saying is that they can only go back 5000 years using hard tree ring evidence, but they are hoping for and wanting to be able to go back 60,000 years, but there is no way to calibrate the time in between.

Isn't it interesting that 5000 years ago was roughly the time Noah and his family were saved by the Ark!

Three problems which C14 faces are true for all isotopic methods. They are:

  1. We cannot know what the ratio of daughter element to parent element was in the formation of the specimen.
  2. We cannot know whether there has been leaching in or out of the elements.
  3. We cannot know whether the decay rates have changed through time, perhaps due to what one archaeologist suggested while trying to determine some dates from ruins in Mesopotamia.

M. E. L. Mallowan said,

. . . at this end of the third millennium (BC) there was some physical disturbance in the solar magnetic field, which may have affected the level of the carbon-14 activity in the carbon exchange reservoir. . . . Published dates are more than 500 years too low.(Mallowan, fasc. 62, Cambridge Ancient History, p. 8)

Some evangelicals are having difficulty reconciling biblical dates with "scientific" dates. But maybe biblical dates are correct and the scientists are WRONG! The Bible is God's Word and inerrant. Is it possible that some evangelical scholars are afraid of what their contemporaries will think of them if they oppose the "scientists" of today? We are NOT against actual science when hard evidence supports it. But we are against arbitrary estimates of what pseudo-science dictates.

It may seem rather drastic to consider that early man was only around 5500 years. We have heard so much from the opposite camp. I wonder whether they have carefully examined the slipshod way high dates were arrived at before C14 was discovered.

Dates Previous To 4500 BC Can Only Be Age Estimates of Charcoal and Other Archaeological Finds

A major difficulty is to take data from secular archaeologists and make it fit with an inerrant Bible. For instance, the Hebrew Bible says in Genesis 5:1 that the history of Adam was written! The word for "book" used here, sefer, always means the account is written. Also, Adam and God spoke to each other in some language.

Later in Genesis 26:5, the writer tells us that Abraham kept four kinds of God's commands. They were all written commands. The Hebrew is very clear on this. One command, chukot, means an inscribed writing. What this (and other material) means is that apparently an ancient form of alphabetic Hebrew must have been used by, at least, the men of God mentioned in the early chapters of Genesis.

Alphabets of 30 signs, more or less, are easy to learn compared with cuneiform characters which frequently have several syllables possible for just one sign. Anyone could use this primitive Hebrew, including children.

Thus, it is more probable that the Northwest Semitic languages came out of Hebrew, and NOT vice versa as most scholars think. Those that claim Hebrew came out of some other already existing language(s) follow each others ideas instead of starting with the Bible and checking it out with other literature.

Finally, Genesis 5:1 is NOT an anachronistic (or later) insertion into the text by later scribes! We cannot prove this, but we think every reason is there to adopt this hypothesis. Conversely, no one can prove Hebrew derived from Northwest Semitic, either.

Admittedly, there are some tough problems to explain with our system. And we cannot be dogmatic about these things, but our modern youth are hearing so much unscholarly thinking. Nor are they given enough opportunity to think things through. We want to make them question what they are hearing from their teachers and the media.

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© 2003 David Livingston