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Apparent Contradiction of Words and Numbers

Four Witnesses to a 430-year Sojourn in Egypt

Abraham’s Witness to a 430-Year Egyptian Sojourn

Jacob’s Life Requires a 430-Year Egyptian Sojourn

Elasticity of Hebrew Genealogical Terms

Abbreviated/Condensed Genealogies

Shem’s List: The Ultimate Example of Condensing

Shem’s Genealogy—Which Bible?

Evidence from the Lifespan of Job for Missing Generations

Evidence from the Message of Job for Missing Generations

Evidence from the Times of Job for Missing Generations

Biblical Earth Movements After the Flood

Peleg, Joktan and the Table of Nations

Historical Errors Obscuring the Condensing of Shem’s Line

Interpretative Errors Supporting Ussher View

The Missing World between the Flood and Peleg

Recent Scholarship Improves Biblical Understanding

Summary of Biblical Findings

Secular Evidence—Those Many Documents Unavailable to Ussher


Evidence from the Times of Job for Missing Generations

Chapter Eleven

Chapter nine showed that when Job’s 280-year lifespan is placed on the timeline of human longevity decay, Shem’s genealogy clearly omits generations.  The next chapter found that the very purpose of Job, identifying the supreme enemy of man’s soul, argues convincingly for missing generations.  Now a third argument from the book of Job, equally powerful, fills chapter 11-- constant references to unusual weather conditions.  Such weather uniquely characterizes an ice age.  The events of Job are played out against the backdrop of the Great Ice Age and reflect a setting long before Solomon or even Abraham. 

Henry Morris observed that Job mentioned cold more than any other book in the Bible.  He went out on a limb to write “there are even hints of the post-flood Ice Age scattered throughout the Book of Job.”[1]  The struggle for survival in an ice age world filled the memories of all who spoke in Job.  Job himself personally experienced at least the tail end of the Great Ice Age in the first 140 years of his life.  This provides the strongest of the three arguments found in chapters 9-11 for generations being omitted between Eber and Peleg since the Patriarchs lived long after the Ice Age.  But as previously discussed expositors place Job’s years anywhere from the days of the Patriarchs to the days of David (2100-1000 BC). 

Discovering Dr. Bernard E. Northrup[2]

After many years of growing conviction that generations were omitted from Shem’s list, I stumbled across Dr. Bernard E. Northrup who excitedly taught that the Book of Job graphically portrayed life in the Great Ice Age.  He had been doing this since 1971 but creationists mostly ignored him because of the two catastrophes he saw striking planet earth in Genesis 1:2-8.  Nevertheless, Northrup was unique in that he was a professional in four areas—geology, the Old Testament, Hebrew and linguistics.  Most importantly, he held to the inerrancy of the Bible.  As to geology he loved rocks from childhood and prepared for a career as a geologist.  Then came the call of God and he became a Hebrew professor instead, teaching seminary level Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic for a lifetime.  His unique background led to unparalleled insight into the subject of HB. 

Over the years he served his denomination’s mission board by helping Bible translators often located in remote areas typically accessed by missionary aircraft.  Geology was always in the back of his mind because to him it confirmed the Bible and showed beyond question the reality of the God he loved.  Whenever possible he would work with the pilot to plot a course that took him by a significant geological formation.  For nearly half a century he collected information on hundreds of formations his gifted eyes observed, invariably associating them with the great biblical event that produced them.  In the church this author attended was a retired missionary who told of arranging for Northrup to see a formation in northeastern Brazil.

Northrup correctly felt that God’s Word and God’s works would agree.  By that he meant the Bible and the geological column would agree.  He felt that God’s creating an earth covered with water on Day One of creation week and thrusting up the super continent out of the water to begin Day Three would have produced a considerable portion of the geologic column.  This is the portion that lacks fossils.  Then the Flood contributed its share to the geological column and the breakup of the super continent added further features, according to Northrup.  Last of all and maybe on the back of the super continent break up, the Great Ice Age would have completed the geological column. 

In Northrup’s early years (1950-1975) he adamantly opposed those who assigned most or even the entire geologic column to Noah’s Flood.   In one article he welcomed the ideas of a promising young geologist, Dr. Steven A. Austin, feeling those ideas were headed in the right direction.  Austin’s doctoral dissertation spoke of coal fields in New York and Pennsylvania grading from harder coal in the east to softer coal in the west.  In Northrup’s opinion the action of the biblical Flood explained how this happened. 

Job:  Replete with Ice Age Phenomena[3]

Northrup’s views reached maturity about the middle of his career when it came to him that Job was an ice age book.  No previous Old Testament scholar had drawn such a conclusion.  Why could he?  The science behind an ice age was brand new.  It began to develop during his lifetime and continues to grow to this day.  His training and continuing interest in geology plus his highly developed skills in biblical Hebrew made him the man of the hour.  To this day over 50 years after his 1971 epiphany few expositors acknowledge the many ice age statements in Job.  To help the reader see this aspect of the book, Northrup’s ice age observations are drawn into the list below: 

  1. Seas frozen over (“the broad waters are frozen fast” 37:10; “the waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen” 38:30);

  2. Clouds loaded with moisture (“He loads the thick cloud with moisture” 37:11);

  3. Ice swollen flash floods (“My brothers are torrential streams...dark with ice” 6:15-16); 

  4. Volcanism/pyroclastic flows (“fire of God fell from heaven” 1:16; “underneath it is turned up as by fire” 28:5);

  5. Sun and stars hidden by the thick clouds of hypercyclones and possibly dense clouds of ash from volcanic eruptions (“who commands the sun, and it does not rise” 9:7; “Deep darkness...thick clouds” 22:13-14);

  6. Glaciers (“From whose womb did the ice come forth?” 38:29);

  7. Canyon-cutting erosion (“who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain?” 38:25);

  8. Extreme earthquakes ([he] “shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble” 9:6);

  9. Crustal upheaval (“he removes...overturns the mountains” 9:5);

  10. Destructive winds (“a great wind struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead” 1:19);

  11. Violent lightning storms (“He lets go...His lightning to the corners of the earth” 37:3);

  12. Intense rainfall (“His mighty downpour [forces] every man [indoors]” 37:6-7);

  13. Snow and hail storms great enough to interrupt wars (“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or...hail?” 38:22-23);

  14. Hunger and inadequate shelter (“want and hard hunger...dwell in holes...and rocks” 30:3, 6);

  15. Tsunamis (“If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land” 12:15). 

Significance of the Above List

Through the centuries no one associated these acts of nature with an ice age because the science behind it was not understood.  Even today the cause of the many ice ages embraced by secular science is hotly debated.  An ice age requires two opposite conditions—heat and cold.  The heat is necessary to evaporate vast quantities of water from the ocean which falls as record amounts of rainfall at lower latitudes and sleet and snow at upper latitudes.  The friction of earth movements produced by powerful earthquakes, by the horizontal and vertical movement of crustal plates and by extensive volcanic activity combine to generate the heat.  All of these acts of nature are found in Job. 

Atmospheric volcanic ash accounts for the cold.  One Indonesian volcano, Mount Tambora, erupted throughout 1815 and 1816.  Its ash blanketed the earth sufficiently to cause worldwide crop failures in 1816, an event known as the year without a summer.  Behind this phenomenon is the physics of wave lengths.  A thin layer of ash high in the sky does not impede light rays.  Even in the presence of such a layer the sun by day and the moon and stars by night can be seen.  But heat has a different wave length.  This difference decreases its ability to pass through even a thin layer of ash.  Depending on the amount of ash in the sky, a portion of the sun’s heat rays are reflected back into space. 

To bring on an ice age, volcanoes need to release enough volcanic ash to drop summer temperatures by up to 40 degrees.  Further, this condition must last for centuries.   The multiplication of and eventual extinction of Wooley Mammoths along the Arctic shoreline reveals this happened.  Only Noah’s flood could cause these two extreme conditions.  Since there was only one such flood that covered the highest mountains, there was only one ice age. 

Creation scientists have advanced various models for the Biblical Flood.  One, the Catastrophic Tectonic Plate theory, produces ample earth movements to produce the necessary heat.  First, the entire pre-Flood ocean floor subducted under the great continent.  Second, a 45,000-mile trench formed on the ocean floor, allowing magma to rise from deep in the earth and replace the old ocean floor.  Third, heat from the magma and the friction of rock sliding on rock warmed the world’s oceans by 40 to 50 degrees.  Fourth, vast worldwide volcanic activity continued for the next thousand years.  Fifth, the heated oceans evaporated enormous quantities of water to produce the Ice Age.  Sixth, the one great continent broke up into the many continents and islands of today. 

Regardless of the model, continuous ash in the sky and massive evaporation from the world’s oceans caused the Ice Age.  By Job’s day the earth was settling down and the Ice Age was coming to an end, but the extreme conditions it produced were still vividly in the collective memory of all who spoke and are found frequently in their dialog. 

The book hardly begins when these extremes appear.  In his back yard, so to speak, a volcanic pyroclastic flow consumed his 7000 sheep and their keepers (Job 1:16).  His servant described the event as “the fire of God.”  While it may have been a lightning storm ranging over many square miles of land which would be remarkable in itself, other acts of nature in the book point to a volcano spewing hot gasses down its side and across Job’s grazing land.  Volcanoes are the result of earth movements and unheard-of earth movements were still common in Job’s day.  Both earth movements far beyond anything experienced today and the earthquakes of enormous magnitude that they produced are casually mentioned:

5He who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, 6who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble.  Job 9:5-6.

Just three verses after the fire of God, a violent storm with unheard of wind speeds struck.  This mega-tornado collapsed his oldest son’s house, fell on its occupants and killed hundreds.  He lived in a house, not in the tent of a nomad.  For the sake of coolness houses in hot, dry lands were constructed with heavy building materials like stone or brick.  Lost were Job’s seven sons, three daughters, family members, guests, friends, and all the servants but one.

In Job are more references to ice age type weather than all the rest of Scripture combined.  During the Great Ice Age, while snow fell at the upper latitudes, rain fell closer to the equator on land that later became deserts.  Both statements in the book of Job and modern science reveal this.  The following pages cite numerous indications of such weather conditions:

15My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed, as torrential streams that pass away, 16which are dark with ice, and where the snow hides itself.  17When they melt, they disappear, when it is hot, they vanish from their place.  Job 6:15-17

These verses depict weather extremes—large quantities of ice and snow accumulating in stream beds during the winter period, then becoming treacherous as the summer hot weather melted them in areas that today are arid.

Those of Job’s day observed how such rushing water produced erosion which he used to illustrate how his suffering was wearing away his faith:

The waters wear away the stones, the torrents wash away the soil of the earth; [even] so you destroy the hope of man.  Job 19:14.

Like ice and cold, excessive water is mentioned frequently in Job.  Eliphaz eulogizes God’s provision of water: “he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields.”  Job 5:10.  Job spoke of washing himself with snow (Job 9:30) and of waiting for the spring rain (Job 29:23).  “They [the poor] are wet with the rain of the mountains.”  “Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters.” “In the gullies of the torrents they [the poor] must dwell.”  “The wind...the roar of the storm” (Job 24:8, 19; 30:6, 22).  Job, Elihu and even God Himself dwelt on violent storms, snow, ice, thick clouds and the rain they produced, none of which are common events in NW Arabia today or even when Abraham lived. 

8He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them.  14The thunder of his power, who can understand?  (Selected statements of Job in 26:8-14.)

6For to the snow he [God] says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.  10By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.  11He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning.   (Selected statements of Elihu in Job 37:6-11.)

22Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail?  25Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, 26to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, 27to satisfy the waste and desolate land and to make the ground sprout with grass?  28Has the rain a father or who has begotten the drops of dew?  29From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?  30The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.  34Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?  35Can you send forth lightnings…. 37Who can number the clouds by wisdom?  Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, 38when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together?  (Selected statements of God in Job 38.)

Elihu spoke of lakes frozen fast (Job 37:10) while God spoke of seas being frozen: “waters become hard like stone and the face of the deep is frozen.”  Job 38:30.  These words describe ice age events.  Deserts are notorious for heat and cold.  But cold nights don’t freeze lakes like stone or cover seas with ice.  Job may have learned of frozen oceans from travelers since caravan drivers heard many tales.  But Elihu was most likely speaking about lakes freezing solid right where these five men lived—in an area from central Mesopotamia to central Jordan.  Such extensive freezing could only occur before the Ice Age ended.

 Growing Desertification

The book of Job speaks at length of large-scale farming and ranching on the one hand and desert-like conditions on the other.  It would seem that they don’t go together, but the fact remains that a careful examination of many statements suggests there was a cold, wet season and a hot, dry one and that both were extreme where Job lived.  The wet season brought some violently moist weather while the dry season was very hot.  This would have occurred in the final stages of the Ice Age.

Rifts and Tidal Waves

Geologists know of another earth movement that happened late in all this activity.   A crack developed in the crust of the Afro-Eurasian continent, from Turkey all the way to Tanzania, 6000 miles to the south.  It is called the Syro-African Rift.  Northrup carefully investigated the Jordan Rift segment where a lake formed from north of the Sea of Galilee to south of the Dead Sea.  Geologists call this ancient body of water Lake Lisan.  Ice age storms may have filled Lake Lisan to the point where it connected with the Red Sea but movements changed that topography again and again so no one can tell for sure.  But if so, the surface of the lake would have been over a quarter of a mile higher than the present elevation of the Dead Sea.

Northrup graphically captures the reader’s imagination by saying that Job 12:15 (point #15 several pages before) poetically describes the action of a tsunami/tidal wave.  First the water recedes due to an earthquake somewhere at sea, but then returns with great destructive force.  Northrup found plains high above the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea that were washed repeatedly by tsunamis all the way to the mountains in Jordan.  He also found walls high on either side of the Jordan Rift that were pounded by wave action.  If Job lived at that time, he could have been an eye witness to these tidal waves and Leviathans that made their way up the trench from the Red Sea.  All of this action left a fertile valley.  Half a millennium later when most of the water had evaporated Scripture described the southern portion of this valley which attracted Lot along with the substantial population of Sodom and Gomorrah:

And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar.  (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)  Genesis 13:10.

If the Great Ice Age is so obvious in the Book of Job, why didn’t students of the book point this out long ago?  As previously pointed out, first and foremost, the science of an ice age only began to be hammered out during the 20th century and its fine points are still being debated so the associated phenomena were not realized in the past.  Consequently, Bible expositors through the ages would have been ignorant of the weather phenomena associated with an ice age and interpreted those Hebrew expressions within the range of their non-ice age knowledge.  Second, some of the references identified by Northrup could be explained in other ways!  For example, Job 9:17: “He crushes me with a tempest” is figurative.  As a satisfying explanation for the verse, the expositor would leave it at that.  But behind Job’s metaphor would be the literal kind of violent storm he experienced during the Great Ice Age that took people’s lives.  Third, there was only one ice age so at only one time in all human history would such phenomena actually be witnessed by people and described. 

Maybe even more astonishing is the fact that Northrup had been teaching Job for nearly 20 years when this insight suddenly came to him.  Imagine—a scholar in the Hebrew who was also an avid professional geologist did not see those clear references to an ice age for that many years.  This suggests how difficult it is for mankind to recognize obvious truths in God’s Word when their minds have not been conditioned to such insights.  Maybe this explains why twenty centuries of Christian scholarship has not recognized the obvious omission of names between Eber and Peleg.

Hypercyclones and Rainfall in Job

The Book of Job speaks often of fierce rain storms.  To have such heavy rainfall there must be thick clouds.  Eliphaz speaks of clouds so thick that Job might think God could not see what he did: “But you say, ‘What does God know?  Can he judge through the deep darkness?  Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see.”  Job 22:13-14.  Later Elihu says, “He loads the clouds with thick moisture.”  Job 37:10.  In fact, Elihu spent all of Job 37 speaking of extreme weather and most of it had to do with rain.  He stated that God orders “the downpour, his mighty downpour” to fall and it drives both man and beast to shelter (Job 37:6-8). 

God Himself asked Job:

25Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain

and a way for the thunderbolt,

26to bring rain on a land where no man is,

on the desert in which there is no man,

27to satisfy the waste and desolate land

and to make the ground sprout with grass?  Job 38:25-27.

Here God speaks of the erosion caused by intense rainfall.  He even says He causes rain to fall on the desert and that it sprouts with grass.  Just how frequently this would have happened in Job’s day is explained by meteorologist Dr. Larry Vardiman whose specialty is hurricanes.  He and an associate modeled a hypothetical tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea (Persian Gulf), raising the sea surface temperature to 95oF which would have happened frequently in the warmer latitudes during the Ice Age. 

The model produced what he called a “hypercyclone” or “hypercane.”  It was 3000 miles in diameter and stretched from the Western Mediterranean through the Middle East.  Lasting 18 days it produced 15 inches of rain on current desert regions that now may not see rain in a decade.  Over Pakistan it dropped 300 inches of rain.  Vardiman concluded that due to Ice Age storms permanent vegetation would have covered much of what is now desert in North Africa and the Middle East for 1000 years.[4]  Separately, space imaging of the Sahara Desert shows depressions that were once lakes and archaeological exploration has found recent remains of aquatic creatures in those desert formations. 

Meaning of Peleg’s Name

In his later writings Northrup adamantly taught that Peleg’s name meant more than “divided.”  He insisted that it included the agent of the division—water; “Peleg,” he said, meant “divided by water.”  He supported his view from geology and chronology, but the underlying Hebrew was his major argument.  Here is the gist of it: 

Most ancient Hebrew words are built on roots of three consonants which form a verb.  Not until the work of the Masoretic scribes between 500 and 800 AD were the vowels sounds and breathing marks added to the text.  Peleg’s name is built on the root verb PLG which is broadly translated “to split, to divide.”  Strong’s Concordance lists 17 occurrences of the noun built on this root.  Seven times the noun is used as a proper name and is always translated as the name “Peleg” in the KJV.  The other ten times the noun refers to a stream, brook, river or channel and is translated as such.  Strong assigned the word number 6378 to the noun when it is used in a general way for a flowing stream of water (Isaiah 32:2, Job 29:6, Psalm 1:3; 119:136, Proverbs 5:16, Proverbs 21:1, Lamentations 3:48, Isaiah 30:25, Psalm 65:9 and Psalm 46:4) and 6379 when it refers to the son of Eber. 

To cite just one of these ten verses, familiar Psalm 1:3 says “He (the man who delights in the law of the LORD) is like a tree planted by streams of water.”  The noun “streams” is the noun form from the root PLG.  Since it is possessive plural, the form is PALGE.  How did the Hebrews associate a river, stream or canal with the concept of dividing?  Depending on the size of those flows, they more or less divide or separate people on one side from people on the other.  Here now is a most remarkable use of the noun.  The very form of Peleg’s name, the masculine nominative singular form, is found in Psalm 65:9 which reads “The river of God is full of water.”  “River” in this verse is PELEG, the same form as the personal noun for a son of Eber, PELEG.

Additionally, the three-consonant root PLG has an even more basic root, the primary two-consonant PL collection of words.  Besides PLG eight other PL verbs are found in the ancient Hebrew.  All in some way are associated with “divide.”  For instance, one, PLT, means “to escape.”  One might wonder what that has to do with “divide.”  If the prisoner escapes, he is divided from his prison and captors.  Another, PLL, means “to intervene.”  When someone or something intervenes, the previous condition is split or divided.  Consequently, the choice of the three consonant PLG within this group for a name speaks not only of a division but implies a division somehow associated with water.

Northrup compared the Hebrew with other languages.  First, he looked at other Semitic languages and then at non-Semitic languages.  He wrote, “In the related Semitic languages, Arabic and Ethiopic, the root PLG means ‘river.’  In Arabic the root is modified to PHALAG.”[5]  In searching Classical Greek he found no less than 18 different nouns bearing the same foundation (PLG) and all referred to the sea in some way.  He observed that even in English this letter sequence is found in such words as archipelago, pelagic depths and pelican which is from an associated root, PLK, and refers to the bill of the pelican that divides the water to catch his prey.[6] 

In his paper on the rock record Northrup gave the following translation of the verse which tells why Peleg was given his name:[7]

And unto Eber were born two sons. The name of the first was Peleg ["divided by water"], for in his days the earth was divided [by water].  (Brackets by Northrup.)  Genesis 10:25. 

In this reference he explained the meaning of Peleg as follows: “Both the name ‘Peleg’ and the word ‘divided’ are built upon the Hebrew root that consistently is used of water division. This is true both in Hebrew and in Classical Greek.  In the latter there are about 18 nouns based on this root and each one has much to do with the ocean.” 

Northrup then took certain creationists to task with, “Some creationists have made the terrible mistake of jumping to the conclusion that this verse [Genesis 10:25] refers to the division of speech into various languages at Babel, an event that is described when chapter eleven [of Genesis] fills in important details that were only referred to in chapter ten.  The researcher should note that this is a common approach in the Hebrew language.”  The confusion comes because Scripture speaks of both a division of mankind into languages (Genesis 10:5 and 10:32—which employs an entirely different Hebrew verb root, “to spread”) and a division of the land surfaces of the earth by water (Genesis 10:25-the PLG verb root, “to divide”). 

To summarize, Genesis 10:25 contains the three-Hebrew-consonant word (PLG) twice, first as a proper name and then as a verb.  In both cases Northrup placed brackets after the Hebrew word to show his understanding of its relationship to water.  In the first instance he defined the Hebrew noun used for a person’s name as Peleg or “divided by water” and in the second instance he defined the Hebrew verb PALAG as “divided by water.”  Thus, Northrup wrote time and again, “Peleg was named ‘divided by water.’”[8]  In another paper he wrote, “This [“divided by water”] is the major meaning of the word Peleg, surprisingly borne out in cognate and non-cognate languages.”[9]  

More recently Dr. John Morris and Dr. James Johnson wrote a paper in which they agreed with Northrup to a point.  Like Northrup they felt the division of Genesis 10:25 was geological and geographical, not linguistic.  They spoke of Northrup’s work at length.  While Northrup felt this division by water occurred when the great single continent was broken up, they felt it was accomplished when the ice from the Great Ice Age melted and separated the continents by water.[10]  Other creationists have also tagged Peleg’s name as marking the end of the Ice Age when the melting ice sheets raised sea level 400 feet and covered the land bridges which had connected continents thus dividing the earth by water.  That explanation seems a better fit for the meaning of Peleg’s name (“to divide by water”) and the time in which he lived—44-54 generations after the Flood.

Northrup’s explanation required more years between the Flood and Job’s ordeal than the Masoretic Text allowed.  So he turned to the Septuagint chronology.  In the LXX he calculated that 531 years elapse from the Flood to the birth of Peleg which together with the additional time in Egypt less Ussher’s early date for Solomon’s temple supplied 645 years of breathing room.  That would be an ice age in record time but it would have to do.  The Ussher followers cram the Great Ice Age into even fewer years which possibly compromises their science in order to preserve their interpretation of Shem’s genealogy as complete.  It would seem that the Masoretic Text numbers together with the hidden beauty of Hebrew genealogies give a better explanation for the missing years, especially since there are far more than 645 years.

Northrup served on the faculties of Bible colleges and seminaries from 1953 to 2005 and addressed these issues for nearly 50 years.  He died in 2008.  During his years he made important contributions to the thinking of those who have attempted to harmonize what God said in His Word with what He did to the surface of the earth.  Northrup declared these ideas in lecture after lecture and wrote them in articles but not in any permanent book.  A decreasing number of web sites contain these articles.  Since he expressed ideas that are contrary to current thinking, even his sound ideas may eventually be lost to the body of Christ.  Nevertheless, Northrup would be pleased to know that most creationists have come to recognize both centuries of major geologic activity after the Flood and much geologic activity before the Flood as well. 

Now you can see why I was so delighted to discover Dr. Bernard E. Northrup.  While I was certain that Job lived long before the Patriarchs, Northrup with his ice age observations in Job provided a powerful argument for Job living long before them.  His observations on geology and the Ice Age require the many generations that are omitted between Eber and Peleg. 

Restatement of the Ice Age Argument

The idea that Job lived during the Great Ice Age is so novel, some may appreciate a second look. While Job, his friends and even God made numerous references to an ice age, no commentator in the past knew what they meant.  Why?  Ice age knowledge is a new discovery in science.  Only in the 20th century did scientists begin to develop an understanding of the subject.  Even today it has more questions than answers. 

What, then, did commentators do with those numerous ice age references found in Job?  They allegorized them, explained them away or ignored them!  Consequently, believing Shem’s chronology was complete, commentators for the last 2000 years placed Job between Abraham and David, 500-1500 years too late. 

Secular science has developed over 60 models for an ice age.  There are so many because none works.  Science will be surprised when it finally realizes that two opposite conditions are needed for an ice age—much heat and much cold.  Creation scientists are finding the Flood introduced those elements which lasted for centuries.  The Flood initially pumped heat into the world’s oceans when “all the fountains of the great deep burst forth.”  That heat began evaporating enormous amounts of water which, as time passed, began to fall as snow in the upper latitudes and as torrential rains at the lower latitudes, even producing rivers and lakes where the Sahara Desert now exists.  During that time, ash in the atmosphere kept the summer sun from melting the growing ice sheets. 

But how did the Flood cause oceans to become 40o warmer and summers 40o colder and for these conditions to last for centuries?  Although there is much mystery about the fountains of the deep, it is no secret that the earth gets a lot hotter as you descend towards its center.  Whatever those fountains poured out heated the ocean.  Additionally, scientists discovered a 45,000-mile fault on the bottom of the deep oceans.  Molten rock that poured out of this fault also heated the ocean.  But, how could so much heat remain in the ocean for centuries?  The Flood caused the breakup of the one continent.  Over the centuries the pieces moved to their present location to become separate continents and islands.  As the pieces (or plates) moved, rock ground on rock to produce friction that maintained the ocean’s heat. 

Centuries of continuous tectonic activity released volcanic ash which formed a thin layer high in the atmosphere.  Scientists have learned that volcanic ash impedes the flow of heat but not light.  The ash in the sky reflected enough of the sun’s heat back into space to drop summer temperatures by up to 40o and over many years allow sufficient winter snow to accumulate to form those ice sheets.  Hence the Flood also supplied the opposite needed condition, the cold.  When the earth finally settled down, summer heat returned, and much ice melted.  The Ice Age was over.

Undeniable conclusions can be drawn from an ice age following the Flood.  First, since there was only one Flood, there could have been but one ice age.  Second, creationists who regard the Flood as local or regional have no mechanism to produce the Ice Age and face the same dilemma the secular scientists face.  Yet secular science does not doubt that ice ages occurred.  Geologists have found no end of evidence for the Ice Age and that evidence invariably rests on top of the geological formations produced by the Flood.  Clearly the Ice Age followed the Flood.  Finally, the Ice Age supports our contention that Job’s ordeal occurred half a millennium before Abraham. 

The warm ocean water grew a great plain of grass on the narrow strip of land between the Asian Artic Ocean and the mountains further inland.  As the Ark’s animal population multiplied elephants migrated to these distant shores, attracted by its warm climate and abundant grass.  Lacking natural predators, they came to number in the millions and developed into a distinct subset of the elephant kind called Woolley Mammoths.  Eventually they became stranded, cut off from the world to the south.  As the Ice Age wound down, the intense cold, dwindling fresh water and lack of grass spelled their demise.  For centuries explorers thought they had drowned in the Flood.  Recently, more careful examination showed they were buried in loess, the dust produced by rock grinding on rock.  Now their extinction is attributed to that final period of the Ice Age when the ocean became cold, and grass no longer grew along those artic shores.

While Scripture focuses on the Flood’s water covering the entire earth and killing all air-breathing life outside the Ark, God also said that He would destroy the earth: “Behold, I will destroy them [living things] with the earth.” Genesis 6:13.  Because Scripture focuses on the destruction of life, this is the focus of Hidden Beauty as well as commentators in general.  Of significance, however, is the destruction of the earth which refers to the impact of the Flood and its aftermath on the earth’s surface.  Creation scientists are adding to our knowledge of this second impact of the Flood.

Descendants of the Flood survivors built the city of Babel and its tower in Lower Mesopotamia.  God judged mankind by giving each major family group its own language.  Groups left Southern Mesopotamia to find land for themselves.  Uz and his descendants settled in Western Arabia and established a region called “the land of Uz.”  As a major landowner in Uz, Job would have been a member of this people group. 

Following the Flood new weather patterns that produced the Ice Age brought snow and ice to the upper latitudes while rain-drenching hypercyclones ripped through areas nearer the equator, even watering places that seldom see rain today.  We previously mentioned the work of atmospheric scientist Dr. Larry Vardiman, a creationist who modeled these storms.  With the Persian Gulf at 95o F, his model showed that such a storm would have measured 3000 miles in diameter, lasted 18 days and dropped up to 300 inches of rain in Pakistan and 15 inches on lands that today are desert.  It is not surprising that many of Noah’s descendants sought out the Lower Mesopotamian Valley and even Arabia to escape frequent snow and ice storms in the mountains of Ararat. 

Some generations after Eber, his descendant Joktan found Arabia to be a refuge from much of this adverse weather.  Although Arabia endured hypercyclones produced by the Ice Age, they would have been preferable to facing growing ice sheets and months of unceasing ice storms in the upper latitudes.  Joktan’s 13 sons helped populate Arabia and Job was still trading with their descendants at the end of the Ice Age.  While most of Arabia is a desert today and its population is small, it may have held a substantial portion of the world’s population by the time the Ice Age reached its peak.  About eight generations after the birth of Job, Peleg, brother of Joktan in the broad sense of also being a descendant of Eber, was born in that general area.  The ice sheets had melted.  The Great Ice Age was over.  Peleg was given the name which means “divided by water” because the oceans now contained the melt water from the vast ice sheets and covered the land bridges, dividing the continents by water. 

It took over 2000 years for the earth to settle down and reach relative calm after the Flood.  If this violence were charted, the line would start high on the left side, immediately plunge to represent the first forty days of the Flood, then begin curving, and reach almost horizontal after 2000 years.  This graph is only possible if 40-50 generations are missing in Shem’s list.

Progressive Revelation of the Names for God

One last significant argument for dating Job early needs to be included before closing this section of HB: the extensive presence of the noun “Shaddai,” an early form for the name of God.   When Abraham (Abram) was 99 years old God made a covenant with him, declaring that he would be the father of many nations, that God would give the land of Canaan to his offspring, that he would be called Abraham (father of a multitude), that Sarai would be called Sarah (mother of nations) and that God would give him a son through barren Sarah.  He assured Abraham that He could do all this by using a new name—El Shaddai (Hebrew); “God Almighty” (English): 

1When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me and be blameless, 2that I may make my covenant between me and you, and multiply you greatly.”  Genesis 17:1-2.

This revelation was made about 2067 BC.  Then 600 years later when God called Moses, about 1447 BC, He made Himself known as Jehovah/Yahweh (depending on vowel pointing) which is translated LORD in most English Bibles and means “I am,” the self-existent one, the One who always existed.  In Exodus 6:2-3 God actually distinguishes when these two names were revealed:

2God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD [I am—the eternally existing one; Jehovah].  3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty [El Shaddai], but by my name the LORD [Jehovah] I did not make myself known to them.”  (Brackets ours.)

 Concerning El Shaddai, God’s name first given to Abraham, El is the masculine singular form for God while Shaddai is a word with an uncertain origin.  The meanings of possible roots in various languages include power, breast (nourishment) and mountain but it is commonly rendered “Almighty.”  What does this have to do with Job? 

 Shaddai was a name for God before He revealed Himself as El Shaddai to Abraham.  Shaddai is found by itself about 41 times in Scripture and 31 are in Job.  The compound name (El Shaddai) is found six times between God’s revelation to Abraham and his revelation to Moses 600 years later but according to Exodus 6:2-3, it was used frequently.  It is found once later in the Old Testament—in Ezekiel 10:5 when the Shekinah Glory departed the Temple.  Once the strongest word for God [LORD/Jehovah] was given, the lesser words, Shaddai and El Shaddai were used infrequently.  Since the early word for God, Shaddai, is found abundantly in Job, Job clearly lived before the stronger word was given to Abraham.  This progression is difficult to see because Moses in his work of compiling and editing inserted the strongest name, LORD/Jehovah, when appropriate in both the books of Genesis and Job.

Takeaway from Job:  Creation, a Pathway to Faith

Biblical inerrancy does not allow relegating the book of Job to allegory or myth.  It speaks of real people with real experiences.  Job’s friends had educated minds and spoke from a wealth of knowledge and experience.  Their early place in the post-Flood history of mankind helps later generations to understand more clearly that God has always instructed men in His ways.  Ultimately the book of Job shows God’s love and concern for all His creation, especially those made in His image. 

But think on this: God has an ongoing relationship, almost unmentioned in Scripture, with the holy and fallen angels.  Man needed to be aware of this relationship because it affects man.  God holds assemblies for the entire population of heaven and on two reported occasions, man’s devotion to God was in question.  Satan, our accuser, is galled by our love for God. To get this idea out God threw His most prized human servant under the train.  Then to restore the trust of that servant, He made a personal visit to him and allowed his four detractors to witness it.  If that weren’t enough, the visit was not to sympathize but to give a science presentation on creation and God’s providential care of it, the likes of which is unequaled in biblical revelation or human history. 

But what about Behemoth and Leviathan?  If the contest of heaven in chapter one and two of Job reflects the heavenly conflict begun before creation, certainly God’s reminder to us of the evil of Satan via literal dragons in His animal kingdom is not so hard to accept.  Such unity of Scripture is its beauty.  This relationship between Job and Genesis, dragons in Genesis and Revelation, is but an early example of the Bible’s ongoing saga regarding sin and God’s answer for it. 

So, on the one hand, finding this truth about God’s interaction with the leader of the fallen angels in the book of Job challenges creation folks to believe that Job lived when Scripture places him—after the Flood but considerably before Abraham and even some generations before Peleg.  Clearly, generations are omitted in Shem’s genealogy.  As Hebrews 1:1 declares, God has revealed Himself “at many times and in many ways.” 

On the other hand, believers who say “how old the earth is doesn’t matter” need to move beyond that and see the importance of understanding all Scripture so that they may be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:17).  This includes these foundational truths of Satan, revealed in the Book of Job—his nature and tactics illustrated by living, dangerous dragons which were not myths and did not die out or even live 65 million years ago but still populated the earth in Job’s day four and one half millennia ago.

Is it too much to believe how highly God considers creation in helping our faith?  Of course, unbelievers maintain the book of Job is late and a product of the human mind.  Yet how do they explain how man could formulate the science questions God Himself posed in chapters 38 and 39?  They are the stuff of modern science, today’s science.  Some are even the stuff of tomorrow’s science.  Absent in Job are mythical exaggerations and errors characteristic of ancient secular writings. 

Nevertheless, believing in God can be hard.  In our entire lifetime we will never see Him.  In fact, in our lifetime billions of people will live and never see Him.  Then God says that even one sin keeps us out of heaven.  He says His son was judged on a cross for all our sins so that when we receive this substitute, God can forgive our sins and give us eternal life.  That is very hard to believe.  But while we can’t see God, and His salvation message is foreign to human experience, we can see creation.  We see His creation from the time we wake until we go to sleep.  We see people, animals, insects, mountains, oceans, forests and the sky with sun and stars.  Creation is that bridge to faith in the unseen God and His remedy for man’s sinful condition.  If the enemy wants to destroy us today, he has to get us to think that creation has always been around, or that it made itself, or that it came to be in some other way than by the will and design of the Creator.  A vast enterprise works to keep such ideas circulating.  But holding evolutionary belief is becoming more and more ridiculous. 

Current science acknowledges DNA as the blueprint for life found in the cells of all living things.  But it is going haywire.  Mutations keep accumulating.  Science knows some are really harmful and will take the life of that living thing apart from heroic coping efforts.  What happened to natural selection?  Obviously, it is a pipedream.  So believing in God and His salvation should not be that difficult—it is mostly a matter of getting the right information.  At the least is taking the book of Job at face value.  After all, creation is the link between the seen and the unseen. 

Literary giants have heaped their accolades on the Book of Job.  Alfred Lord Tennyson called it “the greatest poem, whether of ancient or modern literature.”  Thomas Carlyle said Job was “one of the grandest things ever written.”  Father of the modern creation movement Dr. Henry Morris II called it the most remarkable book in the Bible.  By confirming the absence of names in Shem’s genealogy, it has become even greater, grander and more remarkable. 

[1] Morris, Job, 29.

[2] Bernard E. Northrup, The Genesis of Geology.

[3] Bernard E. Northrup, “On Finding an Ice Age Book.”  Accessed 2018.

[4]     Larry Vardiman, “A Well-Watered Land: Effects of the Genesis Flood on Precipitation in the Middle East,” Acts and Facts, June 2012 (40-6): 12-15.

[5] Bernard E. Northrup, “The Grand Canyon and Biblical Catastrophes,” 16-20.  

[6] Ibid.

[7] Bernard E. Northrup, “The Witness in the Record of the Rocks.”

[8] Northrup, Grand Canyon.

[9] Bernard E. Northrup, “The Genesis of Geology.”

[10] John D. Morris and James J. Scofield Johnson, “Rightly Dividing the Word about Peleg,” (Dallas TX: Institute for Creation Research, 2009): 1-29.

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