Thursday, October 22, 2020

“Let There Be Light,” On October 22, 4004 b.c.


“Let There Be Light,” On October 22, 4004 b.c.

       The Book of Genesis begins “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1.  At some time thereafter “Then God said, “’Let there be light;’ and there was light.”  Genesis 1:3. Then “God divided the light from the darkness, … called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:4 - :5.

      According to calculations made by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, as set forth in The Annals of the World Deduced from the Origin of Time and continued to the beginning of the Emperor Vespasian’s Reign (the title goes on from there), that first moment of creation took place at the onset of evening (6 p.m.) proceeding October 23, 4004 b.c.  These calculations were made by working backwards from the birth of Jesus in 4 b.c. (Ussher accounted for Dionysius’ error in calculating the year of Jesus’ birth) based upon the ages of the Patriarchs and the Kings of Israel as set forth in the Old Testament.

      By Ussher’s calculations, October 23 would have been a Sunday, the first day of the seven day week described in Genesis that would conclude on Saturday, the Sabbath day of rest. 

      Ussher’s dating of the Exodus from Egypt to 1491 b.c. comports with the modern scholarship of its dating (to the extent it took place as a historic event) to a so called “early Exodus.”

      Ussher’s chronology achieved its fame by being incorporated into numerous Bibles, they sometimes listing its dates in marginal notes.  Numerous similar chronologies, including one by Isaac Newton and another by the Venerable Bede, failed to be so referenced and faded into obscurity. Bede placed creation in 3952 b.c., but he made no effort to determine the precise day and time.

     Of course it is all malarkey; the age of the Earth is measured in billions, not thousands, of years.  In addition, and just to be snarky, if Creation took place at 6 p.m., was that Eastern Standard Time?

      October 22 is also the anniversary of the “Great Disappointment,” the failure of the Second Coming predicted for 1844 by William Miller and certain of his disciples based upon their interpretation of Biblical texts.  When October 23, 1844, dawned the fallacy of their prediction was laid bare.


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