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Sunday, October 12, 2014

4004 B.C.: The beginning of Time?

At some point early on in human existence men and women grew curious about the their surroundings, and they began to ask questions. In essence, as the Biblical allegory says, they ate from the tree of knowledge.

Thus, as noted by Alexander Wilder in his 1901 "History of Medicine:"
By such eating of the Tree of Knowledge, the eyes become open, and the man is as god. He makes “the divinest conquest of the human intellect." (1, page 2)
When was this tree of knowledge planted, no one knows for sure.  According to the Bible, God created Adam and Eve, and they lived in the Garden of Eden, and this was the beginning of time.

According to Patricia D. Netzley, in her 1998 book "The Stone Age," "some editions of the King James Bible even offered the date of Creation: as 4004 B.C. This date was developed by a religious scholar, an Irish archbishop named James Usher, who used time reference in the bible to construct a system of biblical chronology."  (5, page 18)

This actually makes sense, considering a written language was supposedly invented in Mesopotamia around 3200 B.C., and subsequently, this language made its way to Egypt.  This means it was at about this time when all the information from the past was written down for the first time, information such as:
  • Myths
  • Legends
  • Religions
  • Laws
  • Recipes for foods
  • Recipes for remedies
Prior to this time, this information was relayed by word of mouth, probably by words turned into lyrics and relayed by poems recited or songs sung around the fires late in the evening under the moonless sky, or somewhere on a cold and snowy evening in a cave around a warm fire.  Chances are these stories were altered each time they were told.

The creation of a written language allowed for these stories to be recorded for all of history, assuring that they would no longer be altered when retold.    

Since there was no ability to write prior to about 3200 B.C., each generation had to start from scratch, and so it's probable the information relayed must have been kept very simple, as can be noted by some of the early Biblical stories.  The stories of creation, of Adam and Eve, and of the Tower of Babylon are all very pithy stories, mere summaries of true events.

For most of us, history begins from the time we were born.  So it only makes sense that events that occurred 800 years before you were born, if not shared with you, did not exist.  Yet this all changed sometime around 4004 B.C, or when written language was available.

Interestingly enough, this date was believed to be accurate well into the 19th century, and even into the 20th century for some.  Many of the history books I read in preparing to write this history referred to the Bible for the earliest evidence of our history.

According to the people who wrote the Bible, this history was 100 percent accurate, and this was given the limited knowledge of human history at that time.

Now, I'm not implying that Biblical stories aren't true, I'm merely saying they are but summaries of true events.  Biblical stories were, in essence, allegorical.  This is not a knock on the Bible, as this was simply how stories were told during Biblical times.

When stone tools were discovered from time to time, they were usually classified as things like "petrified thunderbolts, fairy arrows, exhalations of the clouds," said Netzley.  By the 1600s, however, "scholars suggested that these ancient items might somehow be related to human activity."  (2, page 17-18)

When dinosaur bones were discovered, they were thought to be bones of the animals kept on the arc, or animals that were killed by the great flood.  

Historians have proven that the stories in he Old Testament really did happen, and provide us with an accurate depiction of human history.

However, there is evidence that human activity persisted long before the beginning of Biblical times.  There is also evidence of knowledge, diseases, remedies, and even doctors prior to 4004 B.C.


  1. Wilder, Alexander, "History of Medicine, a brief outline of medical history and sects of physicians, from the earliest historic period; with an extended account of the new schools of the healing art in the nineteenth century, and especially a history of the American eclectic practice of medicine, never before published," 1901, Maine, New England Eclectic Publishing Co.
  2. Netzley, Patricia D, "World History Series: The Stone Age," 1998, San Diego, CA, Lucent Books
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