The Christianization of the Ancient Aliens Theory Part Two The Nephilim Problem

In an earlier blog The Christianization of the Ancient Aliens Theory Part One I discussed how some Christians have been using the same flawed and fabricated evidence  which the ancient aliens movement uses, except they attribute it to an advanced human civilization from before the Flood, rather than aliens. In this follow up post  I will look at how other Christians have aslo been using the same evidence  which they attribute to the Nephilim or giants instead of ancient aliens visitors.

In fact,  there appear to be more Christian books, which assume  that the ancient aliens evidence is basically sound and they can still us it  as long as they attribute it to the Nephilim or giants rather than aliens, than there are books by Christians, such as Clifford Wilson, debunking the ancient aliens theory and its dodgy evidence.

The Nephilim are mentioned on Genesis 6,

“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took for themselves, whomever they chose … The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:1-2,4 NASB)

In other Old Testament passages, the “sons of God” meant angels (Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7). The traditional Jewish interpretation of this passage was that the “sons of God” were fallen angels or demons who had sex with human women and their offspring, the Nephilim were human/angel hybrids. “Nephilim” appears to be derived from the Hebrew “naphal”, meaning “to fall” and means “fallen ones”. However, the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Jewish Bible) and the King James version translate it as “giants”.

The apocryphal Book of Enoch elaborates on the Genesis 6 passage. It says that 200 angels called Watchers led by Samjaza landed on Mount Hermon. They married human women and their children were the giants who were 300 cubits (137 metres) tall. Some Watchers, led by Azaayel, taught humans metallurgy, sorcery, astrology and even cosmetics. The giants became violent and resorted to cannibalism. The oppressed humans cried out to God who imprisoned the Watchers under the earth and sent the Flood to destroy the giants (Enoch 7-10).

The early Christians also subscribed to the fallen angel interpretation of Genesis 6, until it was replaced by the Sethite interpretation. This argued that the sons of God were not angels, but the godly descendants of Adam’s son Seth who had previously called upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26). The daughters of men were descendants of Cain. The Sethites married the immoral Cainite women and were corrupted by them, similar to what later happened with the Israelites and the Midianite women (Numbers 25).

The Sethite theory has been the dominant Christian interpretation. For example, John Calvin believed in the Sethite theory and wrote about the fallen angels theory, “That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity: and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious.” (John Calvin, A Commentary on Genesis, Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1965, p 238)

While most Christians assumed that the sons of God were humans, Erich von Daniken and other ancient aliens writers took the fallen angels interpretation and argued that the angles were really aliens who had sex with humans, resulting in human/alien hybrids In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest among some Christians in the fallen angel interpretation and the Nephilim, their supposed human/angel hybrid offspring, which is often connected with UFOs and Bible prophecy. These Nephilim researchers are Christians but they have clearly been influenced by the ancient aliens theory and appear to be cashing in on it. They use many of the same arguments and evidence but they attribute it to the Nephilim or giants instead of aliens.

In The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse Patrick Heron acknowledges this,

“In discussing the pyramids and other ancient monuments and other ancient monuments, many profess to believe that aliens or extra-terrestrials came to Earth from afar and were responsible for these buildings. The theory advanced here would support this supposition. The only difference is that the Scriptures do not label these beings as “aliens” or “extra-terrestrials”, but refer to them as “fallen angels”, “sons of God” or the “Nephilim”. Enoch called them “stars’, “spiritual beings” and the “Watchers”. (Patrick Heron, The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse, Citadel Press, New York, 2004, p 113)

In The Omega Conspiracy I.D. E. Thomas tries to make the sons of God of Genesis 6 sound like extra-terrestrials. He calls them “spirit beings from outer space”(I.D.E. Thomas, The Omega Conspiracy, Anomolas Publishing, Missouri, 2008, p 92) and “space beings called fallen angels” who showed primitive humans how to build the pyramids and other monuments. ( p 116)

In Giants, Fallen Angels and the Return of the Nephilim, Dennis Lindsay says about the sons of God and angels of Genesis 6,

“In today’s common vernacular one might call these beings aliens or extraterrestrials, Yes, it appears these creatures have visited Planet Earth in the past, and as we shall see, in the near future they will begin to appear once more.” (Dennis Lindsay, Giants, Fallen Angels and the Return of the Nephilim, Destiny Image, Pennsylvania, 2018, p 131)

This is the ancient aliens theory for Christians. They are making the Bible’s angels sound like aliens.

While ancient aliens believes claim that aliens built the Great Pyramid or gave human the technology to build it, Christian Nephilim researchers say the Nephilim or giants built the Great Pyramid.

I. D. E. Thomas says we could not build the Great today (The Omega Conspiracy, p 9, 11, 13). In Alien Agenda, The Return of the Nephilim Aaron Judkins writes, “Today, with all our modern science and engineering, we would not be able to build a Great Pyramid of Giza.” (Aaron Judkins, Alien Agenda, The Return of the Nephilim, Maverick Publishing, Texas, 2012, p 98)

This is reminiscent of what von Daniken wrote in Chariots of the Gods?,

“Today, in the twentieth century, no architect could build a copy of the Pyramid of Cheops, even if the technical resources of every continent were at his disposal.” (Erich von Daniken, Chariots of the Gods?, Corgi, London, 1972, p 100)

Of course, engineers could build the Great Pyramid today, but why would they bother?

I.D.E. Thomas writes, “As for the Great Pyramid, many scientists suggest a date back generations before the Flood.” (The Omega Conspiracy, p 114) Who are these scientists?

Patrick Heron writes the Great Pyramid “was the first to have been built” (The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse, p 1)and seems “to have just popped up out of nowhere”(p 43). It wasn’t and it didn’t. Again, this is reminiscent of what von Daniken wrote in Chariots of the Gods? that ancient Egypt ”appears suddenly and without transition with a fantastic ready-made civilisation.”(Chariots of the Gods?, p 96) Egyptologists believe ancient Egyptian civilization developed gradually over thousands of years.

Aaron Judkins and L.A. Marzulli repeat the ancient aliens claim that the Great Pyramid was used to generate energy and was part of a world grid (L.A. Marzulli, On the Trail of the Nephilim, Spiral of Life Publishing, Kentucky, 2013, p 218-220, Alien Agenda, The Return of the Nephilim, p 102-103). This same claim is made in the Ancient Aliens episodes “The Evidence” and “Alien Power Plants”.

Like their ancient aliens equivalents, Nephilim researchers do not sound like they know much about ancient Egypt and the pyramids. They do not appear to have read many books by qualified Egyptologists on how the pyramids were probably built. They do not know so they assume it was the Nephilim or giants.

In ancient Egyptian art Rameses II (1303-1213 BC) and other Pharaohs were sometimes depicted a larger than everyone else. Patrick Heron and Rob Skiba take these depictions literally and claim that Rameses II and other Pharaohs really were giants (Rob Skiba, Archon Invasion, The Rise, Fall and Return of the Nephilim, King’s Gate Media, Texas, 2012,  p 222-223, The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse, p 93-96) .Dennis Lindsay thinks this is evidence that giants built the pyramids (Giants, Fallen Angels and the  Return of the Nephilim, p 73-74). We know Rameses II was not a giant – he was 170 cm tall – because his mummy is in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. It was a convention in Egyptian art to portray the Pharaoh a larger than everyone else because he was more important than everyone else. It was not meant to be taken literally any more than the depiction of ancient Egyptians with their eyes on the sides of their heads should be taken literally.

Nephilim researchers do not limit themselves to ancient Egypt. They also claim that Baalbek, Cuzco, Stonehenge, Nazca and other monuments which the ancient aliens movement claims were built with the help of aliens, were actually built by the Nephilim or giants (Steve Quayle, Genesis 6 Giants, End Time Thunder Publishers, Montana, 2015 p 174, Alien Agenda, The Return of the Nephilim, p 98, 127-131, The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse, p 1-5, 79, 100-101, The Omega Conspiracy, p 112-114, Archon, The Rise, Fall and Return of the Nephilim, p 16, 219, On the Trail of the Nephilim , p174-194, Giants, Fallen Angels and the Return of the Nephilim, p 75-86). Rob Skiba suggests that the Great Wall of China was built to keep out the giants (Archon Invasion, The Rise, Fall and Return of the Nephilim, p 287-289).

Some  ancient aliens writers and Nephilim researchers like to describe themselves as “explorers”. They are explorers. They are tourists.  They go to tourist attractions like Giza or Cuzco, often wearing a hat like Indiana Jones, which presumably makes them qualified to speak on archaeology. Ancient aliens believers look at these monuments and say “Ooo, aliens must have built it.” Nephilim writers  look at the same monuments and say “Ooo, the Nephilim must have built it.”

They repeat other flawed arguments of the ancient aliens movement. Steve Quayle cites the Vaimmanika Shastra and the supposed nuclear war in the Mahabharata (Genesis 6 Giants, p 114-115) which I have addressed in The Case Against Ancient Aliens Part Six Vimanas and Nuclear War in Ancient India. He also mentions ooparts, like the Antikythera Device and the Baghdad Batteries (Genesis 6 Giants, p 112-113).

Thomas Horn and Aaron Judkins use Zecharia Sitchin’s fabricated definition of Anunnaki (Thomas Horn, Nephilim Stargates, The Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers, Anomalos Publishing, Oregon, 2007, p 26, Alien Agenda, The Return of the Nephilim, p 72). Rob Skiba has written, “According to the ancient texts, these Anunnaki were said to have genetically life here on earth.” (Archon Invasion, The Rise, Fall and Return of the Nephilim, p 63) It sounds like he has been reading Sitchin.  I have discussed the claims of Zecharia Sitchin  in an article The Case Against Ancient Aliens Part Four Zecharia Sitchin which was published in the Australian magazine Ufologist, Vol. 21, No. 6, March-April 2018. A good website exposing Sitchin is Michael Heiser’s Sitchin is Wrong.

Steve Quayle and Aaron Judkins repeat the ancient aliens claim that Alexander the Great saw UFOs which looked like flying shields (Genesis 6 Giants, p 115, Alien Agenda, The Return of the Nephilim, p 17). There is no historical evidence for this. It was made up by Frank Edwards in his 1959 book Stranger  Than Science ((Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck, Wonders in the Sky, Jeremy Tarcher, New York, 2010, p 379-380).

Patrick Heron and Rob Skiba suggest that the half man/half animal creatures of mythology were real, the result of genetic experiments by fallen angels or the Nephilim (The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse, p 62-63,  Archon Invasion, The Rise, Fall and Return of the Nephilim, p 146-147). This is reminiscent of Ancient Aliens episodes “Gods and Aliens”, “Aliens and Monsters” and “Aliens and Sacred Spaces” which suggest that these mythological monsters were genetic experiments created by aliens . Steve Quayle suggests that that dinosaurs were genetic experiments carried out by fallen angels (Genesis 6 Giants, p 167-168). The Ancient Aliens episode “Aliens and Dinosaurs” says aliens created dinosaurs.

Jesus said that before his Second Coming it would be ‘just like the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). Nephilim researchers believe this not only refers to the moral conditions. They believe there will be a “return of the Nephilim” which is connected to the UFO abduction phenomenon.

Many Christian UFO researchers have concluded that the authentic UFO phenomenon, particularly UFO abductions, is demonic in origin, such as Gary Bates, Alien Intrusion, Master Books, Arizona, 2005, Joseph Jordan and David Ruffino, Unholy Communion, Defender Press, Missouri, 2010, John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on UFOs and Other Supernatural Phenomena, Harvest House, Oregon, 1992. There is a sexual component in nearly all UFO abductions. Abductees are either forced to have sex with the UFO entities or they experience violating medical procedures (Kevin Randle, et al, The Abduction Enigma, Forge Books, New York, 1991, p 81). During their experiences UFO abductees often report seeing “human/alien hybrids” which are supposed to be the product of these sexual encounters and genetic experiments. The similarity between these modern human/demon hybrids and the pre-Flood human/demon hybrids, the Nephilim, seems obvious. Nephilim researchers believe that before the Second Coming there will be a generation of human/demon hybrids which are created in UFO abductions. Some have suggested the Antichrist will be a modern Nephilim (Chuck Missler, Alien Encounters, Koinonia House, Idaho, 1997, p 280-281, Nephilim Stargates, The Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers, p 184-186, 196)

I agree UFO abductions are demonic. I have written about this in Identifying the UFO Entities Part One (Ufologist, Vol,. 15, No. 2, July-August 2011) Identifying the UFO Entities Part Two (Ufologist, Vol 15, No. 3, September-October  2011) and UFOs, The Bible and the World View Problem, (Ufologist, Vol. 16, No. 6, March-April 2013.

However, the Nephilim-UFO abduction connection argument is flawed because UFO abductions do not appear to be physically real. There have been no credible cases where independent witnesses saw an abductee being taken aboard a UFO. In fact, there have been cases where someone believed they had been taken onto a UFO but others saw them asleep or in a trance (Jenny Randles, Abduction, Guild Publishing, London, 1980, p 139-140, Jenny Randles, Alien Contact, Coronet Books, Great Britain, 1981, p 64-66, Karla Turner, Taken, Rose Printing, Tallahassee, 1988, p 8-9). The only case in which a UFO abduction was observed by UFO researchers was the case of Maureen Puddy. In 1973 she was in a car near Melbourne, Victoria, with two investigators from the Victorian UFO Research Society. She believed she was taken aboard a UFO, but the two investigators said she had been in a trance in the car the whole time (Keith Basterfield, UFOs: A Report on Australian Encounters, Reed Books, Victoria, 1997, p 11-17). This is apparently the only case in which a UFO abduction was witnessed by UFO investigators and the abductee did not go anywhere.

I do not believe UFO abductees are physically taken aboard UFOs. The abduction experience appears to be implanted in their minds by demonic entities while they are in an altered state of consciousness (Clifford Wilson, Close Encounters: A Better Explanation,  Master Books, San  Diego, 1978, p 124-125, The Facts on UFOs and Other Supernatural Phenomena, p 32-34). If UFO abductions are not physically real, then the hybrid children, which abductees see during their experiences, cannot be real either.

Moreover, the whole theory that the Nephilim were the offspring of fallen angels and human women is doubtful. When the Sadducees asked Jesus about marriage after the resurrection, he said, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30)

Jesus appears to be saying that angels cannot marry or have sex. This would mean that the sons of God in Genesis 6 could not have been angels and the Nephilim could not have been their human/angel hybrid children.

Defenders of the fallen angel theory argue this only means that angels in heaven do not marry, but they are still capable of marrying and having sex on earth (Genesis 6 Giants, p 5, Alien Encounters, p 212). This is not convincing. Those, who subscribe to the fallen angel theory, want us to believe that God created angels with male genitalia, capable of producing sperm, but they were not allowed to marry and have sex. What were they supposed to do? It is no wonder it ended in disaster.

Angels sometimes appear identical to humans (Genesis 18, 19, Hebrews 13:2), but they are not the same. God made humans “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5). Even if angels have DNA, they are not the same species as humans. Offspring of the two should be impossible.

In The Nephilim Deception C. M. Boyer argues, “Demon-human reproduction cannot have taken place, it is biologically impossible for anything other than the human male sperm to fertilize a human female oocyte, with the exception of the Holy Spirit in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (C.M. Boyer, The Nephilim Deception, Create Space independent Publishers, USA, 2016, p 1)

However, other New Testament passages appear to suggest that angels had sex with human women and were punished for it.

“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chians for the judgement of the great day, as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flash, and set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 6-7)

“For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartaros) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but spared Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making theme an example to those who live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) – then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgement.(2 Peter 2:4-9)

Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research has proposed a solution which incorporates elements of the fallen angel and Sethite theories. He suggests that the angels or sons of God lusted after the human women so they demonically possessed the men and experienced having sex through them (Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, Baker, Michigan, 1996, p 169). This theory manages to reconcile Matthew 22, which says angels cannot marry or presumably have sex, with 2 Peter 2 and Jude which suggest that they did. It also resolves the problem of “angel DNA” and how angels and humans could have offspring. This is not an identical scenario to modern UFO abductions, but both involve some form of demonic influence or possession.

It means the Nephilim would have been fully human, but they were raised by demon-possessed parents. They would have grown up to evil, violent people. Genesis says the Nephilim were the “mighty men of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4). They were men or humans, not half-human, half-angel hybrids. The Flood was sent because “the wickedness of men was great on the earth” (Genesis 6:5). The wicked men were the Nephilim.

This theory about the identity of the Nephilim is admittedly specualtive. Even if the fallen angels theory is still correct, that still does not mean the Nephilim built the pyramids. We cannot Christianize  the ancient aliens theory, we cannot use the same evidence if we cross out “aliens ” and write “Nephilim” because their evidence is wrong on the first place.

 

 

Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective An Evangelical Review


Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider, William H.C. Propp (editors), Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, Text, Archaeology, Culture and Geoscience, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, 2015, 584 pages

Between May 31 and June 3, 2013, a conference “Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text, Memory and Imagination” was held at the University of California, San Diego. 44 papers were presented by contributors from the United States, Canada, Israel and Europe. They were published in 2015 as Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture and Geoscience, edited by Thomas Levy, Thomas Schneider and William Propp.

I approached this collection of papers wanting to see what mainstream scholarship believed about the historicity of the Exodus and the subsequent Conquest of Canaan.

I was disappointed there was no contribution by Kenneth Kitchen, Professor Emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, an expert Egyptologist and an evangelical Christian. The only evangelical contributor appears to have been James K. Hoffmeier, Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity International University. In his paper “Egyptologists and the Israelite Exodus from Egypt”, Hoffmeier explains that, although they did not necessarily believe the supernatural elements, Egyptologists used to believe that the Bible’s account of the Exodus and Conquest was basically accurate. It was not until the rise of the minimalist school of archaeology in the 1970s and 80s that archaeologists came to believe that there was no evidence for the Exodus and Conquest (pp. 197-198).

Hoffmeier also describes how he conducted an informal survey of 25 Egyptologists and their views on the Exodus. While most of them had no interest or expertise in the subject, 19 of the 25 still believed there had been some sort of Exodus, even if it did happen as the Old Testament describes. Only one thought it was unlikely. The rest were unsure (p. 205). Hoffmeier concluded,

“Thus, I see a kind of disconnect. Egyptologists, on the one hand, seem to accept the historicity of the biblical sojourn and exodus narrative, but on the other hand either have no interest in investigating it using their discipline, or feel that it is a subject to be investigated by people with a religious agenda.” (p. 206)

“Egyptian Texts relating to the Exodus: Discussion of Exodus Parallels in Egyptology Literature” by Brad C. Sparks was arguably the most interesting paper. Sparks wrote that over 90 parallels in Egyptian literature with the Exodus have been found. The Admonitions of Ipuwer, which is dated to either the First or Second Intermediate Period (p. 246), appears to describe the Exodus plagues (p. 262). The Tale of two Brothers, which first appeared around 1200 BC, describes an incident similar to Potiphar’s wife’s attempted seduction of Joseph (p. 262). The Destruction of Mankind, which is found on the wall of Seti I’s tomb (KV 17) in the Valley of the Kings, describes a “primeval revolt” of non-Egyptians in the Eastern Nile Delta. Sparks writes,

“The “primeval revolt” proceeds thorough a series of Exodus-like events that parallel the sequence of events in the Book of Exodus, in the same general order presented in the Biblical text, thus making it difficult to dismiss as am accidental assemblage of unrelated, merely illusory Exodus-like motifs. The general course of these texts in composite is as follows: the Blood Plague, a skin plague that nearly kills pharaoh, an abnormal darkness that traps the army with the pharaoh in the royal palace, armed pursuit of escaping foreign population in the Heliopolis area (Eastern Delta) headed east to return to the enemy god Apophis in the mountains east of sunrise (Sinai), army failure to slaughter the escapees, and the implied death of the firstborn and the army (in the celestial sea) and the pharaoh (by water serpent owing to negligence of Nun, the god of the ocean).”  (p. 267)

It sounds like memories of the Exodus have been passed down by the Egyptians, however, mainstream scholarship does not believe the Exodus, as it is described in the Bible, happened. As Lawrence T. Geraty explains in his paper “Exodus Dates and Theories”, the Bible says the Exodus took place around 1450 BC, 480 years before Solomon began to build the Temple in Jerusalem around 970 BC (I Kings 6:1). According to Egyptian chronology, this would place the Exodus in the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt’s New Kingdom, during the reign of either Thutmose III or Amenhotep II (p. 56). However, mainstream archaeologists say there is no evidence for the Exodus at this time or the Conquest of Canaan 40 years later. Instead, the consensus among mainstream scholars is that, if they believe the Exodus happened at all, it took place during the thirteenth century BC during the Nineteenth Dynasty. They argue that the 480 years should not be taken literally. It means 12 generations of 40 years. They argue that a generation is only 25 years so the Exodus took place 300 (12 x 25) years before 970 BC, around 1270 BC. Thus, they look for evidence of the Exodus during the reign of Ramses II (1270-1224 BC) (pp.56-58).

However, Geraty also acknowledges that Judges 11:26 says that Israel had occupied the land for 300 years, which is not divisible by 40, so it would suggest a literal 300 years and supports the traditional 1450 BC date (p. 56).

Manfred Bietak’s paper “On the Historicity of the Exodus: What Egyptology Today Can Contribute to Assessing the Biblical Account of the Sojourn in Egypt” does find evidence of Smites on the Egyptian Delta during this period, but that does not mean they were the Israelites (pp. 17-37). As James Hoffmeier points out, there “were large numbers of Semites in Egypt at various times during the second millennium BC and it would be impossible to distinguish one group from another” (p. 206)

While many Egyptologists believe that the Exodus in some form was possible, the problem is more on the other end, when the Israelites arrived in Canaan. Mainstream scholars accept that “Israel” was in Canaan by the reign of Pharaoh Merneptah who described defeating Israel in the Merneptah Stele (c. 1220 BC) (pp. 59, 478-480, 517). However, they do not believe they have found any evidence for the Conquest of Canaan and the destruction of its cities as described in the Bible either in the fifteenth century BC (the traditional date) or the thirteenth century BC (the mainstream consensus date) (pp. 58, 518-519). William Dever writes, “To make a long story short, today not a single scholar or archaeologist any longer upholds “biblical archaeology’s” conquest model. (…) To put it succinctly, if there was no invasion of Canaan by an “Exodus group”, then there was no Exodus”. (p. 404)

Having rejected the “Conquest model”, which the Bible describes, several alternative models or theories for the origin of Israel have been proposed. There is the peaceful infiltration theory which proposes that migrants from the Transjordan settled peacefully in Canaan over a long period. There are also several overlapping theories that the Israelites were originally Canaanites. The social revolt model proposes that poor Canaanites overthrew the Canaanite elite and became the Israelites. A similar theory is that the Israelites had originally been Canaanite pastoralists who settled in villages in the highlands. The dissolution theory proposes that after the New Kingdom Egyptian empire in Canaan broke up, their memory of being liberated evolved into the Exodus story. Some of these theories also believe that there was a small group of escapees from Egypt who merged with the Canaanites and became Israel (pp. 469-470, 519-522).

In his paper “The Emergence of Israel: On Origins and Habitus”, Avraham Faust writes that the social revolt theory has been disproved. He also says that the material differences between the Late Bronze Age culture of the Canaanites and the Iron Age culture of the Israelites suggest they were not the same people group. Furthermore, there has been no explanation as to how the Canaanite supposedly morphed into the Israelites (pp. 470-473). While mainstream scholars do not believe the archaeological evidence supports the Bible’s Conquest account, the good news is that the archaeological evidence does not conclusively support any of the alternative models. Nevertheless, Faust writes that “the consensus today is that all previous suggestions have some truth regarding the origins of the ancient Israelites.” (p. 470)

Three papers discuss the eruption of Thera in the Aegean Sea which was originally dated to around 1450 BC, the traditional date of the Exodus (p. 61). They suggest there was a connection between the effects of the eruption and the plagues of Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea which they argue was really the Sea of Reeds on the Mediterranean coast. If the events were connected, it would raise the issue of whether the events of Exodus were supernatural divine intervention or whether God worked through a natural phenomenon to afflict the Egyptians. Problems with the dating of the Theran eruption are apparent in these papers. Early radiocarbon dating placed it around 1450 BC. More recent radiocarbon and tree-ring dating places it around 1650-1600 BC which does not match with traditional archaeological methods which still give a date around 1500 BC (pp. 61, 92).

Some scholars, such as David Rohl, author of A Test of Time, Peter James, author of Centuries of Darkness, Timothy Mahoney, author of Patterns of Evidence, and Immanuel Velikovsky, author of Ages in Chaos, have argued that the apparent lack of evidence for the Exodus and Conquest is because the reconstruction of ancient Egyptian chronology, on which the chronology of the Ancient Near East is based, is flawed. (The discrepancy over the dating of the Theran eruption would suggest something is wrong.) They argue that the Exodus took place at the end of the Middle Kingdom period which conventional Egyptian chronology incorrectly dates to around 1700 BC. If this is correct, it means archaeologists have been looking for evidence of the Israelites in Egypt, the Exodus and Conquest of Canaan in the wrong period. They should be looking 250-300 years earlier. It would also mean that any evidence or lack of evidence from the thirteenth century BC is irrelevant.

I do not believe the reluctance of mainstream scholars to accept the Bible’s account of the Exodus and Conquest can be blamed on their non-Christian, anti-supernatural worldviews. After all, non-Christian mainstream historians still accept that Jesus of Nazareth existed and that the historical background of the New Testament is reliable. They do not believe it because they do not believe the evidence is there according to the established chronological framework. There seems to be little hope of finding archaeological evidence for the Exodus and Conquest in the fifteenth century BC as the Bible literally describes, using conventional chronology. The only option for demonstrating the historicity of the Exodus appears to be to embrace alternative chronological theories.

However, Geraty’s paper on the date of the Exodus lists 11 theories about the date among mainstream scholars ranging from 2100 BC to 650 BC (p. 60). Even though David Rohl is a qualified Egyptologist, he is not mentioned, nor are any others who have challenged conventional Egyptian chronology. This suggests that the impact of alternative chronology theories on mainstream Egyptology has been negligible. Clearly, more work needs to be done.