Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 16 - April/May 2007 > Early Civilisations

Early Civilisations

Title       Early Civilizations

By          Norman Tew

Note       This article by the editor replaces the usual editorial.

This question was sent to the Bible History Site (  This website is a private project of our church webmaster.

"I have a few questions, however, that I have never asked an "expert" and have always wondered about. While the middle east was growing and civilization was spreading what was going on in the rest of the world? What evidence do we have of when other cultures were established other than the middle eastern culture? It seems like Noah and his family were "civilized." Why were other cultures like the American or Peruvian Indians so primitive? Who lived in caves, when and why did they live there? Where did the Eskimos come from and other groups of people that are so different from middle easterners? When and where was the wheel invented and when was fire discovered? How did Moses learn to write? Was writing exclusive to the middle east for a time while other primitive cultures only used pictures? Understanding the big picture would not only help me in my faith but would be valuable knowledge when discussing evolution with non- believers."

While I am not an "expert", this subject has interested me, and I do have my views.

My "world view" is based on the Bible being the Word of God, and while it is not a scientific treatise, nor even a history book, yet where it touches on scientific or historical matters, it should be taken seriously.  Thus I believe in a Creation event that took place over six days, not more than ten thousand years or so ago, possibly more recently.  I believe that many of the geological features that are taken to show a long history for the earth were actually deposited in a world wide flood less than two thousand years after creation.

From this basis my answer to the question above is based on a fairly rapid spread of an intelligent population across most of the earth fairly quickly following, and some even before, the "Tower of Babel" event.  Some groups managed to maintain their level of intelligence, some because of isolation or harsh environments found the struggle for existence so hard that they dropped to a simpler level of life and became what today is known as "primitive people".   The belief in Evolution has warped the thinking about past and present events far more than most of us realise.

I should note that the evidence for micro evolution discovered by Darwin in the finches etc is factual.  Where he erred was in expanding from the micro evolution for which there is plenty of evidence to the idea of macro evolution of species for which there is no evidence.  Rather than evolution the history of the world shows a gradual degradation of man.  There has been scientific advance in the past few centuries, but it has not been matched with any sociological advance. Odd positive events such as the abolition of slavery are more than matched by the degradation of the modern drug culture.

With this as my foundation I see the evidence for a high level of culture in China, South America and India as being a continuation of the anti-deluvian civilization.  Simple cultures such as the tribes of the Amazon, Australian Aborigines or Eskimos are today viewed as remnants of an earlier simpler culture, whereas I see them as groups who have lost the civilization that was there from the beginning.  These people are not un-intelligent.  Their knowledge of their environment far surpasses that of the citified Westerner, and their skills in their area were very great.  Much of this knowledge is rapidly being lost as these people are brought into "modern" society.  The navigation skills of the Pacific Islanders is now almost totally lost.

The questioner asked about cave dwellers.  There are still cave dwellers today, though not of the simple "stone age" type.  Cave dwellers were people who found simple accommodation when faced with stresses they could not cope with otherwise.

The wheel and fire?  I would be very surprised if Noah did not know of and utilise both.

How did Moses learn to write?  The Egyptians used their hieroglyphs long before the time of Moses.  There is evidence that an alphabetic script form of writing was already being used by the Egyptian- employed miners in the Sinai peninsula from the time of Moses.  The Chinese form of writing goes back to the time of the flood, or soon thereafter.  There is a wonderful book on the Chinese script that argues that there is evidence in the form of many of the words, that the ideas of the book of Genesis were known to those who set up the system.  The whole idea that writing could have been exclusive to the middle east for a time while other primitive cultures only used pictures is based on the idea that everything has evolved from the primitive to the modern.  My belief is that so called "primitive cultures" are societies that have lost their skills, not ones that have not yet gained skills.  It is possible that when people lived the length of lives that they did before the flood, with so many overlapping generations that writing was not necessary, but Noah may have used written records.

To sum up; the basis of the theory of evolution was clearly expressed by Peter long ago, when he wrote that in the last days scoffers would say, "Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (2 Peter 3:4 KJV) Evolution teaches that everything has always happened in the same way as it is happening today, and there is no God.  Thus from our scientific discoveries of how things occur today we can work out how things began.  The Bible teaches that there is a God who can and has intervened in the affairs of this earth.  He made it in a few days; he changed it at the flood; he stepped in as our Saviour, demonstrating a perfect life, and dying for our sins; and he will intervene again to destroy this sinful earth and recreate a world that is pure and holy.  The Bible pictures man as created clever and holy.  However in accepting the words of the deceiver and rejecting the warnings of God, man fell from grace,  and degradation - not upward evolution - is the order of this world.  In these days with global warming caused by the actions of men there is no longer any need to doubt that man is ruining things and that things are not gradually getting better.

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 16 - April/May 2007 > Early Civilisations