When we encounter a genealogy chapter in the Bible, where the King James version quaintly drones on about how “Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber,” our eyes quickly glaze over and bounce down to the next chapter.
But now and then, there is a nugget in these lists, such as one we find in Genesis chapter ten:
25 Two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. (Genesis 10:25 NASV)
The verse inserts a small note about something significant that happened in the days of Peleg.
It says the earth (our terra firma) was divided. The Hebrew word means to cleave apart or divide and the tense suggests it was a continual act, that it started and continued to do so.
It was such a historic event, that Peleg was even named after what happened. According to Barnes commentary, as a noun Peleg refers to a brook or canal and because that is a natural divide in the land, Peleg means divided.
So what happened in the days of Peleg?
There are a lot of theories on what this is talking about. Some suggest it referred to the Tower of Babel that is found in the next chapter when God broke people apart into languages forming nations because they desired to build a massive tower.
And certainly there is a case for this.
But I have often wondered if this was referring to something else — the continental drift that broke apart an ancient world when North and South America split off from what was once one megacontinent.
Every child who looks at a globe of the world has noticed how the bulge of South America neatly fits into the arch of Africa. I remember noticing that as a child. It seemed that South America and Africa were once together.
Oddly one of the first to propose this was the son of a German evangelical pastor — Alfred Wegener. Born in 1880 he went on to receive his doctorate in Astronomy.
Wegener actually wrote a book on his theory called The Origins of Continents and Oceans while convalescing in a hospital from wounds he received during World War I.
He produced maps showing how the various continents of the world fit into what was one massive continent that he called Pangea.
His theory was soundly rejected by science at the time and Wegener was even ostracized and lost a few teaching jobs because of it. Wegener would eventually die doing research on Greenland in 1930 at just 50 years of age.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that Wegener’s theory started gaining traction when prominent Princeton geologist Harry Hess proposed a similar thing. During World War II, Hess was a submarine captain and when he wasn’t using his sonar to look for enemy ships he pointed it down and scoured the ocean floor.
Based on what he saw, Hess published a paper in 1962 proposing tectonic plates and the theory of continental drift was born and accepted. Today that megacontinent is called Gondwana land.
It explains among other things why there are hippos on mainland Africa and the Island of Madagascar, since Hippos can’t swim. It also explains why there are marsupials in the Americas and Australia.
But it also reveals that the majority of science (the scientific consensus) has and can be wrong.
So is there any evidence in Genesis, that the world broke apart in Peleg’s day.
The name Peleg itself, which means brook or channel, suggests that the division was marked by water, which over time eventually became the Atlantic ocean.
In Genesis 11, we also have the account of how early humans built the Tower of Babel and perhaps it’s just a coincidence that after the split, the ancients on both sides of the Atlantic, Mayans/Aztecs and Egyptians, desired to build pyramids.
God wanted humans to spread out and fill world. They refused and instead started congregating in the Mesopotamia valley. Did God along with languages use geological processes to split humans apart?
Of course those on the evolutionary side believe this massive split took place 130 million years ago.
The Bible and evolutionists will always argue over time. Evolutionists need millions upon millions of years to explain the miracle of life, Christians only need God.
While evolutionists insist dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago, why are we now finding blood and soft tissue in fossilized dinosaur bones around the world — soft tissue also first discovered by an evangelical Christian:
- Scientific consensus is almost never wrong: Inside Science