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Biblical Discussion


Biblical Chronology
Did lightspeed start to decline at the time of the Fall?
Lightspeed at the time of Noah
The Long Day of Joshua and the Axis tilt of Earth  
LXX Question 
Council of Jamnia
Where was the Tower of Babel?
Dividing Between the Light and the Darkness
The Primal Dust of the World
Joshua's Long Day
Where were the Garden of Eden and the Exodus Crossing?
Changing Atomic time to Orbital Time
Geologically, when did the Ark land?
Would Adam and Eve have been 'toast'?
The meaning of "Malachi"

Note: More information regarding Scripture can be found in the Scripture section



Biblical chronology

From Barry Setterfield.  His primary discussion of the chronology question may be found in Ancient Chronology in Scripture . 

First of all - gaps in the chronology. The Septuagint picks up the only major one. I suspect that gaps may be needed to accomodate a longer time-frame. However, the redshift data indicate that the Alexandrian Septuagint chronology is basically correct.  [Note: because many Greek texts are called 'Septuagint' there is some confusion. The Alexandrian Septuagint was translated by Hebrew scholars from paleo-Hebrew to classical Greek about 300 years before Christ. The other translations called 'Septuagint' were all translated after Christ and depended on the more recent Masoretic text. The quotes in the New Testament do not match the Old Testament in most of our Bibles. That is because the Old Testament is from the more recent Masoretic translations which originated in Jamnia about 100 A.D. Much wording was changed from the more ancient texts. However the much more ancient Alexandrian Septuagint matches the quotes in the New Testament, indicating that it, or something very close, was the Scripture in use in Jesus' day.)

I have had a further look at the trends in the redshift and timing of events. For a redshift of z = 1.7 and lower we have the normal redshift function. From a redshift of 1.7 and higher, the function is climbing more steeply than the standard equation. This is the astronomical data.  This is explained by some astronomers as being the point where decelerating expansion under gravity ceased and the expansion rate started to accelerate again under the action of the cosmological constant. Essentially, all that the observations really show is that for redshifts higher than 1.7, the rate of climb of the redshift function is much steeper than before. So z = 1.7 marks the change-over point. Observationally, star formation and starburst activity starts tapering off around a redshift of about 2. From about z = 2 and higher we have astronomical evidence of the stars switching on. One Vc model being favoured at the moment has a redshift of 2.015 for the close of Creation Week, or at least the astronomical activity associated with it. If it is assumed that the end of Creation Week indeed occurs at z = 2, or a little lower, then it is possible that the redshift of z = 1.7  million atomic years (MAY) mark the time of the Fall following which the normal redshift function as we know it today was followed. The maximum possible time on any modelling that pertains between a redshift of 2 and 1.7 is 130 years. The minimum time is probably days. Any reasonable model will have it somewhere in between, but probably down the shorter end as one function has to taper into another. Nevertheless, there is a degree of freedom in the modelling that I did not anticipate. So we have room in this Vc model for the Fall if we need it.

The value of the redshift that corresponds to the Flood is z = 0.298. Even though the redshift curve is smooth, this value of z effectively marks the point from which the decline in redshift is essentially linear.  I have not searched for any phenomena that are unique to that value of z, and none immediately come to mind, but I will look.

And now let us turn to those verses from 2 Peter 3. Basically, there are some translation problems. Note first of all that the New King James and the Old King James do NOT use the word “formed” in verse 5. It is uniformly translated by both of then using the best scholarship and most recent thinking as follows:

“…and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded by water.”

I believe that the use of the word “formed” in some other versions is misleading scientifically and scripturally.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, this NKJ gives a good picture scientifically. The newly emerged supercontinent was standing out of the water, but its roots were also in the water-rich layer under the crust known as the asthenosphere, on which the continents today “float.” It is this water from the asthenosphere that supplied the springs and geysers on land and the fountains of the deep in the ocean.  It was this water that burst out at the time of the Flood, just as Peter insists.  Therefore, in an effort to clarify the meaning of the passage, those translations using the word “formed” may well be giving an incorrect scientific picture. 

There is also a very interesting conundrum facing the translators earlier in verse 5.  The NKJ puts it this way:

“…by the word of God the heavens were of old…”  Another version reads “…the heavens existed long ago…”

The word translated “old” here is fascinating. It is EKPALAI and is only used twice in the Bible. It is made up of two words EK and PALAI.  In Strongs this latter word is number 3819, and it states that it is “another form of 3825 through the idea of retrocession”. You go to 3825 PALIN and it takes you further back by saying “same as 3823 through the idea of oscillating repetition.” You then go to 3823 PALE and it states “from PALLO meaning to vibrate.”  Here is ultimately an interesting circumstance. The comment in Job 38 that the “morning stars SANG together” is actually the word RANAN which means to stridulate or vibrate. With a continuing massive injection of light from the processes going on in their cores, the process of coming to a pressure balance may result in initial oscillations or vibrations with some types of star. Hoyle suggests the same. There is the second possibility of vibrations coming from the “granules” where the boiling gases reach the surface of the stars. In any case, for one reason or another, the stars are “vibrating” according to Job 38. So there may be an echo of this in Peter’s comment which may be translated “…by the word of God the heavens (stars) were vibrating.” There is another possibility that I have already used in the Vc modelling, that is, once the fabric of space was stretched out to its maximum size during Creation Week, it then vibrated around its new mean position.  This oscillation or vibration gives rise to the oscillation in the c-behaviour curve.

One final point also from verse 7. One translation reads:

“But by the same word the heavens and the earth that now exist have been stored up for fire…”

This is definitely a mis-translation. The words “now exist” imply an earlier heavens that were destroyed as well as a destruction of the earth.  Even the NKJ puts some of these words in italics meaning they are not in the original.  As I go to the Interlinear Bible by J. P. Green, the actual statement is as follows:

“But now the heavens and the earth by the same word are reserved for fire.”

This is an entirely different emphasis. And yes, if the ZPE is withdrawn at any instant, the whole cosmos will disappear in a fireball. And in using the word cosmos here, I am putting a different emphasis on it to that in the Scriptures. There, it rarely implies the universe, but rather “world” in the sense of human society or the world-system under which we are operating. Look up its usage. Putting together the whole comment by Peter, we come out with the translation as follows:

“For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens (or stars) were vibrating (or singing), and the earth was standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world (society) that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But now the heavens and the earth by the same word are reserved for fire at the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men.”

I think that this is as clear a statement as can be made scripturally and scientifically.


Did lightspeed start to decline at the time of the Fall?

Comment: Since the world was perfect before the Fall of Adam and Eve, light could not have started to decay before that point.  Decay indicates something bad or evil and therefore it could not have happened during creation week. Therefore it must have been at the time of the Fall that progressive aging and decay began, rather than on Creation Day #1. It should also be pointed out that a decline in c from Day #1 programmed the ultimate slowing of orbital time - and universal entropy.  Since creation was pronounced ‘very good’ by God at the close of creation week, this is additional evidence that light speed could not have started slowing before the Fall.

Setterfield:  These comments deserve some thought. You discuss the Fall as a possible time when the value of c started to drop, at which time you state "that progressive aging and decay began, rather than on Creation Day #1." I think that part of the problem  may be coming from the term c-decay that I have used over the past 15 years or so.  The term 'decay' is actually a misnomer.  There is no decay as such in the velocity of light velocity.  The energy of the photons remains constant, but since they have to tackle more obstacles on the way to their destination as time passes, their arrival time is delayed.  So, thinking about it, I think that the word "decay" is sending the wrong message.  In the secular literature, the term "variable speed of light" or VSL is coming to be accepted.  I think this is a much better term and will adopt it from here on out.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention. [Note:  the term Vc for ‘velocity of light’ is now the term used in the Setterfield material, to distinguish it from the multitude of others studying possible changes in light speed]

There is something else to consider as well, however.  Without the constant input of kinetic energy into the universe, it appears that all atomic structures would collapse.  It is this input of energy which yields the increase in Planck particles which effectively slows down light.  This stretching of the heavens by the Lord at the beginning, investing the universe itself with enough potential energy to release at the right speed to sustain the universe was indeed 'very good'!  This sustaining by the Lord is certainly in line with Hebrews 1:3.

The other point concerns aging.  The important issue here is the fact that the Lord presented Adam and Eve with a fully functioning, mature creation. Adam and Eve were themselves mature physically. The trees were mature and bearing fruit and nuts for the created couple to enjoy.  The Sun, Moon, planets and stars had all their essential characteristics that we see from earth today.  According to Job 38:7 there were stars made at the beginning of Day 1 as well as Day 4 in Genesis 1:14-18.  This point comes out particularly clearly in the LXX translation of Job. These two periods of star making have given rise to the two basic types of stars recognised by astronomy today - the Old or Population II stars, from Day 1, and the Young or Population I stars like our Sun, from Day 4 (there are other stars which muddy up the distinction between the two population as there has been cannibalisation of some stars by galaxies since creation). The light-speed model can account for the differences between these two types of star based on a difference of 3.5 days of stellar activity with an initial velocity for light around 4 x 10^11 times its current speed.  It can also account for other stellar features that give the cosmos a mature appearance after just 4 Days.

The point that I am coming to in the above paragraph is this: a high value for Light-speed was needed initially to account for the cosmos as we see it. It is that very matter, a high value for c, which has introduced the appearance of age or maturity into the astronomical and geological aspects of the Creation. The Scriptures indicate that the mature appearance of the created order is "good". If you wanted a cosmos without the appearance of maturity, you would have to have an initial value for c at or below the current value.  As astronomers have found out, this leaves a lot of cosmological problems unresolved.  The progressive decline in the value of c was thus not a "bad" thing as the rate of aging of the earth and cosmos became moderated by that process.

Two other points: you mention that a decline in c from Day #1 "programmed the ultimate slowing of orbital time - and universal entropy."  Orbital (dynamical, Ephemeris) time has remained unaffected by VSL processes. Consequently, orbital or dynamical time is running at a constant rate and is not slowing. This is why the Sun, Moon and stars were to mark "seasons, days and years" in Genesis 1.  They were designated as God's timepieces. This left the atomic clock in all its various forms to be governed by other factors and behave independently.  If we in our 'wisdom' have decided to use the atomic clock to designate time instead of the Creator's choice, then I consider that to be our problem. As far as entropy is concerned in the present context, that quantity is governed by Boltzmann's constant, k.  It can be shown that k is a constant for all values of c.  Therefore changing light-speed does not in and of itself bring about any change in entropy. Thus, the most we can say is that God may not ever have intended this creation to last forever, but programmed it to run a certain time, regardless of any choices man made.

One last point, in regards to the theological issue here, though.  In Revelation 13:8, Christ is referred to as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  In other words, from the beginning God knew what was going to happen and has already prepared for it as a decision, and with God a decision is as good a something already accomplished.  So the crucifixion was simply a matter of it being worked out at the right time and place in our history, while the fact of it had been established from the beginning.  Thus God knew that this creation was not for eternity right from the beginning.  So the fact that there is a sense of 'running down' regarding the universe should be expected


Lightspeed at the time of Noah

Question:  Was the maximum lightspeed in the days of Noah?

Setterfield:  No, not on the  redshift data. Maximum c was at the beginning of Creation Week.   However, it took till the days of Noah for the heating of the interior  of the earth to have progressed far enough for geological activity to occur.  This has been discussed in A Brief Earth History, and also in the appendix to A Brief Stellar History.


The Long Day of Joshua and the Axis Tilt of Earth

Question:  One of the students is researching Joshua 10:12+ re the sun standing still – do you have any scientific/historical info on that? 

Setterfield:  There is a potential answer to the matter that the question raises. You will remember the Dodwell axis tilt material. George Dodwell was the late Government Astronomer for South Australia. In his final years at the old Adelaide Observatory, he researched the tilt of the earth’s axis as given by ancient astronomers (Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, Arab etc) using a variety of methods including gnomons. The 66 data points these observers provided indicated that the earth’s axis received a change in tilt in the year 2345 BC, and that the axis has become more upright as a result of that event. Dr. Moe Mandelkehr of the USA did independent research which pointed to some event of sufficient magnitude to bring about archaeological, climatalogical and geological changes about the same time [Society of Interdisciplinary Studies ‘SIS Review’, Vol. V, 1983, p.77 ff]. Independently of these two, Dr. Benny Peiser of the Cambridge Conference group in the UK has concluded that a series of small asteroidal impacts occurred about that same time. A search on the net will bring up much of his material. Dodwell is not unique, as there are others who have come to similar conclusions. Also independently, another research group concluded that the movement of the earth’s virtual geomagnetic pole showed a sudden change in direction around 2300 BC [see Kawai et al, in Nature, Vol. 236, pp.223-225, 1972 “Archaeomagnetism in Iran”]. So the 2345 BC change in axis tilt seems to be on solid ground.  

According to the lightspeed work, this date corresponds with the end of the last ice-age, just before the birth of Abraham in 2304 BC, when the climate started to become more like we have it today. The higher axis tilt before this event allowed more extensive ice-caps along with a world climate that reflected that fact. 

Well, you will be wondering how this fits in with Joshua and the behaviour of the sun and moon at his command. It relates to Dodwell’s oscillation curve that was apparent from the observations. This curve revealed oscillatory behaviour of the earth’s axis as it came to a new position of balance after the 2345 BC event. The curve indicated changes at dates roughly corresponding to Joshua’s conquest around 1550 BC (confirming the long chronology for the time of the Judges that appears in my book ‘Creation and Catastrophe’ which you may still have), again about the time of Hezekiah near 710 BC (when the sun went backwards about 10 degrees on the sundial of Ahaz), again about the time of the Crucifixion around 30-33 AD (when there was a strange darkness over the land for 3 hours, and Amos writing of that time said “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth on a clear day, and I will turn your feast [Passover] into mourning and make it as the mourning of an only son…” Amos 8:9-19) , and again around 800-900 AD and in roughly 1400 to 1500 AD. We know the Biblical examples. These are extant records that document the 800-900 AD event as “a strange dark morning” in England; “a dark day” in Europe, and “The time the night came twice” in Africa. The 1400 AD event has been picked up in pottery from Asia where a change in magnetic pole behaviour has been recorded by the magnetic alignment of the particles in the pottery. Recall that the motion of the geomagnetic pole is involved in all this.  

Well, ultimately, we need to know what is causing these events. The original series of impacts in 2345 BC initiated the response. In any large impact, a segment of the earth’s crust is detached from the surface layers and moves through the mantle towards the earth’s core. This gives the earth, a spinning gyroscope, a new position of balance and it gradually moves to this new position. The Dodwell work indicated that the final balance position was not attained until about 1850 AD. Well, that accounts for the main axis tilt curve. But the oscillation curve is still to be explained. I will come at this from a different direction. About 10 years ago, in a store in Blackwood, South Australia, there was a sophisticated gyroscopic toy for sale. The toy consisted of a central gyroscope suspended by circular loops of metal that were able to move freely in any direction.  Idly, I set the toy spinning, then shortly after I gave it a push, corresponding to an “impact”. The gyroscope heeled over, and then in that new position started oscillating. I was amazed at what happened next. At specific points in the series of oscillations, the whole gyroscopic device underwent a figure-of-eight roll and then returned to the oscillating behaviour it had exhibited before. 

Let’s look at this. Dodwell had determined the axis tilt curve from the 2345 BC impact. He had also determined the oscillation curve from the data. That curve potentially suggests that at certain key dates a change in oscillation direction will occur. Those dates roughly correspond with Joshua’s long day, Hezekiah’s sundial event, events at the time of the Crucifixion, and others. At the corresponding times, the gyroscopic toy underwent a figure of eight roll. It is possible that the earth may have behaved similarly, or at least in such a way that the objects in the heavens traced an S-shaped path in the sky. This would have a variety of effects depending where on earth the observer was when it occurred. Thus for Joshua the sun and moon remained visible in the heavens while the S-shaped path was followed. At the time of the Crucifixion, “the sun went down at noon” as Amos indicated, and then returned to resume its normal motion. There is also a reference in Job to this effect. Job was writing as an eye-witness to events in his own day. In Job 9:7 he states that God “commands the sun and it rises not…”. This is referring to the results of a similar axis tilt change due to massive impacts at the time of Peleg “when the continents were divided” (Gen. 10:25). This impact was the one that gave the earth’s axis its high tilt that resulted in the ice-age as well as drifting continents. The motion of the earth’s axis after that event in 3005 BC was similar to that from the 2345 BC event. Job was writing about 2800 BC.


LXX Question

Question:  I wanted to ask where in the LXX you found the ages in table 1.  The ages for Methuselah, Lamech and Terah in the LXX are different than what you have in the table.  Can you tell me if I am misreading that somehow or did I miss something? [note:  this question refers to the geneology found in Table 2 and Table 3 of Ancient Chronology in Scripture ]

Setterfield:  Thank you for your note.  First I would have to ask you which LXX you are using.  There are several, the most reliable being the oldest, or Alexandrian, translated about two hundred years before Christ.  It is the one with the quotes used by Christ and the New Testament authors.

Now, about the ages of the patriarchs.  I think you will find that the ages for Methuselah and Lamech that I use are exactly as found in the Alexandrian LXX, but there is a special case with Terah.  It is assumed that Abraham was the firstborn, but an examination of the age of Abraham when his father died indicates that one or both of his brothers may have been born ahead of him.  In Genesis 11:26, we see Abram’s name listed first, but this may probably have been due to pre-eminence rather than order of birth.  In verse 32, Terah was 205 when he died, and at that stage Abram was 75 (12:4).  So Abram was born when Terah was 130.  We see this same sort of listing of the sons together with Noah, and we know the boys were not triplets!  So evidently Terah began having children when he was 70, but Abram was not born until another sixty years later.  He may have had other sons and daughters as well, but the three that are important to the Bible are the ones mentioned.   The one of prime importance in terms of a relationship with God is mentioned first.

Note: Regarding the timing of the writing of Genesis. We do not hold to the JEDP theory and explain this in our Genesis Bible Study in the section entitled "Different Ways of Viewing Genesis." I do hold that Moses edited the book we call Genesis, and it is possible that in that editing he put Uratu for the mountain that Noah landed on.However, remember that pioneers often named locations after places in their home country. We have, for example, the Barossa Valley in South Australia, named by German pioneers after the valley of that same name in Germany. Thus it is possible, that even if the place name is the same, the actual location may be different as it would have been the original location with that name that was intended. Thus, if the continents (the landmass literally) were divided at the time of Peleg, it is possible that a different location of Uratu originally existed.


Council of Jamnia

Comment: You should check out your material more accurately.  There is absolutely no historical evidence for a "Council" at Jamnia doing what you claim it did.  This "council" was first introduced in 1871 by a historian named Graetz as a mere hypothesis, for which we find no actual evidence.

Setterfield: Nice quote from Wikipedia.  Anyone can contribute there. My sources include Professor Siegfried Horn, professor of archaeology at Andrews University, and Dan Gruber, who has authored a book about Rabbi Akiba.  There are a number of other authoritative sources apart from these two people.  Wikipedia is probably not your best course of action for determining events.  It tends to be politically correct rather than factually correct in some matters.  This appears to be one of them.

There are a large number of Jewish folk who would like to get rid of the Council at Jamnia, as it is rather devastating to some of their beliefs.  Evidently the Catholics have now joined them in their denial.  For the Jewish, they would want to claim their canon was far more ancient.  And for the Catholics, the same, for the Masoretic text originated at the Council of Jamnia, and the Catholic Church would rather claim their texts go back to the most ancient Hebrew, but they don’t.  The Latin Vulgate came from the Masoretic.  It should be noted that the quotes given in the New Testament regarding the Old Testament do not match the Masoretic Text, but do match the far more ancient Alexandrian Septuagint, which is probably the version extant at the time of Christ.  In addition, all of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were written prior to 70 AD were from the paleo-Hebrew text-type, which the Alexandrian LXX had followed, but the Dead Sea Scrolls from post 100 AD are all of the more modern text type, in agreement with the Masoretic text.  Obviously something happened between 70 and 100 AD.  We know that Jewish councils were held at Jamnia by Akiba, and that Aquila was one of Akiba’s pupils. 

Some history regarding Jamnia may be found here.


Where was the Tower of Babel?

Question: Have you ever looked at the geology of the lower Mesopotamian delta, where everyone thinks the Tower was? History shows that the Tower was actually built in the north, I've been able to determine. But it looks as if the whole area where Babylon was must have been well under water when they were building the Tower. (from Anne Habermehl)

Setterfield: The first point I need to make here is that we do not know exactly where the Ark landed.  This means we do not know exactly where the Tower of Babel, as such, was built.  The towers that we have since then have all been built post-Peleg.  The Peleg disaster wiped out a lot of existing structures, so we don’t know exactly where the Tower of Babel was built.  But we do know these other towers have been built in relation to that original idea.  This basic format was evidently continued by cultures around the world after they had been isolated by the Peleg catastrophe.  The ones that we have in the Middle East also originated after that time, but many legends have been attached to them which pertain to the earlier time, or which pertain to the original incident. 

This is supported by the geological evidence, which does indeed suggest that some portions of the Middle East were under water at the time of the Babel incident. 

As far as being in the north is concerned, there are several points I would like to make.  The first is that many of the Indo-European languages appear to have originated in the area around Anatolia.  This would be post-Peleg as well as post-Babel.   The initial area that appeared to be started post-Peleg was in southeastern Turkey.  One of my friends, Dr. Allen Roberts, after one of his expeditions into the area, was heading back towards Ankyra because his visitor’s permit was about to run out.  He went on a road which took them near Diyarbakir.  He passed near a village which was called Cinar (pronounced Shinar), and the plain also carried that name.  In the distance Allen could see a massive ziggurat towards the horizon, and there were ruins of smaller ones closer to him.  He did not have time to ask about them as he had to get out of the country quickly.  So was this the original plain of Shinar or a name memory?  I tend to lean towards a name memory, but the observation was interesting.    One possible evidence against it being simply a name memory, however, is the fact that Allen saw shards of pottery there with some very ancient writing, more like pictograms, which suggest pre-Sumerian.  This would place this area as much older that the area which is currently known as Babylon. 

It may not have been the original plain, but it is, at the very least, a very old area. 

You are right about northern Mesopotamia being underwater immediately following the Flood.  The plain in Turkey would have been quite near the edge of the water’s boundary at that time, although it is not really possible to track back before the Permian.  Diyarbakir is on a stable geologic plate, the Arabian Platform.  The Tauride Block, to the north, was probably underwater and the lakes that are left there now are just remnants.  The plain, however is to the south of Diyarbakir and would therefore have been dry, or at least not soggy!

On the Arabian Platform, the area around Diyarbakir and the plain of Cinar is known geologically as the Mardin High.  It is on the northern edge of the Arabian Platform.  Throughout most of geological history, from the Permian on, the Mardin High has remained ‘high’ or above water.  The deposits which are found there, since the Permian, are mainly continental deposits, such as evaporites.   So there a possibility that this site in Turkey near the plain of Cinar may represent the true site of the tower of Babel.  There is no way of knowing for sure, but at this point of research, I am not aware of any more likely site.

The sites around what is known as Babylon today were basically covered with water from the Permian right through until the continental division in the days of Peleg.  Just to complete the story, the Arabian Shield borders the Red Sea.  That is the one thing that has had no deposition on it since the Precambrian. 

This material is also reviewed, with maps, in the section on Babel in our Bible study on Genesis.


Dividing Between the Light and the Darkness

Question: In Genesis 1:5 in the Alexanderian LXX, it says "and God divided between the light and between the darkness". Now this sounds to me like it could be re-written as "divided between the light and divided between the darkness". God sees all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, not just visible light. I think that sometimes when we read light we only think of  visible light, but we know that there is much more out there. So I started thinking what God would have seen as light and what he would have divided if He were dividing light. Now it could have been that His original statement in v. 3 was a single wavelength of energy and then He started separating them in the electromagnetic spectrum. Also, what would God see as darkness? Or another question would be, what would obscure (skotos - darkness) the light in HIs eyes. Now the first usage of "darkness" is in reference to the earth in v.2. So would He see matter as being the "darkness" which obscures the light? So could this verse be referring to God's creation of the total electromagnetic specturm and matter and His separating them into types of energy and matter? Alternatively, I think I remember reading the before light decoupled from matter the universe was opaque or foggy (obscure?). Could this be referring to the time the He decoupled light from matter?

Hope this is not somewhere else on your website and I just missed it. Thanks for your time.

Setterfield: There is something of an answer on our website in our Genesis Studies

However, that is not the complete story. First of all, you are correct in saying that the universe was opaque until matter decoupled from radiation. That was the first thing that allowed light to shine through. However, there is an additional process hinted at in the Genesis passage, namely the dividing of lights and darknesses as you point out in your note. This occurred still in the middle of Day 1. At that time, the quasars lit up in the galaxy centers and the majority of the light was coming from them initially. So picture the situation: there is an initial burst of light as decoupling occurred and the trapped radiation was released. Then shortly after, the quasars in the centers of every forming galaxy started shining in all their brilliance with darkness between these brilliant lights. Then as the rest of Day 1 went on, the Population II stars lit up in the cores and halos of every galaxy. The effect would be rather like standing on a mountain above a big city. It is night and everything is black. Suddenly the power comes on. First the street lights, then the lights in the houses. There you have a picture of the lights being divided up and the darkness split into a thousand fragments.

I hope that gets a picture across to you. Get back to us if you have further questions.


The Primal Dust of the World

Question: Prov 8:26 (NKJV) says, "While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primal dust of the world. ..."  In this context, it would seem that the Hebrew word for 'primal', could also be translated as 'start of', or 'beginnings of', rather than as 'head', or 'sum', or 'top'.

Gen 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Gen 1:2 then says, "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. ..."  At that point in time, the earth existed in that form, and was covered in a depth of water.

From Prov 8:26 and Gen 1:2, a possible, and straightforward, interpretation from these is that God allowed the primal dust of the initial universe to coalesce into galaxies and planets, which were composed of materials in a seemingly random and 'chaotic' manner.  As told in Gen 1:3 to 2:1, God Himself created life and order on the earth.

Gen 2:7 says that the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

If that 'dust of the ground' - part of the primal dust - is built into the physical flesh of living beings, and perhaps of vegetation too, would these not give dating results pointing back beyond the time of creation of Adam?  This could account for the much longer timespans that secular science attribute to such dating results.

An alternative explanation is that secular dating calibrates such testing methods to give results in line with our expectation of the much longer 'evolutionary' origins of mankind.

I'd be grateful for your thoughts on the above hypothesis, when it's convenient.

Setterfield: You ask a question of an interesting passage of Scripture! I have looked into both the Hebrew of this passage which dates from about 100 AD. I have also examined the ancient Greek translation of the original text written in paleo-Hebrew. This Greek translation originated about 280 BC and therefore deserves consideration as the earliest link with the original paleo-Hebrew that we have. 

First, for the Hebrew from about 100 AD. That part of the verse translates closely as "While not He had made the earth and the fields and the 'head' of the dust of the world." As you note, the word that is translated as 'primal' or 'head' is the word "ROSH" and can mean 'beginning.'  The word for 'dust' is "APHAR" and means 'dust', or 'powder' or 'smallest part' but also 'earth', or 'mud,' and comes from a root meaning 'something pulverized'. As I understand it, this was the closest the Hebrews came to talking about the building blocks of matter. This was the smallest subdivision of matter that they were used to defining. So far nothing extraordinary. But when I looked at the word translated "World" I received a surprise. The word used is not "ERETZ" which is what would have been used if "matter" or the "earth" as a planet or "solid land" or "continent" were being spoken about. Since ERETZ was used in the earlier part of the verse (While He had not made the earth-Eretz), I was expecting Eretz to be used again to re-affirm the picture of the planet. Instead the word is "TEBEL" which means 'habitable' or 'inhabited country' or 'inhabited world' or a specific country (like Babylonia). This changes the context considerably. In this case, a better translation might be "While He had not made the earth (Eretz) and the fields and the highest (first, earliest - Rosh) inhabited parts (Aphar) of the world."

It is in this context that the ancient Greek gives us the understanding of the Jewish translators of the original paleo-Hebrew when they wrote "The Lord made countries, and uninhabited lands, and the highest inhabited parts of the world." I find that fairly close to what seems to be implicated in the Hebrew we have from 100 AD.As a result, it might be wise not to draw too much inference about atoms, atomic dating, and radiometric ages from this passage.

However, I might add a note to help your understanding of what is going on with atoms and dating as there seems to be some misunderstanding of what is happening. The radiometric clock will only start ticking once it is isolated within a closed or solid system. For example, if there are radiometric atoms inside a flowing magma, the daughter products of the decay will be easily separated from the radioactive parent. While the magma is still fluid, the same will happen. It is only once the magma has hardened into rock, and the radioactive atoms and their daughters are trapped together, that the radiometic clock can start ticking. The same happens with a carbon 14 atom. While it is in the atmosphere it is in a non-solid environment. As a result,  the parent and daughter atoms easily get separated. It is only once the carbon 14 atom has become fixed in the wood of a tree, that the daughter products cannot escape. It is only then, when the parent and daughter products are trapped together, that the clock starts ticking. This is because it is only when we have the radioactive parent atom trapped along with the daughter decay products that the ratio of the two types of atom can be measured and so get a radiometric or atomic age.  


Joshua's Long Day

Question: it seems logical that the earth and the planets evolve around the sun because of its greater mass, I can't see any other possiblity.. Now the only reference in scripture is when Joshua commands the sun to stand still. Now as Chuck Missler points out. "But there is another possiblity: a change in the preciession of the earth would also lengthen an apparent day. Most ancient calendars were based on 360-day years. yet all ancient calendars seem to change about 701 bc."

Well, I have one other question... exactly what year and time was Jesus born? im a little confused about it

Setterfield: Your prime question involves Joshua and the "sun standing still." What was involved was the motion of the earth, and it was not just on one occasion. There was the time of Joshua, about 1550 BC, the time of Hezekiah when the sun went backwards ten degrees (2 Kings 20 and Isaiah 38) which was about 750 BC and the strange darkness at the time of the Crucifixion in 33 AD when the sun went down at noon (Amos 8:9-10). History also records a similar event around 800 AD (BAA Journal) and again about 1600 AD (University of Sydney News Vol.16:4, 1984). You will notice from this that there is a period of about 750 to 800 years between these events. If you go back 795 years from Joshua's long day, you come to 2345 BC. On that date, the Government astronomer for South Australia, George Dodwell, discovered from ancient observations of the Earth's axial tilt that there had been a change in axis tilt of about 3 to 5 degrees. It became more upright as a result of a series of impacts. The impact craters are in South America and the Mid East. Work by others confirms that there were great archaeological changes at the 2345 BC date, including the 1st Intermediate Period in Egypt because of the chaos caused by the 2345 BC event. Climate changes occurred as well as geological phenomena.

What happened at these later times of "funny business with the Sun" was that, in order to conserve angular momentum, the bulk of the earth changed its rotational behavior to counteract the unusual motion of the core induced by the original impact. So the Sun and Moon appeared to trace a "figure of eight" or an "S" shaped path in the sky. This would have a variety of effects depending on where you were on the earth's surface, including the Sun going down at noon, or appearing to stay overhead for a much longer time.

As for the exact date of Jesus Birth, you need to see my Christmas Star DVD. The brief answer is about September 10th 3 BC.


Where were the Garden of Eden and the Exodus Crossing?

Question: Hi, I am just starting to read Genesis again and I have just read that God made Eden and that four rivers flowed out to the garden, so Eden and the Garden were two entities. The area,  as I see it seems to go from Northern Israel to north east Africa, as two rivers and a place are mentioned, Tigris, Euphrates and Ethiopia. I would be interested to know if I am on the right track.
Also, reading Exodus, Think that the parting of the sea was on the north African coast, because I followed the route as it is in Exodus and the Egyptions caught up with the Israelites and this is where the sea was parted. The scripture says the sea was parted, no mention of colour of the sea.After crossing the parted sea, the Israelites went to the wilderness of shur. This is quite a trek back towards Egypt if they did cross the red sea.

Setterfield: You caused us to take a close look at Genesis 2 again and what we found in all the texts, including the ancient Alexandrian LXX was something we had not really noticed before (funny how tradition gets in the way, isn’t it?).  Eden and the garden were not totally separate, but neither were they identical.  The garden was in Eden – something like a county in a state maybe.  Tradition says the garden and Eden were identical but your comments caused us to look more closely and we were surprised to see they were not the same, although it should be noted that “Garden of Eden” is used several other times.  The meaning, though, is the garden belonging to Eden – that is the ‘of.’  Thank you for making us look at those passages again!

Second, about the rivers.  If we go back to the ancient Hebrew, we find that “Tigris” and “Euphrates” are simply choices later translators made and were not what was written in Genesis at all.  The following is from our study of Genesis 1-11 on our website

Pishon – the word means “disperse, spread.”
Havilah – literally, “twist, whirl, dance, or have circular motion.” The word is related to Havvah (Eve)
Gihon – the word means “a stream.”
Cush – the word is not originally Hebrew, but of foreign origin.
Tigris – translator choice for the actual word “Hiddikel”, which means “rapid – something flowing rapidly.”
Asshur – literally meaning “straight, honest, happy, straight-forward.” The land was named later.
Euphrates – translator choice for “Perath,” which means “to break forth.”

Thus, let's try to put the words in as they were written, or at least the meanings:
"A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon (or that which spreads out); it winds through the entire land of Havilah (the twisting land), where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon (the Stream); it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Hiddekel (it flows very rapidly); it runs along the east side of Asshur (or it runs straight-forwardly to the east.) . The fourth river is the Perath (the one that breaks forth.)"

There are some interesting notes to make about these waters.  First, Eden itself must have had a higher level near the garden, for the source of the giant river flowing through the garden, and watering it, was Eden.  And the Bible says that “from there” it separated into four rivers. 

For a second, though, go back to the parenthetic in Genesis 2:5-6 – that before there were shrubs or man to work the land, water was coming out of the surface of the earth and watering the land.  First, please note that this would have been early on day 3, before plants.  It never says it never rained before Noah’s Flood, only that it did not rain early on day 3 before there were shrubs or man.  Another thing which is actually very important is that we should note WHY water would be coming UP, when the natural tendency of water is to flow DOWN.  The water must have been under pressure.  And if we watch the progression through Genesis, the subterranean pressure must have been building, because by the time of Eden, a few days later, enough water was gushing up to form four major rivers.  Then, by Genesis 7:11, when the Flood begins, it is not rain which begins it, but explosions of water from under the surface of the earth. 

Pressure means heat, and a number of ancient legends recall the Flood waters as being scalding.  Just an interesting point there.

We do not know where on earth Eden and the garden were.  In Ezekiel 31:18 there is an interesting aside mentioning that the trees of Eden are deep in the earth below.  It must be seriously doubted that Eden only lost its trees to the subterranean depths and not all of itself.

Regarding Exodus, there is no way that the crossing of the “Red Sea” was just south of the Mediterranean and across to the Sinai Peninsula.  That is because Egypt OWNED the Sinai  Peninsula at that time and it is specifically mentioned that the Israelites crossed OUT of Egypt.  The ‘desert road’ of Exodus 13:18 was through the heart of the Sinai Peninsula.  The crossing occurred about half-way down the eastern arm of the Red Sea into the Arabian Desert.  According to Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:25 – “For this is Mt Sinai in Arabia…”  When Moses fled from Egypt when he was 40, he fled to Midian, which is Saudi Arabia.  He was looking after Jethro’s flock, in Saudi Arabia, when the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush, and God said to him that when he came back with the children of Israel, out of Egypt, “you will serve God on this mountain.”  Exodus 3:12. 

Hope that helps.  It’s always wise to look to Bible to explain Bible.


Response: Hi, thanks for your feed back.
With  Israelite exodus, I take my thought about them from Exodus 13:20 and into chapter 14  where God directs them to go from Goshen to Sucoth and from there to Etham, which is at the tip of the gulf of suez, todays' name I guess, and from there they were directed to go back north to Pi-Hahiroth between migdol and the sea. They were told to camp therealong the shore, opposite Baal-Zephon.This is where the Egyptions caught up with the Israelites. Chap. 14:17 onwards the people of Israel walked through a sea that God parted and this was at night.After this they went out into the Shur desert, why would God direct them back towards Egypt if they had crossed the red sea in the traditional place?They then went to a pl;ace called Marah, I don't know where this is and then down to Elim, which is about half way down the east side of the gulf of suez and from there to the Sin desert, this is a complete circle from the crossing of the Red sea.They then toured the country side as there is not much to say where they went from the Sin desert. This narrative goes into chapter six.
I would be interested in your comments on this.

A later email: I have just been looking at your map and it shows migdol by the gulf suez and it says in exodus that the israelites were her when the Egyptions caught up with them, so the tip of the gulf of suez could be the sea that was parted because it fits in with the bitter water they had to drink and the sur desert. This seems the likely spot of the parting waters.

P.S.  I meant to include that there is a Lake on the north coast, near to where they were camped, it is called Lake Sirbonis. I have wondered if this could be where the sea was parted.

Setterfield: Thank you for your responses.  First of all, many of the names that you see on Bible atlases are not the real place names of that location.  They have been put there by Bible expositors in order to support their own points of view and tradition.  The Israelites were directed to turn (in Chapter 14:2) not ‘back,’ but turn from the main route across the Sinai, and go to the place called Pi Hahiroth.  They were then to camp there at Pi Hahiroth which is between Migdol and the sea.  The word “Migdol” means “tower.”  It was a watch tower of which there were a number on the Sinai peninsula.  But which side of the Sinai peninsula?  The name “Pi Hahiroth” actually tells us.  This literally means “the mouth of the gorges.”  There are no gorges near the Suez canal, nor the Mediterranean, nor for the northern half of the Sinai peninsula.  However, as you have a look at the usual trade routes across Sinai (today’s Sinai), you find that one route goes across central Sinai from west to east, from today’s El Kubri, through Nakhi, and down to Elat, on the north of the Gulf of Aqaba.  But the Lord said to turn to the mouth of the gorges, which is at Nuweiba Beach, which is about half way down the Gulf of Aqaba.  It is because they moved through those narrow mountain passes that Pharaoh said “the wilderness has shut them in.”  And Pharaoh realized then there was a good chance he could trap them on the beach.  Ordinarily, the Israelites might have been expected to take the main route through today’s Elat, to safety, but God directed them south first.  That maneuver allowed God to perform a miracle at Nuweiba, and, at the same time, exterminate the entire Egyptian army and Pharaoh. 

Interestingly, in every other place except the mouth of the gulf, the water is exceedingly deep.  But stretching from the beach at Nuweiba across to today’s Saudi Arabia (ancient time:  Midian), the sea floor rises dramatically all the way across, like a giant, hardened, sand bar.  Research in this area has shown some surprising things.  First, there were pillars erected on both sides of this crossing commemorating it.  The pillars were erected by Solomon.  The one on the western side still stands, but the one on the eastern side was dismantled by the Saudi Arabians some time ago.  Not good to  indicate the Bible might be true regarding the Israelites!  In addition, undersea explorations has shown coral formations which appear nowhere else but look for all the world like coral covered chariot wheels – axles, spokes, and all. 

On the Saudi side, there is a trail from place where the risen seafloor would have provided a crossing to Jabal el Lowz.  On this route there is a bitter spring and further on there is a stand of palm trees with a large number of springs with pure water coming out of the ground.  These are the Twelve Springs and Seventy Palm Trees of Moses. 

The route, in other words, and despite traditions, is fairly well defined and the evidence remains.  I hope this helps.


Changing Atomic time to Orbital Time

Question: Do you have a  formula for calculating the actual age ( in orbital years) when you have been given the atomic age (eg X million years ago). I have looked on your website and  through your papers, but the closest  I could find was one for calculating the speed of light at different times and that wasn't one I was after.  Does something exist where, when you get a newspaper item saying something has been dated at (whatever)  million years, you can put this into a formula and find out roughly when it was and thus if it was in recorded history?

For example, I am thinking of the Australian Aborigines claiming to be here  40,000 years ago: roughly when was this? ( I am thinking of an  aboriginal woman at Church who would be very interested in knowing roughly when it was, as otherwise how can she reconcile that with Creation 4 or 5 thousand years ago?)


Thanks for the question. The response is yes, there is a formula for calculating orbital years from atomic years. The formula and actual examples of how it is used can be found in our most recent web article "Data & Creation: The ZPE - Plasma Model."

If you go to equations (14) to (20) you will see how to do it. On the other hand, if the math is a problem, here is a brief synopsis:

5680 BC = Creation -12.3 billion atomic years
3424 BC = Flood - 840 million atomic years
about 3200 BC = Babel - 250 million atomic years
3025 BC = Peleg continental division - 65 million atomic years
2992 BC = end of redshift curve = 10 million atomic years
2800 BC = oscillation curve predominates - about 5000 atomic years
So for the example of Australian Aborigines and 40,000 years atomic age, this corresponds to the time between 2800 and 2992 BC.

There are two Tables at the end of the article which also give this information summary and relate it to archaeology.

If you need further help after reading the article, please get back to me.


Geologically, when did the Ark land?

Question: I have no problem with the Ark landing on the late Precambrian strata. What happens after that is a bit confusing to me. After landing and everyone disembarks the Ark , it is left high and dry---then covered by the Paleozoic sequences in the area, then the Mesozoic, then the Cenozoic ?

Aren't the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozic layers part of the on going Flood activity? I'm wondering how this can be after the Ark landed and everyone disembarks? Wouldnt they be covered by these later Flood deposits?

Setterfield: Thanks for the question.. It opens up the basic difference between the ZPE-Plasma Model which has a completely self-consistent approach, and that of the general Creationist community. The Creationist community in the USA and elsewhere have adopted a theoretical proposal by Henry Morris that the vast majority of the geological strata were laid down during the one single year of Noah's Flood. This has no backing by the geological field data. Unfortunately, the Creationist community have spent a lot of time and money trying to get the data to force-fit this theoretical approach instead of letting the data lead to theory.. It is because of this approach that Creationism has received such a poor reception worldwide. This theoretical approach to geology is so at variance with the geological data that it is given no credence at all by the geological community. I freely acknowledge that Henry Morris did a tremendous job in getting the Creation movement started, but the data indicate he was wrong about Flood geology.

What sort of data are we talking about? Take Spain for example. Stretching from Europe across Spain to the USA (which was once part of the original super-continent) are major coal measures. Then stratigraphically on top of these coal measures is a sponge reef that goes from Spain to Romania and across to Germany. This took time to form. It was not washed in as the sponges are all standing on their narrow stems in growth positions with debris around their bases. Then stratigraphically on top of the sponge reef are layers of dinosaur nests.  Geologically it is impossible for coal seams to form, and then for a sponge reef to grow and then the reef to be covered by dinosaur nests all in one year. It is plainly impossible. This type of scenario is repeated around the world a number of times.. The Creationist theory therefore is not supported by the data. Special pleading and proceeding to explain on a case by case basis is not an acceptable way of overcoming the difficulty. A major new approach is needed that is more in line with the data.

The ZPE-Plasma Model suggests one possible alternative. This model is the outcome of the correction of atomic dates to orbital dates on the basis of astronomical data. That data shows that the geological column was built up over a period of about 3000 years or more. The four major geological Eras, namely the Archaeozoic, the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic turn out to correspond with the four major divisions of Genesis 1-12. They directly correlate to the period Creation to the Flood; the Flood to Babel; Babel to Peleg; and Peleg to Abraham respectively. The three major catastrophes in Geology that separate these four Eras are the Snowball Earth strata in the Cryogenian Period of the Pre-Cambrian around 700 million atomic years ago; the Permian Extinction at the close of the Paleozoic, around 250 million atomic years ago; and the Cretaceous/Tertiary (or K/T) extinction at the close of the Mesozoic when basic continental separation fully occurred around 65 million atomic years ago. These three geological catastrophes correspond to the Flood; the Babel catastrophe; and the Continental division in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25). The amazing thing is that the astronomical data which give the correction to atomic dates also give orbital dates in good accord with Septuagint chronology for Genesis 1-12.. Thus Snowball earth/Noah's Flood closely corresponds to a time around 2256 years after Creation. The Babel Catastrophe/Permian extinction occurs some 200 years after the Flood; and the K/T extinction or Peleg continental division occurs about 200 years after Babel. The ice-age occurred after the days of Peleg and during the time of Job who mentions the sea being frozen in the Mid-East in winter and cave-men and other disasterous effects of on-going continental separation. Incidently, this correlation between atomic and Scriptural dates in orbital time came as something of a surprise to me. 

[Note: for discussion about where the Ark landed, please see the Babel section of the Genesis 1-11 Bible study.]


Would Adam and Eve have been 'toast'?

Question: Somewhere in your papers you wrote,that short lived radioactive isotopes HEATED the inner earth and caused  it to become molten.
But elewhere you write, that speeded up decay in the past would NOT cause a "heat problem", that energy output would remain unchanged from today's value of slower radioative decay.
Would then not Meert be right that "Adam and Eve" would have become toast?"

Setterfield: Thank you for your question. However, it suggests that there may be a misunderstanding at some point.

It is perfectly true that speeded up decay will not cause a heat problem. When the Zero Point Energy was less, atomic reactions were faster, but the catch is that with the radiation emitted from those reactions, we have smaller amplitudes in terms of the wavelengths. So we would need more waves for the same amount of heat energy produced today. The intensity of the radiation would remain the same, be it heat, light or even gamma radiation.

Meert, as a geologist, is perfectly aware that it is agreed by geologists of all models that there were no radioactive elements on the surface or even in the crust of the earth at the beginning. Thus there was no radioactivity in the near surface regions initially. That only came later, with the two key times being at the time of the Flood and then again at the time of the Peleg continental division.

The second point is an important one. Today, there are no short-half-life radioactive elements that are naturally occurring on earth. They have all decayed into their daughter products. Thus the isotope with the lowest half-life of any occurring naturally on earth is U235 with a current half-life of 710 million atomic years. All naturally occurring isotopes with shorter half-lives are absent.  But at the beginning they were all decaying together deep within the earth, driving water out of the primordial rocks and then melting them. The surface of the earth, however, remained cool and quite liveable.

This is emphasized in the model we are presenting here, as explained in Data and Creation. Plasma filaments tend to sort elements, with the elements most easily ionized toward the center. This happened on each of the planets as well as in the solar system as a whole. This is why Mercury has a heavy metal core which is at least 75% of it, while the heavy cores decrease in terms of the percentage of the planet as we go out from the sun. Likewise, each planet has its more easily ionized elements in the middle with a layering of less and less easily ionized elements as one goes out from the core. The radioactive elements, whether short or long lived, would have been in and near the core at the beginning and not bothering life on the surface at all.

Meert knows better than many of the criticisms he uses; but that doesn't seem to stop him.


The meaning of "Malachi"

Question: I've started an individual study in the book of Malachi and have almost finished it but still can't answer a beginning question.  It is - Check your Bible and see if there is a marginal note in verse one that gives you an alternative word for what the book of Malachi is.
Well, obviously it is an oracle but that is in the text.  "Malachi" means messenger but I don't think that is really an answer.  I've checked several sources.  Maybe I'm just not looking at things correctly.
Your thoughts?  Thanks.

Setterfield: Thanks for your question.

The word Malachi in Hebrew comes from the root that means to dispatch as a deputy, one who ministers, a messenger, an angel, an ambassador, or even a king.

The ancient LXX gives the alternate rendition of the the first verse; "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by the hand of his messenger. Lay it, I pray you, to heart." The word translated "messenger" is the word "aggelos" in Greek which is the same as "angel" in the NT.

The opening words of the verse also are used only on two other occasions in the Old Testament, both in Zechariah (9:1 and 12:1). This might suggest that they were writing about the same time, which is in accord with what we know. Only Zechariah was killed between the temple and the Altar [Matthew 23:35 cf Zech.1:1] cutting off his ministry. That left Malachi who came a little later to the same group of people.