Land Masses and Languages

Tuesday, Nov. 22               

One of the most enigmatic verses in the Bible is Genesis 10:25.  “Two sons were born to Eber.  One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided. . . .”   (“Peleg” means “divided.”)  Bible scholars recognize two possibilities here.  Both views have pros and cons.  One view is that this refers to the tower of Babel where God confounded the languages so the people would scatter throughout the land rather than congregate in cities.  Gen. 9:1, 7.  The other view is that the land masses of the world were “divided.”  The account of Babel is in Gen. 11,  after this note about Peleg.  This chronological anomaly can perhaps be accounted for, but the order is still a bit strange.  The Hebrew word for “divided” carries the idea of dividing languages, which favors the tower of Babel view, but doesn’t make it a certainty.  The dividing of land masses is not otherwise mentioned in the Bible and one would think that such a catastrophic event would be recorded.  However, there is a huge amount of detail omitted an all the historical narratives, so the absence of this event is perhaps not unusual.  Looking at a world map could lead one to accept the idea of a immense land mass movement, whether or not this is the event suggested by Gen. 10:25.  Take out the Atlantic Ocean and you get a good fit between the Europe-Africa land mass and the Americas.  If land masses is the interpretation, it would fit better with the chronology of Genesis.  So this verse remains a problem.  Fortunately, it does not involve a truth that is crucial in our living the Christian life.  Because it’s inspired Scripture, it has to have a significance, so maybe I’m missing something.

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