Thursday, 20 October 2011

Biblical Genealogies Are Not Symmetrical

Joel Kontinen

Many Bible scholars assume that since some genealogies (such as Genesis 5 and 11) appear to be symmetrical, one can extrapolate tens if not hundreds of gaps from them.

This widespread belief stems from an essay William Green wrote in 1890. He attempted to reconcile millions of years with Genesis. Scholars have since then basically repeated this view without counting the generations in Genesis.

Some progressive creationists, for instance, think that the symmetry allows them to date Adam and Eve at 100,000 years before our time.

However, in 1980 professor Gerhard Hasel showed that this belief was erroneous. This becomes evident if we list the names mentioned in Genesis 5 and 11 side by side, as in the figure above.


Hasel, Gerhard F. 1980. 1980b. The Meaning of the Chronogenealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. Origins 7, no. 2:53-70.

Freeman, Travis R. 2004. A New Look at the Genesis 5 and 11 Fluidity Problem. Andrews University Seminary Studies 42, no. 2, 259-286.