What About . . . Genealogies? Are they important?

07 May

What About . . . Genealogies? Are they important?

What About . . . Ancient Biblical Genealogies, who cares?  You should and here’s why!

Ever hear anyone say that the biblical genealogies aren’t important?  Or something like, “Why should I care about genealogies, they’re a waste of time?”

To investigate the facts and debunk this statement, let’s look at Genesis 10.  Genesis 10 is generally given the obligatory, devotional “skim” by most readers.
However, note that:

  1. it follows four of the most fascinating chapters in the entire Bible and
  2. it precedes the wonderfully written and all  important story of Abraham.

So, the serious student of the Bible must ask the questions,

Q1. Why was a genealogy included in Genesis at this point?
Q2. What is its importance to the historical account?
Q3. How is it relevant to me?

Let’s dig deep to understand and answer those questions and debunk the idea of genealogies being unimportant….
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum identifies what he perceives to be the practical purpose of the passage (Genesis 10) in his Genesis commentary (p. 204).

1) God showed His divine providence in the distribution of the nations.
2) God showed the relationship of Israel to the other nations.
3) God showed the unity of humanity, that there is no such thing as racial or ethnic superiority.

To expound briefly on practical purpose #3, the biblical depiction of human history clearly represents a genetic bottleneck at the time of the Flood. Gen 9:19 says of the three sons of Noah, “of them was the whole earth overspread.” In Gen 10:32 it is recorded, “by these (Noah’s sons and their families) were the nations of the earth divided.”
No racial or ethnic superiority can be intimated or derived from this history.

Q. Where, then, did the racial superiority and boundaries come from?

A. The idea of racial boundaries came out of the progression of Darwinian evolution carried to its conclusion in the history of man.

The influence of Darwinian thought is illustrated in an 1869 letter from Francis Galton to his cousin Charles Darwin:

“The appearance of your (full title of the 1859 book: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.  Shortened in 1872 to Origin of Species) formed a real crisis in my life; your book drove away the constraint of my old superstition [i.e. religious arguments based on design] as if it had been a nightmare and was the first to give me freedom of thought.”

Concerning Galton, Russell Grigg, industrial chemist and CMI staff member in Australia, wrote in a December 2005 article for Creation magazine entitled Eugenics…Death of the Defenseless:

“Galton ‘was the first to recognize the implications for mankind of Darwin’s theory of evolution (quoting from the Encyclopedia Britannica).’ He believed that talent, character, intellect, etc. were all inherited from one’s ancestors, as was also any lack of these qualities. Thus the poor were not hapless [unfortunate] victims of their circumstances, but were paupers because they were biologically inferior.

Galton’s views left no room for the existence of a human soul, the grace of God in the human heart, human freedom to choose to be different, or even for the dignity of the individual. In his first published article on this subject, in 1865, ‘He denied…that man’s rational faculties are a gift to him from God; he denied that mankind has been cursed with sinfulness since the day of Adam and Eve’; and he viewed religious sentiments as ‘nothing more than evolutionary devices to insure the survival of the human species.’

Concerning the sense of original sin, he wrote that ‘[this] would show, according to my theory, not that man was fallen from a high estate, but that he was rapidly rising from a low one…and that after myriads of years of barbarism, our race (speaking generally of his own European features) has but very recently grown to be civilized and religious.”

Darwin wrote in his book entitled The Descent of Man (2nd edition)…

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races around the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even for the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

It was from these outrageously insidious roots that the idea came to assist and accelerate the prosperous future of humanity by pruning the outer branches of Darwin’s Tree of Life.
We’ve seen it in the U.S. sterilizations in the early 1900’s. We’ve seen the evidence in Hitler’s Germany in the mid-1900’s. We’ve seen it in the Australian slaughter of the Aboriginals.  The notion is still alive and well in today’s modern, “civilized” societies in the form of abortions, infanticide, and even euthanasia all around the world.
Naturalist writer and Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, Steven T. Asma wrote in an article for The Humanist (Sept./ Oct. 1993) entitled “The New Social Darwinism: Deserving Your Destitution”…

“The idea that whole populations – whether abroad or at home – are ‘naturally unfit’ is the ultimate license for social policies of domination. Indeed, domination is for us a virtue rather than a vice…

It goes without saying that social Darwinism has lent spurious [not genuine/authentic] credence to racism.”

The Apostle Paul recognized that the writings of Genesis were more than “old superstition” (as perceived by Dalton and reference in his cousin’s letter), but were indeed our history assigning value to mankind worth redeeming (Acts 17:22-28).

“Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious (arriving at religious conclusions by philosophical means). For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions (evidences of your commitment to these philosophical conclusions), I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needeth any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation (dispersed from Babel); That they should seek the Lord (this Creator), if haply they might feel (grope) after Him (all judgment is designed to bring mankind back to God), and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are of His offspring (created at His hand in the ancient past).

The Bible (and even the poets of ancient Greek literature) depicts man as a unique created kind “of one blood.” Mankind is not segmented and fragmented into various races of developmental hierarchy. Mankind is made up “of one blood” going back to Adam on the sixth day of Creation. It is the entire of Adam’s race that is in need of “that man” (Acts 17:31), Jesus Christ, to ensure resurrection to immortality.
This is the significance of Genesis 10 that gives us the answer to our questions:

Q1. Why was a genealogy included in Genesis at this point?

A. As insignificant and unspectacular as Genesis 10 may seem, it is a necessary, lineal (human ancestry) connection of the post-flood world to the pre-flood world.

Q2. What is its importance to the Biblical account?

A. Genesis 10 links us to our antediluvian (pre-flood), primal nature and identifies us in the context of, and the need for, the Promised Seed.

Q3. How is it relevant to me?

  1. It is the bridge of personal relevance between the historical account of the beginning (Gen 1-9) and the rest of Scripture. It reminds us that from the fall, man has been in need of redemption and points us to the Saviour.

So . . . we believe that that accuracy and authenticity of the ancient manuscripts is vitally important.  Thanks Marc!

The content of this feature has been edited and formatted from the article “Why Should I Care About the Genealogies?” written by Marc Jacob’s on his blog called, Scripturosity!  Please make sure to take a look at Marc’s other writings!

D. Marc Jacobs, Jr.

Marc is a long time friend of Carl Kerby and an amazing writer. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Operations for PENNECO where he oversees all functional areas associated with natural gas drilling, development, and production. Marc has over twenty five years experience in geology, well drilling and completions, site and pipeline construction, measurement, and compression operations. Marc also brings a wealth of experience to leadership of their field staff of over thirty field personnel and technicians. In addition he also provides oversight of all field operations and assists in the evaluation of our joint venture prospects and development of our exploration strategies. He is a graduate of Hyles-Anderson College, and has been with PENNECO since 1985.