Q&A: Does the Gobekli Tepe Site Contradict the Biblical Account of Man?

From Peg in Mesa, AZ

How does RTB explain the Gobekli Tepe mystery? For many people this type of archeological evidence is very difficult to reconcile with the biblical account of man.

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gobekli-tepe-pillarI presume the difficulty to which you refer is the early dates for artifacts found at the Gobekli Tepe site. Radiocarbon dates for these artifacts range from 8,400 to 9,600 years ago. These dates certainly pose a challenge for Archbishop Ussher’s chronology of events described in the Bible. His chronology presumes that the creation days in Genesis 1 were six consecutive 24-hour periods and that the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 are exhaustively complete.

As I describe in much detail in my book Navigating Genesis, both of Ussher’s presumptions are incorrect. Excellent textual evidence establishes that the creation days are six consecutive long periods of time. A long, finite time period is one of the literal definitions of the Hebrew word, yôm, which is translated as “day” in Genesis 1. Likewise, Hebrew linguists point out that all the biblical genealogies are incomplete. For example, Luke 3 lists 11 names for the genealogy running from Adam to Noah while Genesis 5 mentions only 10. In Hebrew, the words translated “father” and “son” (’āb and bēn) are also used, respectively, for “grandfather,” “great-grandfather,” etc., and “grandson,” “great-grandson,” etc.

In Navigating Genesis I use known dates for when Abraham and Peleg lived to calibrate the Genesis genealogies. This calibration roughly places Noah as living 20,000–60,000 years ago. Therefore, there is no conflict between the Bible’s date for human history and those coming from Gobekli Tepe. Also in Navigating Genesis, I describe sites around the shore of the Persian Gulf that show that humans were constructing villages and engaging in trade at least 12,000 years ago.

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