Tuesday, May 10, 2016



If we were to think of civilisations I’m sure most of us would have a picture in mind of Greek architecture with pillars and Roman armies with banners. Indeed ancient Greco-Roman architecture has had no small influence on the character and design of many modern-day buildings in most Western cities. Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns are legion as a façade for government buildings, and also churches!

Civilisation refers to the advancement and social development of society. But where did civilisation begin? Who started it?

Though the making of bronze and iron tools and stringed and wind musical instruments took place pre-Flood (e.g. Genesis 4:21-22), the most ancient of civilisations was that which built the post-Flood Tower of Babel as part of an expanding city in the land of Shinar. ‘They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens.”’ Genesis 11:3b-4a. A possible and credible date for this is 2233 BC, some 115 years after the global flood. Thus, after the LORD confused their language in Babylonia, ‘from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth’ Genesis 11:9b.

Shem, Ham and Japheth, the three sons of Noah, gave their names to the three main branches of humanity, viz., Semites, Hamites and Japhethites, (see e.g. Genesis 10). ‘Regarding the division of earth among his three sons, it may be said generally, that Asia was given to Shem, Africa to Ham, and Europe to Japheth.’ Albert Edersheim. Generally speaking, Japheth produced that which would become Greco-Roman civilisation, Ham Egyptian, and Shem the Arab and Hebrew civilisations.

All civilisations would have arrived in their respective geographical locations with (albeit distorted) memories of the Flood as part of their folklore. Nimrod, the founder of Babylonian Empire, was a Hamite. Ham was his grandfather (Genesis 10-6-8). Mizraim, the founder of Egypt, was Ham’s son (Genesis 10:6). The Jebusites, conquered by the Hebrews at Jerusalem, were descended from Ham (Genesis 10:16; Joshua 15:63). The source of the Indians of the Americas, including the Mayan, Inca and Aztec civilisations, is perhaps answered by reference to the ‘Sinite’, i.e., a people descended from Ham (Genesis 10:17; Isaiah 49:12). Says Henry M Morris, ‘It is significant that the Chinese people have always been identified by the prefix “Sino-” (e.g., Sino-Japanese War; Sinology, the study of Chinese history). The name “Sin” is frequently encountered in Chinese names in the form “Siang” or its equivalent… It is reasonable to conclude that the Mongoloid peoples (and therefore also the American Indians) have come mostly from the Hamitic line.’
Civilisations come and civilisations go. However, the civilisation that Jesus is in the process of building will last forever. In the words of the writer of Onward! Christian Soldiers, ‘Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, But the church of Jesus constant will remain. Gates of hell can never ’gainst that church prevail; We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.’ Sabine Baring-Gould.

Jesus said, ‘In my Father’s house there are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you’ John 14:2. ‘Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God’ Revelation 21:2a.

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