The Bible was under attack this week in newspapers around the world. Here’s one headline: “The Bible got it wrong: Ancient Canaanites survived and their DNA lives in modern-day Lebanese.” Here’s another: “Study disproves the Bible’s claim that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out.” The next four paragraphs are from the New York Times:
“There is a story in the Hebrew Bible that tells of God’s call for the annihilation of the Canaanites, people who lived in what are now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories thousands of years ago.
‘You shall not leave alive anything that breathes,’ God said in the passage. ‘But you shall utterly destroy them.’
But a genetic analysis published on Thursday has found that the ancient population survived that divine call for their extinction, and their descendants live in modern Lebanon.
‘We can see the present-day Lebanese can trace most of their ancestry to the Canaanites or a genetically equivalent population,’ said Chris Tyler-Smith, a geneticist with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute who is an author of the paper. ‘They derive just over 90 percent of their ancestry from the Canaanites.’”
I hope you noted the words “or a genetically equivalent population,” which destroys the argument that these scientists had somehow disproved the Bible. But, even worse, these supposedly quality publications failed to actually read the Bible! Yes God told the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites,” that they may not teach you do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods.” Deuteronomy 20:17. But the Israelites DISOBEYED! The Bible explicitly records that a variety of Israelite commanders let the Canaanites live. Judges 1:27-35. God then said OK, but you’ll be sorry. “So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” Judges 2:3. So we are left with dozens of articles, read by perhaps hundreds of millions of people, making false claims against God. How sad that, in our upside-down world, people try to sell newspapers by attacking God.
Equally sad is that, when science supports God and the Bible, you never read about it in the popular press. In September 2014 scientists claimed that, over the course of human history, women had migrated significantly more than men. Men inherit the DNA in their Y chromosome only from their father, whereas all people inherit the DNA in their mitochondria (little energy factories in our cells) only from their mothers. A study found greater variability in a population in the female-inherited DNA, the mitochondria DNA, and claimed it was because women traveled more for marriage.
Really? Over all known history men have overwhelmingly been more likely to travel, whether for trade, curiosity, or war. Women generally marry within the community in which they were born. So this scientific study seemed strange to me. Last weekend I learned that greater variability in female DNA is exactly what the Bible predicts. Deuteronomy 32:8 states that when God divided mankind after the Tower of Babel, “he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” In other words, from one group, humanity was divided by paternal lines, and the women went with their husbands regardless of their family background. So the females in a given populations should have greater variability in their DNA, exactly as the 2014 study found.
Last weekend I also heard a talk on Y chromosome variability by Nathaniel Jeanson, a research biologist with a Ph. D. in cell and developmental biology from Harvard. Dr. Jeanson measured variability in the Y chromosome over time. To do that he needed a population that had been separated at a known time in the past. He used African Americans, and compared their Y chromosomes to the Y chromosomes of the population that stayed behind in West Africa. There are statistics on the number of people who came to the United States in this brutal way, and it is known that the mean point of the slave trade was around 1800. By comparing the variability in Y chromosome between African Americans and those who stayed behind, he got a measure of genetic drift in the Y chromosome.
Dr. Jeanson then presented a chart that showed differences in the Y chromosome among all males worldwide. The chart shows clear connecting points, nodes if you will, that strongly point to a common ancestor. According to the Bible, all men trace their Y chromosome back to Noah, who with his three sons, and their wives, were the only people on the ark. Dr. Jeanson used his estimate of how fast the Y chromosome drifts to estimate the time back to the central nodes. It’s not clear which one could be Noah; the data doesn’t establish that clearly. But the time back to all the nodes was around 5,000 years, which is when the Bible tells us Noah lived.
The bottom line here is that modern DNA analysis strongly supports the Bible. Unfortunately, that story rarely makes the secular press. I highly recommend the magazine Acts and Facts, which spreads the good news of true science every month. You can get a free subscription here:
Thanks for reading. Please spread the good news of science.