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Creation 17(2):40–43, March 1995

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Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles and Further Reading below.

Ancient civilizations and modern man

Were ancient cultures more advanced than many evolutionists believe?

by David Criswell

A vase-like artefact from a 2,000-year-old Parthian town. German archaeologist Wilhelm König and others believe it was a type of battery.

Ancient Egypt is supposed to be one of the first civilizations, but the sophistication of its achievements has long perplexed scientists. The mathematical precision involved in constructing the pyramids is but one such achievement.

It was long believed that man had not developed mathematics to the degree that would allow Egyptians to build such structures. And the enigma of the pyramids pales in comparison to other archaeological discoveries.

According to Dr Colin Fink of the electro-chemistry department at Columbia University, the ancient Egyptians copper-coated many artefacts using a form of electro-chemical exchange.1

This involved a mixture of chemical elements which, when an object was immersed, caused an electro-chemical charge that deposited the copper permanently on the object.

A Scientific American publication referred to this technique as “a secret later lost and not rediscovered until the last century by Faraday”.1 By Cleopatra’s day, the Parthians had even developed a primitive electric battery.2 The battery used a thin copper disc at the base of a small 10 cm (4 in) cylinder and was used to gold-plate jewellery. Science Digest called this “man’s first industrial use of electricity”.3

More recent was the discovery of what some believe to be an ancient Egyptian model glider found in a 2,000-year-old tomb.4 Former NASA contractee William Corliss calls the scale model “a very advanced form of what is called a push-glider”.4 Corliss says the ‘plane’ would have glided on the air much like modern gliders, and would have required immense aeronautical and mathematical precision. Scientists who have studied the model suggest that its proportions and design would indeed have enabled it to fly.

Is this a model glider? Some believe it is. Yet it was found in a 2,000 year-old Egyptian tomb.

In neighbouring Greece, the Greeks even had an extremely sophisticated device that could compute planetary motions. Some scientists have called it an early ‘computer’, while others suggested it was a form of clock. But all concur that the object displayed mechanics supposedly far ahead of its time.5

What does the Bible say about advanced civilizations?

Skeptics and many secular scientists have long sought to refute the historicity of the Bible. Under this conditioning, many Christians assume that Babel was the beginning of civilization and that Noah and his family, before the Flood, merely lived in an area dominated by primitive tribal communities.

This view cannot be reconciled with the Bible. The technological complexity of building a vessel such as the Ark may seem a problem, but a larger problem is how Noah could have built an Ark (with a deck area the size of 36 lawn-tennis courts) with the limited resources available to such communities. A larger and more advanced civilization is required.

Worldwide array of civilisations

This replica of an elaborate calculating device was based on an artefact found in a sunken Greek ship dating back to the time of Christ.

The Apostle Peter clearly believed that the Flood covered the whole world (cf. 2 Peter 3:5–7). Moreover, population studies have shown that the Earth could easily have been populated by at least one billion people in the 1,700 years or so from Adam to Noah.6 This surely suggests a worldwide array of civilizations.

It is not surprising that science cannot find direct evidence of antediluvian civilizations, because the Bible says the whole ancient world was destroyed by the Flood. Peter even compares the destruction to that which will come when the Earth is destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:5–7). The Flood annihilated virtually all the remains of ancient man. Only scant traces, if any, can be found, and these would be swept under the rug as insignificant anomalies.

Yet these anomalies indicate that ancient civilizations might have been even more advanced than some later civilizations.

In Florida, workers discovered the remains of an ancient city while digging a canal between Lake Dora and Lake Eustis. The city exists far below sea level and was reported in Scientific American.7 Another example is the remains of a large city buried off the Arctic coast.8 Today this region is scarcely populated, except by scattered Eskimos, because of the Arctic’s hostile living conditions. Yet archaeologists speculate that the city housed a minimum of 4,000 people.8 The size of the city “amazes modern investigators”.9

Many other examples exist. Indeed, entire volumes have been written on similar ‘anomalies’. Most evolutionists have disregarded anything that threatens their evolutionary timescale, but ignoring the evidence is simply another way of ignoring the truth.

These civilizations did indeed exist, and archaeologists have discovered many curious artefacts that point to a high degree of scientific achievement. Perhaps the most peculiar of these consists of a strange cylinder found embedded in solid rock from ages ago. This cylinder appears, from all known studies, to be a mechanical apparatus with possible electrical properties, as is evidenced by coiled copper. Some researchers even equated it with the modern-day spark plug, although it doubtless had a different purpose.10

Such evidence cannot be swept under the rug to suit Bible critics. Man did not need to wait for his intelligence to evolve before he could build advanced civilizations. He already was advanced.

Technology unable to save

A cylinder found in fossil-encrusted rock. Some researchers have equated it with a modern-day spark plug.

In Genesis 11:6–9 God stated that mankind was to be divided by languages at Babel or else “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do”. It seems that man is finally reaching the point where civilization and communication between cultures are reaching their zenith.

Nevertheless, technology will not save us. Noah’s generation was well advanced, but could not ward off the wrath of God.

Peter warned the early church that “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the Earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the Earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men”. (2 Peter 3:5–­7)

Rather than denigrating ancient man (our ancestors), we ought to humble ourselves and learn a lesson from history before our civilization becomes obscure relics in the ground. What we build will become as dust, but the Kingdom that Christ establishes will last forever.

Posted on homepage: 29 June 2016

References and notes

  1. Corliss, W., Ancient Man: A Handbook of Puzzling Artifacts, The Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm (Maryland), p. 443, 1978. Return to text
  2. Schwalb, H.M., Electric Batteries of 2,000 Years Ago, Science Digest 41(4):17–19, 1957. See also Down, D., Why the electric battery was forgotten, Creation 16(2):10–13, 1994; creation.com/ancient-battery. Return to text
  3. Shwalb, Ref. 2, p.18. Return to text
  4. Corliss, Ref. 1, pp. 454–­455. Return to text
  5. de Solla Price, D.J., Unworldly Mechanics, Natural History 71(3):8–17, 1962. Return to text
  6. Whitcomb, J., and Morris, H., The Genesis Flood, Presbyterian and Reformed, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, pp. 25–­27, 1961. At the time of the Flood there could have been more than three billion people around the globe, assuming a population growth of only 1.3% per year. The current average is 1.8 per cent. Population studies are a big problem for old-Earth advocates. There are simply not enough catastrophes in history to keep man's population growth low enough to allow for 100,000 years or more. Return to text
  7. Corliss, Ref. 1, pp. 83–84. Return to text
  8. Rainey, F.G., Mystery People Of The Arctic, Natural History 47(3):148–155, 1941. Return to text
  9. Rainey, Ref. 8, p. 148. Return to text
  10. Rawson, A.L., Transactions Of the New York Academy Of Science 11:26–­29, as cited by J.R. Jochmans, Strange Relics From The Depths Of The Earth, Forgotten Ages Research Society. Reprinted with permission from the Bible-Science Association, Minneapolis, p. 17, 1979. Return to text

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