The “Omphalos hypothesis” discussed in the previous post is horrifying as theology. The idea that the Creator is also the Great Deceiver suggests some rather appalling aspects of the character of God.
But it does make for fertile ground for some potentially fascinating, or at least amusing, storytelling.
Think again of that 28,000-year-old Australian rock art or of the 30,000-year-old paintings in the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave in France. Now, for the sake of our story, let’s accept the premises of the Omphalos hypothesis, of young-earth creationism, and of the illiteralistic reading of Genesis they both seek to defend.
That would mean that as Adam and Eve and the still-legged serpent walked in Eden, somewhere in antediluvian Mesopotamia, there already existed paintings — human paintings — in Australia and France. And those already-existing paintings already appeared to be many thousands of years old.
Now imagine, a few generations later, after the flood, after the tower of Babel, when the descendants of Japheth — “scattered abroad over the face of the earth” from the plains of Shinar. They head West, arriving in Europe as the first humans ever to set foot in this strange new land. The first humans ever there since the creation of the world. What would it mean to them to find there, waiting for them, human paintings thousands of years old?
There’s some kind of Omphalos-meets-Prometheus story there. Some kind of weird mash-up of Ken Ham and Erich von Däniken.
Or go back further, to Cain and Abel — back when both brothers were still alive and Cain had not yet become a marked man
Plowing in his fields one day, Cain found something. That night, he showed it to his brother.
“I think it’s a knife,” he said. “A knife made of stone. And it seems … it doesn’t make any sense, but it seems like it’s thousands of years old.”
Abel examined it closely. He had never seen anything so old. It seemed even older than their father. But that was impossible, nothing was older than their father.
“It’s Natufian,” Abel heard himself say.
“Natufi-what? What does that mean?”
“I … I don’t know. That word just kind of came to me. …”
“We should go back,” Cain said. “Tomorrow. We’ll go back and dig where I found this. Maybe there’s more.”
OK, your turn.